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Altrincham or Auckland?

Altrincham or Auckland?

Old Jul 21st 2009, 9:16 am
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Default Altrincham or Auckland?

It's hardly a million dollar question, but if you had the choice to either move to Altrincham which is a very well to do area in the UK, with good schools (in Trafford) or move to Auckland, which would you choose and why?

Our main reason for considering NZ is that we think long-term it would be better for bringing up our daughter and that our quality of life would be better than in the UK.

We haven't got our NZ visas yet so just trying to weigh up our options.

Thanks
B
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Old Jul 21st 2009, 9:30 am
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

Originally Posted by Wilderbeest View Post
It's hardly a million dollar question
I think it is! Where do you live now? Does it have to be Auckland?

I can't comment upon Altrincham, or what base you are coming from, but it all depends on what you want out of life. Auckland is a big (mostly ugly) spralling city, with all the problems of any other large city in the world. It has it's good points at times, but I wouldn't naturally assume it to be better than Altrincham.

Also you need to be sure of your own definition of 'better quality of life' because living in Auckland often on lower earnings than you might currently enjoy, won't necessarily provide this.

I think you need to research and research, weigh up the ups and downs and think about where you really want to be, if you haven't already.

Auckland is a very big place and opinions and versions of it vary so much, depending on where you live and what you can afford in terms of housing. If you can afford a nice house in a nice suburb, then you can avoid most of the mess that is the rest of the surrounds.

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Old Jul 21st 2009, 9:34 am
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

Originally Posted by Wilderbeest View Post
It's hardly a million dollar question, but if you had the choice to either move to Altrincham which is a very well to do area in the UK, with good schools (in Trafford) or move to Auckland, which would you choose and why?

Our main reason for considering NZ is that we think long-term it would be better for bringing up our daughter and that our quality of life would be better than in the UK.

We haven't got our NZ visas yet so just trying to weigh up our options.

Thanks
B
Although some of the surrounding villages are nice Altrincham isn't a very pleasant place IMO.
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Old Jul 21st 2009, 10:15 am
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

My OH has a job offer in Auckland and we are thinking of renting in perhaps Remuera, St Heliers or St Johns for a few years until we are sure that NZ is for us. Our daughter is only 1 year old so we would have time to sus other areas out should we decide to stay and need to be looking at schools.

We live in Birmingham at present. When I say 'Quality of life' I am thinking about things like, freedom to roam in nice rural areas and not feel intimidated by for example chavs. Feel that my daughter is safe in her surroundings and can experience as she grows up an independent and happy life, as opposed to a life where she finds he mother is over-protective and won't let her out of her sight, which is neither healthy for her or for us, her parents.

To sum it up, which I think a lot of people would ideally like, a nice area with a nice house, nice pleasant neighbors, good, safe walks and play areas in surrounding areas, well mannered and respectful children/ teenagers, good schools, etc

I have done a fair bit of research but find that there is so many different opinions on the Internet and on this forum about life in NZ that I find myself very confused at times about if it's right for us. We did visit NZ a number of years ago and really liked it but it was mainly south island that we explored. We only spent 2 days in Auckland city and I didn't really like it that much but now we would be looking at living approx 20 min commute by car from the city.

I'll stop there as I have gone on a bit, I know.

B

Last edited by Wilderbeest; Jul 21st 2009 at 10:22 am.
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Old Jul 21st 2009, 10:45 am
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

I know Altrincham well because I lived there in the late 1980s (a flat opposite the croquet club in Bowdon) after moving out of central London, and I would say that it's quite an interesting comparison - the very edge of the conurbation, so there was room to breathe and easy access to countryside, like the suburbs here in NZ; it was peaceful at the weekends but I could easily hop on a train into Manchester for the Cornerhouse cinema and the Hacienda in its early untroubled months, and get home in the small hours. A couple of my friends said the flat in Bowdon was the best place I ever lived in.

I don't know Auckland at all; I'm in Wellington, which seems to be regarded as the less brash, or if you prefer, the more boring city.

NZ has peace and quiet in abundance, but most cities don't have the transport links that we could take for granted in the UK, that allowed us to grow up with ready access to the bright lights confident that we could easily get home if we chose. I personally think it would have been ideal to have grown up here through primary and secondary education, and then gone on to study in Europe as a teenager and discover melting-pot cities and millennia of history when I was old enough for these things not to seem boring. But then I don't have kids, so this is perhaps an opinion without real value. When a few of my friends with children have visited me here and compared Wellington with Manchester, maybe I'll know.
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Old Jul 21st 2009, 11:51 am
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

Originally Posted by dkb_herts View Post
NZ has peace and quiet in abundance, but most cities don't have the transport links that we could take for granted in the UK, that allowed us to grow up with ready access to the bright lights confident that we could easily get home if we chose.
Good point there, because I have often said that Auckland offers all the downsides of City living, without any of the benefits, such as ease of getting around, late night transport (or any time of day) decent shops, or places you might actually want to stay in town for after work. Most of central Auckland is seedy at tacky at best, apart from The Viaduct. Queen Street is a dead loss and any roads either way from there I wouldn't want to walk around after dark. We simply don't go into town for recreation, it's bad enough having to drive there and back everyday.

Any chance you can make a recce visit to Auckland?

Everbody's stories will be different depending on what they're used to, for example mine's full of negatives and I'll probably get slapped for saying so.

We moved from a quite nice, working class (mostly tradesmen in our road) suburb within the M25 and travelled into central London everyday - 5 minute walk to train station, 20 mins by train with a nice leisurely read of my book and another 10 minute walk the other end, working typically 9 to 5 (35 hour week). I got on a train at 8.23am and was home most days 5.30 ish. We earned fairly good money and afforded most things, including going to concerts and shows, dinners out, a couple of holidays a year and various weekends away within the UK and Europe, as and when the mood took us. We had the M25 and four airports within easy reach and travelling anywhere was really a cinch.

We swapped this for:

A similar suburb of Auckland, similar distance from the centre (actually about 3kms nearer). I now have an hour's drive to work in log-jammed traffic, working 40 hours per week for 30% less pay. Can't afford a holiday out of NZ and rarely afford any luxuries of weekends away or going out. There's only one way in and one way out of Auckland, unless you have a boat.

In conclusions, for us it's not 'better' at all!! Different yes, but by no means better.
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Old Jul 21st 2009, 5:44 pm
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

Not Altringham mate, too near Old Trafford!
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Old Jul 21st 2009, 6:30 pm
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Default Sale or Invercargill?

Sale is obviously more of a hole than Altrincham, but then Aucklanders would possibly say the same of the Southland!

No contest - we're off to Invercargill as soon as our visas get processed and my company finds us a commercial site
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Old Jul 21st 2009, 8:19 pm
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

Originally Posted by Bo-Jangles View Post
Good point there, because I have often said that Auckland offers all the downsides of City living, without any of the benefits, such as ease of getting around, late night transport (or any time of day) decent shops, or places you might actually want to stay in town for after work. Most of central Auckland is seedy at tacky at best, apart from The Viaduct. Queen Street is a dead loss and any roads either way from there I wouldn't want to walk around after dark. We simply don't go into town for recreation, it's bad enough having to drive there and back everyday.

Any chance you can make a recce visit to Auckland?

Everbody's stories will be different depending on what they're used to, for example mine's full of negatives and I'll probably get slapped for saying so.

We moved from a quite nice, working class (mostly tradesmen in our road) suburb within the M25 and travelled into central London everyday - 5 minute walk to train station, 20 mins by train with a nice leisurely read of my book and another 10 minute walk the other end, working typically 9 to 5 (35 hour week). I got on a train at 8.23am and was home most days 5.30 ish. We earned fairly good money and afforded most things, including going to concerts and shows, dinners out, a couple of holidays a year and various weekends away within the UK and Europe, as and when the mood took us. We had the M25 and four airports within easy reach and travelling anywhere was really a cinch.

We swapped this for:

A similar suburb of Auckland, similar distance from the centre (actually about 3kms nearer). I now have an hour's drive to work in log-jammed traffic, working 40 hours per week for 30% less pay. Can't afford a holiday out of NZ and rarely afford any luxuries of weekends away or going out. There's only one way in and one way out of Auckland, unless you have a boat.

In conclusions, for us it's not 'better' at all!! Different yes, but by no means better.
why are you still there???
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Old Jul 21st 2009, 8:46 pm
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

Originally Posted by Wilderbeest View Post
It's hardly a million dollar question, but if you had the choice to either move to Altrincham which is a very well to do area in the UK, with good schools (in Trafford) or move to Auckland, which would you choose and why?

Our main reason for considering NZ is that we think long-term it would be better for bringing up our daughter and that our quality of life would be better than in the UK.

We haven't got our NZ visas yet so just trying to weigh up our options.

Thanks
B
We have friends that have moved from Southern England to Auckland and have young children. They love Auckland and the surrounds. They have found that the child friendly nature of NZ helps fantastically. Their child was born here and everything from the Midwife, Plunket, Playgrounds and facilities are brilliant. It has been really easy for them to make friends and integrate into the kiwi life. Getting around Auckland is easy (in a car) not so great on public transport. There are heaps of parks and beaches to enjoy. I know this is only one families opinion, but you will find many that love the place and as many that wish they were else where!

We live in Mission Bay and previously lived in St Heliers and still spend alot of time in this area. It is a great area to raise children, the same goes for Remuera. I personally think it is safe and have no problem wandering home from restaurants etc at night. The local playgrounds have great facilities and the beaches especially Kohi and St Helliers are great for children. Yes Auckland is a city and consequently there is a huge range of people (the good, the bad and the ugly) but this occurs everywhere. In Auckland there just are more of each kind We have lived here two years and seen lots of the good and none of the bad or ugly, maybe we have been lucky. Or maybe we just don't visit the so called bad areas of town

To be honest if you are unsure you need to visit for longer than two days (if you can) so that you can really evaluate the two places. Hope this helps
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Old Jul 22nd 2009, 1:36 am
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

Originally Posted by Wilderbeest View Post
It's hardly a million dollar question, but if you had the choice to either move to Altrincham which is a very well to do area in the UK, with good schools (in Trafford) or move to Auckland, which would you choose and why?

Our main reason for considering NZ is that we think long-term it would be better for bringing up our daughter and that our quality of life would be better than in the UK.

We haven't got our NZ visas yet so just trying to weigh up our options.

Thanks
B
I lived in Timperley and in Sale and shopped in Altrincham and Hale for more than a decade some 10 years ago now. Had several girls nights out in Manchester town centre and loved going to the annual Cheshire show and gymkhana events etc. (my friend had a horse). I would agree that in my experience the outskirts of Altrincham e.g. Hale, Hale Barns and Bowden are far 'nicer' than the town of Altrincham itself, although it did have some good coffee houses, restaurants and a few bars when I was there.

If education is important to you and I guess it is since you mention it in your question, I would advise you to do a lot of research into what is loosely called the NZ curriculum. My kids are in middle / upper primary school in a reputedly 'good' school and they seem to spend much of their time on sport, art, maori lang., dance, music, project work (animals not weather systems or ancient civilisations), no time is spent on history subjects, a small amount of geography is covered (Australia & the Cook Islands) and minimal time is spent on English, Maths or Physical Sciences. The level of learning is way behind that of their peer group in the UK.

To mediate this I have been told that kids here are allowed to spend their time being kids in the primary years but are expected to 'cram' and study like mad in their High School years, if they want to go to University. Private fee paying schools may be and probably are different.

Also be aware that most state schools require you to make a 'voluntary' donation each term to their budgets since Education, as you can probably guess, is underfunded at government level in NZ. The school tells you what the donation should be and it is charged on a per child basis.

Be aware that you will also pay for all your medical expenses including seeing your GP unless you have an accident (sporting or otherwise) when the ACC will cover your costs. Bearing in mind that the salaries in NZ are less than those in the UK and the cost of living basket here is also higher, I would advise you to come out on a research visit and to budget as if you were a kiwi. You may find that friendly people and beautiful scenery will not pay your bills. Oh and did I mention that over 50% of NZ houses are pretty flimsy, have a dampness problem, single glazing and no central heating?

You may find living in a village in the Cheshire countryside affords you all the freedom you are looking for with the advantages of infrastructure to visit the big towns as and when you need the availability of shops. Apologies for writing a magnum opus but you did ask

Do take off any rose coloured specs. you may recently have aquired, do your research and make your decision with your eyes wide open. Then you'll feel confident that whatever you decide, you have made the right choice for your family.

Good luck with your decision making!
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Old Jul 22nd 2009, 3:22 am
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

Originally Posted by Scottish Family View Post
The level of learning is way behind that of their peer group in the UK.
That depends on which particular survey you read.

In any case, the reality is that a NZ university graduate is going to have no problem getting work based on that qualification around the world. A doctor, lawyer or scientist from NZ will be valued equivalently to most British universities. (excluding perhaps the top ones but then it becomes more about jobs for the boys)

Certainly if the OP is looking at places like Remuera or other affluent neighborhoods they will be looking at very good schools, potentially Auckland Grammar which is one of the best schools you'll find anywhere.

As for kids being allowed to be kids and then cramming later - I think that has pretty much been disproven. Starting them at 4 is ridiculous. Many other enlightened and intelligent countries don't start their kids until much later, Scandanavian countries, Switzerland and Japan all wait until at least 6 years old, even 7. In Switzerland the parents are actually discouraged from formally teaching their kids anything too.

Additionally I've never felt threatened walking around Auckland at all, even in the CBD. Part of the reason for this (IMO) is that everyone drives everywhere or hangs around in larger houses - pointless for kids or chavs to hang around. Having said that I've never felt threatened in the UK either, with the exception of the time I walked around Manor House station at night.

Last edited by sr71; Jul 22nd 2009 at 3:25 am.
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Old Jul 22nd 2009, 3:58 am
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Lightbulb Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

'As for kids being allowed to be kids and then cramming later - I think that has pretty much been disproven. Starting them at 4 is ridiculous.'

Not sure what you mean in your statement. Are you saying kids are not being allowed to be kids while in primary school in NZ?

I agree that starting children at 4 years of age, the way they do in the UK, is much too young. My youngest had to start when he was 4 1/2 and he was just not ready for school yet. It would have been much better for him to have started at least a year later.

Kiwi colleagues have told us of their having to stay up to mid-night and sometimes beyond when in High School (College) just to keep up with the volume of work given. [That sounds like cramming to me.] It was their opinion that some of the content could have been covered in the primary school years.

Our kids use the internet to keep in touch with old school friends and as we also know their parents we inevitably hear about what is being taught in the boys old school in Scotland. It is definitely at a greater level than is being taught to my kids here. The only mitigation being that due to the mis-match in term dates, the UK school is approximately 6 weeks ahead of our terms.

I have no doubt that in a big city like Auckland there are bound to be some reasonable schools, similarly in Wellington but to get the 'quality of life' that we wanted we chose to live outside of the main cities.

It would seem there is a price to pay for everything!
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Old Jul 22nd 2009, 5:38 am
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

Gosh, staying up cramming until midnight? Are these private schools? Whether they are or not I'd be straight down the school checking whether it was my kids' time management or the volume as something is clearly amiss if this is going on?

I have a nearly 17 year old and a 14 year old at college and whilst they are certainly finding the academic side no great stretch, they have projects rather than homework. I have no concerns regarding their education and they both intend to go to Uni.

In response to the OP's question, although I don't live there I like Auckland and have been out at night in the city and never felt threatened - but then I grew up in London!

Good luck whatever you decide - but I agree with others you really need to see Auckland to make an informed decision.
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Old Jul 22nd 2009, 6:51 pm
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Default Re: Altrincham or Auckland?

I've been to Altringham, it was quite nice. Depends what you want from life. I think NZ offers different things.
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