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Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

Old Oct 24th 2022, 5:58 am
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Default Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

We are planning our trip and trying to work out where to look to live should $Deity smile on us.
Especially looking for places we may have missed on previous visits.

First obvious place is North Island, East Coast, below Napier and Hastings.
Google Maps makes it look very isolated, with virtually no roads seaward of SH2.
We would like a level of town population around, perhaps 5-10,000?
For comparison the town we currently live in has around 24,000.

[Just looked up New Plymouth and the District has over 80,000 people. Haven't tied that down to a town, though.]
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Old Oct 24th 2022, 6:08 am
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

For a rough idea of where we are after our last visit in 2015.

NW of North Island seems too isolated, small towns, slow to get to any major town or city.
KeriKeri looked interesting, but may have been swamped by Aucklanders relocating because of property prices and the airport.

We love Russel but as we get older it does look more isolated.

The East Coast north of Auckland may be over developed now.
Even last time SH1 was a nightmare during rush hour.
Also we couldn't compete on price with Aucklanders cashing in their million dollar houses and moving up coast.

Coromandel is close to our hearts, but again when the rains come the whole place is isolated by slips.
Also perhaps prey to Aucklanders with cash.
2015 we could have afforded to buy.
However.....
Thames is nice but possibly priced out now.

More to follow.
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Old Oct 24th 2022, 6:38 am
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

Nelson and Christchurch on South Island (SI) both suit us.
In general the West Coast is less attractive.
Queenstown will be too expensive and also full of bl**dy tourists.
Not sure about Dunedin.
Love Takaka but it is on the wrong side of that hill.
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Old Oct 24th 2022, 11:44 pm
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

It seems you still have a lot lot decisions to make, so maybe focus on one area that you can afford now and take it from there?
You'll never see the whole world and there will always be pros and cons for each location.

Last edited by Moses2013; Oct 24th 2022 at 11:48 pm.
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Old Oct 26th 2022, 9:31 pm
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

Just a heads up. The houses the Aucklanders were buying after they sold their million dollar homes when you were last here, are now also worth a million dollars 🙄

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Old Dec 18th 2022, 8:52 am
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

Well, we have been in NZ for a couple of weeks now.
Quick survey North of Auckland shows that there isn't much prospect for us.
The only major hospital seems to be at Whangarei; everywhere North of that has people helicoptered down to there.
However it is rumoured that Whangarei hospital might have some issues and that they tend to helicopter difficult cases down to North Auckland.
Top of our list is access to good medical care so this is a worry.
A shame, because we liked Onerahi and it even seemed affordable.

For the rest, to misquote Groucho Marx, we wouldn't want to live anywhere we could afford to live.
Prices have massively increased since we last visited in 2015/2016 and UK house prices haven't kept pace so places which were affordable last visit are well beyond our reach now.
We looked at a house in Russell last time which was $370,000 and we liked, but now there doesn't seem to be anywhere under $1M.

We have now dived down to South Island and arrived in Nelson last night (Sunday 18th) after a massive detour around the closure of SH6 which was reopened just too late for us to use the usual route.
The weather was foul as well.
Looking forward to exploring Nelson - we are here for 4 nights - before heading down to Christchurch for Xmas then Dunedin for the NY.

Also, what have you done to the weather?
It wasn't like this last time we were over.
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Old Dec 18th 2022, 10:24 am
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

I think you brought this weather with you....
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Old Dec 18th 2022, 12:43 pm
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

Lovely weather so far today, despite the weather forecast.
Very impressed by what we have seen of Nelson.
No wonder people rate it as a top location.
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Old Dec 18th 2022, 7:33 pm
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

Apart from proximity to healthcare and wanting to live somewhere you can't afford what other criteria do you have.
you seem to have slipped past, or haven't mentioned so many places. Hamilton, Taupo, whanganui, palmy north. I know you can't see everywhere but they are nice places.
I was in Nelson a month or so ago and it reminded me of Auckland north shore, a place I grew to hate when I live there, so it was never going to be my cup of tea. I do have friends who live in Richmond which is just down the road and they love the place.
Christchurch is a place I like. It's easy to live on the outskirts as there's great access to the CBD. It's got city, rural or coastal living all in easy reach and it's great for a night out in the city center.
Dunedin is a strange place. (The hospital is shite by the way) the house's are stacked on top of each other, it's claustrophobic, half the houses are on shady sides of hills so don't get great sun. However the folk I know who live there think it's a great place, so maybe it's just me 🤔. Have a look at mosgiel while your in dunners. It's only 5 mins away but has a totally different feel. Lots a sub divisions with new houses. It is pricey, but everywhere is now, and despite the national trend 📉 prices are still on the up 📈.



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Old Dec 19th 2022, 8:40 am
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

Brace yourselves for far Too Much Information. :-)

We skipped everything below Auckland and went straight for the South Island as we think this is more likely to meet our requirements.
We are going to do the rest of North Island on the way back up.
A change from the usual exploration of North Island followed by a rush to see the South Island and not quite making the South East corner.
This trip we want to visit Stewart Island.

Requirements: [based on what we have in the UK]
good access to health care
walking distance to town - shops and other facilities
a warm house in winter a cool house in summer and a dry house all year round - this seems to be more of an issue than we previously realised
privacy - also an issue even in expensive houses. Kiwis seem to like to huddle together and build in their back gardens!
a level area of garden, space to sit out, North facing (would be South facing in the UK)
enough off road parking for a car and a motor home
quiet neighbours (well, we can dream)
a quiet road - not an urban rat run (road close to where we are in Nelson has been blocked by planters full of plants and there are loads of "resident access only" signs which suggests this isn't just a UK problem)

Things we could have afforded 5 years ago but have given up as unaffordable:
Section of at least 1,000 sq m
Space for a boat and trailer (we now won't have the spare cash for a boat and trailer anyway)
Long distance views
Space to plant fruit trees and grow veggies (yes, we can do this on a very small plot if we try)

When we started looking way back in the day - say 2010 - we could have afforded what was then my Kiwi dream.
Large section, open views, near the sea (Bay of Islands seemed like a dream come true) so we could sail and fish and explore
Warmer climate than the UK so never freezing in winter.
[Back in 1987 when we first visited we could have bought about 95% of the houses in Auckland but the $:£ ratio was about 4:1, the UK was in a housing boom and NZ hadn't started on the massive rise in house prices.]

Today it looks as though there is a price of about $1.25M which is an affordability point where house prices for all sizes and qualities settle at.
If you can go to around $1.7M then the "bangs per buck" increases enormously; back into the lifestyle blocks half an hour's drive from town or a bigger section closer to town.
I can't see how anyone who didn't get on the housing ladder near the bottom rung years ago can afford to buy these days.
It must be as tough as the UK for young people trying to buy their first house.

The aim all along has been to improve our quality of life.
Sunny open plan house with a nice garden and extended growing season
Access to sandy beaches and clear blue sea
Whole new country to explore

We live in a seaside town, about 15 minutes walk from the beach (shingle, and the sea is brown)
We live 5 minutes walk from the nearest supermarket
We have a train station (!) and a bus service. London is a couple of hours away by train.
5 minutes walk in the other direction and we are out in the countryside walking on footpaths and bridle ways which are public rights of way (there is a lot of access by ancient right across England).

We extended the house abut 10 years ago and have an open plan living area/kitchen/dining area which looks out onto a south facing covered deck and has bi-fold doors which open up the whole back of the house.
Ground floor wet room so we can live on the ground floor should stairs become a problem.
As part of the approval to extend we had a survey to meet modern insulation standards, so all the new build is very well insulated and we have upgraded the insulation for the rest of the house. It is warm and dry (and double glazed), full central heating (as with most UK houses) and the log burner is for pleasure not necessity but certainly warms the back of the house up nicely.
The house is a 3 bedroom semi-detached but all the houses around have their back gardens touching and nobody has built 3 houses in them (!) so the open area is far larger than any individual garden and gives open views.
Off road parking for a car and a motor home
No through traffic so quiet roads.
We are fortunate that the local GPs and the local hospital have so far given outstanding service, unlike some other areas of the country.

Up until this last visit we thought we could find somewhere even nicer to live, but now we are wondering if this is possible.
Friends we have just visited (one a work colleague from years back, the other his Kiwi wife) are concerned about our plans, and asked us if we were sure about emigrating.
They said that id they were 10 years younger they would move to Australia.
[Noting that they were on the housing ladder before the price rises took off so they have no problems buying the house they want. They are just disillusioned about the way NZ is going, the high prices, and the politics. They are not fans of Cindy.]
They have downsized to a brand new bungalow on a subdivided section.
It is a lovely house, but you can touch the next door houses with a short stick on all 3 (4?) sides from the narrow strip of land around the house.
They have achieved the short walk to town we are after, but at the cost of virtually no privacy.
The fences are high enough that you can only see the tops of the windows of the neighbouring properties, but this feels far to close to people fresh out of the UK.
It seems typically Kiwi though.

5-10 years back we could see how the UK was heading for potential problems.
Under funding of essential services, increasingly right wing authoritarian government, human rights being eroded etc.
Brexit just underlined this.
Our plan was to emigrate to NZ and become citizens then decide long term where our future as crumbling ancients lay.
If it all went to {expletive deleted} in the UK we had our alternative in NZ.
If NZ turned out not to be the dream life we hoped we could return to the UK.

Now it looks as though most, if not all, of the problems we are seeing in the UK are being replicated in NZ and across much of the world.
Under resourced health services (too few nurses and doctors)
Lack of labour to harvest seasonal crops and keep the service industries going.
UK - Brexit aimed at keeping "forrin" out. [Hasn't worked - just get immigration from other countries.]
NZ - there seems to be a block on seasonal workers that have previously filled the lower paid jobs (why?).
The result is crops not being harvested, restaurants and take aways begging for staff and closing for part of the week.
Few people can see a GP, hospitals are overloaded.

If the original timescales had held, after putting in our EOI in 2016 we should have been over in 2017 and been on track to become citizens after 5 years around now.
A sudden surge in applications and the whole Parent Category was shut down
Then Covid
We may well have missed the boat.
I think it may even be 10 years before we could get citizenship now - or that may just be how long the Parent Category visa lets you visit NZ before you have to re-apply or become a citizen.
At least it re-enables the old 6 months in NZ 6 months in UK which was an option before all the tourist visa changes.

I did warn you at the top of this post!
TL;DR - it seems that most if not all of our dreams are turned to ashes.
This visit we are scouring NZ to see if there is anywhere which can still give us a better lifestyle than our current home in the UK.
The jury is out, but the verdict isn't looking good.
That is before we address medical issues (described elsewhere) which may stop me getting a visa anyway.

And breathe!

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Old Dec 19th 2022, 10:46 am
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

UK was heading for potential problems.Under funding of essential services, increasingly right wing authoritarian government, human rights being eroded etc.
We have the exact same problem here with our increasingly left wing authoritarian government.

House wise, I doubt you'll find anything in Dunedin that would tick even two of your boxes. It's a dark damp, dirty wee place.

Have a look around Cambridge on your journey back up north. Going off your list, I reckon it's probably right on the money. it is a very nice place to live with a lovely village feel to it. There's no beach but there is the river and lake karapiro for your boat, or Tauranga is only and hour away.
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Old Dec 19th 2022, 12:10 pm
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

Dunedin isn't on our list for living, but for sentimental reasons.
We want to do the steam train trip up into the hills one more time.
Also it seems a reasonable place to hunker down over NY.

Like Kaikura, where we are stopping off partly to visit our favourite chippie which may not be there any more, or at least not under the same owners.
Eating fish and chips at the viewing point and watching the seals is a good memory.

Thanks for the pointer to Cambridge.
We will make a point of visiting on our way back up.
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Old Dec 19th 2022, 12:51 pm
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

Yes, looking at the house prices it does look affordable.
We will stop for a good explore on the way back up, searching for the hidden flaw.
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Old Dec 19th 2022, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

Cambridge might be a good option.
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Old Dec 19th 2022, 10:18 pm
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Default Re: Areas to live in NZ - lots of questions!

do you have kids are they immigrating with you what sort of age are you and your partner?

I'm not trying to be Mr negative here. If you have 1.25 million dollars for a property.
Would it not make more sense saving the £700k looking somewhere closer to home that ticks all your boxes for 300-400k and save a hell of alot of time and money before diving in head first.

If you were in your 20-30s with nothing to lose looking for a adventure and something different i would say crack on. But with what your saying it seems a massive gamble and alot to lose.

All the problems you go on about are the same in NZ as the UK. Only you won't really notice them as your in holiday mode.
Healthcare and underfunded resources and the infrastructure in NZ is poor.

I found human rights and health and safety very poor in NZ aswell.

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