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Positives and Negatives...

Positives and Negatives...

Old Nov 1st 2005, 10:43 pm
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Default Positives and Negatives...

I just came across the answers to some questions that were written by me for a friend of mine, basically contributing to an article he was writing and while there's a lot of climbing stuff (well a bit of climbing stuff anyway), it's fairly pertinant in that it contains good things and bad things, things I miss about the UK and things I don't. So, read, comment and judge if you really feel the need, i can take it

Ok, i'll stop blathering, here's the piece - it was written in Feb/March 2005:

What I am after really is what made you want to emigrate,
I can't speak for my fiancée but I was in a job that I was getting bored with and felt that I was in a rut in terms of my career and where I wanted to go next in terms of making a living. Living and working in or around London, as I was, isn't just expensive, it's bad for the soul. It kills the human spirit in a way that you don't realise until you think about leaving. It makes you sour and if you stay too long, it makes you bitter, especially if you love wide-open spaces and being able to get out and away from it all. I'd also turned down a job in the US a couple of years previously and always wondered "what if...". I wasn't about to make that mistake again.

We were both bitten by the travel bug at an early age and when my better half got offered a job at a well-respected NZ company, we made the choice to up sticks and go to the other side of the planet. For me it wasn't a difficult decision at all, I'd always fancied going to NZ, had heard what an amazing place it was and thought that it suited the way we'd have liked to be able to live our lives in the UK but couldn't. It was almost entirely a lifestyle choice to come here for both of us. We initially treated it as an extended holiday in many ways – it was a chance to explore a country that we could never justify coming to in ordinary circumstances and it was a chance to live a lifestyle that allowed us to work during the week and depending on the season, snowboard, climb, surf, kayak or mountain-bike at the weekends without having to drive more than a few hours.

what an experience it was,
Moving out here was a breeze in terms of actually doing it. The company that my partner took the job with here in NZ paid to ship out all our stuff and for her flight. They also put us both up in a hotel for the first fortnight. I'd flown to the west coast of the US several times but flying to the other side of the world is an experience in itself, even when it's broken up in Singapore. Seeing a new country for the first time, even though we were both jet-lagged and had lost a day somewhere in the whole proceedings was amazing and standing on the balcony in the hotel in Auckland, surveying our new home was pretty amazing. Living a minimalist existence for a month in each country while all our stuff was in a shipping container was fairly hard but you learn to get by and people were very good – we managed to borrow a mattress to sleep on and a sofa to sit on and went out and bought a new TV so it wasn't all bad. Once everything turned up, it was much easier though and having familiar furniture around you makes settling in a bit easier. Not being able to go snowboarding or climbing because our boards and climbing gear were on a ship was pretty hard work though. It was strictly bouldering for a while...

any problems in doing the process etc.
I came out here on a working holiday visa (valid for a year) with the intent to turn it into residency. my partner organised residency before we came. As it turned out, a year wasn't enough to get my residency organised due to the sheer ineptitude of the NZ immigration service and I had to bridge the gap with a work visa. I'm assured that it's much more straightforward now but I applied for residency during a period where the application process was being overhauled and replaced with something that was allegedly better. It wasn't and it caused me a great deal of grief and a significant outlay of money before it was sorted out. The bureaucracy here is incredible and tedious.

What you miss about the UK,
I miss Grit, Slate, Granite, Grit, Cornish Granite, Grit, Sandstone, Slate and dear Lord help me, I even miss Limestone. I miss climbing with friends and eating mixed grills in Pete's Eats when it's pissing it down. I miss climbing on rock that I know without a shadow of a doubt is stable and I miss cold crisp winter mornings where it's almost too cold to put hand to grit, but not quite...

And, in no particular order, I also miss drystone walls, history, pubs by the river, Golden Shred Marmalade, listening to Chris Moyles, beers with friends, dinner with family, Jarlsberg cheese at a reasonable price, cheap books, decent Sky TV, broadband that's actually broadband, old buildings, driving through tiny little villages with proper stone buildings and stopping in the local pub for a beer and all those great things about the UK that people take for granted when they live there. I miss seeing a colour other than green in the fields and hedgerows and I miss being able to fly to Europe for under a tenner. God help me, I even miss the hustle and bustle of London. I miss a decent and extensive public transport system and when it's really bad I've even been known to miss IKEA furniture.

what you don't miss,
I don't miss smog, pollution, being stuck in 6hr traffic jams, drizzle, crap European snow that you have to fly to and not being able to live by the beach. I don't miss the way summer only lasts for a weekend and I don't miss having a snowboard and only being able to use it for one week a year because that's all you can afford. I don't miss having a high-stress job and I certainly don't miss having to pay over the odds to run a car. I don't miss rude commuters and I don't miss the politics of the UK. I certainly don't miss being in a terrorist target zone.

what you enjoy about where you are,
I love that we live by the beach and that I can climb every lunchtime on real rock at the Auckland Quarry if I feel the need. I love that despite living by the beach we can drive to Mt Ruapehu to go snowboarding in four and a half hours and to even more rock in less than three hours. I commute to work by ferry and foot (or bicycle) power and get to look at a 600 year old volcano every day on my way in. I enjoy the fact that we haven't had any significant rain for two months and probably won't have any significant rain for another two months. I love the scenery and the fact that if you drive for 30 minutes or less from the centre of Auckland, you can be in the middle of nowhere. I love the accessibility of the beaches here and I love the fact that life is so laid back. I love being able to walk along a beach that might be 10 miles long and have it all to yourself. I love rollerblading on the sea front.

what you don't
I don't enjoy having less disposable income than we did in the UK and I don't enjoy interest rates on the mortgage that are nearly 10%. I don't enjoy paying over the odds for electricity, telephones and Sky TV because of the monopolistic nature of the providers. I especially don't enjoy the fact that I moved from a country where broadband was freely available and cheap to one where broadband isn't even broadband, despite being labelled as such and it's expensive. I don't enjoy sitting in traffic jams and I don't enjoy the fact that this country is making the same mistakes as the UK made ten years ago in terms of pollution and public transport (or lack thereof). I also don't enjoy the prices of climbing gear in NZ, it's shockingly expensive, much more so than the UK.

what the climbing is like out there
The climbing here is mostly sport – almost everything is bolted, mostly due to the 'chossy' nature of the rock itself. New Zealand (at least the North Island) is very young, geologically speaking, and the rock is young too, and therefore, not the most stable. The rock in the only inner-city quarry I've ever come across, Auckland Quarry, is columnar basalt and is extremely stable. But a lot of it is still bolted (mostly because there's no protection or very marginal protection in a lot of cases).

The rock climbing here, particularly in the North Island, can best be described as esoteric, which in the UK is usually a metaphor for "hideous crumbly rubbish that puts you in an incredibly dangerous position" but here is slightly more benign (mostly because the hideously crumbly rubbish here isn't all that crumbly and it's all bolted anyway). The rock is crumbly to be sure, but crumbly in the same way that sandstone is crumbly if you put protection in and then jump off on it. Hence the obsession with bolting in a lot of places. The bouldering in the South island is world class, right up there with Bishop and Fontainbleau and much of Castle Hill for example is a five minute walk from the road. It's the most extensive collection of boulders in one place that I've ever seen. And coming from someone who's climbed in Bishop and in Font, I know what "a lot" of boulders looks like!

Top-roping is rife here, mostly because the majority of the climbing is single-pitch and access to the top of many of the crags is easy. There's no stigma attached to top-roping here. There's not a lot of multi-pitch climbing here, not counting the alpine routes of course.

The rock in Whanganui Bay is reminiscent of limestone but is actually quite fun to climb on (although pumpy as hell). It's all pockets and ripples and can be really quite entertaining. The position there is amazing, right on the shore of the largest lake in NZ, Lake Taupo. You have to pay the local Maoris a token amount to climb but they do live there and you are essentially climbing in their back garden so no-one minds too much.

what you may miss about the climbing in UK?
I miss long meandering routes in Wales and Cornwall and I miss slate, there's nothing here that even comes close to the sheer technical nature of inching your way up something that looks like glass and has about as many holds. I miss those crazy traverses at Swanage (Traverse of the Gods for example), there's nothing like that here that we've found so far either. Mainly I miss my friends and climbing with people that I know well and have climbed with for years and years. There's a special bond and trust with that and although I trust my better half with my life, it's different when you're climbing with people that you've climbed with for the last decade. I guess if you had to boil it down to one thing that I really miss – I miss the choice, stability and variation that the rock in the UK can give you.

Mainly, the positives on your move abroad
The lifestyle, the fact that I'm living a healthier life here than I ever could in the UK just because of the fact that it's all about having a work/life balance here, employers actually care about your welfare and want you to be happy. It's a more laid back way of life here than most places and that rubs off on you. It's less stressful and there's more to do. I have more energy here than I did in the UK and I think a lot of that is down to the lack of stress in life generally. We can go snowboarding at the weekend or we can go surfing, or we can go climbing, or we can go and lie on a deserted beach, it's all about the choices that are available to you in terms of how you spend your time.

the best thing about climbing out there!!!
Bouldering at Castle hill. Without a shadow of a doubt. The place is amazing and has so much untapped potential. There are millions of boulders with everything from death on a stick highball problems to nice easy scoops and arêtes. There are boulders there that have probably never been touched by human hands because currently the active boulderers in the region can't be bothered to walk too far, there's just no need, With the sheer amount of unclimbed lines so close to the road, why would you walk to the top of the Quantum field?

So, if everyone isn't , i'd appreciate comments, thoughts, experiences, whatever really...

Last edited by NZ Climber; Nov 1st 2005 at 10:45 pm.
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Old Nov 2nd 2005, 2:36 am
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Default Re: Positives and Negatives...

Ok, as no-one else is posting on this thread, i'm bumping it back up to the top with a bunch of posts from ages ago from another forum I post on. Someone asked the question "Is it worth emigrating to NZ?" and got this from me:

OK, prepare yourself for a big epic reply...it's lunchtime and i've just got back to the office to find that everyone else is either still out or is just on their way out. So, I have time.

As has already been mentioned, we emigrated here in August of 2003. To start with, we absolutely hated it. We were living somewhere that was ridiculously expensive because it was all we could get in the short timeframe we had to sort out a bank acc, house, car, etc etc. I wasn't working and my partner was (having got herself a job here while we were in the UK, the reason we came actually). So, we had to have a flatmate to share the cost of our ridiculously expensive house. He was (and I'm sure, still is) a tw*t. That made us extremely unhappy so we moved to a very tiny place out on the beach that was much much cheaper. Needless to say, haering the waves lap on the beach while we lay in bed reminded us why we were here. I got a job and it's now all good (apart from my hideous commute but more on that later). We're now enjoying it so much that we bought a house, all within 8 months of moving here. And to think i didn't get round to buying a house in the UK and I was there twenty eight years... :/

So, pros and cons...

The scenery is amazing both from a "Oh my God, look at the size of that sand dune" to the sheer amount and variety of it. There's nothing quite like it in the world. You can ski, surf and climb all in the same day if you felt the need. We haven't quite managed that yet but it's not too difficult.

The climbing, as has already been mentioned is generally rubbish and a bit scary. I know more about the North Island rock than that in the south but it's generally fairly chossy, loose, unsafe and bolted. People here simply do not trad climb. There are very few areas that you can do it at all. Part of that is due to the unstable nature of the rock as it's (geologically speaking) very young. It's also a bit because the Kiwis are a bunch of big pansy girls. The scene here is very small and the people that are in it (the Kiwis at any rate) are a pretty closed group and don't like outsiders very much.

No offence to the guys from Mojozone but a few of them were total pricks and that kind of spoilt our climbing experience here a few times. That said, I was a bit of an arse to them too which probably didn't help.

Not all the rock here is rubbish either. There's a fair amount that isn't chossy and isn't unstable and is safe(ish). The quarry in Auckland (my local wall) is columnar basalt and is very sound. It's trad for the most part and also flipping hard. That's another thing here, most people climb inside and then maybe graduate to climbing outside if they can be bothered. That doesn't help the bolt thing either and it also means that there aren't a lot of easy climbs. That's tough if you're trying to get back into it as we are/were. Whanganui Bay is brilliant, on lake Taupo, you have to pay the Maori to climb there but it's totally worth it, the rock is awesome.

Castle Hill in the south island is amazing, totally my kind of place. It's like Bishop on grass. Totally awesome. We only spent a couple of hours there as we were passing through but i wasn't about to drive past completely!

So that's the climbing. If you're into new-routing hard things with a high death on a stick potential then you'll do well here and if you like the Alpine side of things, the Mt Cook region is extremely hardcore. There are some very very dangerous climbs up there.

The country is awesome but don't be fooled by the "cheaper standard of living" - it isn't anymore, expecially when you're earning a Kiwi wage. From now on, i'm going to quantify cheap or not cheap as compared to your salary - so if it's cheaper here comparitively speaking than the UK. ok? Good

Eating out is cheaper and generally better than your standard pub fare in the UK. That's something that you don't really get herer (mostly because a decent pub is hard to find, especially in Auckland).

Petrol is cheaper but getting more expensive. However, it's also crappier quality (91 is the standard here but you can get 98) which is causing a lot of polution. The Kiwis don't seem to give a shit either, they don't care because there's a lot more country, right? Bad idea if you ask me but then i'm not making policy.

Housing is ridiculously expensive compared to salary but NZ has one of the highest percentages of house ownership in the world. I think that's because it's seen as an investment here. There are no pensions so people used to buy more than one house, and then use the income from one to pay off the other. Once they retired, they moved into the smaller one and either sold the larger or kept it and rented it if they could and that keeps them going till they die. That doesn't happen so often anymore I don't think, it's VERY expensive to buy here now. That is mostly because of the Oriental inlux and because of investors buying up everything and then starting to build housing estates on it. It's very sad.

Don't know anything really about the schooling system except that they still run catchment areas here and that we live in a really good school area (or at least we would if we had kids who were aged 11 or over....). You can pay to send your kid to a different school in a different area though and they still do the separate girls and boys schools here a fair bit as far as I can tell.

Hmmm, what else? Oh yeah, the traffic and the weather. Right, the weather here in Auckland is mild. Really mild. When we left the UK, it was a monster heatwave and we arrived in the alleged depths of winter. We spent the first two weeks still wandering around in shorts. It's cold here in Auckland for maybe a dozen nights a year, and even then, it's not really that cold. They might be lucky if they get frost maybe once in a year in Auckland and further north. This is a good thing considering that they build their houses out of wood and don't have central heating. That goes for the rest of the North island and the south island too which is a bit more difficult by all accounts because they have proper weather there!

The traffic is completely and utterly buggered. At least here in Auckland. There are 1.5 Million people (at least half of which are Asian immigrants who can't drive). Add them to the other 750,000 kiwis in Auckland who also can't drive and combine all that with the utterly inadequate roads and the revenue generating, speed camera obsessed police and you have a comedy road situation. Add a pinch of people being able to drive at 15 and all hell breaks loose. Auckland is a gridlocked nightmare at rush hour, rather like London but with fewer black cabs and less old buildings cluttering up the place.

In terms of immigration, it's now a lot tougher to get in than it was (and it wasn't that tough previously...). I'm currently going through the process of sorting out (or trying to sort out) my residency now and it's a frigging headache. You get more points for a job offer outside of Auckland though and even more points if it's in a job shortage area. I don't know what you do but if you are a teacher, doctor or nurse, they'll probably pay you to come here!

Other useful advice, sort out a bank acc before you leave the UK and put money in it. We had thousands of dollars at our fingertips that we simply couldn't get to because moving money between HSBC in the UK and HSBC in NZ is practically impossible in anything under 5 months...well not quite that bad but it's in the order of weeks.

So, in conclusion (because even i'm getting bored now), the country is amazing - 98% of the population live within 30 miles of a beach FFS! - and the scenery is something else (go through the link on my profile for some pics if you're interested) and the people are very friendly. The sun shines a lot and is extremely hot. You can ski, snowboard, climb, kayak, kite-surf, surf etc etc to your hearts content and cars are ridiculously cheap too. The crime rate here is extremely low and there aren't any cases of kiddies being kidnapped and killed horribly to my knowledge. It's safer than the uk and the wine is cheap and fantastic. Come live here, we need more brits

And if you want to know anything else, just drop me an email.

And my better half then posted:

Matt's pretty much covered it, I just thought I'd add a bit more about us saying it is expensive because I can imagine there being a challenge to that by people who have been to NZ on UK money!

If you were to sell your house in the UK and come here and pay cash, ie not need a mortgage, you would find housing very cheap. You could sell your 3 bed terrace in Sheffield and get a 5 bed mansion here with a view of mountains, beach, whatever turns you on. In fact, outside the bigger centres, you could probably buy a huge farm!

However, if you sell your house in the UK, bring the money here but still need a mortgage it isn't such good news. They will lend hideous sums of money here and therefore it us left up to you to work out what is a sensible monthly repayment so that isn't the issue. The interest rate here is currently 7.5% which is almost double the UK (I pay 3.7% on my house in the UK). This is considered to be very low here - it hasn't ever gone more than a few points lower than that. This makes the repayments relatively high for the borrowing.

In order to work out what we could afford, I worked out how much as a percentage of what I earned in the UK I spent on paying my mortgage (for a 3 storey 3 bed 200 year old terrace on a village green near Oxford) and worked out what that would equate to here on my NZ salary. I was alarmed to find that it was so little that it wasn't actually possible to buy a house in Auckland in anything other than the dodgiest suburbs. In fact it was only just possible to rent a house and a small one bedroomed one at that. We have bitten the bullet and spent more on housing than we did in the UK, but that was quite hard to swallow to start with as we had been led to believe here was cheap.

The issue is less prominent outside Auckland, but all the big centres suffer from this now. Housing is no longer cheap, and while Christchurch may look cheaper on paper, you have to bear in mind you won't earn as much there!

One way to look at the cost of living is to say that in the UK, Matt and I could happily live on 1 income. That paid the mortgage, bought the food, paid for nights out and weekends away climbing, and the odd holiday. We wouldn't have much left over, but it was possible, and that was living in a very desirable house in a desirable area.

Here, on 1 salary, we can't afford a house without a flatmate. We get to the end of the month and eat beans on toast as we have no money left. We can't afford to go out let alone weekends away.....

Here you need 2 people working unless you are lucky enough to be able to live in the middle of nowhere and still get work.

Other things which are more expensive here that Matt didn't mention is drinking out. Wine and beer are dirt cheap from the supermarket, but if you go to the pub the prices are the same as they are in the UK (in currency terms) and therefore feel bloody expensive on a Kiwi wage. Fortunately, as eating out is cheap, many restaurants here are BYO!

In conclusion, if you compare NZ in currency terms it is dirt cheap, but if you earn a Kiwi wage it isn't!

However, you can have a fantastic life here without much money. You don't need to go on holiday to see fantastic scenery, enjoy surfing, skiing or mountaineering and these things cost very little, so in terms of lifestyle, it pisses all over anywhere in the world I have ever been.

There are a few things I miss about the UK. Mainly the culture of age. I think the UK is a beautiful country too, much softer with fewer extremes, but with a splendour you only gain from age. Nothing is old here. They proudly show off the oldest building in NZ and it is actually younger than my house in the UK. I miss the history.

Strangely I also miss the cold. I miss those beautifully crisp mornings. I miss being wrapped up against the cold and being out there but still toasty warm. Probably not something which would draw me back though!

I miss the going out culture of the UK. People here aren't into socialising in the same way. They don't go down the pub, they go to someones house. This means that specific invites go out rather than the general "I'm going down the pub, anyone want to come...." sort of thing. As many have lived in the same area all their lives, they then stick to their school and uni friends and don't feel the need to invite others. This makes integrating as an outsider quite hard.

They are soooo friendly that it starts off feeling so odd as they'll be so nice but then walk off without any invitation to meet up sometime or go to the cinema or any of the things that help you to feel more settled and welcome.

After a while you realise that it isn't personal, that just isn't the way Kiwi's entertain themselves.

There are far fewer socials from work, and I work with a bunch of people of an age where there would be endless nights out in the UK which can make getting to know people harder.

It is just the way they are. Kiwi's who move city suffer the same problems trying to integrate. It is possible to get there, it is just taking longer here than it has ever taken in the UK, and I have moved around quite a lot!

But the biggest thing I miss is my family and friends. I miss just being able to pick up the phone and chat to them. (It isn't the expense that stops me, I can stomach that it is the time difference!) I miss having people I can just rely on to support me if I need them (even though I never really used them). I just miss them, and if there is anything that will draw me back to the UK again it is that.

Ideally, I would get them all over here, but I think that is unlikely!

Last edited by NZ Climber; Nov 2nd 2005 at 2:40 am.
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Old Nov 2nd 2005, 2:39 am
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Default Re: Positives and Negatives...

And more from the wife (written in 2004, same as the above):

I live in NZ. In Auckland at the moment but looking to get to the south island asap, just have a bit of a work problem with that

The weather here is fantastic. In no way is the climate like the UK, however, the climate varies from place to place just like it does in the UK.

Most of my knowlege is about Auckland, but I do have knowledge of other places too.

First the weather issue:

It does rain alot. In fact the yearly rainfall is higher than the UK. However, that rain tends to fall out of the sky in one go. It will rain and rain and rain for an hour or three and then stop. At that point the sun will come out and shine brightly until it rains again, which could be 10mins later or 2 weeks later.

The sun is strong and the water dries fast.

You don't get the grey drizzley days you get in the UK which are so depressing.

It is currently summer and while it rained 80mm in 24 hours last Monday in Auckland, since then we have had glorious sunshine. Temperatures are supposedly in the mid twenties but feel much hotter. The sun is strong!

Humidity is a bit of an issue in Auckland although not so bad by the sea.

Winter in Auckland is mild but a little wetter, but you still get days where the temperatures reach the twenties. A cold day would be about 10. Nights get a little cooler, but there is probably a frost here once a year!

As you go further south, the winters get progressively harsher. Down in the southern half of the south island you get 4 defined seasons. You don't tend to get snow at sea level, but the higher ground will get snow. Summers however are still wonderfully warm and dry enough (west of SI is much wetter due to the mountains which run down the spine of the island!) and they are actually having a severe drought in the south of the south island at the moment to the point where farmers are being told not to milk their cattle or they risk ruining their condition for next year!

Now the lifestyle issue:

This couldn't be better. While we are stuck in Auckland due to work and complain about that as we would rather be in the mountains we really shouldn't complain. We live in a large city and yet feel like we are on holiday permanently. We live on a beach and go to sleep listening to the waves lapping the beach. It is truely fantastic. It only takes 40 mins from the centre of Auckland to get to one of the best surf beaches in the world too! You can get to countryside in much less than that!

The Kiwi lifestyle is geared towards enjoying the environment you live in. The work ethic is geared towards this too. They want you to go out and play, not work every hour in an office. The country is one big play ground, and the scenery around it is stunning.

In Auckland city centre is a crag, which while small and not my favourite, is at least there! You can get to other spots within an hours drive, and if you take the 1.5 hour drive to Wharepapa there is more climbing than you will ever do in your lifetime so long as you are happy to sport climb.

About 4 hours drive away is one of my favourite climbing places ever - Whanganui Bay. Cliff climbing on Lake Taupo. The scenery is stunning.

In winter, Mt Ruaphehu is about 4.5 hours away where you can do winter stuff and/or ski.

Wellington is probably less good from a climbing point of view within driving distance, but is far closer to the south island (although the ferry is a bit expensive). I love other places on the north island, but depending on what work you do, you will probably find yourself having to live in Wellington or Auckland.

The South Island however blows the north island away. I thought the north island was the most beautiful place I had ever been to until I saw the south island.

There are mountains everywhere - they dominate the countryside. Climbing opportunities are in abundance both at cragging and alpine level.

However, getting work down there can be much tougher. Christchurch is sold here as being the only city where you can properly climb all year round. Not sure I entirely agree with that, but it is pretty good. The great thing about Christchurch is that it is in close proximity to so many varied things. I don't think you could every get bored living there.

The pace of life in the south island is so much slower and laid back, and the people far more relaxed too which comes across as being more friendly. I don't think the north islanders are less friendly it is just that they find themselves more wrapped up in the hub-ub of life. (They are all more friendly than anyone in London though!)

Parts of the South Island reminded me very much of British Columbia (which I also love very very much!)

My company has another plant in Dunedin, and if I could, I would be working down there as the go snowboarding every other weekend in winter, but unfortunately it is not easy for Matt to get work there. Working on it though.

Cost of living:

Contrary to what was true in the past, the cost of living here is not as cheap as it is perceived to be. The exchange rate has dropped and you don't get so many dollars to the pound, however as a tourist, you will still find the place cheap as accommodation, petrol and food are cheap.

However, if you live here and earn Kiwi dollars, it actually starts to feel more expensive than the UK, particularly in Auckland. Salaries are much lower here, and actually lower relative to cost of living than the UK (for comparable professional jobs anyway). Some things are cheaper though, like running a car, buying fresh meat and veg, eating out, but other things are more expensive and it all balances out in the end.

Auckland is also expensive for housing. Unlike the rest of NZ, it has a land shortage and therefore prices are going through the roof and relative to salary levels it is now way more expensive than the UK. Put it this way, if I was to have a mortgage repayment here that was the same percentage of my earnings that my mortgage in the UK was, and then sold my house in the UK and brought the money here, I couldn't buy a comparable house.

This however is less true in other cities in NZ, particularly the more rurual areas where I could buy a whole farm with that money!

Just realised how long this is getting.

I passionately love New Zealand even though I have only been living here 6 months and will happily ramble on about how great it is for hours.
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Old Nov 2nd 2005, 2:44 am
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Default Re: Positives and Negatives...

I also just found this (march 05) and thought the second para was particularly pertinent:

Yes, we have. We moved to NZ in august of 2003. We both have decent jobs here now, have bought a house and love the country itself.

However, it's not all roses and let me tell you, it's been *****ing hard for us. The people are extremely accomodating if you are visiting NZ but not so much when you actually live here. Money seems to go a long way when you're spending pounds but not when you're spending (and earning) dollars! We're much worse off financially living here than we were in the UK.

But, I wouldn't trade the beach being round the corner, the lifestyle and the scenery for anything. But i did find myself missing the UK more after i'd been back. And leaving friends and family is hard.

The UK is a shitheap etc etc, yeah, i subscribed to that theory too but you know what, everywhere's the same, just in a different way when it comes to that sort of stuff. I mean, you don't move to another country and suddenly be able to leave the doors unlocked to your house without worrying and never have any traffic to contend with and never see a teenager being a tw*t, it just doesn't happen.

For us, living here at the moment, the pros outweigh the cons by a long long way but in a couple of years, or ten or twenty or fifty, they may not and we may come back. You just never know how places change.
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Old Nov 2nd 2005, 3:47 am
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Default Re: Positives and Negatives...

Really great reading these posts, apart from the climbing (nearest I get to it is trying to learn to ride my sodding bike!) I could relate to a lot of what you said. I'm glad to see it's worked out for you and that your pros outweigh your cons. Before we left UK I did a list of the top ten reasons I wanted to go, I've put it in an envelope and sealed it. If I ever get really desperate to go back I'll open it and remind myself of how the cons there far outweighed the pros!
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Old Nov 2nd 2005, 9:53 am
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Default Re: Positives and Negatives...

It's been very interesting reading your posts. I agree with Jan, it's great that everything has worked out so well, and that NZ has been a positive move for you both.

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Old Nov 2nd 2005, 3:28 pm
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Smile Re: Positives and Negatives...

can you advise me then as you seem to know your stuff!! read your comments with great interest.

We are a family of four (two kids, teenagers) , in process of applying, husband coming to auckland in two weeks for job interviews.

We were hoping to come to nz with a lump sum and buy a house with a fairly small mortgage, this looks now to me that it may be impossible.

Can you roughly tell me how much a 4 bedroomed house in a nice area of auckland would cost (i know this will be approx as the houses differ considerably) i was hoping for a house with a decent sized garden in East Auckland, do you think this is going to be realistically possible??

thanks much appreciated




Originally Posted by NZ Climber
And more from the wife (written in 2004, same as the above):

I live in NZ. In Auckland at the moment but looking to get to the south island asap, just have a bit of a work problem with that

The weather here is fantastic. In no way is the climate like the UK, however, the climate varies from place to place just like it does in the UK.

Most of my knowlege is about Auckland, but I do have knowledge of other places too.

First the weather issue:

It does rain alot. In fact the yearly rainfall is higher than the UK. However, that rain tends to fall out of the sky in one go. It will rain and rain and rain for an hour or three and then stop. At that point the sun will come out and shine brightly until it rains again, which could be 10mins later or 2 weeks later.

The sun is strong and the water dries fast.

You don't get the grey drizzley days you get in the UK which are so depressing.

It is currently summer and while it rained 80mm in 24 hours last Monday in Auckland, since then we have had glorious sunshine. Temperatures are supposedly in the mid twenties but feel much hotter. The sun is strong!

Humidity is a bit of an issue in Auckland although not so bad by the sea.

Winter in Auckland is mild but a little wetter, but you still get days where the temperatures reach the twenties. A cold day would be about 10. Nights get a little cooler, but there is probably a frost here once a year!

As you go further south, the winters get progressively harsher. Down in the southern half of the south island you get 4 defined seasons. You don't tend to get snow at sea level, but the higher ground will get snow. Summers however are still wonderfully warm and dry enough (west of SI is much wetter due to the mountains which run down the spine of the island!) and they are actually having a severe drought in the south of the south island at the moment to the point where farmers are being told not to milk their cattle or they risk ruining their condition for next year!

Now the lifestyle issue:

This couldn't be better. While we are stuck in Auckland due to work and complain about that as we would rather be in the mountains we really shouldn't complain. We live in a large city and yet feel like we are on holiday permanently. We live on a beach and go to sleep listening to the waves lapping the beach. It is truely fantastic. It only takes 40 mins from the centre of Auckland to get to one of the best surf beaches in the world too! You can get to countryside in much less than that!

The Kiwi lifestyle is geared towards enjoying the environment you live in. The work ethic is geared towards this too. They want you to go out and play, not work every hour in an office. The country is one big play ground, and the scenery around it is stunning.

In Auckland city centre is a crag, which while small and not my favourite, is at least there! You can get to other spots within an hours drive, and if you take the 1.5 hour drive to Wharepapa there is more climbing than you will ever do in your lifetime so long as you are happy to sport climb.

About 4 hours drive away is one of my favourite climbing places ever - Whanganui Bay. Cliff climbing on Lake Taupo. The scenery is stunning.

In winter, Mt Ruaphehu is about 4.5 hours away where you can do winter stuff and/or ski.

Wellington is probably less good from a climbing point of view within driving distance, but is far closer to the south island (although the ferry is a bit expensive). I love other places on the north island, but depending on what work you do, you will probably find yourself having to live in Wellington or Auckland.

The South Island however blows the north island away. I thought the north island was the most beautiful place I had ever been to until I saw the south island.

There are mountains everywhere - they dominate the countryside. Climbing opportunities are in abundance both at cragging and alpine level.

However, getting work down there can be much tougher. Christchurch is sold here as being the only city where you can properly climb all year round. Not sure I entirely agree with that, but it is pretty good. The great thing about Christchurch is that it is in close proximity to so many varied things. I don't think you could every get bored living there.

The pace of life in the south island is so much slower and laid back, and the people far more relaxed too which comes across as being more friendly. I don't think the north islanders are less friendly it is just that they find themselves more wrapped up in the hub-ub of life. (They are all more friendly than anyone in London though!)

Parts of the South Island reminded me very much of British Columbia (which I also love very very much!)

My company has another plant in Dunedin, and if I could, I would be working down there as the go snowboarding every other weekend in winter, but unfortunately it is not easy for Matt to get work there. Working on it though.

Cost of living:

Contrary to what was true in the past, the cost of living here is not as cheap as it is perceived to be. The exchange rate has dropped and you don't get so many dollars to the pound, however as a tourist, you will still find the place cheap as accommodation, petrol and food are cheap.

However, if you live here and earn Kiwi dollars, it actually starts to feel more expensive than the UK, particularly in Auckland. Salaries are much lower here, and actually lower relative to cost of living than the UK (for comparable professional jobs anyway). Some things are cheaper though, like running a car, buying fresh meat and veg, eating out, but other things are more expensive and it all balances out in the end.

Auckland is also expensive for housing. Unlike the rest of NZ, it has a land shortage and therefore prices are going through the roof and relative to salary levels it is now way more expensive than the UK. Put it this way, if I was to have a mortgage repayment here that was the same percentage of my earnings that my mortgage in the UK was, and then sold my house in the UK and brought the money here, I couldn't buy a comparable house.

This however is less true in other cities in NZ, particularly the more rurual areas where I could buy a whole farm with that money!

Just realised how long this is getting.

I passionately love New Zealand even though I have only been living here 6 months and will happily ramble on about how great it is for hours.
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Old Nov 4th 2005, 10:10 am
  #8  
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Default Re: Positives and Negatives...

Originally Posted by bookemjano
Really great reading these posts, apart from the climbing (nearest I get to it is trying to learn to ride my sodding bike!) I could relate to a lot of what you said. I'm glad to see it's worked out for you and that your pros outweigh your cons. Before we left UK I did a list of the top ten reasons I wanted to go, I've put it in an envelope and sealed it. If I ever get really desperate to go back I'll open it and remind myself of how the cons there far outweighed the pros!
shit that was a good idea - i wish i had done that!
 
Old Nov 4th 2005, 11:19 am
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Default Re: Positives and Negatives...

Originally Posted by wilkesyl
can you advise me then as you seem to know your stuff!! read your comments with great interest.

We are a family of four (two kids, teenagers) , in process of applying, husband coming to auckland in two weeks for job interviews.

We were hoping to come to nz with a lump sum and buy a house with a fairly small mortgage, this looks now to me that it may be impossible.

Can you roughly tell me how much a 4 bedroomed house in a nice area of auckland would cost (i know this will be approx as the houses differ considerably) i was hoping for a house with a decent sized garden in East Auckland, do you think this is going to be realistically possible??
thanks much appreciated
Which suburbs in particular? At a guess I would say $500+ for a fairly central decent suburb.
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