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Some Tips For Living In NZ

Some Tips For Living In NZ

Old Oct 17th 2005, 10:58 pm
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Default Some Tips For Living In NZ

Hope some of this helps, it's just a list some of the things we've learnt over the past few weeks that may help some people:

First tip - don't keep comparing everything to UK prices, get your head into dollar mode as soon as you can because whilst you're dividing/multiplying everything by 2.5 you're not really getting a realistic view of prices because you're comparing what you're spending in line with what you earned in the UK. So work out how much you'll have each week on your NZ salary and allocate your budget, then when you're doing your buying you can relate it to that money, it gives you a false picture to relate it to UK money. You're going to be living in NZ, so what you paid for what in the UK is irrelevant. If you haven't got a job offer, work it on the basis of having $4,000 a month for a family of four, as this is the recommended income from NZIS.

Shopping

We found buying fruit and veg from a supermarket expensive, there are lots of fresh produce shops around, we found Raeward the cheapest, there's one towards Christchurch from Rangiora, I can get a location for you if you want, and it does good meat offers as well. To give an example - we spent nearly $50 on fruit and veg in a supermarket, the following week we bought much more for less than $40. But wherever you get fruit and veg it doesn't seem to have the same shelf life as in the UK and we find we need to buy twice a week rather than do one shop. But they're all open quite late so it's not difficult. Most of it is huge, spring onions are massive and really tasty, as are apples and cabbages. The asparagus is beautiful and really cheap, about $2 a kilo. Potatoes are very hit and miss - if anyone here knows of any good all rounders let me know because I can't find any.

All the big shops put mailers in your letterbox, read them properly and shop for the deals, they're all local so it's not difficult - one of us goes into New World for the offers, the other into Woolworths. New World is slightly cheaper - probably on a par with Tesco; Woolworths is on a par with Sainsbury's/Safeway, and whilst Pak N Save can be cheap its atmosphere is like Aldi/Lidl. And if you're a fart like me the shopping trolleys are a nightmare - so deep I can't reach the bottom! Let me know if you want to see the mailers, I'll send them to you.

Some of the food is hard to get used to. Hating waste, I insisted the kids ate the WeetBix, until I tried it. It's so bad you wouldn't serve it to your OH after a row. Vegetarians - forget it! No Quorn, the only tofu is in either a box (looks like lard and smells like wet paper) or a roll (looks and smells like dog brawn). You'll be fine with loads of fresh veg and carbs, but you'll need to bring your cookery books. Tinned soup is ok, pumpkin soup is my favourite and I've tried quite a few brands and never found a bad one. Cheese is quite cheap if you buy in big blocks and freeze half of it, and pretty good quality. Can't find any curry paste though, again, if any posters in NZ know where to get it?

Bread stays fresh for ages, no more freezing half a loaf. Unfortunately though it's not very big - hard to make doorstep butties even with an uncut loaf. It's cheap enough though. I'll post some piccies of the fruit compared to the bread, it's all a bit Alice in Wonderland.

For ALL shopping keep your receipts. It's quite hard to get a refund on anything unless it's broken, and most places will only give you their vouchers or an exchange. You've got no chance of any exchange without the receipt, even if the item still has its tags on. A lot of the stores are franchised and you can't take stuff back to any of the other branches.

For buying bigger stuff, like furniture, ask them whether there are any deals coming up in the next week - we asked and found out we could buy our garden furniture for $100 cheaper if we waited two days. We've yet to find somewhere where delivery is free, it ranges from $30 - $80, so factor that in when you're cyber shopping. Also, you have to ask if you want your TV equipment unpacked and set up and usually pay extra for it. We just waited until Sky came out the following day and they did it for us for free. And top loaders are brill! I love mine, though I did buy the smaller one because I couldn't reach the bottom of the bigger one without someone holding my ankles.

Hand towels are more like our guest towels - they're not big enough to wrap your hair in after a shower, so bring some. Don't buy the Supa towels from Briscoes, I've had mine for two weeks and no matter how I wash and dry them they shed like mad. I'm going to end up using them for extra warmth under the valance in winter!

Home phones/internet/Sky/TV

Telecom seem to have the monopoly, and we've had problems with their service in that they took ages sorted out our modem delivery (hence the dreaded dial up) but they did credit us a month dial up to make up for it (eventually!). For your budgets, we're paying $49 a month for 3mb broadband. If you sign up with Sky, switch it to Telecom as soon as you can because if you've got home phone and internet they will do your Sky for cheaper. Through Telecom we're paying $65 a month for Sky's basic package plus a couple of sports and a couple of movie channels. Channel 31 (J2) on Sky (with the basic package) is brilliant - all the classics for any of us over the age of 30. Phyl - don't bother with this one, there's very little 80's stuff on it. But Caroline - they did play Insatiable today. And it's the only station I've found Missy Higgins on. Otherwise, TV is a pain. In Coronation Street (it's knows as Coro, not Corrie, here) Sarah Louise has just found out she's pregnant. The adverts drive you crazy - they're on every channel and the same bloke appears in tons of them as senior citizen endorsing a product. Loads of them have jingles that stick in your head for ages. I can't say The Warehouse without following it with 'where everyone gets a bargain'. Happy to send a TV guide to anyone as well, just let me know.

Houses/Rentals

Oh beejesus they're cold! Debs, my heart goes out to you. First thing we do in the morning is open patio doors to let the heat in, honest! We stayed in a weatherboard villa for our first two weeks, never again! We had two quilts on our bed and were still putting hot water bottles in. Once the woodburner is going it does warm up, but not like central heating, more like your teeth stop chattering. And it's nearly summer, so I'm concerned about being here in Winter.

Some really good news on renting - you don't pay rates, saving me a budgetted $140 a month for six months (that's a lot of asparagus!). I assume that's everywhere, not just in Waimakiri, but you might want to check it out.

Schools/kids

First day of school they'll come back saying they've got to pay this, that and the other. So far, we've paid out over $100 and they've only been there one day. This includes starter packs, and family donations, and that's before we receive the invoice for the fees. Uniform is expensive, I'm sure that's not particular to the school we've chosen. But if you have to get your uniform at Postie +, just buy one item first, then pay for the bulk of it in the second transaction, that way the school gets 10% of the amount you've spent.

Loads of kids drive to school, so dropping off and picking up is a nightmare, when you're recceing the school, find a designated pick up point a few yards away and make sure your kids know to go there. Don't try to take on the school buses for space - you'll lose!

The local libraries are brilliant, but take your passport to join. They're really laid back, not stuffy like some UK ones. Phyl - hope you get a job in one of them, you'll love it. They're great with kids, ours has a Playstation and bean bags tucked away. They have the latest magazines you can rent for $1 a week - worth it because magazines here are ridiculously priced - if you've budgetted $250 for your shopping $8.95 for Marie Claire seems like an extravagant luxury, and all of them are the Australian editions. You have to pay for new titles and latest bestsellers but there are more than enough books you won't have seen before for working through. The libraries are really community based, as some UK ones are, but we found out more about local events from there than from the District Council.

(Joss Stone on J2 now.)

Safety/Trust

I know safety and security is 10% fact and 90% perception, but I can honestly say I have never felt my kids are safer. They go out for hours and I don't worry, there's a skate park up the road and beautiful parks around every corner for them to hang around in. At just over two weeks here my kids have a freedom they could have only dreamed of in the UK.

When you go shopping you'll notice cars are unlocked, as are bikes, people leave their handbags at the table in pubs and cafes whilst they go to the bar/toilet. Some of the larger shops do have notices about having the right to search your bags, and there are security guards, but seeing as they're wearing hats that look like they're cowboy wannabes it's hard to take them seriously.

Before anyone jumps on this, yes I know there are problems here, and crime is on the way up, I'm not wearing rose tinted glasses, but in comparison, it is safer. I don't drive, but Steve has seen some pretty horrific driving - particularly from those cars-come-truck things with bullhorns, and loads of roads have awful tyre skid marks that make you shudder.

So, nothing more to offer at the moment, and Sting has just come on J2 and I'm very easily distracted, so hope some of this is of use.
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 12:08 am
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Default Re: Some Tips For Living In NZ

Hey, thanks for this. Really interesting.
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 12:25 am
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Default Re: Some Tips For Living In NZ

You're liking Rangiora then?

I couldn't get over the size of the spring onions when I first saw them here either

I entered a competion for a fridge and ended up with a years subscription for one of the house magazines lol so saved my self $9 a month there.

The weather is very variable isn't it, some days in winter it was roasting and then the next day freezing. You'll get used to it .. Im sat here with the patio door open looking into the garden and it's not warm at all today. Must have hardened up now.
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 12:27 am
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Default Re: Some Tips For Living In NZ

Ps. the veggie shop on Marshlands road is even cheaper than Raeward, have you tried it?
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 1:46 am
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That's a really good post Bookemjano. Good on you. And glad to see you're getting on well.

ps. Hi Sky
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 6:56 am
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Default Re: Some Tips For Living In NZ

Great post Jan!

I wonder why plumbers haven't see a market for central heating in NZ Or window fitters for double glazing
I probably don't realise the whole picture on the gas for homes front, but is it that homes don't have gas mains in residential areas? Or is the gas just too expensive? Just looked on the internet and Genesis seem to offer the electric and gas packages - is it for all areas of NZ or just parts?

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Old Oct 18th 2005, 6:59 am
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Default Re: Some Tips For Living In NZ

Originally Posted by sky
You're liking Rangiora then?

I couldn't get over the size of the spring onions when I first saw them here either

I entered a competion for a fridge and ended up with a years subscription for one of the house magazines lol so saved my self $9 a month there.

The weather is very variable isn't it, some days in winter it was roasting and then the next day freezing. You'll get used to it .. Im sat here with the patio door open looking into the garden and it's not warm at all today. Must have hardened up now.
It's a nice size town isn't it? Lots for the kids to do, enough shops, and the cookies at the Victoria St Cafe are lovely. I've signed myself up for a gardening for beginners course as well, going to need it, look at the size of my garden. And isn't my house pretty (and rather posh considering my last one was a terrace with a yard!).
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 7:12 am
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Default Re: Some Tips For Living In NZ

Originally Posted by bookemjano
It's a nice size town isn't it? Lots for the kids to do, enough shops, and the cookies at the Victoria St Cafe are lovely. I've signed myself up for a gardening for beginners course as well, going to need it, look at the size of my garden. And isn't my house pretty (and rather posh considering my last one was a terrace with a yard!).
Very nice have you bought it Jan? Just get a big lawn mower you'll be right and some sprinklers for the summer, a goat would be cool wouldn't it but may look a bit odd in that setting
Try the Blue Rooster they do excellent soup in there, more like a stew really and only $9 for a massive bowl!
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 7:19 am
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This was our house in Kaiapoi it was lovely but we had to sell it
It was nice while we had it though.



Last edited by sky; Oct 18th 2005 at 7:27 am.
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 7:20 am
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Hi Batty
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 7:57 am
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Default Re: Some Tips For Living In NZ

Originally Posted by sky
Very nice have you bought it Jan? Just get a big lawn mower you'll be right and some sprinklers for the summer, a goat would be cool wouldn't it but may look a bit odd in that setting
Try the Blue Rooster they do excellent soup in there, more like a stew really and only $9 for a massive bowl!
No just renting for now through a private landlord, the Charles St one was gone by the time we got here, but only a few days previously. Very long story, will bore you with it one day. We had a walk up there and it was lovely, we'd have been very happy there, but it obviously wasn't to be. This one is $45 a week more, but as we're not paying rates as I expected we can fit it in the budget ok. Neighbours are nice too, some have already been over to introduce themselves and offer a cup of tea, so we feel quite at home now. Garden furniture got delivered today - look at the weather! You're right, it changes so quickly! One minute you're chopping peppers (sorry capsicums) for a salad to eat on the deck, next minute you're throwing them in a stir fry just to get some heat going! Funny you should mention a goat, we'd love one but I don't think the landlord would be too keen.

We definitely made the right choice with Rangiora though, it has the feel we want. I went to get my hair cut today (very brave, had four inches lopped off) and got all the gossip on where to live and where not to. But I think our plans to buy will be put on hold for a good while.

Beautiful house in Kaiapoi, that was our second choice if we couldn't find a rental here.

Will try the Blue Rooster next week for my weekly treat!
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 8:02 am
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Default Re: Some Tips For Living In NZ

Hi Jan,

Brilliant post!!! Lots of useful info.
Regarding "Coro" that must put it over 5 years behind cos Sarah Lou's "baby" is now at school!!! Or was it her second pregnancy??? As you tell, I'm a "Corrie" fan.

Onto the more important stuff - the freedom that your kids have now sounds great. My eldest will be nearly 4 when we arrive in january, so obviously no freedom like yours have yet, but it's great to know how safe you feel - especially since I am familiar with where you lived in the UK so I can make a decent comparison.

Glad you're enjoying life there. Forgive my ignorance, but where you are living - can you expect colder weather/houses there than in Tauranga area cos we asked Dave's new boss about how cold it gets so I knew how many big thick jumpers to bring, and he said it's much warmer there than the UK and they only get the occasional day of frost so to only take a couple of big jumpers for occasional use.

Bye for now

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Old Oct 18th 2005, 9:17 am
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Default Re: Some Tips For Living In NZ

Originally Posted by bookemjano
It's a nice size town isn't it? Lots for the kids to do, enough shops, and the cookies at the Victoria St Cafe are lovely. I've signed myself up for a gardening for beginners course as well, going to need it, look at the size of my garden. And isn't my house pretty (and rather posh considering my last one was a terrace with a yard!).
Hi Jan
House looks lovely - we've just started the rental trail in chch - can I ask how much you're paying a week just to get some comparison?
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 9:30 am
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Default Re: Some Tips For Living In NZ

Originally Posted by Dave and Lyns
Great post Jan!

I wonder why plumbers haven't see a market for central heating in NZ Or window fitters for double glazing
I probably don't realise the whole picture on the gas for homes front, but is it that homes don't have gas mains in residential areas? Or is the gas just too expensive? Just looked on the internet and Genesis seem to offer the electric and gas packages - is it for all areas of NZ or just parts?

Dave
Dave, theres a company called central heating nz (www.centralheatingnz.co.nz) based in Sockburn, CHCH. Hubby was offered a job with them. Its a pair of Kiwis who lived in the UK for years and brought the idea back home with them. Sit down though if you want a quote though. Typical system they told us was about $20k.

Gas is only available in certain areas but what these guys use is Diesal (sp).

There is a market mate you just have to be bloody rich to afford it.

ps give me a woodburner anyday over CH!!! We are saving up for one this now for our own house. So we get the best of both worlds - ch upstairs and a woodburner in the Living/diner.
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Old Oct 18th 2005, 10:01 am
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Default Re: Some Tips For Living In NZ

Our woodburner has a wetback (back boiler) for free hot water but they don't feed water to radiators like they can in the UK do they Scottish.
If/when we eventually get a nice substantial house here or build ourselves, I will try to find out if they could feed our radiators with hot water from the wood burner too.
My sis in the UK had a stove type fire and it heated through out the house like that so there must be a way
I would rather rely on wood than diesel purely because of the price rises lately.
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