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Wairoa - Has it got better?

Wairoa - Has it got better?

Old Jul 14th 2017, 5:55 pm
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Default Wairoa - Has it got better?

Hi Everyone, looking for some honest opinions here please! My husband has been offered a job in Wairoa and we were up for it but have been put off by a couple of friends. We currently live in Abu Dhabi and really fancy a change and to live in the middle of nowhere for 6 months. We're not bothered that there isn't much going on in Wairoa but are concerned over what we've heard about the gang problems there. Is it a safe place to live? We'll be moving over with baby so are happy to embrace the rough and ready but not live somewhere sketchy! Thanks for sharing any thoughts!
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Old Jul 15th 2017, 1:10 am
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

More information needed . . .

Six month contract . . .

Are either of you New Zealand Citizens? What visas will you be coming over on?

It would also be helpful if you could tell us your professions, as there may be someone rattling around in here with specific knowledge of employment in that field.

I think you need to consider this within the context of "what comes next after Wairoa."

If you are leaving Abu Dhabi that means you are quitting your jobs, having your visas canceled and packing up house - and possibly may be subject to an exclusion for a little while - so you won't be going back there after 6 months when Wairoa ends. The bridge back to the UAE isn't burned but it will be out of service for a little while.

If you are planning to settle in New Zealand permanently AND have the appropriate visa pathways for it, then Wairoa can be an excellent first step as NZ can be very hard to crack for those not on-the-ground, in-country. You will have a decided advantage in your post-Wairoa employment hunt by (1) being in NZ and (2) having NZ experience - very important. At which point I wouldn't worry too much about the situation in town. New Zealand is not Somalia.

If the idea is "we want out of AD, Wairoa is available now, let's pull the escape hatch and we'll figure the rest out when the 6 months are up" - think very, very carefully. Your first year in NZ will likely make or break your entire migration, and so you need to have a plan for NZ, that you stick to, and not just a "plan to get out of Abu Dhabi and we'll figure the rest out later." That is a recipe for disaster. New Zealand is an expensive country with comparatively low wages and you could easily find yourself with no job, high expenses and your entire savings blown, in a town you hate, if you don't come into this with well-thought out professional/career progression plans.

If you are NZ Citizens that does change the equation quite a lot, but not completely, but you haven't supplied that information.

Good luck.
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Old Jul 15th 2017, 4:01 am
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

Hi carcajou thanks for replying! Here's a bit more info....

We're both British and my husband is a GP. We're taking a short term contract before returning to Europe in Sept 2018 for him to do an MBA or Masters. Our long term plan is to eventually settle in NZ or Australia but this isn't an option for us right now. Since this is just a short term move, we aren't too set about location as we're happy for the opportunity for him to gain NZ experience and for us to be able to explore on weekends and in holidays.

The people he'll be working with in Wairoa seem lovely but we're struggling to get up to date info on living in the area - we've had a few friends say the gang problems are horrendous but they haven't been for years! All the info I've found on the internet has either been promotional stuff or from 5-10 years ago.

We can comfortably live off the salary he's being offered, id just like to know if it's a safe place and a reasonable base for us.

Thanks!
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Old Jul 15th 2017, 4:25 am
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

Hi, Gillgoose.

New Zealand is a country where people need to be able to have a face in their minds to put with an application - any NZ experience and NZ contacts you can make will be helpful if you are intending to come back in the future.

With gangs - you are extremely unlikely to encounter them even in "gang areas" as they are primarily interested in petty organised crime and the drug trade. If you aren't a drug dealer or other type of criminal I would not worry. I really can't imagine this being an issue for you as long as you keep your wits about you as you would in any town.

Is your husband leaving medicine, and that is why he is pursuing an MBA? If money is not an issue - I would consider studying at the University of Auckland or the University of Otago (both competitive with major international universities) though you would have to pay international fees.

If you do have to go back to Europe for study . . . if your husband is planning to remain in medicine, and come back to NZ from a few years in Europe as a GP - do everything possible to build a network in NZ while there, and stay active in NZ associations while gone.

You should do that as well in your intending field - though you won't be working this time around, I imagine you will probably want to if/when you return, and you should build as many contacts as you can in your own profession.

Good luck.
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Old Jul 15th 2017, 6:39 am
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

Thanks that's really good advice! And I feel a lot better about the gang situation too! Can't see us getting caught up in that lol!
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Old Jul 15th 2017, 8:10 pm
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

A colleague of mine (who's a Kiwi) has a bit of knowledge of Wairoa but hasn't been there for years. Says its a pretty low socio-economic area with a high population Maori and did have a reputation as a gang hot spot in the past, but he doesn't know what it's like nowadays.
It wouldn't stop him living out that way and if I'm honest it wouldn't stop me. In our 5.5 years of living in NZ we've seen no gang issues and rarely even see any patched up gang members, nor do you hear of much trouble on the local or national news. They do tend to keep themselves to themselves.
As for areas, I laugh when people say Oh you don't wanna be living near xxx or xxx in New Zealand because it is such a poor area with gangs and drugs yada yada.......even the worst areas of the two cities I've lived in - Wellington and Tauranga feel like Beverley Hills in comparison to the deprived areas of where I lived in the UK.
Good luck.
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Old Jul 15th 2017, 9:55 pm
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

Originally Posted by escapedtonz View Post
A colleague of mine (who's a Kiwi) has a bit of knowledge of Wairoa but hasn't been there for years. Says its a pretty low socio-economic area with a high population Maori and did have a reputation as a gang hot spot in the past, but he doesn't know what it's like nowadays.
It wouldn't stop him living out that way and if I'm honest it wouldn't stop me. In our 5.5 years of living in NZ we've seen no gang issues and rarely even see any patched up gang members, nor do you hear of much trouble on the local or national news. They do tend to keep themselves to themselves.
As for areas, I laugh when people say Oh you don't wanna be living near xxx or xxx in New Zealand because it is such a poor area with gangs and drugs yada yada.......even the worst areas of the two cities I've lived in - Wellington and Tauranga feel like Beverley Hills in comparison to the deprived areas of where I lived in the UK.
Good luck.
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Old Jul 16th 2017, 10:17 am
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

This is exactly what I was hoping to hear! Thanks Escapedtonz! I guess it's all
relative and I used to work near Moss Side, so we're all good
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 3:30 am
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

Originally Posted by GillGoose View Post
Thanks that's really good advice! And I feel a lot better about the gang situation too! Can't see us getting caught up in that lol!
You have as much chance of being involved or impacted by gangs as you do in the UK. The largest 2 gangs are nearly 100% Maori/Polynesian and unless you are in those ethnic groups you'll never encounter them. The rest are the same as you get in the UK e.g. Hells Angels. Most people in NZ will never be exposed to them.
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 9:30 am
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

Can I ask if everyone contributing to this thread has been to Wairoa?
I have. It was not good.
I've been to the rough areas of Bristol - I'm talking groups of hood-up scrotes gathering on street corners openly selling drugs, burning cars, tall-walled compounds with serious barbed wire around them - some really mean streets...
Wairoa felt like that. People watching you (and following you) as you walk down the street. I felt way more comfortable in Otara than Wairoa.
I've spoken to people about it and they reckon it's as much as 75% of the population that are in gangs - a near hopeless endless-loop situation.
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 1:17 pm
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

I've been to Wairoa. The town (more like a village) seems to exist to serve the army barracks. Didn't seem that bad to me when I went to the NZ Army Museum. That alone was very interesting and well worth a visit.

It's reliably freezing cold and in the middle of nowhere as that suits the army training requirements.

But yet again the talk if of gangs - gangs - gangs.

Boring.
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 5:11 pm
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

Originally Posted by Snap Shot View Post

It's reliably freezing cold and in the middle of nowhere as that suits the army training.
Glad it's not just the Brits that practice being wet and cold
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

Originally Posted by Snap Shot View Post
I've been to Wairoa. The town (more like a village) seems to exist to serve the army barracks. Didn't seem that bad to me when I went to the NZ Army Museum. That alone was very interesting and well worth a visit.

It's reliably freezing cold and in the middle of nowhere as that suits the army training requirements.

But yet again the talk if of gangs - gangs - gangs.

Boring.
You are getting confused with Waiouru which is on the Desert Road.
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Old Jul 19th 2017, 9:13 pm
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

Ive been to Wairoa a couple of times in the last 12 months, spending about half an hour there each time for a rest. It is very remote. Maybe hour an a half to either Gisborne or Napier and 4 or 5 hours up through Lake Waikeremoana to Rotorua (but a spectacular drive). I walked through the town and found the shops a bit run down but I must say I felt completely comfortable. The people seemed friendly enough to me and I wasnt aware of any gang presence. But as I said, was only there for half hour each time.
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Old Jul 20th 2017, 12:48 pm
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Default Re: Wairoa - Has it got better?

Originally Posted by Kotare View Post
You are getting confused with Waiouru which is on the Desert Road.
Oops.
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