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Why did you move to New Zealand?

Why did you move to New Zealand?

Old Apr 21st 2019, 12:03 pm
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Default Re: Why did you move to New Zealand?

Interesting thread.

I will answer in a different way, why we passed on New Zealand and went to Australia, even though I had previous NZ experience and ties. This is in no means to run down NZ, but just to give added material for OP to think about, and several things I write about will apply to NZ as well.

The context was that my wife (Italian) and I (North American) had been living in the Middle East for several years and it was time to move on; neither one of us wanted to go back to our home regions, and we were tired of expat life and didn't want another temporary position in Africa etc. We initially focused on NZ because of my past ties there. I worked with tons of Australians and NZers overseas, who provided a lot of advice and input along the way.

What led us to Australia instead was:

1. Finances. There is a huge economic gap between Australia and New Zealand that was too big to ignore. Finances and economics need to be the #1 factor in your decision-making. Intending migrants continually discount the combination of low wages/high costs that NZ presents or think that they are obstacles that can be easily overcome if they just have the right "attitude." Unfortunately, cash is king, and cash - your ability to earn it, keep it, and save it - is what is going to make or break this move, not "attitude" or "spirit of adventure." You need to treat this as a business decision, not as an emotional or social one. That may mean coming to NZ; going to a different country; or staying in the UK depending on your circumstances and projections. Like with a business deal - don't be afraid to back out and walk if things change negatively for you.

You also need to set an exit point for when you consider NZ (or any country) is not working for you, and you need to do that before you move, to prevent emotion from clouding things once you are on the ground. For instance: "If in one year I do not have a secure job and am not earning xyz in income, I will pull the plug and go back." That may be proportional to how much of a rainy-day fund you bring over. Some companies will allow you to take extended unpaid leave so you don't have to quit right away when you leave the UK - that is worth investigating. We arrived with a year's worth of income set aside; many people will say that is excessive, but we knew it would allow us a lot more runway, and help us get through early bumps without too much worry.

2. Risk management. New Zealand is a small, remote country and in many ways is a place where everyone knows everyone, or everyone is only 2 or 3 phone calls or reference checks away. That's fine; what concerned us was that if we had any early mis-steps or got the wrong person off-side, NZ is so small that might follow us around the country, even though we don't have any history of putting people off-side. In small towns it can be very difficult to know who is related to who, who went to school with who, who knows who in what job, and so on - so very easy to inadvertently put your foot in your mouth, or take a course of action at work that inadvertently has unintended ramifications. Australia is a lot bigger and you can start fresh there if need be. "Tall-poppy syndrome" is very real - and not just in NZ - but there is a very effective inoculation for it. The locals will respect you a lot more, and a lot quicker, if when you arrive you stay quiet, keep your head down, and allow yourself time to grow into the town rather than trying to make a quick or immediate splash.

3. Hearing other people's migration stories . . . I have been on the expat circuit a long time, and there has always just seemed to be many more negative migration stories, and a higher failure rate, for people moving to New Zealand than for other countries like Canada, Australia, Ireland, the US etc. It would be really naive to just ignore that, or think there's nothing to it except for "negative attitude." Not saying that to put you off, but it highlights the need for essential and massive preparation and a "business decision" mindset. That goes for everywhere, not just NZ. International migration is one of the most challenging things a person will ever take on - not to be taken whimsically - and for whatever reason there just seems to be an extra degree of difficulty with integrating into New Zealand. That also led us to think Australia would be a safer choice.

Once we decided on Australia and got our visas, we did three recces before moving. The first was to activate our visas. The second was to look at our short-listed relocation sites and to choose one. The third was to visit potential employers in the chosen site to investigate hiring conditions and allow them to put a face with a forthcoming CV. Again, many will say three recces is excessive, and I often read a lot of whinging in the forum about how expensive and time-consuming recces are, and people get caught up in the emotion of the move and just want to go as quickly as possible. But . . . an extra recce is a lot less expensive than taking 5 or 6 months to find a stable job instead of 2, or if you choose the wrong area to move to and have to relocate again fairly quickly, etc.

All in all . . . things have worked out very well for us . . . I hope the road you head down is a productive one wherever it takes you.

Good luck.
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Old Apr 21st 2019, 1:55 pm
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Default Re: Why did you move to New Zealand?

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
Interesting thread.

I will answer in a different way, why we passed on New Zealand and went to Australia, even though I had previous NZ experience and ties. This is in no means to run down NZ, but just to give added material for OP to think about, and several things I write about will apply to NZ as well.

The context was that my wife (Italian) and I (North American) had been living in the Middle East for several years and it was time to move on; neither one of us wanted to go back to our home regions, and we were tired of expat life and didn't want another temporary position in Africa etc. We initially focused on NZ because of my past ties there. I worked with tons of Australians and NZers overseas, who provided a lot of advice and input along the way.

What led us to Australia instead was:

1. Finances. There is a huge economic gap between Australia and New Zealand that was too big to ignore. Finances and economics need to be the #1 factor in your decision-making. Intending migrants continually discount the combination of low wages/high costs that NZ presents or think that they are obstacles that can be easily overcome if they just have the right "attitude." Unfortunately, cash is king, and cash - your ability to earn it, keep it, and save it - is what is going to make or break this move, not "attitude" or "spirit of adventure." You need to treat this as a business decision, not as an emotional or social one. That may mean coming to NZ; going to a different country; or staying in the UK depending on your circumstances and projections. Like with a business deal - don't be afraid to back out and walk if things change negatively for you.

You also need to set an exit point for when you consider NZ (or any country) is not working for you, and you need to do that before you move, to prevent emotion from clouding things once you are on the ground. For instance: "If in one year I do not have a secure job and am not earning xyz in income, I will pull the plug and go back." That may be proportional to how much of a rainy-day fund you bring over. Some companies will allow you to take extended unpaid leave so you don't have to quit right away when you leave the UK - that is worth investigating. We arrived with a year's worth of income set aside; many people will say that is excessive, but we knew it would allow us a lot more runway, and help us get through early bumps without too much worry.

2. Risk management. New Zealand is a small, remote country and in many ways is a place where everyone knows everyone, or everyone is only 2 or 3 phone calls or reference checks away. That's fine; what concerned us was that if we had any early mis-steps or got the wrong person off-side, NZ is so small that might follow us around the country, even though we don't have any history of putting people off-side. In small towns it can be very difficult to know who is related to who, who went to school with who, who knows who in what job, and so on - so very easy to inadvertently put your foot in your mouth, or take a course of action at work that inadvertently has unintended ramifications. Australia is a lot bigger and you can start fresh there if need be. "Tall-poppy syndrome" is very real - and not just in NZ - but there is a very effective inoculation for it. The locals will respect you a lot more, and a lot quicker, if when you arrive you stay quiet, keep your head down, and allow yourself time to grow into the town rather than trying to make a quick or immediate splash.

3. Hearing other people's migration stories . . . I have been on the expat circuit a long time, and there has always just seemed to be many more negative migration stories, and a higher failure rate, for people moving to New Zealand than for other countries like Canada, Australia, Ireland, the US etc. It would be really naive to just ignore that, or think there's nothing to it except for "negative attitude." Not saying that to put you off, but it highlights the need for essential and massive preparation and a "business decision" mindset. That goes for everywhere, not just NZ. International migration is one of the most challenging things a person will ever take on - not to be taken whimsically - and for whatever reason there just seems to be an extra degree of difficulty with integrating into New Zealand. That also led us to think Australia would be a safer choice.

Once we decided on Australia and got our visas, we did three recces before moving. The first was to activate our visas. The second was to look at our short-listed relocation sites and to choose one. The third was to visit potential employers in the chosen site to investigate hiring conditions and allow them to put a face with a forthcoming CV. Again, many will say three recces is excessive, and I often read a lot of whinging in the forum about how expensive and time-consuming recces are, and people get caught up in the emotion of the move and just want to go as quickly as possible. But . . . an extra recce is a lot less expensive than taking 5 or 6 months to find a stable job instead of 2, or if you choose the wrong area to move to and have to relocate again fairly quickly, etc.

All in all . . . things have worked out very well for us . . . I hope the road you head down is a productive one wherever it takes you.

Good luck.
Thank you so much for taking the time to provide me with such an in-depth response; and equally important, your honest advice. The difference in our salaries is of some concern ( both have good sources of income in the UK).

I guess we still have a long way to go, including our upcoming visit before we progress any further with our intentions.

I really appreciate the content in your post 🙂
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Old Apr 25th 2019, 3:50 am
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Default Re: Why did you move to New Zealand?

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
Interesting thread.

I will answer in a different way, why we passed on New Zealand and went to Australia, even though I had previous NZ experience and ties. This is in no means to run down NZ, but just to give added material for OP to think about, and several things I write about will apply to NZ as well.

The context was that my wife (Italian) and I (North American) had been living in the Middle East for several years and it was time to move on; neither one of us wanted to go back to our home regions, and we were tired of expat life and didn't want another temporary position in Africa etc. We initially focused on NZ because of my past ties there. I worked with tons of Australians and NZers overseas, who provided a lot of advice and input along the way.

What led us to Australia instead was:

1. Finances. There is a huge economic gap between Australia and New Zealand that was too big to ignore. Finances and economics need to be the #1 factor in your decision-making. Intending migrants continually discount the combination of low wages/high costs that NZ presents or think that they are obstacles that can be easily overcome if they just have the right "attitude." Unfortunately, cash is king, and cash - your ability to earn it, keep it, and save it - is what is going to make or break this move, not "attitude" or "spirit of adventure." You need to treat this as a business decision, not as an emotional or social one. That may mean coming to NZ; going to a different country; or staying in the UK depending on your circumstances and projections. Like with a business deal - don't be afraid to back out and walk if things change negatively for you.

You also need to set an exit point for when you consider NZ (or any country) is not working for you, and you need to do that before you move, to prevent emotion from clouding things once you are on the ground. For instance: "If in one year I do not have a secure job and am not earning xyz in income, I will pull the plug and go back." That may be proportional to how much of a rainy-day fund you bring over. Some companies will allow you to take extended unpaid leave so you don't have to quit right away when you leave the UK - that is worth investigating. We arrived with a year's worth of income set aside; many people will say that is excessive, but we knew it would allow us a lot more runway, and help us get through early bumps without too much worry.

2. Risk management. New Zealand is a small, remote country and in many ways is a place where everyone knows everyone, or everyone is only 2 or 3 phone calls or reference checks away. That's fine; what concerned us was that if we had any early mis-steps or got the wrong person off-side, NZ is so small that might follow us around the country, even though we don't have any history of putting people off-side. In small towns it can be very difficult to know who is related to who, who went to school with who, who knows who in what job, and so on - so very easy to inadvertently put your foot in your mouth, or take a course of action at work that inadvertently has unintended ramifications. Australia is a lot bigger and you can start fresh there if need be. "Tall-poppy syndrome" is very real - and not just in NZ - but there is a very effective inoculation for it. The locals will respect you a lot more, and a lot quicker, if when you arrive you stay quiet, keep your head down, and allow yourself time to grow into the town rather than trying to make a quick or immediate splash.

3. Hearing other people's migration stories . . . I have been on the expat circuit a long time, and there has always just seemed to be many more negative migration stories, and a higher failure rate, for people moving to New Zealand than for other countries like Canada, Australia, Ireland, the US etc. It would be really naive to just ignore that, or think there's nothing to it except for "negative attitude." Not saying that to put you off, but it highlights the need for essential and massive preparation and a "business decision" mindset. That goes for everywhere, not just NZ. International migration is one of the most challenging things a person will ever take on - not to be taken whimsically - and for whatever reason there just seems to be an extra degree of difficulty with integrating into New Zealand. That also led us to think Australia would be a safer choice.

Once we decided on Australia and got our visas, we did three recces before moving. The first was to activate our visas. The second was to look at our short-listed relocation sites and to choose one. The third was to visit potential employers in the chosen site to investigate hiring conditions and allow them to put a face with a forthcoming CV. Again, many will say three recces is excessive, and I often read a lot of whinging in the forum about how expensive and time-consuming recces are, and people get caught up in the emotion of the move and just want to go as quickly as possible. But . . . an extra recce is a lot less expensive than taking 5 or 6 months to find a stable job instead of 2, or if you choose the wrong area to move to and have to relocate again fairly quickly, etc.

All in all . . . things have worked out very well for us . . . I hope the road you head down is a productive one wherever it takes you.

Good luck.
I have to say that is one of the best summations of the mechanics and considerations involved in moving to another country I have ever read or heard.
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Old Apr 28th 2019, 11:25 am
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Default Re: Why did you move to New Zealand?

We haven't moved yet but the decision is taken so long as we can get visas and suitable OIO approval.

Mel and I farm beef cattle 20 miles north of London in Hertfordshire. I grew up on the farm here and have farmed all my life despite working for the Environment Agency managing river flood risk for 23 years. Mel spent over 20 years managing doctors practices but became tired of the utter NHS bureaucracy a few years ago and now works part time as a dental receptionist. I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Water Environment Management and Mel holds an MBA.

We have had an interest in emigrating to either Canada or New Zealand for many years as both countries, while not perfect, seem to have a more practical approach to life than the modern UK. The deciding factor for us had been Brexit. We both feared it would be badly managed but even our fears underestimated it. As farmers we have so much to lose from Brexit. Given that it is going to mean huge upheaval for us if we stay then why wouldn't we go?

We both have family here and I have a 20 year old daughter but neither of us feel close to either family.

We see New Zealand as an opportunity to:
  1. Escape a badly overcrowded country
  2. Farm in a country where the political system values farmers
  3. Hugely improve our quality of life (we are happy to be isolated, self-sufficient and to live frugally)
  4. Develop new friends, skills and adventures
I spent 23 days touring NZ in June 2017 getting as far north as Coromandel and as far south as Invercargill. I avoided Auckland as big cities are the antithesis of what we seek. I stayed with farmers including 2 British expats, a Welsh dairy farmer in Canterbury and a Yorkshire ex-dairy farmer in the Bay of Plenty who now grows kiwi fruit. Their experience and advice has been crucial.

We will be looking to settle in South Island, somewhere with "no near neighbours" where the landscape raises our spirits and we have challenges to get our teeth into.
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Old Apr 29th 2019, 7:34 am
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Default Re: Why did you move to New Zealand?

Originally Posted by Holwell View Post
We haven't moved yet but the decision is taken so long as we can get visas and suitable OIO approval.

Mel and I farm beef cattle 20 miles north of London in Hertfordshire. I grew up on the farm here and have farmed all my life despite working for the Environment Agency managing river flood risk for 23 years. Mel spent over 20 years managing doctors practices but became tired of the utter NHS bureaucracy a few years ago and now works part time as a dental receptionist. I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Water Environment Management and Mel holds an MBA.

We have had an interest in emigrating to either Canada or New Zealand for many years as both countries, while not perfect, seem to have a more practical approach to life than the modern UK. The deciding factor for us had been Brexit. We both feared it would be badly managed but even our fears underestimated it. As farmers we have so much to lose from Brexit. Given that it is going to mean huge upheaval for us if we stay then why wouldn't we go?

We both have family here and I have a 20 year old daughter but neither of us feel close to either family.

We see New Zealand as an opportunity to:
  1. Escape a badly overcrowded country
  2. Farm in a country where the political system values farmers
  3. Hugely improve our quality of life (we are happy to be isolated, self-sufficient and to live frugally)
  4. Develop new friends, skills and adventures
I spent 23 days touring NZ in June 2017 getting as far north as Coromandel and as far south as Invercargill. I avoided Auckland as big cities are the antithesis of what we seek. I stayed with farmers including 2 British expats, a Welsh dairy farmer in Canterbury and a Yorkshire ex-dairy farmer in the Bay of Plenty who now grows kiwi fruit. Their experience and advice has been crucial.

We will be looking to settle in South Island, somewhere with "no near neighbours" where the landscape raises our spirits and we have challenges to get our teeth into.
I get your points with the overcrowded country, although you are in a very crowded area in general. I don't really know if the political system in NZ values farmers more, because when I speak to people here in the Republic of Ireland who have also worked in NZ, they say that farmers in NZ have the same challenges. No matter where you are, you have to adapt to change and farming is no different to any other industry, be it car manufacturers or software development. One guy in Cork decided to purchase buffaloes from Italy and now produces the most amazing mozzarella, others have gone into snail farming and found other markets. I'm surrounded by farmers here but all seem to do the same thing and talk about Brexit (including my uncle). Only very few have used the time to look at other markets, but those who have changed are very successful. I'm only a hobby farmer myself LOL but try different things and grow all kinds of fruit in the garden (cherries, kiwi fruit, plums etc.). Just saying that all people seem to have challenges, so it's really down to each individual rather than the country.
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Old Apr 29th 2019, 10:14 am
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Default Re: Why did you move to New Zealand?

Originally Posted by Rainbow74 View Post
I've read some interesting posts on this forum; in particular the 'negative side of making the move' to NZ (which has all been very helpful by the way). I know I can't speak on behalf of every would be Brit ready to take the plunge, but I thought it might help others (myself included) to understand a little more about the reasons people make the move and also whether it met expectations?

For me, I'm looking for change, life experience, milder climate and a slower pace of life... ( I understand I don't need to travel half way around the world to obtain these objectives but these are my top reasons for considering the move).
I moved here because I married one of them and she wanted to return 'home'.

To be fair to her she had been very clear from the day we started dating that this would happen one day and I was content to accept that. I liked living in London but thought although it suited me as a young man I probably wouldn't still want to be there when I was older, New Zealand seemed a plausible next-step for my later years.

So I didn't come here with any expectations for a 'better life'.

It has been fine for us because we had some money when we got here so have bought a house and life is 'easy' (despite a longer working week and a longer commute).

It is an idyllic place for little kids to grow up but a terrible place to start a career. If I had grown up here I would have spent my teenage years dreaming of escaping then in my twenties I would have moved abroad - if you have talent then you can go anywhere, if not then Australia is still an option for people that are born here.
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Old May 1st 2019, 8:54 am
  #22  
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Default Re: Why did you move to New Zealand?

We came for an adventure and we are still here 16 years later.

One day I literally asked hubby if he fancied emigrating as there were nursing jobs advertised in Australia and New Zealand and he said New Zealand as there were too many snakes and spiders in Australia.

7 months later we had sold up in the UK, had visas, a job and were here.

Gill

Last edited by Gill and Rob; May 1st 2019 at 8:56 am.
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