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-   -   Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand (https://britishexpats.com/forum/new-zealand-83/why-we-wont-emigrating-new-zealand-348674/)

shortfatbloke Jan 16th 2006 4:15 pm

Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
Firstly, let me explain that the following post is my own opinion (humble or otherwise) and follows a three week trip to New Zealand between the 25th December 2005 and 13th January this year.

I am a project manager and my wife is a health professional. We live with our two young sons in Gloucestershire and are comfortably off (but by no means well off). We visited NZ with the express purpose of seeing what NZ had to offer us and the boys with a view to getting away from our stressful lives in this country and creating a new life for ourselves.

We landed on Christmas day and spent the first two days in Akl and then toured over North Island in a motorhome for three weeks – we visited the Coromandel, Rotorua, Taupo, Napier, Wellington, Whangerei, Doubtless Bay, Paihia, Russell and Orewa pretty much in that order. As I went round I made some notes, kept the receipts and tried to keep and open mind.

Auckland
Thought we had a hotel in the Chinese quarter of Akl but discovered later that the whole of central Akl is like that. Hotel in the CBD (The New President) was scruffy but had all the amenities that we needed (kitchen c/w microwave and washing machine and tumble dryer) and was well located, 100m from the Sky Tower. Had the worst ever Caesar salad in the café at the base of the Sky Tower. Had quite a nice meal in the rotating restaurant but was faced with a $190 bill (including 15% surcharge for bank holidays). Did the tourist thing and went on the bus through Ponsonby, Newmarket and Parnell and did some shopping in the Boxing Day sales.

Cars and Roads
Roads in NZ at their best are the equivalent to a UK single lane A road. NZers love their cars, there are so many examples of souped up cars on the road, from lovingly done up Ford Anglias and Cortinas, complete with chrome wheels, to full blown WRC touring car replicas. NZ has probably cornered the market in 2” exhaust pipes as every other car has one. Given the road conditions and the powerful cars it is a sad but unsurprising statistic that 19 people died on NZ’s roads during the holiday period.

Campsites
The most disappointing thing for a country that relies so heavily on tourism was the standards of the campsites that we visited. Most of the sites seemed to be located in he worst areas of town – Napier had to be the worst example with one site advertised as for motorhomes only being no more than a set up in a field, another being between the main road and the railway line and the last one (where we had booked into as it was next to the ‘beach’) was just full of NZ’s answer to trailer trash. Consequently, we had filled up, dumped and left within a couple of hours and spent New Year 2006 in a picnic area on the 40th degree of latitude.

Countryside
Beautiful, absolutely stunning mountains, hills, coast, the works. The fields and meadows were absolutely lush and green. Varies from rolling Devon hills to moon surface to alpine mountains in a very short space.

Towns
Interior – The majority of the towns we passed through were 1950’s bible-belt USA in style and architecture - not particularly attractive but probably very functional.

Coast – Lots of fairly small lots with little or no garden built on top of each other. No consideration to planning, style or architecture.

Saw a few nice towns, Taupo, Cambridge and Russell spring to mind. Russell is very much Key West meets Cowes type of place and is very pretty. Although I did not expect all of NZ to look like Russell, I did expect some of it to.

Housing
A lot of the houses have a very temporary look to them. We did some price comparisons and decided that any idea of moving out to NZ and getting rid of the mortgage would be a pipe dream. House prices in NZ are getting close to those in the UK.

Cost of Living
Fuel (diesel) is very cheap (99c per litre). Didn’t find any supermarkets to match up to the UK ones (Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s etc.) for quality and range but New World and Woolworths were the closest. Cost of groceries is comparable to UK – which was a real disappointment. Meat and veg are cheaper but toiletries etc are more expensive.

Whilst New Zealand is an indescribably beautiful country, we both felt that there was not enough to tempt us away from the UK. The lack of decent restaurants and culture left us feeling that there is no real depth to the country and the state of the towns and inhabited areas left us feeling that is a great shame that things are in the shape they're in.

It was disappointing to leave the country with a feeling that we had spent an awful lot of money on a wasted trip but we came away knowing that NZ is not for us.

ladylisa Jan 16th 2006 5:12 pm

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
Dont look at it like a waste of money, think of the money you have saved in the long run by finding out what you have now. To be fair holidaying and living in a country are as different as chalk and cheese however you have to have a foundation of love for somewhere or otherwise its just not worth going there. Also think of your trip like a wonderful holiday in a country that most never get the chance to visit. If anything comes out of this then it should be that you realise that you have infact got a wonderful life already and dont need to emigrate to now realise that. That is worth every penny.

pixi-dust Jan 16th 2006 7:15 pm

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
Oh it wasnt a wasted trip - Just imagine if you hadnt done it. You may have decided to move and then you really would have wasted a lot of money.

And, of course, NZ is not for everyone.

At least you saw another bit of the world!

livewire Jan 16th 2006 9:20 pm

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
What a good post SFB. I recognise many of the things youve given an frank account of.

It's a shame that you had such a disappointing holiday, but as the others have said its far better than emigrating then finding out youve made a mistake like so many people do. You should be able to find what you were looking for somewhere in the UK because I think it does exist there still.

Finding the NZ dream is very hard. Things got a lot easier for us when we realised that "good enough" would have to do. We're settled here now and are unlikely to return to the UK unless our circumstances change. We can see all the faults here and are learning how to change what we don't like and adapt to what we can't.

Hopefully your post will make other potential immigrants think twice about just why they are moving and what they are hoping to find when they get here.

Good luck to you for the future.

P18PPS Jan 17th 2006 8:49 am

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
Hmmmm interesting, very interesting!!!

Our family sold our house, packed our lives, arranged a job and left the UK in September 05 bound for New Zealand having never even stepped foot in the country. We have 2 daughters aged 8 and 1. We have been totally blown away with the country. Auckland is a vibrant, cosmo, clean, safe place with boys who like their fords and holdens, but at least they don't abuse you for daring to glance at them. The big polonesian and maori guys are lovely - big, swear a lot, but lovely. Family is the centre for everyone we've met. Kiwis don't suffer fools gladly, don't like phonies and you have to throw yourself into everything in order to appreciate it's treasures. From your post I suggest you re-think your goals for emigrating and suggest that rural gloucestershire is perhaps more your "cup of tea". !!!! No offence intended. All of the negatives you have put in your post I (or we) would argue it is just as bad (if not worse) than the UK.

Part of New Zealand's beauty is that it hasn't been mass commercialised by hotel chains and formulaic campsites, it retains it's natural appeal of the landscape, culture and acitvities, which are long gone in the UK.

As for housing, I take it you haven't even looked in the likes of Ponsonby, Mt Eden, Epsom, etc etc where gorgeous Victorian/Edwardian villas can be found... don't forget the country is only 150 years old in the "western world" so for this amount of time it has some pretty amazing architecture and fabulous landscaped gardens and public places that Capability Brown would have been proud of!!!!!!

We wish you all the best and hope that you find somewhere suitable, obviously New Zealand is not for you, but it is certainly for us!

Biddy Jan 17th 2006 9:12 am

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 

Originally Posted by P18PPS
Hmmmm interesting, very interesting!!!

Our family sold our house, packed our lives, arranged a job and left the UK in September 05 bound for New Zealand having never even stepped foot in the country. We have 2 daughters aged 8 and 1. We have been totally blown away with the country. Auckland is a vibrant, cosmo, clean, safe place with boys who like their fords and holdens, but at least they don't abuse you for daring to glance at them. The big polonesian and maori guys are lovely - big, swear a lot, but lovely. Family is the centre for everyone we've met. Kiwis don't suffer fools gladly, don't like phonies and you have to throw yourself into everything in order to appreciate it's treasures. From your post I suggest you re-think your goals for emigrating and suggest that rural gloucestershire is perhaps more your "cup of tea". !!!! No offence intended. All of the negatives you have put in your post I (or we) would argue it is just as bad (if not worse) than the UK.

Part of New Zealand's beauty is that it hasn't been mass commercialised by hotel chains and formulaic campsites, it retains it's natural appeal of the landscape, culture and acitvities, which are long gone in the UK.

As for housing, I take it you haven't even looked in the likes of Ponsonby, Mt Eden, Epsom, etc etc where gorgeous Victorian/Edwardian villas can be found... don't forget the country is only 150 years old in the "western world" so for this amount of time it has some pretty amazing architecture and fabulous landscaped gardens and public places that Capability Brown would have been proud of!!!!!!

We wish you all the best and hope that you find somewhere suitable, obviously New Zealand is not for you, but it is certainly for us!

Good post Phipps family!
Shall we start a thread entitled 'Why we won't be going back to the UK'?

P18PPS Jan 17th 2006 9:20 am

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
Not a bad idea

We used this site loads when we were going through the process of coming here permanently but since being here there seem to be so many negatives posted on the site that it seems makes the NZ look as bad as the UK is.

Those that only look to compare things to the Uk should stay in the UK as far as I am concerned. No country is a replication of the UK with better weather so why try to think of them this way - it bemuses me.

Anyone can talk about the cost of chicken breast, peppers and interest rates being high. At the end of the day you should check out every aspect before leaving your comfortable lives wherever you are. I doubt there are very many places left in the world where you can earn a good living, have a big house (without a mortgage) and be safe. NZ fulfills most of these if you are prepared to live in NZ not an annex of the UK like many think it is.

We won't be going back to the UK-I will now go back out to my deck to drink some nice wine looking at Rangitoto as the boats go by.

pixi-dust Jan 17th 2006 11:15 am

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
but shortfatbloke was only saying that it wasnt for him and I thought it was very honest.

It is for us and we love it more than I ever thought we would - but just cos we do doesnt mean everyone will or should.

It's all personal to how you feel.

shortfatbloke Jan 17th 2006 12:30 pm

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
Thanks for the replies and for the support and understanding in some of them. It certainly wasn't a wasted trip and, as a holiday, was great fun.

I have gained a huge amount of information from this forum over the past few months and it has been a great help in my research into life in New Zealand. The decision not to move to NZ was a big one for us and it was with a great deal of regret that we made it. In posting this message I hoped to help anybody who is considering making the move by giving my opinion, not to create a UK versus NZ slanging match.

I have lived, worked and holidayed in over 20 countries worldwide and my wife has travelled even more than I have. We were in no way looking for a warmer version of the UK nor for a quaint 1950's version of it either. However, I am not willing to travel to the other side of the world to live somewhere that offers me little more than I have now. Go back and read my post again, I don't mean to criticise but just to make observations - with the exception possibly of the Caesar Salad, that was truly awful. My conclusion after the visit may contradict the Phipps family post in that:

1. Salaries are not as good in New Zealand as they are in the UK.
2. A comparison between the shopping we did in Woolworths and New World supermarkets with prices in Tesco shows that, overall, Tesco is as cheap if not cheaper.
3. Auckland is certainly no more vibrant than Cheltenham, where I live now.
4. I could not find a house in a Auckland to match my 4 bed Georgian townhouse without the same crippling mortgage (but with higher interest rates). We did look in the likes of Ponsonby and yes, there are some lovely properties there.
5. As a 15 stone ex-squaddie, I feel safe in most places :D.
6. I actually agree with your thoughts about 'the youth' in NZ, not a binge drinker to be seen anywhere.

For those of you who have made the move, I'm very pleased and I'm glad that you have found the life that you were looking for. As several people have mentioned, moving to NZ is about compromise and changing your way of life; our visit to New Zealand taught us a lot about ourselves and the values and standards that we have.

Enjoy your wine and the views of passing boats on the Rangitoto - I shall enjoy my Sunday lunch at the Hollow Bottom and, this summer, I shall sit in 80 degree sunshine on the banks of the River Severn drinking cider at The Boat or walking across the Cotswolds from pub to pub (are we quits now :)?) I truly am happy for those of you who live in NZ and wish you all the best.

Maybe you should start a post on 'Why you should move to New Zealand'?

scottish Jan 17th 2006 3:05 pm

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 

Originally Posted by shortfatbloke
Thanks for the replies and for the support and understanding in some of them. It certainly wasn't a wasted trip and, as a holiday, was great fun.

I have gained a huge amount of information from this forum over the past few months and it has been a great help in my research into life in New Zealand. The decision not to move to NZ was a big one for us and it was with a great deal of regret that we made it. In posting this message I hoped to help anybody who is considering making the move by giving my opinion, not to create a UK versus NZ slanging match.

I have lived, worked and holidayed in over 20 countries worldwide and my wife has travelled even more than I have. We were in no way looking for a warmer version of the UK nor for a quaint 1950's version of it either. However, I am not willing to travel to the other side of the world to live somewhere that offers me little more than I have now. Go back and read my post again, I don't mean to criticise but just to make observations - with the exception possibly of the Caesar Salad, that was truly awful. My conclusion after the visit may contradict the Phipps family post in that:

1. Salaries are not as good in New Zealand as they are in the UK.
2. A comparison between the shopping we did in Woolworths and New World supermarkets with prices in Tesco shows that, overall, Tesco is as cheap if not cheaper.
3. Auckland is certainly no more vibrant than Cheltenham, where I live now.
4. I could not find a house in a Auckland to match my 4 bed Georgian townhouse without the same crippling mortgage (but with higher interest rates). We did look in the likes of Ponsonby and yes, there are some lovely properties there.
5. As a 15 stone ex-squaddie, I feel safe in most places :D.
6. I actually agree with your thoughts about 'the youth' in NZ, not a binge drinker to be seen anywhere.

For those of you who have made the move, I'm very pleased and I'm glad that you have found the life that you were looking for. As several people have mentioned, moving to NZ is about compromise and changing your way of life; our visit to New Zealand taught us a lot about ourselves and the values and standards that we have.

Enjoy your wine and the views of passing boats on the Rangitoto - I shall enjoy my Sunday lunch at the Hollow Bottom and, this summer, I shall sit in 80 degree sunshine on the banks of the River Severn drinking cider at The Boat or walking across the Cotswolds from pub to pub (are we quits now :)?) I truly am happy for those of you who live in NZ and wish you all the best.

Maybe you should start a post on 'Why you should move to New Zealand'?

Fantastic well written and balanced report.

uk+kiwi Jan 17th 2006 5:27 pm

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
[QUOTE=P18PPS]Hmmmm interesting, very interesting!!!

As for housing, I take it you haven't even looked in the likes of Ponsonby, Mt Eden, Epsom, etc etc where gorgeous Victorian/Edwardian villas can be found...


Glad you are enjoying NZ. :) And well done Shortfatbloke for saving loads of money and stress by not moving! :)

We too did a reccie in December at strangely the same time as shortfatbloke. I can agree with his observations (didn't try the salad though and we did experience more positives also - there are some great restaurants for example!) but as I have always said I think it mainly depends on what your life in the UK is like and then also your expectations.

Cheltenham is very nice, we too live in a gorgeous part of the UK and thus I can see how it is hard to beat that! (And of course it is human nature to want more or the same, you don't move around the world to move from being well off to poverty for example - just to illustrate the point)

Anyhow, I also wanted to add that yes there are some nice houses in say Parnell & Ponsonby (we looked - ruled out Epsom totally despite the schools) BUT they cost close to or more than $1m, just for 3 bedrooms and a good school zone. Thus leaving behind the 'slave to the mortgage' UK life is somewhat difficult without serious equity behind you. Also the houses are literally very on top of each other so close to the CBD.

So for someone who maybe already has a lovely 1/4 acre slice of the UK in a good area (everyone's circumstances are different afterall which is the point I am highlighting), I can see how NZ houses look expensive. Personally we were hoping to spend closer to c. $500k on a house (yes I know that's 'only' £200k!) and not $1m+ - so have thus had to rule out several of the nicer areas that would compare with where we live in the UK.

Out of curiousity - where in NZ have you 'settled'?

Carmen.

KiwiDollie Jan 17th 2006 5:28 pm

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
It's always good to get people's opinions both for and against something.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread - I have found lots to interest me on here.

Cheers

Alison

bookemjano Jan 17th 2006 6:19 pm

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 

Originally Posted by Biddy
Good post Phipps family!
Shall we start a thread entitled 'Why we won't be going back to the UK'?

I'd be posting!

But karma to shortfatbloke for giving us realistic reasons for not staying, and doing it honestly rather than resorting to sarcasm and kiwi bashing. His posts are fair and realistic, with no mention of tin roofs! Hope you manage to come over again just for a holiday SFB, so you can enjoy more of the beauty of NZ without having to consider such enormous decisions along the way.

BEVS Jan 17th 2006 10:08 pm

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
Stonking realisitic post, ShortFatBloke.
Wish there were far more of this type of balanced informed post.
Karma coming your way.

Albion Jan 18th 2006 3:00 am

Re: Why we won't be emigrating to New Zealand
 
What a fabulous well balanced thread! Makes a change on the usual NZ threads...I am originally from the UK but my partner is Kiwi and we are in the opposite position at the moment trying to decide whether to move back to UK. I am from Brighton so empathise with the architectural, cultural perspective but also I miss my family incredibly. While I am happy here in NZ to a certain extent (and it has a lot to offer in terms of space, peace and the informality) I feel a pull back to the UK. My partner is keen to have a change having lived here all his life despite his dad being originally from the UK. The only downside is the housing problem. I just cannot see a way of moving back the other way so to speak....and we are at the starting a family in not too distant future stage....any suggestions on how we make such a hard decision would be gratefully received!!!


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