3 months in NZ.....

Old Apr 3rd 2010, 8:45 am
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

Originally Posted by viv jones
Hi Cape Blue...no quick answer I'm afraid but I will touch on the key things!

A fair question and one that I asked myself lots early on in discussions....that carried on in the back ground for several years if I am honest!! You are right we lived in a fantstic place scenically, schools pretty reasonable, secure jobs, kids seemed pretty happy......but we wern't REALLY happy and asked lots of questions, feeling there should be more than just existing in a routine way, in an enviroment we knew very well....same job for 20+ year etc. Fussy I know and a lot of people thought we were mad and that we should accept our lot in life.

I many ways I would say it was driven by our experiences as teachers of 11 to 19 year olds and therefore with society, our next generation and direction that the UK is going.
A feeling that there is more out there to life than the rut we had found ourselves in and we never wnated to grow old and say we should have tried another direction in life. To be honest we are one of those people that just says "give it a go" and I do believe that it does not have to be the final act. If it doesn't work for any of us after two years we move on. It is not the end. I know a lot of people thought it was irreversible. We don't see that. It may use up money etc but there is always alternatives if you are resourceful.
So therefore our attitude was to throw everything at it, be adaptable, work hard and be realistc....its an adventure!

We felt society is not supportive of children that want to achieve, excell maybe or just be proactive in life. We had seen a massive change over the last 20 years from teaching enthusiastic students, who if you put the effort in as a teacher, reposnded and went with you with keen participation. Now we have studnets who just can't be bothered. Want to just sit there and be talked at rather than contribute, question etc. It is not all studnets by any means as there are some real gems BUT it is the balance and majority of the class. This is combined with the drive for an education sytem that rewards children who just accept, reproduce knowledge rather than seek answers out and develop a genuine interest. It really is an exam factory of education rather than one that inspires the next generation. We saw our children excelling without actually being really engaged or realising their potental....not a good outlook for life skills. We found their friends, who were lovely in many ways, were happy to sit around surrounded by their IT gadgets. No real interest to do anything and if it did it involved large scale money!

It is hard to encourage values that we hold dear in this enviroment and we obviously want our children to be happy and fit in so we deceided on a whole sale change! It nothing else we thought it would open their eyes that there are options in life! They have been fantastic, we included them in all our plans and here we are.....

I did research things very well and sealed this with a 3 day flying visit without the family in June when our application went in to check the area and school we had chosen BUT we have been very lucky. I think a lot of it is attitude and perseverance ...you can't give up when things get tough. You have to expect that any other country is not going to be utopia but different. We have found this refreshing. NZ to us seems to have much more common sense, be less commercial, more family orinentated, cheaper with regard to doing family things, beautiful, less threatening although this depends were you are but I basing this on London and leafy rural teaching/living. They are more laid back in their approach, less demanding but there is a desire to do well...they are not lazy...there is a definite difference between relaxed and lazy. They are active, love their country and wish to experience it and FAR more friendly...without exception in our case.

The children were achieving before and I thought happy but it is only now I realise this was not really the case. They are SO much happier here and love the increased opportunities avaliable to them. Maybe it will not last but as yet things are improving as time goes on so I suspect we are here long term!

I listen to the news back in the UK and how things are panning out and I know we did the right thing...for now at least
Hi Viv Jones, I think your update posts are a breath of fresh air, I know things are'nt all rosey in New Zealand but the posts just lately on BE seem to have been quite negative.

We to are moving out in June, from just over the Shropshire border in Powys, we have a 11 and 9 yr old, and many of the reasons for moving are the same as yours.

Paul
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Old Apr 3rd 2010, 10:17 am
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

Agree with you completely Us on the North Shore as well and loving it... Enjoy and may it carry on giving you what you hope. Bevissa
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Old Apr 3rd 2010, 10:59 am
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

Hi
I Know Powys obviously and it is a lovely area and you're right very similar to Ludlow where we came from.
Where are you planning on moving to in NZ come June? I think location is a big factor and I know when I popped out in June for the couple of days I got depressed with parts of Auckland and I think this would have affected our ability to settle happily. This also has a knock on effect to the schools and whether they have the "feel" you are looking for.
On Ex Pat people seem to have some grim experiences in a variety of places, as with any country. There will always be boy racers and the like. However I am convinced across the country as a whole there a far fewer here! We have really got around the top half of north island a fair bit and nothing has been as bad as parts of Birmingham, London etc. I guess the better part of Telford is the comparison you may be able to relate to for some parts and you just avoid living there! Even downtown Auckland (which I had read horror stories about on EP!) was nothing as bad as downtown London

I love the mix of cultures and it has been an eye opener for the children...a good thing I believe. They have friends from all sorts of cultures now and don't question "look" anymore...something you would probably understand coming from Powys/Ludlow! Different accents and beliefs are all just part of eveyday life for them now. I have meet no racism and only friendliness and to be honest the Maoris in North Shore have strong proud characters and are really lively but engaging to teach. I know areas are different and if someone is living in a grim place with racial problems I do appreciate this occurs.

So where are you heading out to and see if we can pass on any thoughts?
Do you have experience of NZ or family here? Jobs?.....obviously none of this crucial as far as we were concerned as the answer was no to all for us, but I thought it might help constructive further conversations!
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Old Apr 4th 2010, 9:46 am
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

Hi Viv Jones

We are moving from the Welshpool area, I have worked for the same company for 21yrs, and totaly disillusioned how we are now run by the money men and can not get on with the job we are paid to do, we came out to New Zealand last May, to have a look and attend a few interviews, and off the back of this I have got a Job in Kerikeri, it was an area we liked when we were on our travels, and the kids are very excited about the move, have you travelled as far north as Kerikeri ?
A good example of how things are going to pot here is last week it was announced that the local Gypsy camp (8 families live there) is to get a £1 million pound grant to be re fitted, the week before it was announced local high schools were to be closed to save money with some kids having to travel 30 miles to new schools, for what ever problems others report New Zealand has we need to give it a go.
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Old Apr 4th 2010, 5:27 pm
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

Originally Posted by Jo_Paul87
Hi Viv Jones

We are moving from the Welshpool area, I have worked for the same company for 21yrs, and totaly disillusioned how we are now run by the money men and can not get on with the job we are paid to do, we came out to New Zealand last May, to have a look and attend a few interviews, and off the back of this I have got a Job in Kerikeri, it was an area we liked when we were on our travels, and the kids are very excited about the move, have you travelled as far north as Kerikeri ?
A good example of how things are going to pot here is last week it was announced that the local Gypsy camp (8 families live there) is to get a £1 million pound grant to be re fitted, the week before it was announced local high schools were to be closed to save money with some kids having to travel 30 miles to new schools, for what ever problems others report New Zealand has we need to give it a go.


Hi Paul
I know exactly what you mean regarding a real down turn in the work place and when combined with other wider factors that have been on your mind for a while it is a catylist to make the move....that's what happened to us and I guess puts in you a mind set of "lets make this work"

We have not been that far north but I have done some research and asked around....feedback has been good I am pleased to announce! Joking aside it seems a really nice place and a good realistic transfer spot from Welshpool. A change but not too radical! The enviroment is lovely if you like the outdoor "doing" scene and the climate will be a breath of fresh air after wet wales!!

I know you have two children and I guess the schools are key. The local state school....Kerikeri High School has a great reputation and I looked at its size..being a long way North I wondered if it may be small and rural so limited in opportunities etc but it is good.....1,200ish on role which is smallish for here but a fair size regarding facilities, choice for friends and competition. The decile rating gives you are really good feel for the place and Kerikeri High is an 8 from 10 which is excellent. The primary (up to year 6) is a decile of 6 but the majority make up looks good. The decile also gives you a good flavour of the economic make up in the area....the schools we have taught in out here have directly reflected the decile rating with regard to behaviour etc.

Infact it all looks really positive and I would get those bags packed if I were you! Job already sorted so I guess visa in the bag.....you're on a role and I cannot encourage you enough to give it a go. I think your kids will really benefit from the experience and to be honest what have you got to lose.....it is an adventure for the family and one that you will all learn from as a life experience even if you don't decide to stay long term...I suspect you will stay!!

I think the area is a great transfer as I know Welshpool well and it is a more natural transfer than ours. Should be enough for you to do as Welshpool is not exactly the hub of latest clubbing! I know this is some peoples problem. I suspect you like some peace and quiet so that should be fine. A mix of cultures but somewhere there is a good percentage of European which does help the abiltiy to settle. Hey it's all good!

Is the Misses on board? I do think it becomes hard if one adult drives it more and one struggles getting thier head around it? You say the children are up for it and they are a fantastic age...really adaptable age and just coming up to secondary so will slot in to the NZ education system. In June you are half way through a school year. Unless your children struggle academically I suggest you go up a year. At that age NZ curriculum is about one year behind the UK and you don't want them repeatng stuff and getting bored. That's not to say their education is poor but more rounded....time is spent on other opportunities too which in my eyes is healthy. However the traditional subjects are behind but they do all get to the same point come 16 but maybe the NZ kids are not as stressed or as exam ravaged!

I also read lots of negative stuff which opens ones eyes but is a concern when planning the move.....all I can say is we have seen none of it. We listen to the news hear and if you compare it with the UK news you get a real feel as the crime they report is nothing like the scale and violence of the UK. Things that are on National news wouldn't even make local in the UK. I think things need to be kept in perspective at times and I think eveywhere is on the decline but NZ has some catching up to do so will see us out!

Keep intouch
Viv
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Old Apr 4th 2010, 7:29 pm
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

Originally Posted by viv jones
[/I]

Hi Paul
I know exactly what you mean regarding a real down turn in the work place and when combined with other wider factors that have been on your mind for a while it is a catylist to make the move....that's what happened to us and I guess puts in you a mind set of "lets make this work"

We have not been that far north but I have done some research and asked around....feedback has been good I am pleased to announce! Joking aside it seems a really nice place and a good realistic transfer spot from Welshpool. A change but not too radical! The enviroment is lovely if you like the outdoor "doing" scene and the climate will be a breath of fresh air after wet wales!!

I know you have two children and I guess the schools are key. The local state school....Kerikeri High School has a great reputation and I looked at its size..being a long way North I wondered if it may be small and rural so limited in opportunities etc but it is good.....1,200ish on role which is smallish for here but a fair size regarding facilities, choice for friends and competition. The decile rating gives you are really good feel for the place and Kerikeri High is an 8 from 10 which is excellent. The primary (up to year 6) is a decile of 6 but the majority make up looks good. The decile also gives you a good flavour of the economic make up in the area....the schools we have taught in out here have directly reflected the decile rating with regard to behaviour etc.

Infact it all looks really positive and I would get those bags packed if I were you! Job already sorted so I guess visa in the bag.....you're on a role and I cannot encourage you enough to give it a go. I think your kids will really benefit from the experience and to be honest what have you got to lose.....it is an adventure for the family and one that you will all learn from as a life experience even if you don't decide to stay long term...I suspect you will stay!!

I think the area is a great transfer as I know Welshpool well and it is a more natural transfer than ours. Should be enough for you to do as Welshpool is not exactly the hub of latest clubbing! I know this is some peoples problem. I suspect you like some peace and quiet so that should be fine. A mix of cultures but somewhere there is a good percentage of European which does help the abiltiy to settle. Hey it's all good!

Is the Misses on board? I do think it becomes hard if one adult drives it more and one struggles getting thier head around it? You say the children are up for it and they are a fantastic age...really adaptable age and just coming up to secondary so will slot in to the NZ education system. In June you are half way through a school year. Unless your children struggle academically I suggest you go up a year. At that age NZ curriculum is about one year behind the UK and you don't want them repeatng stuff and getting bored. That's not to say their education is poor but more rounded....time is spent on other opportunities too which in my eyes is healthy. However the traditional subjects are behind but they do all get to the same point come 16 but maybe the NZ kids are not as stressed or as exam ravaged!

I also read lots of negative stuff which opens ones eyes but is a concern when planning the move.....all I can say is we have seen none of it. We listen to the news hear and if you compare it with the UK news you get a real feel as the crime they report is nothing like the scale and violence of the UK. Things that are on National news wouldn't even make local in the UK. I think things need to be kept in perspective at times and I think eveywhere is on the decline but NZ has some catching up to do so will see us out!

Keep intouch
Viv
Great post Viv......just to add Kerikeri, the Bay of Islands and Northland are for me/us what NZ is all about, I know this comment will probably cause a bit of debate from some who are happily settled in other areas and 'great' each to their own etc etc...Just wanted to support Viv's comments and say its fantastic that you are to be heading to such a lovely area....good luck and hopefully we'll be joining you up there sometime
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Old Apr 4th 2010, 7:38 pm
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

Hi B
That is really good news...someone who is in the know re location and thinks it's a good move too! I always hestiate to encourage people to take the huge leap of faith just because we think the move has worked. Everyone is different and has different needs etc. but it's so key to hit a suitable location and I'm glad to hear you feel it's a great spot too. We will have to take a holiday trip up there...about 3 hours from us in North Shore I think.....!
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Old Apr 5th 2010, 5:47 am
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

Hi Viv,

Really glad we clicked on your post! Very inspirational.

We visited NZ for three weeks returning last January having travelled from Auckland up to Orewa, back down to Rotorua, then on to Napier, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and finally meeting up with friends who have lived in Dunedin for the last five years or so. Our boys (4 and 9) loved it and I have to say our experience although a holiday echo's yours in that we met with lots of friendly people in beautiful locations and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, except the flight home maybe!

Our biggest concern is jobs, my wife teaches beauty therapy at our local college (and understands fully your comments re the UK students of today) I currently run my own property management / lettings company (4 years), have experience in IT/Telecoms sales management (10 years) and started out life in the RAF. But it does feel like a big step into the unknown though, from a relatively secure home front.

But that's about all that would keep us here, the country has had its day and as far as we can see is not going to get any better in the coming years. So, on that basis once my CMI diploma in strategic management & leadership (50pts) comes through in the next few months (final assignment submitted today!) we will be submitting our EOI and hopefully heading towards North Shore ourselves some time soon.

Are there Lacrosse clubs in and around Auckland? Harvey currently plays for Rochdale under twelves and it would be a shame if he had to give it up.

http://www.rochdalelacrosse.co.uk/

Keep up the posts!

All the best.
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Old Apr 5th 2010, 2:20 pm
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

Hi Rochdal****
I have checked out the North Shore/Auckland lacrosse clubs and there are lots. They all enter an North Shore/Auckland league which has both genders in it and various age groups. There is SO much sport of all types going on here for all age groups......
Give it a go is all I can advise....you never know if you don't try and planes fly back to the UK all the time!!!
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Old Apr 5th 2010, 5:22 pm
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Re: Kerikeri ...pixiedust has a brilliant blog or try pm'ing her for specific info.
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Old Apr 6th 2010, 8:01 am
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Hi Viv, thanks for your reply - I'll let Harvey know in the morning.. It's half term and he's been at LaX training camp all day, so he's whacked! Wish us luck for the Flags finals on Sunday! Phil
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Old May 5th 2010, 12:28 am
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Thank you for taking the time to update on your experience of NZ so far, it made for a good read and I look forward to more updates in the future.
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Old May 31st 2010, 4:41 am
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

Hi Viv. Could I ask which school you chose for your kids on the North Shore?
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Old Jun 1st 2010, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

I am in some ways loath to directly answer as I feel some people may not read the reasons and mis-interpret our decision and previous comments.... but here goes seeing as you asked so nicely!!!!

Our children go to a fee paying school called Kristin. I would like to clarify why and how though. I would also like to add that we both teach in state across North Shore which I believe gives us a balanced view regarding comment of schools I have made previously.

When we decided on Krisitn we were in the UK. Had no experience of NZ at all. No friends to ask direct advice of and knew nothing more than the secondary info gleaned from the internet re the NCEA qualification NZ offer in state schools. We moved our children at secondary age and felt that it was our decision to move and the children in effect had to tack along. They may not choose to stay long term and we felt it was only fair to give them an education that we knew would be transferrable back to the UK or other countries...therefore leaving their options open as they got older. Kristin offers the International Baccalaureate. We both have a very high regard for this qualification and ideally would have enabled them to study this in the UK but it was not affordable to us.

When we decided to move we deliberately sold our house and down graded when we bought in NZ. It was a huge commitment but it has just about freed up enough money to cover schools fees until they leave in 4/5 years (which are cheaper than a comparable school in the UK). We knew our income would not allow us to afford the fees so this was a decision we made prior to moving. We live tightly financially now and there are none of the shopping sprees I may have had in the UK. Uniform is from the second hand shop etc....something that I actually think has been good for the kids to experience!!!!!

Yes it does offer a superior education to the state schools as it generally would in the UK.....our kids were at state schools in the UK where we knew the system and how to work/support it...... however my comments are made with regard to the experiences the OH and I are having in the state sector at places such as Westlake boys and girls, Albany Junior, Rangitoto, Takapunna grammer......I have not compared state UK with NZ private!

However if you can somehow afford it Krisitn is a truly fantastic school and the International Baccalaureate qulaification is outstanding compared to either the AS/A levels or the NCEA...in my opinion only of course!!!!!!!

It was a major decision to make: something we knew we had to get right for the children. We have no regrets and the kids are incredibly happy.....but then a lot I teach in the state sector are as well! I do think it made the whole transition to a new country a little easier though.....
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Old Jun 1st 2010, 9:31 pm
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Default Re: 3 months in NZ.....

Thanks for the reply Viv! That has actually helped a lot as Kristin is one of the schools we are looking at on the North Shore. St Kentigern is another we are looking at if we decide to settle in the Whitford area. We are probably going to fly over with the kids at some point to choose a school once (if) we get our blue stickers.
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