5 years!

Old Jul 22nd 2014, 12:35 am
  #1  
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Default 5 years!

We have been here for 5 years in Southland, wow, where did that time go?! We’ve lived in two different areas – Gore & Invercargill, moved house twice, and Miss 13 is in her 4th school.

I thought I’d reflect on the good stuff and the more challenging stuff…

The good stuff

• More time as a family.
• No traffic jams.
• The sunlight – so bright I have to wear sunglasses most of the time, and there’s more of it than in the uk – although surprisingly not by that much according to Wikipedia (Wales vs Southland!).
• Stunning places on our doorstop– Queenstown, Central Otago and The Catlins are very accessible from Southland.
• Sporting facilities and opportunities esp. for Miss 13 who has tried so many different activities in our 5 years here.
• Food – in my opinion, generally better quality in supermarkets and also eating out. Only ever had 1 bad restaurant meal in NZ.
• Customer service – in general found to be great – even when ringing utility companies .
• Exploring and travelling locally and all over NZ – over the last 5 years we’ve driven the majority of NZ. I kinda feel over the bigger journeys now. We’ve just had our first overseas trip – a week at the Gold Coast Australia – and it felt good to navigate through the international areas at the airports!
• Schooling – there are plenty of good options here – vital to do the research and choose the school that most suits your own child. The first school that Miss 13 attended (at age 8-9) didn’t work out – after struggling for 7 months (with the teaching/management in particular), we moved her – best decision ever.


The more challenging stuff

• Career progression and the lack of opportunities in Southland. If you find that one job that you love and which pays well, count yourself lucky as you are unlikely to find another very quickly! I believe the main challenge to settling in Southland/NZ is around finding good employment opportunities.
• Housing – it was a real challenge finding a half decent house to rent on our arrival – word of mouth definitely the better way to find a decent house – but not easy when you’re a newcomer!.
• The wind. I have discovered how much I dislike wind! About 3-4 times per year – change in season I guess, we get wind off and on for what seems like weeks on end! I recently read that Invercargill is the second windiest City, next to Wellington – not sure if this is proven…
• Chinese takeaways – haven’t found a decent one in Southland .
• Shops – for me it’s taken a while to figure out where to shop for new clothes. I had my favourites back in the UK which I still miss (I love the NEXT stock in Ezibuy!).
• Expensive air travel – flying anywhere from Invercargill isn’t cheap! We’ve often flown from Queenstown (2 hours drive away) to save a packet even with fuel and parking costs.
• Navigating ACC with a complex issue.


All in all we love living in NZ and the good has definitely outweighed the challenges - we love the lifestyle and the countryside and are in no great hurry to go back to visit the UK (the cost and time off work is also a factor in this though!). It’s been a great place to raise a child, and we’ve made some friends and connections along the way. I’ve even undertaken some tramping and completed two of the great walks (The Kepler Track and The Routeburn Track) – this from someone who would rather jump in a car to do a 5 minute journey!.

And the big news is that we are on the move again – for me, career has to now take priority. In a few weeks I start a new job in Christchurch and the rest of the family will follow soon after. We have secured a rental on the outskirts – hopefully a balance between City working and rural living. We are looking forward to getting to know a new part of NZ in more depth.

On the whole we are a close family and fairly positive as individuals – although I had to be slightly persuaded to make the move initially, I came with an open mind and no fixed expectations of life in NZ and I think that has helped.
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Old Jul 22nd 2014, 1:46 am
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Default Re: 5 years!

Excellent post well done
Come on up to Chch the city with the big blue skies you'll think your in the tropics
We have been all over NZ by either motorcycles or 4 wheels but are always glad to get back home to our garden City
p.s plenty of very good Asian eateries here....
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Old Jul 22nd 2014, 1:49 am
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Default Re: 5 years!

Thanks Stormer999, can't wait!
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Old Jul 22nd 2014, 3:29 am
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Congratulations and welcome to Christchurch when you arrive.
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Old Jul 22nd 2014, 9:12 am
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Default Re: 5 years!

Great review of your experiences. I just discovered Ezibuy this week and am expecting my first order. Fab eh!
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Old Jul 22nd 2014, 9:15 am
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Default Re: 5 years!

Originally Posted by jmh
Great review of your experiences. I just discovered Ezibuy this week and am expecting my first order. Fab eh!


Every time I am in Auckland/Wellington/Christchurch - I have to find Ezibuy!! I even went to the Palmerston North store but they didn't stock the NEXT adult clothing; most disappointing!!
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Old Jul 22nd 2014, 9:16 am
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Smile Re: 5 years!

Originally Posted by LauraNotts
Congratulations and welcome to Christchurch when you arrive.
Thank you Laura!
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Old Jul 22nd 2014, 9:20 am
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Default Re: 5 years!

Originally Posted by e4ebs


Every time I am in Auckland/Wellington/Christchurch - I have to find Ezibuy!! I even went to the Palmerston North store but they didn't stock the NEXT adult clothing; most disappointing!!
Have you looked at their internet store? That's where I ordered from.
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Old Jul 22nd 2014, 9:22 am
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Default Re: 5 years!

Originally Posted by jmh
Have you looked at their internet store? That's where I ordered from.
Yes, I've ordered once from the online store - nothing like going into a shop and browing/trying on though
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Old Jul 22nd 2014, 10:53 pm
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Default Re: 5 years!

You're going to have a ball in Chch- lots of walking, biking, beach, mountains, forests to explore here! My partner and I have found the balance between city vs space, easily achieved in Canterbury. Good luck with it all and feel free to ask if you have any questions about Chch
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Old Jul 23rd 2014, 12:23 am
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Default Re: 5 years!

Originally Posted by e4ebs
We have been here for 5 years in Southland, wow, where did that time go?! We’ve lived in two different areas – Gore & Invercargill, moved house twice, and Miss 13 is in her 4th school.

I thought I’d reflect on the good stuff and the more challenging stuff…

The good stuff

• More time as a family.
• No traffic jams.
• The sunlight – so bright I have to wear sunglasses most of the time, and there’s more of it than in the uk – although surprisingly not by that much according to Wikipedia (Wales vs Southland!).
• Stunning places on our doorstop– Queenstown, Central Otago and The Catlins are very accessible from Southland.
• Sporting facilities and opportunities esp. for Miss 13 who has tried so many different activities in our 5 years here.
• Food – in my opinion, generally better quality in supermarkets and also eating out. Only ever had 1 bad restaurant meal in NZ.
• Customer service – in general found to be great – even when ringing utility companies .
• Exploring and travelling locally and all over NZ – over the last 5 years we’ve driven the majority of NZ. I kinda feel over the bigger journeys now. We’ve just had our first overseas trip – a week at the Gold Coast Australia – and it felt good to navigate through the international areas at the airports!
• Schooling – there are plenty of good options here – vital to do the research and choose the school that most suits your own child. The first school that Miss 13 attended (at age 8-9) didn’t work out – after struggling for 7 months (with the teaching/management in particular), we moved her – best decision ever.


The more challenging stuff

• Career progression and the lack of opportunities in Southland. If you find that one job that you love and which pays well, count yourself lucky as you are unlikely to find another very quickly! I believe the main challenge to settling in Southland/NZ is around finding good employment opportunities.
• Housing – it was a real challenge finding a half decent house to rent on our arrival – word of mouth definitely the better way to find a decent house – but not easy when you’re a newcomer!.
• The wind. I have discovered how much I dislike wind! About 3-4 times per year – change in season I guess, we get wind off and on for what seems like weeks on end! I recently read that Invercargill is the second windiest City, next to Wellington – not sure if this is proven…
• Chinese takeaways – haven’t found a decent one in Southland .
• Shops – for me it’s taken a while to figure out where to shop for new clothes. I had my favourites back in the UK which I still miss (I love the NEXT stock in Ezibuy!).
• Expensive air travel – flying anywhere from Invercargill isn’t cheap! We’ve often flown from Queenstown (2 hours drive away) to save a packet even with fuel and parking costs.
• Navigating ACC with a complex issue.


All in all we love living in NZ and the good has definitely outweighed the challenges - we love the lifestyle and the countryside and are in no great hurry to go back to visit the UK (the cost and time off work is also a factor in this though!). It’s been a great place to raise a child, and we’ve made some friends and connections along the way. I’ve even undertaken some tramping and completed two of the great walks (The Kepler Track and The Routeburn Track) – this from someone who would rather jump in a car to do a 5 minute journey!.

And the big news is that we are on the move again – for me, career has to now take priority. In a few weeks I start a new job in Christchurch and the rest of the family will follow soon after. We have secured a rental on the outskirts – hopefully a balance between City working and rural living. We are looking forward to getting to know a new part of NZ in more depth.

On the whole we are a close family and fairly positive as individuals – although I had to be slightly persuaded to make the move initially, I came with an open mind and no fixed expectations of life in NZ and I think that has helped.
Recommended by a friend of mine

Shanxi Noodles on Lincoln Road

They do the best duck in Christchurch as well as the best Kung Pao chicken. It was our first restaurant we went to here as the wife loves Chinese food. She gave it a 10 out of 10

By the way, you won't enjoy the wind here. The good old North Wester and South Easterlies can be fun sometimes. Especially when your little one hasn't got his hat on properly whilst walking along Pegasus Bay.
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Old Jul 23rd 2014, 2:30 am
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Default Re: 5 years!

Originally Posted by Blade Down Under
Recommended by a friend of mine

Shanxi Noodles on Lincoln Road

They do the best duck in Christchurch as well as the best Kung Pao chicken. It was our first restaurant we went to here as the wife loves Chinese food. She gave it a 10 out of 10

By the way, you won't enjoy the wind here. The good old North Wester and South Easterlies can be fun sometimes. Especially when your little one hasn't got his hat on properly whilst walking along Pegasus Bay.
Ooooh Kung Pao chicken, yum!!! Thanks

Just had a look at wind averages, and pleased to see that average wind speeds are still lower there than here! phew!
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Old Jul 23rd 2014, 3:17 am
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Default Re: 5 years!

Originally Posted by e4ebs
Ooooh Kung Pao chicken, yum!!! Thanks

Just had a look at wind averages, and pleased to see that average wind speeds are still lower there than here! phew!
After coming up from NZ's second windiest City you'll find Chch a Breeze...
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Old Jul 24th 2014, 7:49 pm
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Default Re: 5 years!

Thank-you for posting, it's so good to read the good and the challenges. Christchurch or Wellington are looking our likely landing areas, primarily due to jobs so I'd love to hear how the move goes but I bet your positive attitude will help make the transition smooth.
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