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Thread: Two years to plan

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Canada
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    Default Two years to plan

    OK, Hubby and I are seriously considering moving our family to Auckland from Montreal, Canada. We have three young sons (2, 6, & 8). We have about TWO years to plan this.

    1) We do NOT want to live in the city. We want a nice little hobby farm with a big plot of land where I can do my gardening, run my freelance Graphic Design business and perhaps get a pony for the boys. Hubby needs to find a good paying IT job. We will obviously need a great, non-religious school for the boys. A french one would be nice but not necessary. Any recommendations on locations? I guess we could afford about $400,000 CDN for a home.

    2) I heard there aren't really any daycares in New Zealand so much as nannies? Is this accurate? I would love a nanny since I do want more children. Here, our daycares are subsidized and only cost $7 per day!

    3) I heard most of the water used is rain water. I also read that water from a utility supplier was like $1500 for 3 sq. meters?! WTH!? Really... that's like $200/bath? Please tell me that's wrong. LOL! My boys take a bath every day.

    4) Should I sell all our furniture and buy second hand furniture once we get there?

    5) With two years to plan.. where do you start? What takes the longest to do?

    6) What is the best time to move with school aged kids? If my eight-year-old son is half way into Canadian Grade II in January when we move, he will be starting NZ grade IV (CDN grade III) but he will have only have HALF of his grade II done! Now how do they manage THAT?!

    7) Should we cram our family into an apartment until we find a house over there? Maybe we should move in June when OUR school is finished and keep the boys out of NZ school until January so we have six months to find a house, find a school and settle in? WDYT?

    So, so many things to think about! But still, very excited to get out of Montreal. Way too cold for me here!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    NZ to US to NZ. Opua
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    I'm also on a two year plan but I'm trying to speed it up. I'm a Kiwi but haven't lived in NZ for years - though I go back almost every year for about a month.

    Many NZ homes use 'catchment' or rain water.....one reasons why my generation and earlier had such bad teeth....no minerals or flouride in the water. But if you're in a town or city, you may be on city water. If you look at property on trademe.co.nz you'll see big concrete or fibreglass water tanks in the yards of many houses. This is where the water from the roof run-off is saved. I rented a house in NZ about two years ago and was told that it would cost about $180 to fill the tank if we ran it dry. But usually, there's enough rain that it's not an issue (though not recently on the North Island). Life-style blocks (hobby-farm as you call it) in the country often have their own bore (well) to supplement the catchment water.

    You can price furniture on trademe - and you'll see it's pretty expensive for decent stuff - especially beds. I just got a quote from Ranier for transporting my furniture, etc (whatever will fit in a 20' container) from my house in N. Arizona to my hometown just north of Auckland (Warkworth) for US$10,000. My friend just moved from Portland, Oregon to my town in N. Arizona and paid $6,000, so the Ranier quote seems pretty reasonable.

    I've been using trademe to price furniture, appliances, lawnmower, etc. to decide what I'm taking with me.

    I'm a NZ citizen so I can't answer your questions on where to start....but I can tell you (as you have three little kids) that I grew up in NZ and had the most wonderful childhood. It's a fabulous place for kids. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    West Auckland
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    1,029

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    Quote Originally Posted by MontrealMum View Post
    I also read that water from a utility supplier was like $1500 for 3 sq. meters?! WTH!? Really... that's like $200/bath? Please tell me that's wrong.
    yes, you're wrong Our last Metrowater utility bill was $153, that's for water and wastewater charges for 3 months.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Wellington, originally USA
    Posts
    915

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    Hi and Welcome!!

    Since you need to be within commuting distance of an IT job, I'd start looking around Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch. Depends on how long a commute your hubby is willing to do, but you can get a sense of prices online. Lots of hobby farms all over NZ, I'm sure you'll find something that looks good. There are daycare centres here (one on my street actually), there is some govt subsidy but nannies are available as well for those who can afford one. A French school might be nearly impossible to find, as very few primary schools teach any other languages (and if they do have something on offer it tends to be Te Reo).

    We planned our move so our kids could start the new school year here, so we arrived January 1. But getting our shipping container delivered or our phone installed was nearly impossible in January, since the whole country is on holiday. SO, I might suggest arriving in more like late November and having a nice relaxing break before the kids start school in early Feb. My kids would bounce off the walls if they had 6 months off (but that could just be my kids).

    I think there have been several threads on the sell everything/ship everything debate. I come down on the ship everything side, especially if you are already have a fully furnished house. I think selling everything is easier if you have a tiny flat at uni and you are single and looking for an easy adventure. Having to replace all the kitchenwares, rugs, art, sheets and pillows that you own now isn't all that cheap. The "I'm home" feeling you'll have when you empty out your shipping container and put everything in place is well worth the cost (in my book).

    Hopefully you are fortunate to have the type of highly in-demand IT skills that would allow for a job offer before you arrive. That would make life much less stressful. But you can't really put in any applications until a month or two before you plan to arrive. People tend not to take you seriously until you are actually in the country anyway. Sending the hubby ahead for interviews might be an option.

    International moves certainly aren't easy, but once you are here it is so worth it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    36,087

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    Hello and welcome.

    To be able to move permanently to NZ, one of you needs a Residency visa. It sounds as though this could be your husband, going by the Skilled Migrant route. Look here for the details of requirements. http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migra...nt/default.htm Alternatively, you yourself might want to look into the business visas. http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/invest/ In either case, once one of you gains a visa, the family are entitled to go along with them. But you should investigate the detail, because getting a visa is not an automatic, on-demand process. Under Skilled Migrant, for example, all points of qualifications and experience are to be proved, and for any visa, everyone has to pass a medical, which can take time if any slight abnormalities show up.

    Your point 2 - yes, there is daycare, or you can employ a nanny. If you do a Search (button on the blue bar above) you'll find old threads that talk about various possibilities for daycare.

    You've already had your answer about point 3.

    Point 4. Most people advise taking everything. Anything you don't want will fetch a good price if you sell it on second-hand, but buying comparable quality in NZ is expensive - think of how far everything has to be shipped, to even be there, and the prices reflect this.

    Point 6. The education systems of two countries are unlikely to dovetail exactly. You are quite likely to find that the curriculum your children have been following is not really relevant to the groups they will join in NZ - they will have done some things the classmates haven't, and not done some things they have. NZ schools are very used to seeing immigrant children, assessing what their capabilities are, and placing them in a group to suit, with support to help fill the gaps. Speaking as a mother, grandmother and former teacher, I would not advise leaving them out of schooling for half a year. The sooner they get into organizations (school, sports, classes in whatever their interests are) in their new country, the sooner they will make a social network and feel they belong. It's a shame to waste time when they could be adapting.

    Part of point 7. Many people decide on a possible area (and this may depend on offers of work), then, when they first arrive, take a rental (which can be a house, not necessarily an apartment), to give themselves time to get a feel for the district and settle on where they may want to buy.

    A lot of old threads on the forum have a bearing on some of the things you are wondering about. Reading back will give you some solid impressions from people who've been this way before you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Christchurch
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    1,417

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    1) at that price range, I suggest Christchurch. We live on a small lifestyle block and having surveyed prices all over NZ, we decided that Chch was the most reasonably priced and had the most options for living on a farm near the city

    2) there are a variety of childcare arrangements available---playcentre (mom goes and directs learning), kindy (child directed half days), preschool (traditional day long daycare) or nannies. at age 3 and 4, the govt subsidizes 20 hours per week

    3) We pay nothing for city water in Christchurch. Some are on rainwater catchment systems but not all of the tanks are for that. Many on lifestyle blocks have a daily allotment of water and the tank is full of that water.

    4) Bring EVERYTHING!!! Second hand items here can be unbelievable!!! And expensive!

    5) Start on getting your application in and on it's way. Getting PR can take a year or more sometimes!

    6) School here is very relaxed. They do 3 years of bridging- where the skills are meant to be taught sometime in that 3 year period. Also, younger grades are often in mixed classes. Year 1/2 in one class. Year 3/4 in one class.
    Your kids will be fine and adjust easily.

    7) You will probably want to rent a house for a while to get your bearings. You won't find "apartments" here like in North America. There are some tiny little flats --maybe 10 in a building. But you will more than likely end up renting a house.

    I second the "look at trademe.co.nz" advice. it will help you get an understanding of prices and what is on offer.


    Good luck!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Canada
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    9

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    Thank you so much everyone.

    My husband has been reading over my shoulder and finds your information very helpful!

    I will continue to read through all the older posts (as you recommended) and I will begin investigating some of the key points which you have mentioned.

    This forum is fantastic!

    I look forward to conversing more with you in the months to come.

    Merci !

  8. #8
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    Sep 2008
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    Poole, UK to Chch, NZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontrealMum View Post
    We will obviously need a great, non-religious school for the boys. A french one would be nice but not necessary.
    Bienvenue As others have said, you'll have a hard time finding a French school in NZ - though it is within in striking distance of a few francophone holiday destinations like New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Akaroa does not count (though it is gorgeous!). The Alliance Francaise (found in the larger cities) run classes for children as well as adults, however they are generally during the week - at least in Chch - so I'm trying to find out if they have something informal at weekends too..

    Normal Kiwi schools seem pretty good though - best to check out areas yourselves, as admission to the "better" ones is often limited to a specific area, and also look at the ERO reports for each school.

    Quote Originally Posted by MontrealMum View Post
    2) I heard there aren't really any daycares in New Zealand so much as nannies? Is this accurate? I would love a nanny since I do want more children. Here, our daycares are subsidized and only cost $7 per day!
    $7 per day?! Wow! But by the time you arrive the kids will all be in school or eligible for the 20hr free ECE, so not so bad. We have a 3.5yr old daughter, and she goes to a PORSE home educator (in the UK we would have called her a childminder) 3 days per week, at $6ph. PORSE can also supply nannies, but they're pricier! The other 2 days she goes to a standard daycare centre, in the preschool group, at $22.00 per day (when 6hr per day are paid for via the free 20hr).

    You can split the free hours between days and providers by the way, which is useful because getting DD into one childcare provider for the whole week that we LIKED was impossible (yes, there are good and bad ones - guess which ones have the waiting list!). So 8 of her hours go towards the PORSE days, and 12 towards daycare. You can use a maximum of 6 per day, so it's geared towards spreading childcare out across the week. It's a bit confusing, but if I can figure it out so can you

    Of course, another (potentially French-speaking) alternative is a live-in au pair...


    Quote Originally Posted by MontrealMum View Post
    5) With two years to plan.. where do you start? What takes the longest to do?
    Getting the visa!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Sri Lanka
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    Welcome.....

  10. #10
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    Jan 2011
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    Croatia->
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontrealMum View Post
    OK, Hubby and I are seriously considering moving our family to Auckland from Montreal, Canada. We have three young sons (2, 6, & 8). We have about TWO years to plan this.

    5) With two years to plan.. where do you start? What takes the longest to do?
    Start by spending an hour/day on this forum, h/day INZ web, and apply for a Immigration New Zealand newsletter providing you with useful links.

    Hmmmm, I shoult put "research, research, research" in my signature...

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