What were your reasons for emigrating?
It was something my parents were considering for quite a while, given the situation in South Africa. It was a very hard decision to make, but after being held up at knife point in South Africa when I was just 18, my parents were even more convinced that it was the best thing to do.
Number Emigrating: 5
Emigrated from: South Africa
Moved to: Dannemora, Auckland
Daily Commute Time: 45 minutes
When did you arrive in NZ: March 2004
My Story Written: July 2009
What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?
My father was offered a job in New Zealand as he is a qualified carpenter.
What differences have you noticed between your NZ town and your home town?
The first thing I noticed when we arrived in Auckland was the wooden houses. I was amazed to see sheep and cows in the city. People think that in SA we have elephants in our back yard, but we have to actually go to a ZOO to see them. I noticed the difference in price. Things seemed cheaper. What I noticed most, was the friendliness of kiwis. The weather would have to be the one thing I found hard to accept. Coming from Sunny South Africa, enjoying the tropical heat in Durban, it was a shock to all of our systems, when we experienced four seasons in one day. I noticed that the style of living in New Zealand was very different to what we are familiar with in South Africa.
What do you like best about New Zealand?
What I like most, is the beauty of NZ and the independence we have in NZ. Things are not cheap, but affordable, and making a life for yourself is achievable. Public services (busses, libraries, internet) are available for all who live in NZ and that makes life a little easier. Most people are generally very friendly and helpful.
What don’t you like about New Zealand?
What I have found the most difficult in new zealand, is the lack of things to do as a young person. When I arrived, i was only 18, and besides clubbing, there is not much for young people to do on weekends, if you are new to the country and dont know anybody. I feel that in New Zealand, many teenagers are forced to become adults at a young age. The kiwis work and move out of home when they are very young, and their lifestyles are questionable. It is very expensive to own your own home. The 20 percent deposit is very hard to attain, because the rent you pay is quite high! Unless you were born here, or came with a decent amount of money, it is not easy. Most people have fallen into the trap of financing everything, in order to raise their standard of living. The houses are not built to a very high standard. They are damp and cold, and not built for this weather.
What I have found most dis-heartening about coming to NZ, is the attitude of some (not all) kiwi people, who treat foreigners with disrespect, and intolerance. In my work environment, I put up with nasty comments about foreigners, almost every day of my life. Even though I have studied, trained, and qualified as a teacher in NZ, I am still treated differently to other members of staff, and referred to as an ‘immigrant’. Kiwi people seem to be quite narrow minded in their attitudes, and approaches to life, and people. They do not understand the experiences that people bring to their country. It has not been an easy place to settle into, in terms of social interaction, and the job market. I have met many people who have not been given a chance to make it in this country, and they are highly educated, and highly skilled, because they are told that they have no NZ experience – I wonder how one gets that experience?
Another thing I really don’t like, is that those who work hard still struggle. In this country, people who do not work, and are considered ‘poor’ gain more help from the government by remaining in the same situation.
What do you miss from your home country?
Our friends and family, and the beautiful weather. Family is a very important part of our lives, and having none is very difficult when you are in a foreign country.
How easily did you find work in New Zealand?
Relatively easy because I studied here. Even part time work was quite easy to get, and was a good way of earning some extra money while studying. It is easier to get a job when you are a permanent resident.
How does your working life in New Zealand compare with your previous work experiences?
I never worked much in South Africa, but working in New Zealand has been quite an experience. You don’t earn much, and the hours are much longer than in South Africa.
How much did you pay for your house:
We pay $520 per week. Our house is an average size, with a decent back yard. We have two living areas, and 5 standard sized bedrooms. The houses come with a stove and curtains, some with dishwashers, which ours has. A double garage, but not much storage space for our clothing in the bedrooms.
How does your standard of living in New Zealand compare with your previous country?
We had a better standard of living in South Africa, we earned more, and owned our home. However, in New Zealand we have a higher quality of life, in that we are safer, and somewhat more secure.