What were your reasons for emigrating?
A combination of reasons: The appalling crime levels and the constant fear of the very real possibility of being hi-jacked once again. The soaring cost of living, the lack of decent public health services which forces one to take out private health cover, which further bites into your monthly budget = a constant battle financially to just stay afloat. We could see no future for our 2 boys in South Africa, unless one has a family business, the chances of them finding employment in SA as young graduates was slim. An overall deterioration in most sectors.
Occupation: Home Educator
Number Emigrating: 5
Emigrated from: Warner Beach, KZN, South Africa
Moved to: Conifer Grove, Auckland
Daily Commute Time: I work from home
What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?
The chance to experience life in a young, growing country. We had friends in New Zealand and we had heard how family and child friendly the country was and coupled with our research on the country and the pull of relocating to the the little jewel of the Pacific, with all its scenic beauty – this sealed our decision. We had made enquiries about the options of immigrating to Australia, but 2 things put us off. Firstly, the points system on OZ is rigorously tested and it’s a very difficult country to get into and secondly, we felt we needed a change of climate – the thought of relocating to a really hot area of Australia was off-putting, as being from Durban and enduring all those stifling summers – we needed a change!
What differences have you noticed between your NZ town and your home town?
No potholes in the road!! No roadside vendors!! No car-guards!! No burglar guards on the windows!! Loads of “roundabouts” instead of stop streets. The traffic lights work and if they are out of order – they actually get fixed!! The municipality maintains the verges and public parks, all suburbs have lovely children’s playgrounds. Dog owners pick up after their dogs – most pet owners are seen walking their dogs on leads and carry a little “doggy-doo” bag. Supermarkets stay open till quite late which is very convenient. Cafe’s are called “dairies” here. Public schools start later, around 8:30-9AM and finish a bit later than SA schools.
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Streetscene from Conifer Grove, Auckland
What do you like best about New Zealand?
It’s scenically beautiful. There is such a variety of places of interest to visit and activities to do as a family that is free. It’s very clean, everything is well maintained. Everything works as scheduled!! The weather is ever changeable, so it never becomes boring and predictable. It’s very child and family friendly. Our kids love the abundance of play parks. The murder rate is much lower than SA, and one can personally count the number of murders on 2 hands only – per annum as opposed to SA where if an entire assembly hall-full of children, having both hands raised to represent the annual number of murders in the country, there would not be enough hands and fingers to represent the staggering figures.
What don’t you like about New Zealand?
Coming from South Africa, certain rules and regulations can seem a bit “over the top” and there is a rule for everything here, BUT this can be seen in a positive light, as a result – there is order here and any problems are dealt with swiftly. The lack of regulation regarding school uniforms and hair cuts. The narrow roads.
What do you miss from your home country?
Family and friends. The Drakensberg – where we spent many glorious days hiking and camping. The sense of belonging to a community that one has grown up in since childhood. The sense of what is familiar – BUT on a positive note, moving to a new country is a chance to have a brand new start, it’s a great adventure and so is making new contacts and discovering things for the 1st time. People are very fashion conscious in SA – here is a very eclectic mix.
How easily did you find work in New Zealand?
Very easily as Early Childhood Educators are in demand in NZ. My husband was very quickly recruited by a NZ company too, industries are growing here and there are huge skill shortages in certain fields like IT, Medical and Teaching/Early Childhood.
How does your working life in New Zealand compare with your previous work experiences?
The general pace of work is generally more laid back here, a 5 day week is the norm and companies are very open to flexi-time and accommodating changes to working hours due to family responsibilities.
How does your standard of living in New Zealand compare with your previous country?
We are far better off here, some label countries like NZ and Australia as “nanny states” but this is not an accurate definition. Yes, the state does have a lot of funding in place, but to an average family, with both parents working – the tax credits are a welcome relief and adding to this, the public health service is subsidised for residents and work permit holders, schooling is basically free – as I stated before, this results in more disposable income for the average family.
How does your quality of life now compare with your previous country?
One has an experience-rich lifestyle here, we feel like we are actually LIVING, as we have so much freedom due to not being so restricted by what, where and how we spend our recreational time, as we did back in SA due to the constant concern for safety. This is a great country for families with young children.
Do you have any other personal experiences or observations that would be useful for people considering immigrating to New Zealand?
Take some time exploring various areas before signing up for a long-term lease when renting a home. If arriving in Winter, when viewing a house, try to do so on a cold day in to get a feel for how insulated the home is. Give the new country and yourselves a chance to adapt to one another!! There are a LOT of changes to get used to – try not to get stuck in a social circle of only ex-pats, or you will find that you’ll never move forward and embrace these changes in a positive way.