Life in Blenheim

What were your reasons for emigrating?

NZ had been my home BUT I had left it as a young bride to live in the US. I wanted to come home, I had lived overseas and have always yearned to come home. My parents are elderly and wanted to spend some time with them and my family back here. I had breast cancer and also not knowing how long I had left wanted desperately to be in my home land to die.

Name: KiwiMaggie
Age: 54
Occupation: Unemployed (me) mechanic (husband)
Number Emigrating: 2
Emigrated from: USA
Moved to: Blenheim
Daily Commute Time: 5 mins
What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?


What differences have you noticed between your NZ town and your home town?

Getting employed is near impossible. People/employers/recruiters are biased when it comes to immigrants and being with the recession now its even tougher to get work to improve your life style. The ole kiwi way of “give him a go” longer exsists and I feel a foreigner in my own country

What do you like best about New Zealand?

My family, Mum, Dad brothers sisters and old friends mainly of course the openness of the country and the scenic beauty which NZ has always had going for it.

What don’t you like about New Zealand?

How hard it is to prove yourself to Kiwis, how hard it is to be noticed, trusted and appreciated for what talents expertise you do have.. We have certainly found its not “what you know” so much as “who you know” and being gone 30 + years, this country has changed in many ways. I am dissapointed in NZ as far seeking a decent paying job. If you dont get your credentials sorted before you come forget it, the cost is usually too much and if you want back in the trade you did before you arrived, licensing is near impossible. YOu may experience the attitude of the Kiwis taking care of Kiwis before you get a look in, and then if you arrive and down the line a recession happens, good luck finding something before anyone else. You need to get a job to sit the test of your trade, even if you have been licensed in another country. Getting a job in the trade may prove difficult as it has in our case, we never still have scored a job in the trade lisenced in from where we came from. If you “cant” get the job in the trade (we have tried tons of companies) you cant sit the test. Dog chasing its tail.

What do you miss from your home country?

Equality, I feel a stranger in my own country. I miss my kids my friends. Not even NZ can offer the love you miss when seperated from your children and friends. I had missed NZ and family here, more when I lived overseas, now I am here, and with all it has revealed, the tough road we have been on without ceasing for 18 months now I can honestly say if we have to leave and I think its coming down to that, I can easily shut the door on NZ and not call it home anymore.

Streetscene from Blenheim
How easily did you find work in New Zealand?

Still seeking …..applied for over 800 jobs my husband has who was a plumbing contractor in the US for 30 years. A handful of interview and typically they employ from within, or so he was told but advertise anyway. Very humbling experience, very embarrassing to say I wanted to come home for a better easier life. Its never been so Extremely tough. My husband took a mechanic’s job. Thank goodness fixing hot rods had been a hobby for years as he knows engines like the back of his hand.

The job he has today is only from knowing someone who knew someone who put in a good word for him hence “not what you know its who you know” attitude. Two weeks previous from landing this job, he had gone into the same place and others around, inquiring for work and they said they didnt have anything. Sad but true!

How does your working life in New Zealand compare with your previous work experiences?

Completely different.

How much do you earn in New Zealand:

About the average wage but quite below what we were accustomed to.

How much did you pay for your house:

Too much for what its worth.

How does your standard of living in New Zealand compare with your previous country?

We have less money, therefore we do not do much more than stay at home go for walks go grocery shopping for what we can afford and come home again.

How does your quality of life now compare with your previous country?

Never felt so stressed and worried as I am today and to what happens next. We have to sell our house because “on the job” my husband fell and broke his leg and we have been living off ACC for months ….one more surgery To go not set for another month then hopefully back to work soon after that. If we sell the house in a slow market from the recession and no other job happens, we have decided NZ is not for us and headed back to where we came from. Now I see so differently, how it is for people from other countries coming here how they must feel, and I myself used to be one of the ones saying “if you dont like it here go back to where you came from”. Hell of a note when you are saying that about your own country too!

Do you have any other personal experiences or observations that would be useful for people considering immigrating to New Zealand?

Get all your ducks in a row. Research, research look and think closely. Come here first for a few months …look for work first and see how you go. You may say oh I can’t do that, it is not affordable … can’t get off work for that long. Nor is coming here lock stock and barrell thinking its going to fit into place. Yeah you expect a few hick ups along the way, but if you dont have savings to fall back on once settled, it can turn into a disaster.

I know much of this is sounding negative, but its all been true for us bad luck all the way. We would like to chalk it up to paying our dues for being here but honestly, things may not be as bad as you feel they are before you leave your country to come to this one. Be sure by researching it way more than we did. I thought having family around would make things easier but it hasn’t worked out that way at all. If you do come I hope it is a better experience than what we have found. Good luck to all.

Should I Move to New Zealand?

8 must-knows before you even THINK about moving to New Zealand

Would you like to share your own experiences of living in New Zealand? You can do this at My Story. Or you can read more points of view.

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