Life in Gisborne, New Zealand

What were your reasons for emigrating?

My husband, Neil, ran his own plumbing/gasfitting business and worked six-seven day weeks and we just never had time for each other. Our children were two and four and we just decided enough was enough – we needed a life we could live as a family. We also hate what the UK is becoming with its immigration policies and P.C. rubbish.

Name: Melanie Stokes
Age: 35
Occupation: Owner/Director – Tile Showroom
Number Emigrating: 4
Emigrated from: Newark, Nottinghamshire, UK
Moved to: East Cape, North Island
Daily Commute Time: 5 mins
What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?

We wanted to move somewhere English speaking but where there were good opportunities and no poisonous creepy crawlies or reptiles! We chose the Central North Island for the weather, as Neil cannot bear the cold and didn’t see the sense in moving half way around the world to weather the same as in England!!

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

The beaches, the ranges, the weather – between 28-35 degrees from Nov to April, winter time if we get 10 degrees in the day we are in a major cold snap!

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What do you like best about New Zealand?

I like the freedom of being who you are NOT what you are. The materialistic attitude of the UK is just too much for me. Also the volume of people – here in Gisborne we have a population of around 42,000 and we can get from one side of town to the other in less than 10 minutes. There are no traffic snarl ups, the air is clean and our children have an outside life they would never have in the UK.

What don’t you like about New Zealand?

I don’t like the fact that healthcare is not subsidised for children. Plus, there are issues with the government and some reforms they wish to make that I do not agree with. For those wishing to run their own business, the Department of Labour is even worse than in the UK in as much as an employer has their hands tied so tightly that the employee can almost make the rules!

What do you miss from your home country?

Family and friends – though after being here for five years, I miss the thought of them more than the reality at times!!!!!

How easily did you find work in New Zealand?

We actully came out on a tourist visa and Tiki toured for three weeks across the North Island. Once we settled in Gisborne, Neil had found work within 24 hours and within 48 hours had his work visa! Any trades are so desperately sought after that if you have this experience you will be snapped up.

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

Pretty much the same really. We always think the grass is greener but its not – you just have a different landscape!

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

Financially, we are far more worse off in NZ than we were in the UK. If you are lucky and come over with lots of GBP then it is much easier, but once you have to live on an NZ wage money can get pretty tight, especially if you have only one wage coming in. Fuel, food and utilities are much more expensive in comparison to the UK when you stop converting everything! Saying that, though, we have never lived so richly as a family.

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

As said before, we live as a family unit now. Neil has taken up fishing off the beach and spear fishing, so weekends are spent as a unit at the beach where we all hang out together! We also spend more time doing things at home or travelling about.

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

Raising children is very different – you take the children to a school dentist not a general dentist; doctors visits are only free up to the age of six; if your child gets hurt, you are meant to go to your GP first before the hospital unless it is a major emergency; schools in major towns are zoned though in more rural areas you can choose; term times are in blocks of ten weeks with two weeks holidays in between and the major six week holiday is over Xmas and Jan!

More importantly, don’t even think of emigrating if you expect the same kind of life and shops as the UK. This is not the UK and life/food is different, people are different. Sometimes people lose focus of why they moved and end up recreating what they had, but if you avoid this, life is very fulfilling here and much more relaxed – Kiwi culture is all about living life not just watching it!

Read more UK to NZ Reviews

Hawkes Bay – Ruth
North Shore, Auckland – Alison
Franklin District, Auckland – Alison and Matt
Christchurch – James
Invercargill – The Hart Family
Invercargill – Kat and Bob
Tauranga – Kymberley
Tauranga – Dianne and Paul
Wellington – Stephen

What are your own views of life here? Share them. Or you can read more views about life in NZ.


  1. rickielee says

    what do you think of the standards of living in gisborne??

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