What were your reasons for emigrating?
Mainly the crime – always feeling unsafe and constantly wondering about how to protect our children. We really felt that our children had no future in South Africa.
Occupation: Registered Nurse
Number Emigrating: 2
Emigrated from: Hilton, South Africa
Moved to: Greenhithe, Auckland’s North Shore
Daily Commute Time: 20 minutes
What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?
We had a choice between Australia and New Zealand, and, although we have Aus visas, New Zealand seemed easier to ‘get our heads around’. We felt it would be easier to adapt to a smaller country. Also, I had a job offer in New Zealand and my sister-in-law and her family could not go to Aus – we wanted to be in the same country as them.
Streetscene from Greenhithe, Auckland
What differences have you noticed between your NZ town and your home town?
We lived just outside Pietermaritzburg in S.A. and never willingly ventured into the city due to the grime, crime and general decline of the city centre. Driving through Auckland the other day, we were amazed at how many people there were enjoying the city centre which is clean, attractive and safe and has a great vibe. We live on the North Shore in a small suburb which has a country feel. It is clean, well-organised and has a great local primary school within walking distance, as well as a beautiful park just minutes away. It is great to be able to go walking early in the morning before it is light and not feel vulnerable of threatened.
What do you like best about New Zealand?
Definitely the feeling of freedom. Not being afraid to go to the beach in the evenings, being able to allow our children to cycle up to the park without feeling unduly concerned, no burglar guards, good service from every organisation we have dealt with so far, good schools (although it is important to check out the schools before you decide where to settle), feeling safe when going out / arriving home at night, beautiful and well-maintained parks galore, well-maintained streets and buildings…. I could go on and on!
What don’t you like about New Zealand?
Nothing specific that I can think of. My husband feels it is a bit “tame” – too many rules, but rules are generally adhered to here and this makes for more pleasant living. The no smacking rule inhibits parents who adhere to the rules but does nothing to stop child abuse.
What do you miss from your home country?
My mom, family and friends, our beautiful old house and animals. But, I do not feel homesick as such.
How easily did you find work in New Zealand?
Very easily – I got a job offer before arriving in NZ. My husband is in a more specialised area and has not found anything in his field so far.
How does your working life in New Zealand compare with your previous work experiences?
I am working in the same field and am enjoying my work here as much as I did in South Africa. I feel that there is more emphasis on qualifications here and not having additional post graduate qualifications may impede promotion.
How much do you plus partner earn in New Zealand:
I work as a nurs, which is not enough to cover all our expenses, so we have had to use savings. My husband has not yet got a job here.
We live in a very cute traditional wooden house with 3 bedrooms, open plan kitchen, fairly small dining area, lounge, toilet, shower and laundry and a separate bathroom, as well as a lovely garden and double garage (which we need to store some of our furniture in as we can’t fit it all in the house!). The house has a wooden deck running around it and the lounge and main bedroom open onto the deck. We also have a carport.
How does your standard of living in New Zealand compare with your previous country?
Our house is smaller and not our own – we feel that owning our own home is out of our reach at the moment. It is quite hard to adjust to living in a smaller space with 3 children and the two younger children are sharing a room. We own our cars which we bought when we arrived. Cars are quite affordable. We don’t have any disposable income as we did in SA, which is quite frustrating for us and the children. We eat well but never eat out!
How does your quality of life now compare with your previous country?
Overall, I feel our quality of life here is better than in SA, because as nice as it is to have money, there are many things money can’t buy. Safety, peace of mind, access to beautiful clean beaches with functioning amenities, beautiful clean parks with playgroung equipment that has not been vandalised or stolen, good schools that you don’t have to pay exorbitant fees for. However, this is weighed against not having friends and family here. This is a difficult one!
Do you have any other personal experiences or observations that would be useful for people considering immigrating to New Zealand?
Be careful about which moving company you use – we used a well known moving company who not only delayed sending our container for about 6 weeks without letting us know, but also “lost” some things along the way. We stopped over in Sydney for 2 days which made the flight over with 3 children much more bearable.
The cost of living is not cheap and it is difficult, but possible, to live on one salary.
Childcare for our 4 year old is our biggest expense. It is more expensive if you have not got permanent residence or work permits. However if you have got permanent residence then the Kindergartens are free of charge, offer morning or afternoon sessions. They are not a childcare facility though.
Get IRD numbers for yourself, spouse and children as soon as possible.
We can claim family tax credits which will be a tremendous help financially, but all the children need IRD numbers.
South Africans can convert driver’s licenses to NZ licenses without having to do any tests, as long as you have a current SA license.
Register with a medical practice as soon as you can, because if you have permanent residence then they have to get NHI number for you which makes the cost of seeing a GP more affordable.