Moving To Wellington

What were your reasons for emigrating?

Initially there were more ‘push’ than ‘pull’ factors. The organisation in which we worked (the NHS) was fast circling the drain, with the reasons we enjoyed our jobs fading under top-heavy management. It was either leave the country or get new careers; we chose the former. One of us had been to NZ before a few years ago and loved the place but more importantly (to use a cliche) – the people. A job offer here came up and we both decided within a few minutes that we’d had enough, so we resigned and left.

Name: Alex and Sally
Age: 36 and 32
Occupation: Doctor and Nurse
Number Emigrating: 2
Emigrated from: London, UK
Moved to: Miramar, Wellington
Daily Commute Time: 5 Minutes
When did you arrive in NZ: September 2002
My Story Written: July 2006
What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?

It chose us really. We didn’t like Australia (having worked there before). It seemed like a great place from afar and the people we spoke to who worked here were very positive.

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

People are nicer. Within a few minutes of arrival it became apparent this was somewhere we were going to stay. It still amazes us that people thank bus drivers! We left one of the rudest busiest dirtiest cities in the world, a 90 minute commute each way to work and a demoralised work place. Positivity abounds here in just about every outlook (apart from maybe the media but bad news is always over-reported). Wellington is a large village with everything we could ever need within easy reach. London may have been full of museums, galleries, theatres and architecture but they were either too full of tourists or we were too tired to visit them. Things are just so much easier. The cost of living is obviously better despite taking a 40% pay cut from our UK salaries. We are way better off in quality of life and no financial renumeration could replace that.

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Miramar, Wellington
What do you like best about New Zealand?

Outdoors. Coffee. We live in a house with a 180 degree sea view yet 5 minutes from work. Everything is close, partly due to the geographical quirks of Wellington. The bush is 15 minutes away. Wellington is one of the best places I’ve ever lived despite the wind and quakes. You can’t beat it on a sunny day (which aren’t as rare as some people may think).

What don’t you like about New Zealand?

The same as every other Brit here – lack of insulation or heating. But we’re changing that! Since we got a heat pump winter is no longer a trial. The things that make NZ attractive are also a handicap – the geographical isolation. A European weekend city break from London was phenomenally cheap and easy but completely impossible here. The travel options are limited if you want to go away and travel overseas is obviously more expensive. TV is awful but its only serving a population the size of a small English city – way too much Americana. Initially the Wellington weather wasn’t much fun – our house was badly damaged in a storm in 2004 – but now we’ve learned to love the wind.

What do you miss from your home country?

Family. The BBC. The smell of a pub on a summer afternoon. Good newspapers. Clothes for short people. Large record stores. Large book stores. Good cheap internet access (but changing soon hopefully)

How easily did you find work in New Zealand?

Very easily. A single email in fact. And one of us had a phone interview in England. We both arrived and started in a few days.

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

Much, much better. The continued privatisation-by-stealth of the NHS in the UK is gloriously absent here. However bad the perception of the the health system is, its way better than home. Everyone is more positive, team work is more apparent. We work less hours (from over 100 a week down to 55 on average) and so are a lot less tired and able to enjoy the spare time we have. We’ve also never worked with as many English people as we did in England which probably reflects the mass defection of health employees leaving the sinking ship.

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

Much improved. If only I could surf…

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

Much improved. More outdoors things to do with more time to do them in. Minimal time sat in motionless traffic.

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

I wish someone had told me about the right-turn rule before I managed to annoy a lot of drivers! Briscoes have always got a sale on so you don’t have to go this weekend only. It’s OK to talk to people in the street without the fear they’ll mug you. Don’t buy an umbrella if you live in Wellington. Expect to drink at least 2 cups of coffee a day. Don’t be upset when most Aucklanders don’t even know that Wellington exists. Get used to the earthquakes – the first one may distress you but after that you’ll barely even notice and then check afterwards on the internet to see how big it was.

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 – Richard and Olivia
Wellington – Stephen

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 more personal experiences.

What say you?
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