Moving to Christchurch, New Zealand

What were your reasons for emigrating?

Mid life crisis and the desire to live in another country before I became too old and infirm to enjoy it or regret not doing it as I sit in my nursing home waiting for lunch on a wet afternoon in February 2038.

Name: Nerdy
Age: 43
Occupation: Pharmacist
Number Emigrating: 4 plus cat and dog
Emigrated from: Whitstable, Kent, England
Moved to: Riccarton, Christchurch
Daily Commute Time: 15 minutes by bicycle
What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?

I have a habit of slaughtering foreign languages so an English speaking country was high on the list! We came to NZ on holiday in 2003 for a “recce” and loved everything about it. It is all strangely familiar but in an alternative universe sort of way. For instance driving is on our side of the road but light switches and sockets are odd looking. There is nothing poisonous here wanting to end your life.

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Riccarton Road, Christchurch
What differences have you noticed between your NZ town and your home town?

Wide roads and plenty of parking. More relaxed living. Great summers but chilly winters. Christchurch has been hit by a surge of graffiti in the last year so it beats my home town on that. Everything is available within a short distance of where we live. I cycle everywhere as it is very flat. I have buns of steel now.

What do you like best about New Zealand?

The egalitarian society, the friendliness and humour of Kiwis, the scenery and the fact that there is just the right amount of humanity here. Not too many, not too few, resulting in a clean, low crime, honest and decent society. As a nation they are above all stoic and resourceful. Driving is a delight as there aren’t many cars on the roads between settlements and you often get the road to yourself.

What don’t you like about New Zealand?

The stoicism can grate at times as they put up with a lot. For instance they have little or no insulation, pitifully small numbers of double glazed windows and non existent central heating. The Kiwi mentality is if you are cold put on another jumper. Still cold? Do some star jumps.

What do you miss from your home country?

Saturday afternoon football, a few family members and friends and British chocolate in that order. Cadbury’s is based in Dunedin but they make NZ chocolate and not the lardy British stuff.

How easily did you find work in New Zealand?

I had a job offer to come out to. My wife has had two jobs here which were easy to find. Job turnovers can be high. The economy appears to be in good shape since we have been here (2005). NZ can be a bit bureaucratic but does a really good job of funding a good infrastructure (schools, healthcare, social security, etc.) on taxing just a few million citizens. Many Kiwis leave NZ to work in Australia because it pays more.

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

Salary much, much worse, team spirit possibly better and promotion prospects the same as the UK. Friday afternoon beer dissing management in the late afternoon sunshine – priceless. I brought eight ties to NZ and have never worn any of them. Leave your ties at home they aren’t needed and besides they sell ties here.

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

Climate and society much better in NZ. Income lower but cost of living feels the same as the UK. Many families have to have mum and dad work full time to fund the mortgage repayments and have enough to live off. Bring both kidneys out as you may have to sell one here. Some things are very expensive e.g. books.

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

No comparison. In the UK you just aren’t conscious of how you are just another rat in the race. The NZ pace of life and emphasis on enjoying that life (the only one you have), getting outside in the fresh air and a fanatical devotion to the All Blacks are all more than a little infectious. Most people don’t get financially rich here but our LIVES are richer in many other ways which helps you put up with little money. Help, help I’m becoming stoic.

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

I am writing a book about our experiences and what not to do and how to move to NZ without making our mistakes and there were many (enough to write a book). You will make your own mistakes. My advice is do your homework well, research as much as you can (preferably in work time)… and if you want it make it happen, NZ is a fantastic place to make it happen in and I am so glad we did it.

Read more UK to NZ Reviews

Hawke’s 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 personal experiences.

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