Moving to NZ’s Hibiscus Coast


Stanmore Bay, Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Hibiscus Coast

Stanmore Bay, Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Hibiscus Coast

Name: Gouws Family
Age: 38
Occupation: Stay-At-Home-Mom
Emigrated from: New Germany, KZN, South Africa
Moved to: The Hibiscus Coast, North of Auckland
Daily Commute Time: 10 – 15 minutes

What were your reasons for emigrating?

Other than the obvious, SAFETY; PEACE OF MIND; QUALITY OF LIFE; perhaps an adventure in a new land with hopefully better prospects for us and our children for the future. Can’t say that we had been directly affected by the violent times we lived in back in SA, but we’d been thinking about a move for some time and … why wait for something terrible to happen before you act??!! That, an opportunity arose which sort of made the decision that much ‘simpler’!!


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Whangaparaoa Peninsula
What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?

What opportunity, you may ask??!! Hubby was offered a job in NZ and we thought and thought and thought … and thought and finally decided that that would be an open door to take advantage of. Within 4 months our house was sold, affairs wound up, paperwork in order, good byes said and a further 2 months down the line we began our new adventure in what I often refer to as the Land of Milk and Honey. We’d already decided that we wanted to leave SA, but we just needed the proverbial carrot.

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

The biggie is the safety aspect. It took me a while to break that automatic habit of locking car doors as soon as I climbed into one!! NZ is very much a people place, I think. ‘Stuff’ can wait, it’s people, especially children, who come first. I was astounded when, shortly after arriving in NZ, we took a drive one evening and saw so many people out walking. Elderly couples, couples, families with kids in prams and on bikes, people walking their dogs, kids walking their dogs – and this was at something like 8 / 8:30 at ‘night’. NO WAY would you see that back in SA. Safe. That’s what is is here – SAFE. And, friendly. Everyone (mostly) has time for a chat, and if you bump into another South African, get ready to swap stories … standard line begins with: “So, how long have you been here?” And, “Where are you from?”

What do you like best about New Zealand?

We live on a beautiful peninsula on the Hibiscus Coast. STUNNING scenery. Breathtaking, soul restoring. Now, whilst you may scoff and say that NZ is a little island anyway, there are places where the sea is a way away. Where we are, it’s all around us – mere minutes away. And, there is so much to do and see. So many ‘outdoorsy’ activities to keep one ‘on their toes’! And so may kid friendly places to go – rain or shine. Kiddy park / playgrounds around most corners. What I love is that we’re happy and the children are happy – is that the most important thing in life – to be happy?! And, this is one efficient place – banking, utilities, service – top class!

What don’t you like about New Zealand?

Can’t say I’ve found anything in ‘the life of Me’. Some may complain about the rain – but I just enjoy the rainbows which follow – still looking for the pot of gold though! 🙂 Just like anything, one adjusts and adapts.

What do you miss from your home country?

Family. Food stuff etc etc etc – all readily available in the supermarkets and the mushrooming number of SA Shops. Maybe, I miss ‘Woolies’ a little bit!

How easily did you find work in New Zealand?

Well, Hubby had the job offer which cemented our Residency here in NZ and I haven’t worked since we started our family back in SA anyway. But, there is so much out there. And there isn’t that materialistic attitude here as there is in SA. Sure there are those who drive around in the luxury cars and live in their fancy ol’ houses – but so what, we’re all people, all doing an honest day’s ‘work’. Here there is no shame in being a bus driver, or delivering mail or whatever. And there isn’t that ‘gender’ thing here either.

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

Don’t work here as such, but I do belong to something called ‘Playcentre’ which is a parent run early childhood education co-operative. The children and I joined within weeks of arriving in NZ and it has certainly been just the right supportive, nuturing, caring environment to have helped us to settle, make friends and find our way around our new land by getting to know the people and their customs.

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

We still have food on the table, a roof over our heads and all that ‘stuff’. Contrary to our original plan of getting to know the lay of the land for at least a year before buying, we are still renting. Housing is expensive. ‘They’ say it’s on the decrease … but ‘Ja right!’ As I said before – we are happy!

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

WE ARE HAPPY!!! No longer looking over our shoulders, expecting to be robbed, mugged or worse every minute. Sure, as in every part of the world, there are incidents, but by comparison to SA – no way near the scale we were ‘accustomed’ to. And here – the authorities act. A bag snatching even made headline news on TV the one evening!!!!

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

For us, Hubby having the job to start with, was a huge factor. We didn’t pack up home and leave for the unknown. Well – we did leave for the unknown – had never actually left SA before – but we had an income to start with. Hubby also arrived in NZ a month before the children, the container and I did. So, when we did join him in NZ, ‘home’ was waiting for us. We also decided before leaving SA, that this was the move we wanted to make, for us, our family – our children. We totally believe that ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’. It was our choice to be in NZ. We made the best of it and ‘looked for the rainbows’, not the rain clouds.


Read more South Africa to Auckland Reviews

Auckland – Leanne
North Shore, Auckland – Shelly
Auckland – Nadia
Newton, Auckland – Mish
Central Auckland – Shelley

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 experiences.

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