Moving To Franklin District, Auckland

Manukau Heads Lighthouse
Manukau Heads Lighthouse
Name: Alison and Matt Knight
Age: 38 / 35
Occupation: Home maker and Quantity Surveyor
Emigrated with: Nathan 12, Natasha 11, Harvey 8 and Emily 8
Emigrated from: North Hykeham, Lincoln, England
Moved to: Franklin District, Auckland
What were your reasons for leaving your home country:

My husband, Matt and I have always wanted to give our children the best opportunities in life, as any parents do. We wanted them to live in a happy, healthy and safe environment that lets them continue to be children for as long as possible without them having to worry about gangs of older children wandering around vandalising areas and terrorising communities and although in Lincoln this wasn’t as significant a problem as in other area of the UK the children were constantly reminded that it was a problem with news reports. We wanted the children to be able to go off for bike rides with their friends and other adventures as we did when we were younger. Having four children and with Matt being a middle income earner we were facing a prospect of not being able to fund the children through further education, if that was what they wanted, because of the constant erosion of our income through ‘stealth taxes’. Plus with the demise of decent work pension schemes within the UK we were facing the prospect of not being able to live comfortably in our old age and Matt having to continue to work well into his 60’s.

What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand:

We chose New Zealand because of its reputation for being a welcoming country, because of its beautiful scenery and the prospect of getting the children out into the fresh air and away from their computer games.

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

We are living in a small village on the shores of Manakau Harbour as opposed to a large town on the fringe of Lincoln. So the diferences between where we live now to where we used to live are vast! The biggest diference is the lack of public transport in this village, but there are plenty of villages cut off from civilisation in the UK and I drive so it really isn’t an issue for us. The shops are not too different here in the local towns although the streets are. There is plenty of on street parking in the Main Streets and certainly in the local towns all prking is free. Although in the local towns the shops shut at lunch time on Saturdays and stay shut until Monday! Everywhere is so clean so you don’t have any worries about letting your children ‘go Kiwi’ and walk about bare foot in the street! Giving way to oncoming traffic turning right whilst you are turning left has been a revelation!

What do you like best about New Zealand?

I love the people, they are without doubt the most welcoming and friendly people I have met any where in the world! And the scenery is just breathtaking.

What don’t you like about New Zealand?

There is a lacksidasical attitude, no one is in a rush to do any thing or firm up any details! I have had to go into school to find out details of school outings and to ask for report cards which were a week late coming out. I am so used to the compensation and politically correct nature of the UK, that I find this very frustrating. Although I can feel myself relaxing about such things as the weeks go by!

Streetscene from Pukekohe, Franklin District
What do you miss from your home country?

I miss my friends and the family and that’s all but we’re all technically tooled up with the internet and calling back to the UK is so cheap! One of the children misses ‘Hula Hoops’ and another one misses ‘Skips’ but apart from that we came here for a new life and we’re just mucking in and taking everything as it comes!

How easily did you find work in New Zealand?

Matt was offered a job before we came out here. He answered an ad in a Trade magazine, e-mailed his CV out, and we had a job offer within a couple of weeks, despite the company not actually advertising for his position! He works in road construction and there is a desparate need for good, hard working senior staff in roading. We actually applied under the Skills (Accredited Employer) scheme and flew out 14 weeks after the original job offer, and it only took that long because we dragged it out so the children could have a party and say goodbye to their friends after the school summer holidays.

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

Matt is working very hard, although he always has done through out his career. He works Saturday mornings as well as 11 hours a day 5 days a week. The difference now is when he comes home he’s not at all stressed, he drives home through beautiful countryside and our weekends are full of really relaxing ‘Us’ time. There are differences in some of the technical terms, for instance gravel is called metal and valuations are called claims which caused a little confusion at first.

What is your daily commute time:

30 mins each way.

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

The difference for us is phenominal! We have money left at the end of the month. Although I must confess Matt is very well paid in relation to other professions in NZ. The weekly shopping is of a comparable value but our monthly out goings are much lower, phone bills, utilities etc. Compared to the UK house prices are still lower but they have been playing catch up in NZ. At the moment the exchange rate is not very good but when it settles down we will be looking to buy over here, but because rents are so cheap we are managing very comfortably to put money away each week.

A lot of the foreign brands you buy in the electrical stores are very reasonably priced at the moment because of the high dollar. Kiwi’s are moaning about the high price of petrol over here, but compared to what we were paying in the UK we find pertol quite cheap! Cars are absolute bargains over here too, as long as you don’t mind second hand.

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

We live a very healthy life style here! Fresh fruit and veggies are in abundance and there seems so much more to choose from! We have all joined the local Yatch club, the two older children are learning to sail and the younger children crew the patrol boats. The children do far more sports at school and the school has its own outdoor pool which is used to its limits! Because the population in relation to the country is so small the roads are never busy. We don’t have the frustrations of ‘carmageddon’ when going shopping despite the fact we are living 30 mins outside NZ’s largest city! We had a caravan in the UK and used it very regularly, we intend to buy a camper van out here, there is so much to explore, every time we go out for a drive we find somewhere to take our breath away.

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

We came out with an open mind, we were not looking for a ‘Little Britain’ like you find on the Costa – Del – Sol. We wanted a country that was as far removed as possible from Britain, but was English speaking to make integrating easier. We wanted a safe environment for the children, the lack of poisonous creepy-crawlies was a HUGE bonus! We came out with no preconceived ideas, we have strong family ties in the UK the majority of whom were behind us 110% which made it easier to leave them behind. We have regular chats over the internet and are always sending them pictures of what we’ve been up too.

We did this the ‘hard way’, we had never been here before, we sold up and came on a plane with the contents of our house on a container ship. We didn’t want a ‘get out clause’. A few told us we were absolutely mad to do this blind. We thought it’d be a great adventure and at worst an experience for the children to look back on, it has turned out to be the beginning of an amazing new life and a love affair with an extraordinarily beautiful country both in terms of people and landscape.

Read more UK to NZ Reviews

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

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