From Scotland / Canada to Auckland

What were your reasons for emigrating?

Scotland (in fact the whole of the UK) is a terribly depressing place to live in: High crime, bad weather and a debased nihilism are pervasive. Many sad and unhinged alcoholics roam the dog-fouled pavements of even the smallest towns. Canada, while far better than Scotland, is poorly governed. It is over-taxed, over-regulated and many of the social elites adhere maniacally to a stifling, blindly-progressive orthodoxy of thought.

Name: JS Kern
Age: 42
Occupation: Writer
How many emigrated: –
Emigrated from: Glasgow / Brampton
Moved to: Remuera, Auckland
When did you arrive in NZ: January 2005
My Story Written: November 2005
Daily Commute Time: 25 mins
What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?

First of all, I met my wife through the internet, and she’s a Kiwi, so New Zealand sort of chose me. As well, my life was much more portable than hers, so I came here. However, that being said, I still wouldn’t have moved here if it wasn’t better – or on par – with Scotland or Canada. If she’d lived in Rangoon, say, we’d be living in Ontario today. But New Zealand, upon inspection, was fantastic: Great weather, laid-back life-style, safe streets, English-speaking and a modern, high standard of living.

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

Compared to both Glasgow & Brampton, Auckland is cleaner, brighter, warmer (for more of the year), cheerier, has fewer drunks & street crazies, calmer, safer, is more secure and much more esthetically pleasing.

What do you like best about New Zealand?

The day to day pace is slower, more humane. The temperate climate is an unbelievable relief after the long, sub-zero Canadian winters, and the cold, rainy climate of Scotland.

What don’t you like about New Zealand?

Many houses can be a bit cold & damp in the winter. As well, “the rest of the world” is far away, making it rather expensive and time-consuming to travel.

What do you miss from your home country?

Scotland: The sense of history; of belonging to an old and ancient culture. Canada: Friends & family.

How easily did you find work in New Zealand?

Very easily; jobs are varied and plentiful. My income from writing isn’t steady, so I still need to work outside the home. With no difficulty at all, I have found several interesting and temporary jobs here – from telephone interviewing to ballot issuing officer. Even with few or no qualifications, English-speakers will quickly find work.

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

The Kiwi attitude to the work-place and co-workers is very different to the Canadian and Scottish attitude, in that it is less formal – in both dress and demeanor. Most offices are relaxed, almost familial places to work in.

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

It is very similar since I earn about the same money doing the same jobs. There are products and services which are dearer here than in Canada (gasoline, electricity, movie theatres), but, in the aggregate, purchasing power is about the same. Scotland compares less favorably all round.

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

I am much happier, less stressed and fitter here. New Zealand just seems to be more conducive to mental and physical health.

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

Firstly, I’d like to encourage any new migrants to New Zealand to relax about the actual immigration process itself. As with any country, the Immigration Service here is bureaucratic, slow, difficult to access at times, and expensive. But it is all well worth it. As the saying goes, “No pain; no gain.”

Secondly, I’d like to remind potential immigrants that New Zealand is a bilingual, bicultural nation; that her culture is a composite of two distinct cultural streams: Maori & British. While predominantly Anglo-European in nature, and therefore easy to assimilate into for most English-speakers (especially those of European or North American descent), it is nevertheless heavily imbued with Maori influences. And these influences are not merely quaint affectations; they are the grafting-points of an on-going cultural symbiosis. The Anglo-European ancestry is predominant, but it is no longer dominant. There is a growing awareness in the minds of all New Zealanders of the benefits to both Maori and Pakeha (non-Maori) in the reconciliation of these disparate (and at times, competing) cultures – and a growing desire to proudly proclaim every success along the way. As a good (non-Maori) friend of my wife said to me shortly after my arrival, “We take our bi-culturalism seriously here. “Oh, and Good Luck & God Bless…!

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