Emigration From Burnley, England to Nelson

What were your reasons for emigrating?

We left England as we wanted a better life. Although we had a good life we were both working so hard and long hours we thought if we don’t do it now we never would. Our son of 23 came with us and we left our daughter behind, which was hard. Our son was also seeking a change as there was no work were we lived for him. He was depressed and could see no future. He has since got a job and married a Kiwi girl. We felt we wanted a change and to see a bit more of the world. We felt NZ would suit our lifestyle as we are outdoor people. We felt the weather would help us in our health as it iss better to be old in a warm country than a cold one.

Name: Laura
Age: 50
Occupation: Nursery Nurse
Number Emigrating: 3
Emigrated from: Burnley, Lancashire
Moved to: Nelson
When did you arrive in NZ: November 2004
My Story Written: January 2006
Daily Commute Time: 30 minutes
What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?

My husband always wanted to come here as he fancied the laid back life style – we had lived in South Africa years before and he knew the lifestyle to be similar without the trouble. We also liked the sunshine and the people as we had met Kiwis living in the UK.

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

Smaller in NZ, a lack of public transport and because I don’t drive I can feel isolated at home all day. Don’t have same shops like Marks and Spencers. Here is much cleaner and the houses are bigger and further apart but you don’t see people around in the day. At weekends all the restaurants close early.

What do you like best about New Zealand?

The weather. The fresh food and veg. The Kiwis are friendly and so helpful most of the time. The beaches and the lovely scenery and flowers. Having a big garden and being outdoors.

What don’t you like about New Zealand?

Everything much more expensive as wages are poorer. NZ TV. The exchange rate. Kiwi drivers Nothing happens quick. Doctors and medicines are very expensive making it hard if you’re sick here. We worry about this and having a pension as we get older as at the moment we find it hard to save for this.

What do you miss from your home country?

Friends, British TV, shopping with friends, being able to get about without a car, working in my career, Marks and Spencers, British hospitality and humour.

How easily did you find work in New Zealand?

My husband found work easily as an electrician even though he had to do extra training. I on the other hand, 14 months down the line, still have not found a job in childcare and will have to retrain even though I am a qualified nursery nurse with special needs experience and was told that I would soon get a job. Soon after our arrival the govt changed their policies in childcare making it impossible to work here. I cannot get a job unless I retrain at my expense. I am willing to do this but no one wants to take me on to do my practical work for the course so I am still not able to work. The New Zealand govt never told us this when we were coming here even though they were aware the changes were coming in 2 months time after we arrived.

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

My husband loves it and finds he works less hours here and has more time with his family

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

On a day to day basis the food and vegetables are in an abundance so our diet and health have improved. We have the opportunity to go out into the fresh air and do things but, because the wages are so poor in comparison to UK, we are worse off financially.

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

The quality of life is better especially living in Nelson with all the extra sunshine hours and we do more as a family.

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

Check your qualifications with NZQA to see the compatibility and the cost of living here before making the decision to make the big move. It is a big decision and a big expense if it all goes wrong. Although they do speak English and drive on same side as road as us it is still a culture shock and takes time to adjust.

Read more recent 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 stories.


  1. Mark Smith says

    Hia…just read your post today…July 5th, 2012….some 6 years after you wrote this. Obviously, lots of things have changed and I do hope that you have now found gainful employment by now. Based on that assumption, that you now have two salaries coming it, here are some more questions.

    How much more expensive is NZ, than the UK, especially for renting a house, buying a house, cost of petrol or diesel, car insurance, road tax, gas, electricity, water, healthcare, food shopping and taxes.

    I am looking into moving over there, based on a friend of mine encouragement. He is a Manager for London Underground, I am a Driver for London Underground and my wife is a Community Nurse. What are your thoughts on both my wife and I getting jobs over in NZ. Finally, both my wife and I are Black British from Caribbean background. My wife faced a lot of racism when she was a child and does have some concerns, Have you seen a lot of racism…how does it compare to England ?

What say you?
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