What were your reasons for emigrating?
There are various reasons that led me to New Zealand. The major factor would be crime and corruption. The fear of having to drive to a dairy/shop and being hijacked. Getting into your car, before starting the engine, making sure all doors are locked, windows closed and de-activate the immobiliser. Today, South Africans still living in SA say that they have become accustomed to it and treat it as a way of life – for me – I ask myself ‘Why should I have to go through all of that?’
Another reason for leaving SA was a career move. I was at a point of my career where I had enough clients to start up my own business or to continue my career in a new country. I chose the latter.I also looked at family life. At the time of my research, many young children (aged under 6 years) were being abused, raped and murdered. Thinking long term at starting a family, South Africa would not be a good place to start a family.
Occupation: Software Support Consultant
Number Emigrating: 2
Emigrated from: Cape Town, South Africa
Moved to: Newton, Auckland
Daily Commute Time: 15 minutes walking
What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?
After a year of research and comparing New Zealand to Australia and Canada (the 3 most common countries for South Africans to emigrate to), the feedback and service I received from kiwis was far superior. Also New Zealand seemed to be more of a social country where it looks after its residents/citizens – something South Africa does not do. (even though they say they are trying!)
Also, the weather in Auckland is very similar to Cape Town, although a little more humid. With the weather similarity, its one less factor to consider when emigrating.
What differences have you noticed between your NZ town and your home town?
View Larger Map
Differences, ah well – MANY! I can take a walk to the dairy at 22h00. My partner heads out for a girls night and I don’t need to worry (as much) about something happening to her. I don’t have any burglar bars in my home. I don’t even have an alarm in my car.
When I first arrived in NZ, I managed to set up a phone, internet, electricity and bank account within 30 minutes – in South Africa, it will take at least 2 weeks to get a phone connected. Local phone calls are free – this helps substantially especially when, in SA, you pay for all calls even when connected to the internet!
There are many free events that one can attend like Christmas in the Park, Starlight Symphony, etc.
The cost of living is generally higher – compared to SA. For example, taking 4 people to dinner in NZ would most probably feed about 12 people in SA at a similar class restaurant. Speaking about dinner, I have to say that South Africa beats New Zealand hands down with customer service at restaurants. The idea I have with kiwi waiters is that they just don’t care.
I have been to numerous restaurants (and I’m not referring to cafes here), where waiters stretch over the guests, bring coffee that’s been half-spilled, etc.
Driving – To put it plainly, New Zealand roads are not nice. They are bumpy and narrow. It took me a while to get use to the ‘give-way rule’ and also the assertiveness of many kiwi drivers. Now, I drive like a kiwi does!
Housing – I don’t own a home yet, still renting. Compared to South Africa, rental and house prices are extremely expensive – especially coming over with South African Rands. Houses are not as spacious and are built close to one another. It takes a bit of adjusting (mainly privacy) when a plot is split into 3 so you have 3 houses in one section. I guess coming from South Africa, one tends to make sure you live on your own plot wih ample security.
Postal service is ridiculously efficient! Posting locally, the recipient would receive the package the next day – unlike SA where the postie would come around once, maybe twice, a week.
Purchasing a car is very easy. Registration and transfer can be done at a post office, normally open 7 days a week. There are so many car dealers and car flea markets.
Information is readily available and government organisations are very helpful. From my rental experiences, NZ Tenancy Services are always there to assist.
Also, as a new emigrant, you have the Citizens Advice Bureau who can help with almost anything from legal disputes, education, emotional issues, etc.
What do you like best about New Zealand?
I can take a walk to the dairy at 22h00 without being paranoid or scared that someone’s going to rob me!
What don’t you like about New Zealand?
From my experience, there is not much too not like. BUT – one thing I have learnt (the hard way) is that the bigger companies are not always the best companies. I know that this sounds like a broad statement, but the service I received from smaller companies are at a higher level than the bigger ones. Rental companies are the worst. A word of advice would be to check the rental agreement thoroughly and put EVERYTHING on paper. Also, make sure you check the property together with the property manager. As I type this I feel as if I am complaining, however, these are my experiences. The smaller companies are willing to assist you and some are even available outside business hours – this is very accommodating. Trades people do not offer the best of services. At the moment, because of the huge demand for tradesmen, they are not interested in doing the job properly. They are not cheap either. They also know that we can’t do without them!
What do you miss from your home country?
What do I miss? I miss family. Yes, its always good to speak to them over the phone or chat online via webcam, etc – but its never the same as when you are all together at the same place.I miss some good food which you don’t get here in NZ. Yes, you can make the food yourself, but it will ever taste like home! (unless you bring ya mom with!)
How easily did you find work in New Zealand?
It took me a month to find a job, but unfortunately, my work permit was denied on the grounds that my employer did not provide sufficient evidence that he had searched thoroughly enough for a NZ local. Two weeks after this, my residency was approved and I had 4 positions to choose from. Please note: recruitment agencies will NOT look at your CV unless you are a citizen, permanent resident or have a work permit. Two major recruitment agencies specifically told me that they sort the applicants in different categories, and applicants with no work permit or residency get shoved to the bottom of the pile! Also, before I came to NZ, I had applied for quite a few positions. Unfortunately, I was turned down on numerous occassions mainly because I was not in NZ. 90% of my applications were via recruitment agencies, however, both the jobs I have had here in NZ were via direct applications to the companies. Yes, this doesn’t say much about recruitment agencies.
How does your working life in New Zealand compare with your previous work experiences?
Work life is less stressfull. Back in SA, when a client had a problem, it needed to be sorted out immediately, in fact, sorted out yesterday! In NZ, client’s are much more patient and are willing to wait for the problem to be resolved. Work environments (depending on your industry) are also more relaxed and informal. The past two jobs I had, I was interviewed in a cafe and signed my contracts in cafes too. This might not always be the case, but this is what happened with me.
How does your standard of living in New Zealand compare with your previous country?
In the beginning, when I first arrived, I started back at the bottom with the barest of necessities. The South African Rand is not that strong and the money I came over to NZ with was consumed within 2 months. Today, 3 years later, I am living the same standard I did when in SA, if even better. I still find a few luxuries expensive, however, I am able to save more in NZ than I could in SA – or maybe that’s just because I monitor every single expense more extensively than I did in SA.
How does your quality of life now compare with your previous country?
Quality of life has improved. I am now living in a much more relaxed and safer environment.
Do you have any other personal experiences or observations that would be useful for people considering immigrating to New Zealand?
I have met many people who have emigrated to NZ and then left back to SA. Some of them have personal reasons like family, etc; however, it must be said that coming from South Africa, emigrants MUST realise that they do need to take a few steps back – especially in their careers. You must be prepared to start from the bottom again. If you are really good at your job, you will move up the corporate ladder by proving yourself. Quite a few South Africans come to NZ and are not prepared to do this. They are used to luxuries in South Africa which are expensive here in NZ – because they can’t afford these luxuries in NZ, they prefer going back to SA. I hope you realise that these are my personal opinions and experiences and they might not be the same for every individual.