From Chelmsford to Christchurch

What were your reasons for leaving your home country:

Family combined with change of circumstances.

What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand:

Snow fields and the fact that the first daughter has an Australian passport and was going to live there (has by default ended up in Auckland) and Kerry, our second daughter is determined to come here. Kerry backpacked round the world for 18 months when she was 18 and she really loved NZ. Ever since returning she has been definite she will come here. It’s just ironic that because of Uni she is the last to get here.

Name: Veronica
Age: 50
Emigrated from: nr. Chelmsford, Essex, UK
Moved to: Christchurch
When did you arrive in NZ: May 2004
My Story Written: September 2004
What differences have you noticed between your NZ town and your home town?

In all honesty both towns are a similar size so not a lot. The people are friendly, the driving is worse.

What do you like best about New Zealand?

The proximity of the mountains, countryside and sea. Coming from Essex the idea of hills is a novelty, let alone mountains just down the road. Other plusses are the population numbers, better weather and a more positive attitude generally.

What don’t you like about New Zealand?

Lack of good building, no insulation, double glazing or central heating. The feeling that at some time there could be racial tension. I think the foreshore bill is stirring up problems, particularly in the North Island, as has the recent influx of Asian people who don’t always integrate into the Kiwi way of life. I have heard of some who have been here for several years and are living in Asian areas eg Riccarton and can’t speak English yet as the area is so Asian there is no need. It is only a small minority but that type of thing colours peoples thinking. As one kiwi guy said to us on the subject of immigrants ‘Well at least we can talk and socialise with you, we can’t with them’. That’s a terrible shame as all the Asians we have met have been lovely.

What do you miss from your home country?

Apart from people, silly things like particular consumer goods and Tescos.

How easily did you find work in New Zealand?

We came over on a long term business visa so that wasn’t an issue. There are a lot of people in Essex who go to Europe to ski and I had been running a ski business there for the last 12 years. As we couldn’t get enough points to get here on Pete’s work experience we opted to come out here on mine. We started up new here but had the stock from the UK business. There are definite differences in the ski/snowboard industries between here and the UK. Here people hire for the day, which obviously doesn’t happen in the UK and there is a tremendous 2nd hand market too. Another difference is that some people here are still skiing on straight skis which is rare in Europe.

Upper Riccarton, Christchurch

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

For myself it hasn’t changed much, but for Peter it has been a big change. One of the reasons for our immigration was that he was made redundant when the American HO decided to move the company to Holland a couple of years ago and he was having difficulty finding full time work at age 54. So he has gone from being a very successful Financial Controller to helping me run a ski business. In terms of ways of doing business, they seem pretty much the same as we are used to, a bit more laid back perhaps but the tax man’s still about and has the same designs on our money. And regulations have to be followed in the work place

What is your daily commute time:

Zero, live above work.

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

Given the changes in our circumstances over the last couple of years it’s hard to compare but I think in what we eat and want out of life there is little change. Get the feeling that it will be easier to do things here though.

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

It’s too early to notice much change yet as we are flat-out trying to set up two business, ask me that in a year’s time though and I hope I will be able to say its better. As yet I haven’t had time to go up the mountains myself (just wait ’til after the holidays, I’ll make up for it then) but Pete has and the verdict is that the fields are WAY smaller than we are used to in Europe. We did know this anyway so it wasn’t a surprise but we reckon its offset by only being an hour and a half’s drive away. The access we find leaves a lot to be desired as the tracks that lead up to the lift/carpark level are very often rough and don’t have barriers on the corners like they do in Europe. Most of them seem to require chains or 4 wheel drive (and sometimes both). The access is an adrenaline rush on its own. The club fields with the rope tows and nutcracker lifts are a novelty too, although we find the term ‘club field’ makes some people who have recently arrived think they are private when they are not and are open to the general public. It can be quite cheap to ski at the club fields if you look around for some of the specials but if you are going to ski regularly its best to get an earlybird season pass about Feb. time as that cuts the cost dramatically. During the school holidays the slopes are obviously busier than other times. This is the same as Europe. Midweek they are really quiet.

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

Moving to another country is always hard because of leaving people behind but it is a tremendous adventure. Just be prepared for the bad days and on them try to take an overall view of things. Things are different, some better and some worse, that’s what we have come out here for.

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

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