What made you choose New Zealand as a destination?
We first considered immigrating to New Zealand back in the 1990’s, so we already knew a lot about New Zealand from talking to various friends who had visited or lived here, and from our own investigations. We wanted to live in a country that offered better weather, great scenery, friendly people, a much lower population density, and affordable living.
How did you start your journey?
In September 2010 I attended an event at the Motor Cycle Museum in Birmingham (Down Under Live), where Migration Associates had a stand. MA provided all the information, guidance and in-depth knowledge we needed to obtain our visas. At two stages of the process we hit stumbling blocks: once early on when additional professional accreditation was required, and later when one part of the acceptability requirements changed unexpectedly. MA’s assistance was invaluable in finding a suitable route forward in both instances. Without MA’s help we would probably not have persisted beyond the initial problem.
Now you’re in New Zealand, how are you settling in?
Very well. We had decided in advance that we wanted to get involved in local activities, wherever we ended up living. We went out into the local community and did just that. The people here have been welcoming, helpful, friendly, and encouraging. We feel especially fortunate that all those things we wanted to pursue have been available locally, and we feel at home here.
Did you have any expectations of New Zealand life? Is it meeting those expectations?
We expected the pace of life to be slower than that in the UK, and we thought that the sense of community would be stronger. In terms of being involved in local community activities, our expectations have been exceeded. In addition the weather is as good as we had hoped! We appreciate the snow-free winters, and we love the long hot summers.
Do you have any tips for people considering New Zealand as a place to live?
Think carefully about your temperament. Outside of the cities such as Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch, the pace of life is certainly slower than the UK, and some may find it too quiet. New Zealand is a sparsely populated country, and though it is well-developed, it cannot offer the range and scope of entertainments or industries that America or Europe can, Therefore, sometimes you will need to travel long distances to take advantage of events that you would usually enjoy locally, and work opportunities (depending on your area of expertise) can be correspondingly scarce. Do your homework on the climate of North and South Islands – there is a considerable difference between them!
If you like friendly, down to earth people, enjoy quiet roads and stunning scenery, and are prepared to join in with your community, then you will “get” New Zealand, just as we have.