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Thread: Hi from a Kiwi

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    People Space's Avatar
    People Space is offline Senior Member
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    Default Hi from a Kiwi

    Hi folk,
    I ended up chatting here because I know may people who have made the move to NZ, and came across this site when trying to answer some of their Qs. They come from all over: the UK, Turkey, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, USA, Japan, China and South Africa to name but a few.

    I enjoy helping people out with all sorts of odd queries, and particularly enjoy learning about other ways of seeing and doing things. It makes you realise the assumptions you make without realising it.

    I have an architecture practice in Christchurch, and love working with people to create their unique space to suit the way they live. I also find so many people are disappointed with the insulation levels they find in NZ buildings when they arrive from other climates. We need more people to say "that's not good enough" sometimes.

    I really admire all you people who have made the big move to such an out-of-the way place! Especially as I find out about the trials of the application process you go through. Wow. You are really keen to get here. You make me realise what I take for granted as a Kiwi. I am sure you will make this place even better by being here.

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    Hi People Space and a belated official 'Welcome' to MTZ.

    It's great that kiwis come onto forums like this because we really need and appreciate the input from people other than those going through the difficult process of immigration as it adds an extra dimension. There's nothing quite like getting information from someone inside the country who knows how things work.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

  3. #3
    People Space's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotherBear View Post
    Hi People Space and a belated official 'Welcome' to MTZ. ...
    Yes I did take a while to introduce myself properly... I tend to lurk around and try to be helpful rather than Jump in and say "G'day!"
    - a bit of Kiwi reticence at play?

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    Default brrrr...

    hey people space!

    I know exactly what you are talking about. I am from Austria and was totally shocked when I first came to NZ and saw the houses.
    And my first NZ winter was a horror for me (although I live in Auckland) and everybody was laughing at me and said: " You are from Austria you should be used to cold weather...haha..." yes but not inside a house man!!

    crazy how Kiwis can survive the winter here....without proper houses.

    Cheers, Anita
    Internship Auckland Feb - May 2008
    Back to Austria June 2008
    Visitor Visa applied June 13 2008
    Visitor Visa approved July 16 2008 till March 2009
    Work permit lodged November 12 2008
    Work permit approved January 29 2009 till 29/01/2010
    Engaged to a Maori-Fiji-Scotish Man since April 2009
    Getting married 2/01/2010 in Austria!!

    Permanent Residence lodged 21/08/2009
    PR approved May 2010


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    steinbock is offline Member
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    Default



    And then you find them walking around in shorts and t-shirts at 10C like in the middle of summer.

    I must admit I've been shocked too, but used to it later. I've put on extra fleece and winter socks

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    francis1962 is offline Member
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    Default haven't they got walls

    Hi

    I'm a bit confused

    Seen this mentioned quite a few times on the forum... but what is the problem with NZ houses??

    Are they not insulated?

    Maybe better buying a section and building to my own specs


    Francis

  7. #7
    People Space's Avatar
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    New Zealand houses: a quick familiarisation.
    - I hope I don't scare people off with this, but it is worth knowing! The things you will find different about NZ houses will depend on what you expect...

    Most houses in NZ are single family houses on separate sections. A few are semi-detached where one wall is shared with a neighbouring house, and there are some apartments or "flats" generally in higher density areas of cities.

    A rough and very general guide to housing construction periods:
    Really old stuff (for NZ)1840-1880:
    in the same style as English housing of the period.
    small worker's cottages built at this time and later were weatherboard on timber frame
    1870-1918 villa:
    weatherboard on timber frame or double brick central corridor with rooms either side
    1910-1935 Californian bungalow:
    weatherboard on timber frame, rooms opening off a central wide entry hall.
    Roofing for all these is generally corrugated steel, and if maintained, this is still in good nick after 100+ yrs.
    1930-1945 Art Deco/Moderne(pared back, cheaper Art Deco):
    Roughcast plastered cladding on timber frame, parapets and flat roofs, some curved walls.
    1940-1960 NZ State house and NZ Modern:
    The population grew a lot during the baby boom and much of NZ housing was built during this period. Mainly what we call the "state house". (There was a lot of government built welfare housing), timber framed weatherboard or brick veneer, concrete tile roof on about 700m2 sections. Many of these are now privately owned. At the same time there were NZ Modern houses, weatherboard on timber frame, but shallow pitched corrugated steel roofs, sometimes monopitched.
    1970s:
    some concrete block construction, but mainly weatherboard or brick on timber frame, and continuing the more open plan 1960s modern plan, but more use of gables, variation in cladding on a wall. Aluminium window joinery.
    1980-present: plaster on polystyrene or fibre cement sheet became common for cladding. Parapets and plain smooth wall cladding.

    Insulation
    New Zealand houses prior 1977 were not required to be insulated, so they weren't. Then insulation was required, but it was very minimal. Now reasonable levels are required, but not as high as many people from Europe and North America are used to having. Window glazing is only recently required to be at a certain R value, and that is low. Insulation has been added to the areas of some older houses that have been easy to access, particularly ceilings.

    (Note: When looking at insulation values here, if you are used to imperial R values for insulation, these do not correspond with metric R values. The equivalent R values in metric are a lot smaller. To convert imperial to metric, multiply R values by 0.17611)

    It can be very difficult to convince a Kiwi to spend money on something invisible like a higher than required level of insulation. I have tried... It is not seen as increasing the value of a house.

    Heating
    Central heating is very uncommon in NZ. Most houses are heated by electric portable heaters or wood burners. The general expectation in NZ is that only living areas need to be heated. Kiwis wear warmer clothing and live with the chill. The average temperature in NZ living rooms in winter is about 16C which is below the 18 minimum recommended for health. So half are colder than this in winter...

    Homes built after the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake were commonly light timber framed. A solid brick house doesn't have the elasticity that timber does, and is heavy, so an earthquake does more damage to it. If a house is described as brick in NZ (unless it is specifically a double brick house) it will be brick veneer cladding over a timber frame. Steel framed houses are a little more common now. Masonry construction in NZ is primarily steel reinforced concrete block. This is used commercially and residentially.

    Damp and Draughts (Drafts)
    Older houses are often draughtier, timber framed with no building paper, lath and plaster rather than plasterboard, and tongue in groove flooring, badly maintained windows with gaps, which all makes the lack of insulation and central heating rather obvious.

    Leaks from poor maintenance in older houses or poor construction and maintenance in more recent houses, plus poor ventilation and heating can lead to dampness, mould and health issues, and rotting of timber. Before renting or buying, check for signs of these issues.

    Sun
    Many older (Pre 1930) houses were built to address/face the street and ignored the sun direction, so they sometimes have most windows facing the south (no sun).

    Not all houses are bad, but you need to be aware of the local issues when looking.

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    MotherBear's Avatar
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    This gives you some idea of what goes into building a NZ house by clicking, particularly, on the Interior and Exterior links. This is also worth reading.

    To summarise People Space's very helpful post, it's best to look for a house where most of the windows face north and be careful about buying/renting a place which might be hidden from the sun's warming rays by surrounding hills or mountains for at least part of the day. Central heating is available at a price and one of the cleaner, reasonably cheaper methods is by heat pumps which work on the same principal as air conditioning. Pink batts are a popular method of insulating. Not sure what they're made of but they are slabs of pink stuff that can fit under floors where there isn't a concrete base or in between the inner and outer walls.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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    People Space's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotherBear View Post
    Pink batts are a popular method of insulating. Not sure what they're made of but they are slabs of pink stuff that can fit under floors where there isn't a concrete base or in between the inner and outer walls.
    Thanks MB!
    Pink batts are one brand of fibreglass batt thermal insulation - coloured pink to make them look even warmer! They have the biggest market share locally, and are made locally with a significant proportion of recycled glass. All fibreglass batts need to be handled with care because of the fine glass fibres. The manufacturers advise the recommended gear to wear: usually long sleeves gloves , goggles and dust mask.

    Fibreglass batts fit in between (also over in ceilings) the timber framing of floors, walls and ceilings, with specific batts for each use.

  10. #10
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    Smile NZ has tremendous cold climate

    You should adapt to NZ cold climate and in the future you will be accustomed to it .

    thanks


    Quote Originally Posted by anyta@gmx.at View Post
    hey people space!

    I know exactly what you are talking about. I am from Austria and was totally shocked when I first came to NZ and saw the houses.
    And my first NZ winter was a horror for me (although I live in Auckland) and everybody was laughing at me and said: " You are from Austria you should be used to cold weather...haha..." yes but not inside a house man!!

    crazy how Kiwis can survive the winter here....without proper houses.

    Cheers, Anita

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