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Thread: So is all you dreamed it would be??

  1. #1
    Chezzle is offline Junior Member
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    Sep 2011

    Default So is all you dreamed it would be??

    Id love to hear if moving to New Zealand was all you thought it would be or did you have regrets? Was it lonely in the beginning, is it still? How did the kids settle in? Did you find cost of living expensive or get a culture shock when you arrived... Good or bad I'd love to hear it....

  2. #2
    MotherBear's Avatar
    MotherBear is offline The missing link
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    currently Ras al Khaimah, UAE, ex Wales, UK
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    Hi Chezzle and welcome to MTNZ.

    I think the question 'Is moving to NZ all you thought it would be?' would be answered very differently by different people - some being very enthusiastic and positive but others being very negative, depending on the amount of research done before moving and their experiences since being in the country. I can't give a definitive answer myself as I'm not officially living there yet although I've made several visits, the last one for 4 months and the visits were more 'real life' than as a tourist as my husband and I have a home there although don't have residency yet (under way as I speak). Regarding cost of living, some things are more expensive whereas others are cheaper. Being a long way from anywhere else, importing goods into NZ adds to the cost of some items, as you'd expect. If you want to do a practice shop to see what a weekly food shop would cost you, try looking on here under Shopping. Some of the larger supermarket chains have online shopping so you can see the price of items. The NZ Website List hasn't been updated for quite a while so I don't know if some of the links will be defunct now. Let me know if you have a problem with any of them.

    Regarding the subject of kids settling in NZ, I guess that can depend on their age when they arrive there. Some older kids are resistent to change as they've had to leave behind a network of friends and possibly a girlfriend or boyfriend and it can be difficult for them to settle to begin with. Some may never settle properly and decide to return to their own country when they are old enough. On the whole though, I think many younger children settle well and make friends easily. Being open to new friendships is vital for both youngsters and adults - don't expect kiwis to come flocking to you without any effort on your part. A friendly smile and a few words of greeting go a long way to bonding with them. I find that, generally, kiwis are friendly, helpful and outgoing people. Immersing yourselves into what's going on in your new neighborhood is a good way of meeting people and joining clubs or groups of like-minded people is both interesting and useful. From what I gather, kids seem to settle even better than adults and appear to be absorbed into kiwi life by other children without a problem.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

  3. #3
    vinceandsharon is offline Junior Member
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    Jan 2012

    Default NZ is not all i dreamed it would be

    Quote Originally Posted by Chezzle View Post
    Id love to hear if moving to New Zealand was all you thought it would be or did you have regrets? Was it lonely in the beginning, is it still? How did the kids settle in? Did you find cost of living expensive or get a culture shock when you arrived... Good or bad I'd love to hear it....

    we have lived here for just over 5years and I can tell you NZ and the people are not all they appear to be.
    I was reading a post by another member who listed stuff he disliked about NZ - he was pretty spot on.

    They work long hours and are not at all productive - i used to work in the shipping industry - my first employer Panamex ripped me off blatantly - basically never paid my bonus (its a long story). Another employer offered me a job, sent me the contract and i signed it and was just about to hand in my notice to quite when they suddenly declined and withdrew the contract.

    We lived in Auckland for 4 years and then moved to Tauranga and i have just finished building my house - WOW what a nightmare, Kiwis are seriously unprofessional and will rip you off whenever they can.
    The place we rented we had hastle with Ray WHite - they claimed we did damage when we left and took us to court and they won ! But we have just appealed. If your white you're screwed.
    The drivers are unbelievable (bad) - anyway, must pop out now as i'm only just beginning with my rant.

    One good thing is the weather.
    Please email me or contact me if you want info. on anything - we have done pretty much everything (including bringing our dog from Spain, we lived there for 3 years before here).

  4. #4
    NewtoNZ12 is offline Junior Member
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    Jan 2012


    I have recently heard many negative things from people who have moved to NZ and starting to get worried

    We are not going in this with our eyes closed and have spent many weeks over there researching the areas around Welly, we hired a campervan and travelled around a lot, and found their driving to be better than over in the UK!! However I am starting to worry that we wont be the fresh start that we hoped!

  5. #5
    nickydwuk's Avatar
    nickydwuk is offline God like figure
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    May 2007
    Was Oxford nr Chch, NZ now UK
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    I can only give you our experiences and opinions - we all have our own and what one person finds okay another won't.

    We arrived in NZ in 2008 having never visited before. We chose to settle in Christchurch (that's where I had my job offer). We had already bought a house before we left UK (a gamble, I know but it paid off). On the whole we had no 'bad' experiences. I struggled in my first job - not sure if it was a combination of people,the work and homesickness combined. When I changed jobs I became much happier, had better work colleagues and began to really settle. Money was a little tight and OH tried to find some work but never managed to find anything permanent 0 but then he never really seriously looked. My daughter secured a job and even starred in an advert on NZ TV!!! Not something she would have achieved in the UK. You can see in this post Nearly 4 month post .... why we decided to return. Not because of anything NZ did or didn't do/have but more us. the one mistake we did make and I would urge everybody making the move to not make the same one was to comparte everything to the UK. What is available in the shops is different to the UK - you have to learn to compromise. If what you have always used is not available then use something different rather than pine for what you have lost. We did a lot of that and I think that was part of our problem.

    We have been back on the UK now nearly 3 years and we are planning our return. Things in the UK were not as we remembered it (rose tinted glasses the other way round ) We are not unhappy in the UK but we remember our life - albeit short - in NZ and it was more relaxed. I had good employers, we are happy with our own company, we made contact with some forumites and maybe in time we would have formed friendships with them or others we met on our travels.

    Don't let other people experineces put you off one way or another. As I said, we are all individuals and what we each want and are willing to sacrifice or work towards is different. I know if we hadn't given the move a go we would still be wondering 'what if ...' now. Good luck with your decision
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  6. #6
    Cliff's Avatar
    Cliff is offline Oh Masterful One
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    Nelson, NZ
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    For me it was the smartest thing I ever did. I have been here 15 years and consider myself lucky to be here. To respond to your questions:

    1. Was it lonely in the beginning, is it still? For me no but I have always been a bit of a loner. Phone calls were $2 a minute when I first came. Now I chat on Skype to family and friends overseas daily for nothing. When I first came all you had was dial-up internet, now you have broadband in most places and reasonable speed too. I am 17 meg to the exchange. Several times faster than I had in the USA. No regrets for me, just glad I did it.

    2. How did the kids settle in? I don't have any kids so I can't respond to that.

    3. Did you find the cost of living expensive? Yes some things are more expensive. If I am going to but a big ticket item like a new computer or a good pair of hiking boots I will order from overseas. Even paying the import GST and international freight it is still cheaper. So specialty items are sometimes better sourced from overseas. The market here is small so for very low volume items they have a higher mark-up. Not a complaint that is just how things are.

    4. Did I get a culture shock when you arrived? Not so much a shock as I needed to adjust to the things. Example: people by and large go to bed by 9pm where as in the USA it is a 24 hour place. So if you want to go to the grocery store at 3:00am think again.

    If you come from or have lived in a small place it will be easier than if you come from a big city. New Zealand is like living in a small town in many ways. For example your reputation is important. If you do somebody wrong or really mess up everybody knows and will have nothing to do with you. So you and other people don't do this. If you do you will have to leave the country. If you are specialist in some field or industry you will know all your peers in the country and they will know you even if you never met. If you are good they will know it and if you aren't they will know that too. Everybody knows everybody so watch out if you talk bad about someone because they may be related. I have met people who went to school with the prime minister or their kids go to school with his kids. You will see all the famous people from TV and politics on the street, same as everybody else and not locked far away from the normal public. They take the same flights as you and not their private jet. I have been on the same plane with a former prime minister, they got on and off the same as me. That would never ever happen in the USA. In a nutshell people are more accessible. This is a classless society where there is no difference between rich and normal people. I have seen multi millionaires who drive simple cars and put in their own petrol and are the nicest people you would ever meet. You would never know the own huge office buildings. I digress sorry for rambling own.

    For each person it is different. Why are you coming to NZ and what do you think it will be like. I learned long ago you can either be happy or miserable anywhere. It is what you make of it. You can whinge (complain) or make the best of what you have. Here I can go for a walk on a deserted beach any time I want. In the USA you can't do that because most likely it is privately owned and a no trespassing zone to boot. So some things are free you can't even have in other places. One thing I marvel at even after 15 years is little school children walking to school each morning and walking home each afternoon. These are young kids where their back pack is bigger than they are. I hope you get the picture. You won't ever see that in the USA as the kid will never make it to the end of the block without being kidnapped. I have met more than one person who moved her to give their kids a better life. Some even gave up better paying jobs to do it. In my own words if you move to New Zealand you won't get rich but will live a rich life.

    Hope that gives you some insight. I can ramble on for hours. If you have any specific question feel free to ask.
    MotherBear and nickydwuk like this.


    Nelson, New Zealand
    NZ Citizenship in 2000, been in NZ 15 years now
    Arrived NZ in 1997 from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

    "New Zealand isn't just a physical place it is a state of mind."

  7. #7
    NewtoNZ12 is offline Junior Member
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    Jan 2012


    Thanks for the info Cliff, defiantly sounds like your very settled there!

    Can't wait to leave and get over there now - even with the pay cut!

  8. #8
    baj is offline Junior Member
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    Aug 2012


    Hi- I realize it has been awhile since this thread was active, but I think it's good for those contemplating the move to see.

    I had no expectation as I knew little about NZ besides the fact that it was not the U.S. and where it was located. Loved it on our week long visit to check out my husband's job and have been here for 18 months. We are in the Northland and we LOVE the terrain, beaches, etc. Have just bought our first home.

    Our youngest son was 6 when we moved and did not skip a beat. Goes to school barefoot, no coat, plays rugby and says a lot of "ayes" and "sweet as's and has been welcomed by his peers, neighbors and teachers. His is the youngest of 9 in our blended family and we wish all the older ones could have grown up in this amazing setting. Schools are rated 7th in the nation (US is 22nd) and we are thrilled with the cultural diversity in our coastal small school that has a dolphin bell so the kids can come see if dolphins pass. (we recently had a pod of 15 orca, but not during school)

    NZ IS small and everyone does seem to know everyone.Everyone says that and it takes a little while to experience it, but you see if fairly soon. I have found Kiwis open and friendly and giving. I LOVE that the "native language" is very earth-based and into mind-body and holistic alternatives. We have found an amazing nest of folks living intentionally and lots of artists and creative souls. Yes, you will get a negative reputation if you go around bad mouthing folks or providing a poor service, but who wants to be that person no matter where you are??? And remember, much of this country is made of immigrants, so being an immigrant isn't all that foreign to the locals-- but all the more reason to be respectful of the indigenous and multi-generational Kiwi culture.

    I think you have to be happy and at peace with yourself and open up to accepting the new cultural experience in a nonjudgmental way to get the most out of NZ. I see us as the guests here-- we are not here to change the status quo. Groceries and gas are more expensive, yes. UK think that the housing prices rock. Compared to US they are more expensive. Our life is so much more simple and real and down to earth in NZ and that saves us much more than we lose.

    It seems that folks that do not really want to be here or are part of a couple and feel pushed to come struggle the most. If the family approaches it as an adventure, respects the differences, are openminded and happy in your own skin all can be very well- idyllic even (which inevitable bumps, because that goes with life). Leaving family and friends has its challenges but with the internet and $.04/minute phone calls internationally you only have yourself to blame if you feel too much of a disconnect. My visits and interactions with my older kids and relatives are more intense and genuine than they ever were when I was hosting a family gathering and barely getting to talk to anyone. I do think the bottom line is that nature lovers appear to be the most satisfied with NZ. This isn't the place for mall-bunnies and super-material people. Hope this is helpful to someone.


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