Frequently Asked QuestionsTOPIC - Immigrating to New Zealand
In general we felt the experience was ultimately going to benefit all of us for different reasons but the main reason was trying to provide our children with a better lifestyle and a valuable experience.
On the internet - www.immigration.govt.nz. This is the best place to go to initially find out what the criteria for emigrating to New Zealand is and how the process works. You can carry out an on-line assessment to see what your chances of qualifying are. You can make an application yourself or employ the services of a Registered Immigration Consultant to help with your application.
It wasn't easy but it wasn't impossible either! It's probably a different story for everyone and their experience will vary depending on individual circumstances. It was more frustrating because we applied ourselves and didn't fully understand the system. Be prepared to work your way through the application one step at a time.
Do your homework thoroughly before you decide to make the big move, it's a big adventure and exciting but can be very costly if you get it wrong. Make sure you will be able to afford the lifestyle you are dreaming of.
The transition is made easier if you find the right area and accommodation to move into when you first arrive so it pays to look around at your options carefully.
You will have lots of questions when you first arrive so it's really helpful to have someone you can call on to get some quick answers.
The whole process does push you out of your comfort zone for a while, be prepared to become more adaptable and make any necessary adjustments.
If you are really committed, chances are you are more than ready to take on any new challanges, in which case you are probably half way there already!
It took around 6 months for all of us to settle properly, that is for everyone to have made friends, find schools, found work etc. There was so much that happened in a short space of time, many changes and new information to take on board and for a while we were still dealing with our house sale in the UK. Again this will vary on individual circumstances but it's probably a good idea to allow this long to really find your way around and not feel like you are still on holiday!
There is a more ' laid back' and positive approach to life here than we were used to in the UK. Everyone asks 'how are you'" or "how's your day" and mostly people will reply - "good thanks". It has a positive knock on effect, even if you are having a bad day, no one tells you so you don't dwell on the negative.
We like the no nonsense, common sense mind set that exists here and there is a good balance between work and leisure time.
The weather in New Zealand really suits us, it's so nice having so many sunny days and it makes such a difference to how you feel.
New Zealand has four distinct seasons which suits us and is what we were used to. We didn't want to go a place that was too tropical or stayed the same most of the time, we love the sun but we still wanted to curl up in front of a log fire in winter which is eactly what we do. The best bit is that sometimes we get to enjoy both on the same day, whilst temperatures do drop in the winter, you still have sunny days and then it turns really cold at night and first thing in the morning...which is when you want that log fire going!
Only the distance we are from our family and friends in the UK but obviously we can't do much about that, we chose to live in New Zealand so you have to try to make it work the best you can by email or phone. Skype is available and facebook etc so it's just a case of finding the option that suits you and your family and friends best.
The hardest thing about trying to stay in touch is the time difference, when it's good for you it's not always a good time for them and vice versa.
We had older children to consider so we needed to be sure about the area where we were going to settle so we didn't disrupt their education any more than was necessary. In addition to having a holiday in New Zealand, two of us visited again for relocation purposes to thoroughly research the final 3 areas we had chosen from our initial internet searches. We felt it was a wise investment in both time and money compared to the consequences of getting it wrong as three people from our family were moving to a place they had never been to before!
There are a few people that don't settle and return back to the country that they came from. However, our removal company pointed out that many end up returning to New Zealand again, the shortest time they knew of was 2 weeks! Whilst this is good news for the removal companies, it is not so good for your bank balance not to mention that you have probably sold houses, belongings and vehicles plus given up jobs. It makes sense to know as much as you can but ultimately you have to trust your own instincts and make decisions that you feel are right for you.
TOPIC - Relocating to Nelson
We chose to live in Nelson because we had carried out extensive research on the internet and filtered down our options to three potential areas, Nelson being one of them. We then visited New Zealand again to check out and compare our top three places and Nelson was the obvious choice for our family.
It had everything we needed without being too big, we were looking for somewhere with good facilities and good rural areas, having some land and keeping cows was on the wish list!
It is a really diverse area, great outdoor facilities, walks, skiing, cycling routes and pathways and amazing bbq/picnic areas where family and friends all gather together. There's really good shops, big and small, something for everyone, being active or inactive are both equally enjoyable here!
Mostly great weather, Nelson being one of the sunniest places in New Zealand, often missing the worst of a gloomy forecast. However, when it rains, it can really rain hard but the sun is reliably never too far away.
It really depends on your qualifications and experience, if you have skills that are sought after or unique, then probably you have the same chance of finding work here as you would anywhere but definitely do as much research and contact local employment agencies to investigate your potential employment options in Nelson.
There is a really good choice of schools for all ages, we were told this by everyone before we came here. The main difference seems to be that once a child reaches middle school (age 11/year 7) or college (age 13/year 9) some schools seem to be better suited to children or families than others and it's just a matter of preference.
We found that it wasn't unusual for siblings of the same family to attend different middle schools or colleges, each having different personalities and strengths or simply wanting to stay with a core group of friends from primary school, pretty much anything goes.
Yes, really good. This was something that we worried about when we were doing internet searches, we thought that Nelson may be a bit small with limited facilities but once we had visited Nelson in person we found there was plenty of choice and you never have too far to travel to get to places.
For 'shopaholics', if you need a change of scene there is always the option of hopping on a plane to a larger city like Wellington, Christchurch or Auckland but the Nelson area is building up, Tasman is one of the fastest growning areas in New Zealand.
Nelson has a newly completed 'Fashion Island',a retail/food area in the heart of Nelson City whilst Richmond has a shopping mall with food hall and two supermarkets and new funky library with coffee shop and paved pediestrian community area. Motueka was voted the best Town in New Zealand, this surely speaks for itself and now they are the proud owners of a new community hospital facility that has taken the community years of fund raising and work to reach completion.
There is amazing sporting facilities here which are well looked after, Saxton Field Sports Complex, which has to be amongst the best in the country.
Occasionally we miss the level of choice that we had in the UK however that is improving all the time.
There is no train service to Nelson which is a shame but there is a good domestic flight service and great airport in Nelson which is easy to use and gets you to most parts of New Zealand really quickly and saves lots of time and hours of driving.
Whilst there is public bus service with a reasonable timetable operating in urban areas, services to rural areas are fairly limited.
The biggest thing for us is missing our family, we didn't live very far away from the majority of our family and friends in the UK and we really miss being able to pop in for a chat and a hug or family get togethers.
We miss Christmas being cold, it just doesn't seem the same going to the beach on Christmas Day which is quite common here. Some traditions are hard to break so we still do our roast dinners with plenty of yorkshire puddings and gravy, even when it's boiling hot!
One of the interesting things about moving away from a country for any length of time is that it gives you a chance to view things from a different perspective, it would be nice to go back to the UK now as a tourist, we would undoubtedly appreciate it's history and european links far more now than we ever did when we lived there!