Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My husband and I, along with our 2 year old, are planning to move from the United States to New Zealand (Christchurch).
This is going to be an adventure for our family. We have never lived outside the United States. My husband and I enjoy the outdoors very much and cannot help but be captivated by New Zealand's beauty, and all that we've read about the way of life there.

My husband is a commercial/industrial electrician, so we'd like to know id Christchurch is a promising place for him to secure a job in the electrical/construction field.

Any advice or helpful information about what to expect from life in New Zealand would be most appreciated. (best suburbs in Christchurch to live, what is life like in New Zealand compared to the States, opinions about the best and worst things about living in NZ (Christchurch, in particular).

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,133 Posts
My husband and I, along with our 2 year old, are planning to move from the United States to New Zealand (Christchurch).
This is going to be an adventure for our family. We have never lived outside the United States. My husband and I enjoy the outdoors very much and cannot help but be captivated by New Zealand's beauty, and all that we've read about the way of life there.

My husband is a commercial/industrial electrician, so we'd like to know id Christchurch is a promising place for him to secure a job in the electrical/construction field.

Any advice or helpful information about what to expect from life in New Zealand would be most appreciated. (best suburbs in Christchurch to live, what is life like in New Zealand compared to the States, opinions about the best and worst things about living in NZ (Christchurch, in particular).

Thanks.
Hi there

You will find things different here - look for other earlier threads that discuss the things that American citizens have found.

The main themes that seem to come out are
  1. the expense of electrical items
  2. the lack of convenience foods
  3. the lack of insulation and heating in older houses.

1 and 2 are difficult to get round (especially as US appliances work off a different power supply - we use 240v like the UK). But for 3 (which is I think the most important) just make sure that the house you rent/buy has been insulated. Newer builds are usually OK.

Brits find the same problems - but I think for Americans it's an even bigger change.

But I think the laid-back lifestyle of NZ and the wonderful outdoors more than makes up for it :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Moving to NZ

My husband and I, along with our 2 year old, are planning to move from the United States to New Zealand (Christchurch).
This is going to be an adventure for our family. We have never lived outside the United States. My husband and I enjoy the outdoors very much and cannot help but be captivated by New Zealand's beauty, and all that we've read about the way of life there.

My husband is a commercial/industrial electrician, so we'd like to know id Christchurch is a promising place for him to secure a job in the electrical/construction field.

Any advice or helpful information about what to expect from life in New Zealand would be most appreciated. (best suburbs in Christchurch to live, what is life like in New Zealand compared to the States, opinions about the best and worst things about living in NZ (Christchurch, in particular).
Thanks.



Hi MissRose,

My husband and I just moved to Christchurch from the States about a month ago. He is a mechanical engineer and works in sewer systems. I agree with what tomcat has said. Also to add to that I would say when grocery shopping you don't have near the selection of items. My husband and I are pretty health conscience and it is difficult to find low fat options at the grocery. Not that you can't find some alternatives to make it work, if that's important to you. I would say eating out in general is somewhat more expensive, but not at this current exchange rate. :) I guess it's depends on where you are coming from in the U.S. We came from middle of nowhere Ohio, so cost of living was inexpensive.

Finding housing in Chch can be difficult. With the influx of people coming in to help with the rebuild and people being displaced from their homes to have their homes fixed from earthquake damage. I would say if you find something that will work for your family jump on it. We found something, but thought it was to soon to make a decision because we had not looked long. We lost that house and then had a difficult time finding another house.

It might sound like there are a lot of negatives, but these are just things I wish I would have known beforehand to be prepared. Otherwise I can honestly say we made the right decision to move here. We are loving it so far! People here are so helpful and genuinely nice! So much to do outdoors :) It is an unbelievable place! I hope we are able to stay longer than our two year visas. If you have any other more specific questions I would love to help you out. Good luck with everything! Cheers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks everyone!

We are coming from Las Vegas, Nevada. Not sure how cost of living here compares to Ohio.

I'm glad for all of the information. It's very helpful to hear all of the "negatives" as well, as that will help us to look into those things ahead of time and be prepared. We are still in the beginning stages of the immigration process. After having submitted our EOI and having sufficient points, we are currently submitting our Full check Initial Assessment.
We're pretty sure we'll need to rent when we first arrive...that way we can get to know the area and decide where to settle.

Our family is not all that into "convenience foods" anyways. We like eating organic and cooking from scratch as much as possible. (hoping there are plenty of farmers markets in NZ...)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
another question regarding the immigration process:

About how long can we expect the immigration process to take (rough estimate, assuming we're approved and all goes smoothly)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Hey,

Hope the visa and moving process goes smoothyl for you guys. Have been living n Christchurch for 5 weeks now (from UK) and am really enjoying life here. Certainly compared to the UK people are really friendly and the scenery never ceases to amaze me. I would say that renting in Christchurch is tricky given the number of people trying to find a place outside of the earthquake affected areas, but it's not impossible to find a decent place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
MrsRose said:
another question regarding the immigration process:

About how long can we expect the immigration process to take (rough estimate, assuming we're approved and all goes smoothly)?
We got two year visas. We went through an immigration lawyer who helped expedite the application, so it took about 2 weeks. This was after we completed health requirements (physical, blood work, xrays) and background checks. We have heard that it can take up to 6 weeks based on possible backlog.

Make sure you are very thorough with requirements and follow all instructions in submitting the application to make sure you get approved the first time. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
another question regarding the immigration process:

About how long can we expect the immigration process to take (rough estimate, assuming we're approved and all goes smoothly)?
After all of the medicals and police checks we went through the Consulate General in LA as we are in the Western part of the US and it took two days to process. Our applications were for a 3 year student visa and a 3 year work visa.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Hello, I dont have much advice to give, but we are in the same situation...my husband is an electrician, but we are really wanting to be in the Auckland area...if you would be willing, I'd love to be able to email back and forth, and be able to update each other on any new info we have figured out... Are you using an immigration service or doing it on your own? Anyway, let me know if you would like to exchange email addresses...thanks, and good luck to you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
889 Posts
Hi,

Once you have made 5 posts you can send MrsRose or anybody else a PM Private Message & that way you can exchange email addresses, likewise MrsRose could PM you with the information if she chooses to.

Good luck.
Anyway it''s always a should we or shouldn't we. Believe me I am an expert at relocating, done it more than 10 times in the past 55 years with the most moves in the past 14 years. It's a huge adventure & learning curve, & even if it oes not work out you will still take away life experiences.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Should be leaving the USA within the month (cross my fingers) and on the way to a life on the North Island beach at the mouth of the Manawatu River. I look forward to great fish and chips, chocolate, fresh garden vegetables, good environment and nice people. I'll be the big white American on a bicycle accompanied by my Kiwi wife if you happen to cruise by. I am really looking forward to a less hectic life and enjoying the outdoors. We'll be reviving the local radio station too so keep your ears open for "Foxy and the Yank." :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Should be leaving the USA within the month (cross my fingers) and on the way to a life on the North Island beach at the mouth of the Manawatu River. I look forward to great fish and chips, chocolate, fresh garden vegetables, good environment and nice people. I'll be the big white American on a bicycle accompanied by my Kiwi wife if you happen to cruise by. I am really looking forward to a less hectic life and enjoying the outdoors. We'll be reviving the local radio station too so keep your ears open for "Foxy and the Yank." :)
Awesome! Be sure to webcast it as well!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Mrs Rose



I am from Christchurch which is my home town - I grew up there and I know everything there is to know about Chch, I literally just left (thank God I married a Canadian!)

Pro's
- Awesome access to beaches, mountains (hiking, skiing), rivers, adventure tourism etc
- Generally speaking its cleaner, safer (so long as you're not reckless or just plain stupid).
- Less fast food (which is also expensive on purpose), even though we're 2nd fattest in the world to the US, we don't rely that much on convenience food. We don't have 7/11's, we have dairies which sell bread, milk, junkfood, magazines etc at exorbitant prices, usually run by immigrants.
- Its very easy to have a rural existence in an urban city like Christchurch
- There is no such thing as traffic (comparatively to Auckland), even during 'rush hour' its pretty cruisy.
- Everyone is pretty friendly, and expect you to be open and friendly as well. Its pretty normal to have strangers nod their head and smile at you during a walk, or have people open doors for you, or let you go in front of them in traffic. If you break down on side of the road, people will generously and sincerely help you, no strings attached.
- No large or poisonous animals to worry about, the animal at the top of the food chain out here is your friendly neighborhood cat. You might see or hear the odd possom at night. But seriously - all we've got are lovely little critter insects that don't hurt you that our beautiful native birds like to eat.
- Unlike the US, we are not workaholics and we don't value nor encourage workaholism. Our business hours are family friendly. Most stores open at 8am and close at 5-6pm (all dairies close at 8pm). So if you forgot to buy some milk, you harden up and go without til the next day unless you're so desperate you drive to the nearby BP gas station to sell an organ just to afford their milk. Theres no such thing as 24 hour Walmarts or Drugstores.


Con's

- Umm I hate to say this but most New Zealanders have a strong distaste for Americans. And its highly likely you will get beaten up if you're overheard to say "Gawd Bless AMERICA!!", "If it weren't for America..", "We rule the free world!", "George Bush - what a wonderful man he is!" Also, politics is much more of a private thing in NZ. Its highly insulting to demand a politics debate from someone (since who anyone votes for is their own business not yours) and they hate it even more litening to American's spitting tirades on the opposing side to their chosen party. We honestly don't care.

- In case you've been living in a cave, or maybe CNN or Fox just didn't think it was news worthy but last February (2011), Chch was hit by a huge earthquake. It was bad. Our CBD (downtown) was reduced to rubble, the majority east side of Christchurch is unlivable (because the city is built on an old swamp). Our infrastructure is back up but things are really difficult for a lot of residents hereformany reasons. If you're a trades person, we love you and want you to help us build our city, if not, theres not a lot of work opportunity. Also, the housing situation here is pretty bad. Be expected to pay A LOT for a house that is undamaged and comes with no insulation. Because of the rebuild, no matter where you live you will have to live with the sound of roadworks on your street for a very long time since the majority of the city's pipes are heavily damaged and need to be repaired. Oh did I mention the roads? Lets just say - you're gonna need a car no wait a 4WD with excellent suspension. Though its great if you're in the car mechanics industry.

My recommendation, is that you live in the West side in undamaged family friendly suburbs like Halswel, Hillmorton, Westmorland, Papanui, Belfast. And if you really like the rural lifestyle with a commute to Chch I recommend Lincoln, Rangiora, Pegasus, Tai tapu, Rolleston. But be prepared to come with a lot of money as houses are in high demand and landlords/realtors have no qualms about raising the cost with the high demand.

Last but not least, the aftershocks are slowly but surely going away (hopefully! kinda hard to predict), but they do still occur every now and then but theyre nothing to worry about. Just little wobblies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
On a second note I also recommend you research everything to do with the February earthquake and how its impacted us, and the infrastructure and systems etc just so you know what you're getting yourself into...

And on a third note if people hear your accent and suddenly look grumpy at you, say you're Canadian and you're from some some obscure place like Saskatoon lol.. If you want to win New Zealanders over quickly - learn rugby and enjoy it - fast. A love of rugby will cover all your sins incl being American. Jokes LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
- Umm I hate to say this but most New Zealanders have a strong distaste for Americans. And its highly likely you will get beaten up if you're overheard to say "Gawd Bless AMERICA!!", "If it weren't for America..", "We rule the free world!", "George Bush - what a wonderful man he is!" Also, politics is much more of a private thing in NZ. Its highly insulting to demand a politics debate from someone (since who anyone votes for is their own business not yours) and they hate it even more litening to American's spitting tirades on the opposing side to their chosen party. We honestly don't care.

Haha. I'm hoping we won't be perceived as 'typical' Americans. We don't exactly have the 'typical' patriotic attitude about the US...hence, the immigrating to NZ. :D

We understand that the US is a good country to live in compared to some other places when it comes to cost of living, opportunity, freedom, etc... But really, the US isn't what it used to be. And I don't know how anyone could argue that we rule the free world when we are so financially indebted to other countries.



Anyways, where our family moves in NZ (north or south island) will depend on where we get the best job offer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Mrs Rose



I am from Christchurch which is my home town - I grew up there and I know everything there is to know about Chch, I literally just left (thank God I married a Canadian!)

.

Thank you for a detailed post. I loved the South Island and work in IT (may up my skills if I decided to live there). I visited the South Island last year and fell in love with it (West Coast, Te Anau, Queen Charlotte Drive, Haast Pass etc). I visited Christchurch a week before the earthquake too.


Can I ask you why you seem happy about leaving Christchurch ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
I hate to say this but most New Zealanders have a strong distaste for Americans.
Kiakaha_Chch,

Wow, so I take it you don't like Americans. Stereotypes abound! :lol::lol::lol: It is quite trendy not to like Americans, I googled it and found out. I am quite satisfied to leave people to their own bigotry, I know everyone does not share the same opinion. USA is on my birth certificate and not imprinted on my soul or forehead. But I do have a Kiwi wedding ring on my finger. :D

I had asked about living in Christchurch and everyone told me it was destroyed and only the rich parts survived. I like it because it is a small town by the ocean. The "pros" above are the trade-offs of living in a small town. Rural life where the streets roll up before dark, less people and so less of many things. Must be quite quaint and I look forward to visiting it. Thanks for the posts. :clap2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Antipathy towards Americans isn't unique to NZ; generally huge countries that have the population and economy to allow insularity inspire rancour in others. You could change American to Russian or Chinese and get a similar reaction.

Prejudice isn't right; neither is behaving badly and using culture as an excuse. I've seen many do the former towards Americans...and many Americans do the latter.

Be a good, mindful, and self-reflective person and it's all good!
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top