Review of NZ Meal Kit Delivery Services

Do you ever struggle with meal plans? I know we certainly do! Going to the supermarket every week is the process of adulting that I despise. Even back in England, we would organise a weekly shop of basics to be delivered to us by the big leaders, Tescos or Asda but here trying to use the Countdown or New World online shopping site is stressful, it’s not user-friendly in any way!

The supermarkets try their best to inspire recipes and cooking but they just can’t get the formula right.

Since we arrived into NZ we have been trying to find different ways to get out of going to the supermarket. We have been delighted to discover kiwis love the local markets (pretty much every town has its own) but have still been finding ourselves needing a trip to the supermarket on a weekly basis.

We have heard about food/meal kits delivery services that operate from a subscription-based service (they are popular in London but in Cornwall they are rare) and I am sure all you have too (unless you have been hiding under a rock!) and in the three years we have been here they have gained in popularity in NZ so we decided enough was enough we had to try them!

We have already written about the cost of living in New Zealand and food costs as we soon discovered are more expensive here than in the UK, so if the price is higher why not eat in style?!

We decided to try the two big players in the meal kit market WOOP and My Food Bag here is our review.

Disclaimer: This article wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of WOOP and My Food Bag who kindly let us try a food kit for a week.

My Food Bag.

My Food Bag has arrived
My Food Bag has arrived

Understandably the pioneers of the industry they have been around since 2013 when New Zealand’s Masterchef winner Nadia Lim became the ‘face’ of My Food Bag to what it is today. With an excellent team behind her, they have created a great brand, you can’t help but fall in love with the website and the ideology behind the brand. As a couple in our 30’s we decided to opt for the 4-night Gourmet Bag option that both fitted our eating styles as well as budget.

The Variety:

From a first look, you can see that they offer an expansion selection of recipes and bag options. They have slowly over the years thought of every market. They cater for families with small children, families with older children (teenagers), vegetarians, Gluten-free, people who live on their own and have even branched out to “Heat and Eat” packs, lunch boxes for kids, fruit boxes and more budget-friendly options with their sister companies Bargain Box and Fresh Start, encouraging healthy eating.  


The meals are easily ordered online, and they also offer the option to swap some of the meals that aren’t as exciting for something more to your preference. They also allow you to skip and pause delivery if you require. They deliver at a time that is convenient to you (Sunday or Monday) and have thought about the fact that people may be at work so can deliver in the evenings. Although interestingly the meals didn’t come in a bag but in a rather large and heavy box!

my food bag
The rather large heavy box!

Cooking the meals we did find took longer to create than mentioned in the recipes cards. Some of them a lot longer! I always find it a struggle to chop of the vegetables at the speed of light and struggle with multi-tasking so I am not sure if there recipes cards are completely accurate for the more amateur cook.

Some of the meals also had a lot of different components which were slightly fiddly. One of the best meals we had were the Ricotta Dumplings with Chorizo mince. The flavors were incredible and not something we would either think of combining but it was quite fiddly to create and again not something the average cook at home would find a breeze.

The Ricotta Dumplings, incredible!
The Ricotta Dumplings, incredible!

What we loved:

Hands down we loved the flavors, all the meals had the restaurant quality wow factor. And you feel quite proud of the food you had created. We also loved the portions, for 3 of the meals we had enough for lunch for the next day. It tasted even better the next day!

Yummy fish with potatoes and steamed veg.
Yummy fish with potatoes and steamed veg.

Price Point:

Bags vary from $99 (bag for one person) to $190 (but that’s a 5 meal option) so for weekly eating goes it’s not the best value. Especially when you have to consider lunches, weekly basics, and 3 other weekly night meals. For the price, you have to force your self to focus on the other benefits, the ease, the convenience, the variety and the quality.


Our WOOP box has arrived!
Our WOOP box has arrived!

WOOP is short for World On Our Plate. The concept is easy and creative, each meal represents a certain region and country around the world. It differs each week and that is what makes it exciting. They don’t have a national celebrity behind the face of their product but with their fun and exciting branding, it isn’t really necessary. They focus on eliminating the stress of weeknight cooking by speeding up the process of cooking your dinner. So whether that is part cooking an element of the dish, the vegetables already being chopped up, the sauce already made they got you.  We opted for the 4 night Foodie Box, which interesting has the same price point as the My Food Bags Gourmet Bag option.

The Variety:

They only offer 3 different box options, The Foodies Box, A Classic Box (for families with kids) and a Gluten Free box. However, I do believe the Vegetarian box is on its way. You can opt for a 3 night or 4-night package and opt for how many people the box is for.


The meals are easily ordered online and they offer a weekly subscription which you can pause and swap before the Monday evening cut off point. They deliver on a Sunday or a Monday at the time you require (and not during working hours) and the meals come in a small box (smaller than I expected!) keeping packaging down to a minimum.

Small box for WOOP
Small box for WOOP

Cooking the meals were easier than we expected, in fact, a breeze. Everything for that particular meal is colour coded so it was really easy to find all the items in the fridge. As most of the prep was done for you we just cooked the food and appreciated the timings were right on the recipes cards. Weeknights can be hectic and you can be tired (sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking!) so having a speedy but delicious dinner to cook at the end of the day is very much appreciated!

As most of the items are pre-prepared I did worry about how long things would last if we didn’t eat them on the day they recommend. For example, we decided to have the meatballs with the part boiled kumara two days later due to mid-week socializing plans. When we opened the package the potatoes looked like they were on their last legs. If you cook the food on the day that they are intended to be cooked then I think you would be fine!

Colour coded for ease.
Colour coded for ease.

What we loved:

As quite an environmentally conscious couple we did appreciate the less packaging that was used. We also loved the loyalty scheme something that is very well thought out. On your first order, you get a coloured map with stickers to collect on the countries around the world, every week you order you get more. At bag 6 and 12 you get a gift (not sure what it is mind!) and at bag 20 you get a free bag that week. It’s fun, it’s exciting to collect something children would love as well I am sure.

The flavours were also up there and we also had enough for leftover’s three out of the four meals, something we didn’t expect as the box was a little smaller than we expected!

Fish with fresh tagliatelle, outdoor dining at its best.
Fish with fresh tagliatelle, outdoor dining at its best.

Price Point:

Bags vary from $84 (bag for one person) to $225 (but that’s a 3 meal option for 4 adults) so for weekly eating goes again it’s not the best value. But you have to focus on the other benefits, the speed it takes to cook these meals, the ease of not having to go the supermarket, the variety, and the quality.

We also found ourselves finally being excited about what we were cooking. From the anticipation of waiting for the delivery, opening the boxes, discovering the ingredients to the cooking and creating the meal. It made our midweek nights something to look forward too.

Although both tick our boxes in the fact that each week or fortnightly we are eating exciting meals we never would have thought of cooking. One problem we still have is needing the staples. We have found we needed to double stock up at the supermarket and we still need to visit around once a month. We think we can cope with that and the extra expense because actually enjoying what we are eating is more important to us than ever.

A downfall is the meals also are also not for 7 days, (surely that is something that appeals to people!) however, I believe the theory behind is that the average household eats out once or twice a week or eats a freezer ‘look what I prepared earlier meal’. Which I know is something we do.

In summary, during doing both of the meal kits we found ourselves cooking together as a couple with a glass of wine in hand and with our busy lives it was a bonding time that we would never have had otherwise and I am sure if families order the bags this would be the case as well. After all isn’t food about bringing people together?! And in our opinion that is priceless.


Thanks for reading guys! Out of interest what food bag do you think you would like to try? Or have you tried either of them before? What did you think of the concept and the meals? Let us know in the comments below!

New Zealand | Frequently Asked Questions

We wanted to create a great FAQ section on our blog covering all the Frequently Asked Questions you may be asking yourself for your move or visit to New Zealand. It covers all your New Zealand questions from the tiny things to the big things!

We plan on adding to this every couple of months with a hope it will be a resource you –  our readers will be able to keep rethings!ferring back to every step of your expat move or whilst you are travelling to NZ. It certainly will answer a lot of your questions about New Zealand and will also cover some interesting facts about New Zealand that are great conversation starters when you are here!

This FAQ section includes:

New Zealand Trivia & Facts;

The Nitty Gritty Details;

Everything to do with money;

Tips before you go;

Travel advise in New Zealand;



New Zealand Trivia & Facts:

Wellington Beehive

What is the capital of New Zealand?

Wellington! The city of Wellington is physically in the middle of the country, which makes it easier for everyone to travel to. Our parliament building is called The Beehive, (apparently it looks like one but I can’t see it!) you should definitely visit it!

How long does it take to get to NZ?

If you’re coming to New Zealand, you’re definitely in for an adventure! In the future, when you’re friends are trying to impress each other by comparing travel times, you can beat them all by telling them your trip to New Zealand took a whole day! Sometimes it can take more than 24 hours though, depending on how much layover time you want.

Why are New Zealanders are called Kiwi’s?

Kiwis are our national bird! Also, our flag is very similar to Australia’s, so during the second world war, our soldiers included the Kiwi bird as part of their uniform to help distinguish them from the Aussies. The name stuck!

Who is NZ prime minister?

After a recent 2017 election, it is now Jacinda Ardern of the Labour party.

How did NZ get its name?

New Zealand actually has two names – New Zealand and Aotearoa. ‘New Zealand’ comes from a Dutch Navigator called Abel Tasman, who discovered New Zealand in 1642, but unfortunately never actually set foot here. If you’re wondering where Old Zealand is, there isn’t one – Abel Tasman named dubbed our islands Nova Zeelandia, after the Dutch province of Zeeland.

As for Aotearoa, it is a Māori word and is generally interpreted as ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’. The word can be broken up as: ao = cloud, dawn, daytime or world, tea = white, clear or bright and roa = long. In Māori legends, this long white cloud is what Māori explorers first saw of New Zealand, so they used Aotearoa to refer to it. Another possible reason for the name Aotearoa is because Aotea was the name of one of the Māori migration waka (canoes), so they named the land Aotea (Cloud), but when they discovered that New Zealand was much larger, instead of Aotea, it was called Aotea-roa (Long Aotea).

When was NZ discovered?

If you are thinking in terms of European explorers, Abel Tasman discovered NZ on December 13 1642, although he didn’t make it to the land – which is why English Navigator James Cook, who only came to New Zealand in 1769, is often cited as the ‘discoverer’ or New Zealand.

What is NZ famous for?

For quite a few things that you might not realised! For instance, there are quite a few actors in Hollywood that are Kiwis, like Karl Urban of Star Trek fame, Russell Crowe and Cliff Curtis. We also gave the world Lorde and Flight Of The Conchords – you’re welcome. There’s the Lord Of The Rings and its director Peter Jackson also, not to mention The Hobbit films too.

As for New Zealand itself, well, we’re generally known for having too many sheep (which is accurate, apparently there’s about seven sheep for every one person in New Zealand, but we don’t ride them to work or anything), being good at rugby and our amazing scenery –  seriously, you’ll have to see it to believe it!

Where’s NZ located in the world?

New Zealand is one of the most southern countries in the world (we even have flights to Antarctica). We’re about a 3-hour flight South from Australia – but we’re definitely not part of Australia.

What is the population of NZ?

New Zealand is one of the smallest first world countries, with a population of just 4 million. To put that into perspective, Sydney a city in Australia has a population of 4 million and NZ is certainly bigger than Sydney!

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The Nitty Gritty:

What plug adaptor do you use for NZ?

New Zealand and Australia both use the same plug/socket type, type I. Type I plugs and sockets are characterised by their 3 prongs, 2 slanted and one straight at the bottom. If you buy something in New Zealand that has a power cable, you will not need your adapter to use it, it will already be type I.

What is New Zealand’s voltage?

The standard New Zealand electricity voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

What is the international dialing code for NZ?

+64, then the area code. Like usual, drop the first digit when calling to NZ from overseas. For example, an International caller might dial an Auckland landline as +64 9 1234567, because the area code for Auckland is 09. Calling mobiles is similar, for example, +64 21 1234567, because mobile phone numbers in New Zealand often start with (021) or (027).

What is the exchange rate in NZ?

As exchange rates do, this often changes. At the time of writing this, 1 New Zealand Dollar equals 0.69 US Dollars, but it may change by the time you’re reading this. Make sure to check yourself for more accurate information.

What is the time difference & what time zone is NZ in?

Here’s the thing – and this will blow your mind – New Zealand is so tiny, it doesn’t actually have different time zones, it just has one: NZST (New Zealand Standard Time). NZST is GMT+13 in Summer, starting in September (Daylight Savings time) and GMT+12 in Winter, starting in April.

New Zealand tends to be around 18 hours ahead of the USA (though this depends on what part of the USA you are in) and 12-13 hours ahead of the UK, depending on whether its Daylight Savings time or not.

What are the NZ interest rates?

For banking and saving rates check out this article on our website for more information.

Can I bring my medication into NZ?

If you have prescription medicine and you declare it, you will most likely be able to bring it into the country. Even if your medicine is not prescription, still declare it – otherwise you could be fined. Please note that if your medicine is plant-based or has organic matter, it may not be allowed into the country due to biosecurity restrictions.

Are vaccinations required to visit NZ?

No, they are not required. It is always recommended to get routine vaccinations from your doctor before travelling, but no vaccines are required before visiting New Zealand.

What is the emergency services number for NZ?

If you need emergency services like fire stations, ambulances or police, please dial 111. Please refrain from dialing 111 if you’re not in an emergency, so our emergency services staff can focus on people who need help.

What is the diver’s emergency service number?

0800 4 DES 111. Please go to the New Zealand Underwater Association for more diving emergency help.

How much is fuel in NZ?

The price of fuel changes quite a lot here, most recently it has been $1.92/litre of petrol and $1.22/litre of diesel. Check out our money saving tips on fuel prices on our blog post by clicking around about…here!

What is the driving speed in NZ?

On most suburban roads, it’s 50km/h (which is about 30mph), on rural roads it tends to be around 80km/h (around 50mph) and on open roads and motorways, the speed limit is 100km/h (around 60mph). 100km/h is the highest speed limit in New Zealand.

What is the New Zealand weather and climate like?

Honestly, it depends on what city you’re in. All the major cities have nicknames or phrases related to the weather, for instance, it’s common for people in Auckland to talk about “four seasons in one day” and for people to talk about “Windy Wellington”, whereas Christchurch is known as the “Garden City”. However, compared to other places around the world, the climate is pretty mild. It doesn’t snow in New Zealand except on the mountain tops (great for skiing) and since we are so far South, the summer is quite pleasant instead of too hot.

Can you tip for service in NZ?

You can, but it’s uncommon. It’s not expected of you, but sometimes it’s nice to leave a waiter that you really like a tip for some extra petrol money. It’s considered a nice gesture, but New Zealand minimum wage is a living wage, so it’s not required or culturally frowned upon if you don’t tip – most people don’t.

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Everything Money:

money NZ

How much does it cost to go to NZ?

That depends on where you’re coming from, but you should put aside $3,000 NZD for flights.

How much money do I need to go to NZ?

It’s recommended to have around $150 NZD put aside for each day you’re there, so no matter how long your trip is, you will have enough money to travel (not including any domestic flights you want to take, those will be more expensive) and do all the activities you planned for – and some that you didn’t – while you’re here.

Is NZ expensive?

That really depends on what you define as ‘expensive’, but generally, because we have to get a lot of things imported, the cost of living in New Zealand is slightly more expensive, yes. For a more accurate answer on this matter do check out our highly popular article here on the Cost of Living in New Zealand.

What is GST?

GST is the Goods and services tax (GST) is a 15% tax added to the price of most goods and services in New Zealand. In America, this is generally the difference between the price on the label and the price you actually pay when you get up to the counter. That cost is included in the label price, so you know what you have to pay from the start. In England, we call GST, VAT – same thing!

What are New Zealand working tax rates?

This depends on how much you earn. Please consult the Inland Revenue Department’s (IRD) Income Tax chart for specific information. The IRD is a part of the New Zealand government and functions much the same as the IRS in the United States.

What is the KiwiSaver Scheme?

The KiwiSaver is a voluntary work-based savings initiative in New Zealand that helps residents to set up nicely for retirement. There are lots of different schemes you can join and it’s a hassle-free solution to encourage long-term saving. Basically, your employer puts aside 3% of your wages into your KiwiSaver and you do too. To find out about how all this works, check out our article here!

What does NZ money look like?

Crisp, shiny and colourful, as New Zealand’s money was recently redesigned! We have a mixture of notes and coins – the notes are easy to tell apart because of the different colours: five dollar notes are orange, ten dollars notes are blue, twenty dollars is green, fifty dollars is purple and one hundred dollars is pink. You may find the coins a little harder to tell apart because they are all so light, but you’ll get used to it.

What is NZ minimum wage?

As of April 2017, the minimum wage for a working adult is $15.75 NZD.

Can I bring cash into NZ?

Yes. There’s no restriction on how much foreign currency you can bring into New Zealand. However, if you arrive at an airport carrying more than NZ$10,000 in cash you’ll need to complete a Border Cash Report.

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Before you Go:

Bye Bye England

Do I legally need travel insurance for NZ?

While travel insurance is not legally required, it is highly recommended as the cost of not having travel insurance when coming to New Zealand could be much higher than just getting it in the first place. Read our travel insurance tips for expats here and here for visitors!

Do I need a visa for New Zealand? Will also link to an article

If you are a New Zealand or Australian citizen or resident, you do not need a New Zealand visa to visit New Zealand. If you are not one of these, you will need a visa. Visitor visas are generally issued upon arrival, working visas need to be applied for before you arrive. Click here for a rundown of all the visas.

Is NZ a visa-free country?

Yes, although this only applies to citizens of certain countries. Read the full list of New Zealand’s visa waiver countries.

What is a Working Holiday Visa?

Working Vias allows citizens of certain countries to travel to New Zealand for around a year. We have a lot of different working visas, so it’s best to do your homework and find the one that’s right for you.

Is it easy to work and travel in NZ?

Yes! We have many different work and travel options here, so no matter what your budget, you can get to where you want to go.

How do I bring all my belongings to NZ?

There are many international moving firms you can use to bring your items over to NZ. It pays to do your homework before you arrive. Check out our guide on removal firms for more information and detailed information on what to bring and what not to bring.

Do I need health insurance in NZ?

Like travel insurance, health insurance is not a requirement in New Zealand, however, it is highly recommended. If you decide against getting health insurance and you get injured or need medical attention, treatment could cost you much more than the insurance you forewent.

What is the ACC?

The ACC is New Zealand’s national Accident Compensation Corporation, a part of our government that is responsible for administering universal accidental or injury care. If you get injured while you are in New Zealand and need to go to the Doctor or Hospital, the ACC will be in touch. This is explained further in our article – here!

Is it safe to drive in New Zealand?

It is safe to drive in New Zealand, however, we do drive on the left side of the road, so if you’re not comfortable driving like that, there are alternatives. We have public transport like trains, planes, and buses, or you could take a taxi or Uber – whatever you prefer.

Can I legally drive in New Zealand?

If you have a valid driver’s license in English, or an additional accurate English translation, you are legally allowed to drive in New Zealand. However, this is only valid for twelve months and there are other conditions, so it’s best that you refer to the New Zealand Transport Agency’s (NZTA) for more information. A guide to who can drive in New Zealand can be found on this link

Will my mobile phone work in New Zealand?

Yes. You will need to visit a New Zealand phone carrier like Vodafone, Spark, 2degrees or Skinny Mobile to be able to connect to New Zealand phone networks, but it will work once you have done so.

Can I find the same foods at home in NZ?

New Zealand generally has Western dishes, as well as our own signature dishes. We also have a very multi-cultural society, so you will find dishes from all over the world here too. Don’t be afraid to try new foods here, you may be surprised at how good they are!

What foods can’t I bring into NZ?

As our nation is made up of islands, we rely very heavily on our environment to live and therefore we have tough biosecurity laws to protect our environment. Don’t be surprised if New Zealand Immigration confiscates anything that is not processed, as it may be a risk. Any food is considered a ‘risk good’ by New Zealand immigration – so if you have any of the following foods, including food for cooking, you will need to declare it when you enter New Zealand, or you could face a fine:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Dried mushrooms and fungi
  • Honey and honey products
  • Seeds for human consumption and for processing into food
  • Nuts, spices, herbs, and un-popped popcorn
  • Sried, cooked, or preserved fruit and vegetables

Does New Zealand have a tourist tax?

No, although at the beginning of 2016 a border clearance levy of $16 NZD for arriving passengers and $6 NZD for departing passengers was introduced, which applies to both international and domestic travellers going overseas. A tourist tax is currently under consideration by the New Zealand government, but nothing has been decided yet.

How do I find a job in NZ?

There are a few ways to find a job in New Zealand, mostly using online tools. If you’re a student or have graduated in the last year, there is 6Student Job Search ( for jobs specifically for students and entry-level staff. If you are not a student or recent graduate, there is Seek ( or Trade Me Jobs. Those are only a few popular ones, we also have put together a handy resource!

When are the New Zealand school holidays?

The exact dates change every year, but you will notice that our holidays/vacations are very different to those in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in terms of timing. We have our biggest holidays at the end of the year, some organisations ending in December or even November, then starting again in January, or sometimes even February or March depending on whether you are studying or not. The New Zealand government has an official list of all 2018 New Zealand public holidays on their website.

What documents do I need to bring with me to NZ?

Please bring with you a valid passport or travel document and your visa papers. If you are moving to New Zealand permanently, you will need the following documents:

  • Your birth certificate
  • Your marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Your academic qualifications
  • References from previous employers
  • Your CV (Curriculum Vitae/Resume)
  • Credit references
  • An international driver’s license or permit

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Travel in New Zealand:

But first…a few epic photos for a bit of inspiration!

What are the most popular destinations and attractions in NZ?

The most popular attractions are tied – it’s a toss-up between our stunning scenery and anything to do with the Lord Of The Rings filming. Queenstown is quite popular due to its range of activities (sight-seeing, jet boating, bungy jumping, white water rafting and sky diving, you name it they have it!).

When is New Zealand ski season?

Mid-June to Mid-October, in the middle of Winter.

What is the New Zealand Great Walks?

There are a lot of fantastic walking tracks here in New Zealand. The Great Walks are 10 walking tracks that New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) have selected as New Zealand’s best walks. If you’re wanting to hike while you’re in New Zealand, the Great Walks are the best place to start.

When is the best time to go hiking in NZ?

Summer can get pretty hot in New Zealand, especially around hiking spots and it can get boggy in Winter – so the best times to go on a hiking trip would be either in Autumn (March-April-May) or Spring (September-October-November). However, if you’re going on an extended trip or going up a particularly high or difficult mountain, please pay attention to all safety precautions asked of you before you begin your hike. The last thing you want to be when you’re exploring New Zealand terrain is under-prepared. If you’re not sure what precautions you should take, please ask a guide before you set off.

Do I need to pre-book accommodation?

Yes, you will need to pre-book accommodation, particularly in more popular spots around holiday seasons. New Zealand is a very popular vacation spot and you may find yourself sleeping under the stars if you don’t prebook your accommodation.

What is the best time to visit New Zealand?

The best time to go to New Zealand in our opinion is in the warmer months. Anywhere from December to March would be ideal as most activities here involve being outdoors and those months have the best weather. We also think this is the best season to visit New Zealand – who doesn’t love the sunshine?!

Does each town have tourist information centres?

Yes, each major town will have it’s own Information Centre. If you can’t find it, don’t be scared to ask a local. We’ll help you out!

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Got a question? Or have we missed anything? Comment below!

Meet Me Half Way

This year Isaac and I decided to step out of our comfort zone and get back to some traveling. Most British expats we know have an annual holiday back to the UK, in fact most expats we know do this. This year is different, however, we’re going to meet roughly halfway!

When the conversation comes up about your vacation plans for the year ahead people just expect you to say you are going back to England.

The issue creates a difficult debate in your head, you want to see your family and friends but you don’t want to have to year after year use all your vacation time just going back to England, there is a world out there to see after all!

So we decided to visit South East Asia once more. But this time we thought this would be an excellent opportunity to meet some friends and family half way. The only one who took the bait was my amazing but ditsy sister Sally!

vietnam goingnz
A silly hat competition in Vietnam

We enjoyed meeting half way so much that we’ll likely do the same again next year. Here are 5 reasons why we think you should consider this an option instead of just booking flights back to your home country.

1. Affordability:

Let’s face it, flying back to England breaks the bank and money talks! If you took a took two-week vacation then 4 of those days (2 either side, especially more so as we have to reach Cornwall) would be spent traveling and 10 would only be spent actually on vacation. For the price of the flight you only get 10 days of holiday time, your credit card is maxed out, you spent 10 days running around loads of different people’s houses (because god forbid they come to visit you) and by the time you return you don’t feel like you had a holiday at all.

By meeting at a mutually agreed halfway point you save money on flights and save time traveling, if you pick somewhere that is a more affordable destination (like Asia!) then you save heaps of money and all of sudden your two-week vacation is half the cost of what you expected.


2. You both get a vacation – It’s a win-win:

Organising a vacation at a halfway mutually agreed point allows for each person to have a vacation. You both get to each have a vacation rather than one being in work mode and other not being in work mode. When this is the case it can be hard to balance time together. With a vacation it is different you are both on more relaxed, in new surroundings and you embrace your time together so much more!

vietnam goingnz
We were both in holiday mode 🙂


3. You get to reconnect:

It was awesome catching up with my sister in another country, it had been over a year since we had seen each other. To just have that connection with a family member who knew all the latest gossip of Cornish life and the family gives you that warm fuzzy feeling in your heart. We got to spend some quality time together and reconnect and reminisce about the old times!


4. Join a tour:

Group tours take the hassle out of traveling and allow you to make some new friends at the same time. We’d at first dismissed this idea as we wanted to spend as much time together as possible for the short time we have. The group tour gave us plenty of time together and was actually a blessing as otherwise, Sally may have felt like a third leg? We booked an Intro Travel group tour to Vietnam and would highly recommend checking it out.

Our  group tour had 20 people in the group in total and to our surprise 17 of them were Brit’s.

Once we met everyone in our group we nearly felt like we were back in England (but with amazing prices and hot weather). We realised we hadn’t bantered and joked around like this in quite a while, there is nothing like meeting a fellow Brit and just clicking. As much as we like to think we’re all different, essentially our humour is all the same and to be surrounded by that each and every day on vacation was a something we didn’t realise we had missed – it was refreshing!

vietnam goingnz
Fun times with our new English buddies!

5. Familiarity:

It’s a strange thing meeting Brit’s in another country, you manage to get all the latest happenings within your country from them and you feel instantly connected with your home country, the cultures and the people. Without even setting foot on the soil, it is a pretty awesome feeling!

vietnam goingnz
Being surrounded by fellow Englishmen really did give us a sense of familiarity.

So, what is the take away from this trip? Consider meeting friends and family half way – somewhere you’re both interested in seeing. Consider a group tour and enjoy every moment!

We also made a short little video of our time away which is on our Youtube page. Press play below and check it out!


Breaking out of societies version of travel – Vagabonding through life.

From a very young age, we have all been formatted to think that travel can only be consumed a few weeks a year. All throughout our school years from the moment, we start to the moment we finish university or college we got half terms breaks, term holidays, summer holidays, Christmas holidays etc. So naturally, we utilize them as much as possible to go on holiday or take a break from our 9-5 / normal life. The same applies once we go into the working world, in the UK we get 4 weeks a year to take a break from your work and go on holiday.

Four weeks a year. Until you retire. That’s over 920 days for the rest of your life – this is something that doesn’t resonate well with me!

WHO is to say this has to be the case? WHO exactly? Your boss? Your principal? Your teacher? Your parents? No, only you can tell yourself what to do – it is your life not theirs after all!

This is not something I have always felt but recently I have been pondering over how we are all programmed to live this way and it has started to bother me! It certainly wasn’t something I thought about when I was younger.

I haven’t always wanted to travel.

That maybe a strange statement coming from a person who loves to now travel and is always planning her next trip. As child I was quite content, I was happy, I came from a small town (well, people would describe it as small, I still consider it to be quite large!) a beautiful town – There was a point in my teenage years that I thought I would live there forever, why would I want to leave? We have the best beaches in the world!

hometown goingnz
My Hometown

Then came the internet, I would ‘Ask Jeeves’ everything!  (remember that!) Photos of these stunning worlds appear as if it was another world but it wasn’t, it was our world. And seeing these photos of people living there ‘normal’ made me want to experience their normal! I wanted to see it I needed to get out of my bubble and see it!

Skip to 18 years of age and – I choose to study tourism at university. It felt like a natural subject to study since my home town’s whole infrastructure was tourism based. Plus the naivety and the childish side of my youth led me to think if I got a degree in tourism I could travel and see new places! Let’s just call that 18-year-old logic – right?!

You don’t need a qualification to travel you just need to have an open mind and willingness to break out of your normal.

I spent my younger years spending all the money I had going on holiday to new places seeing new cultures and in-between all this going back to university attending a few classes a week or work as it later became. After my short adventures away, I was back to sitting at a computer googling the next new adventure.

Then one day I thought why does it have to be this way? Why do I have to work for a few months and save up for the next trip that lasts less than 5 – 14 days? Because it is the society’s norm? Because that is all the time off university or work you can take? I am not a robot to society, I don’t have a switch in the back of my head – I can do as I please!

So with my boyfriend, we made the leap – we were off to travel. My boyfriend’s family was from New Zealand so we thought we would travel through South East Asia into NZ, we traveled on the move for six months. I was the best six months of my life.

Us on our first adventure in Asia in 2009
Us on our first adventure in Asia in 2009

It was at that point that I felt like I didn’t need to follow the path of society when it comes to travel.

Since then we have traveled to over 24 countries together and never let work, an employer or money get in the way of us traveling. I certainly have learned more traveling than the 16 years I spent studying and I also know we are very fortunate to be able to continue to travel like we do.

There is a slight stigma when you tell people you are a traveler. They question why you don’t have a normal job, a house, a routine all I can think is that they haven’t experienced this way of life yet – it just like anything though you could tell someone over and over again that it is incredible to jump out of a plane, however until they have experienced it for themselves they just don’t understand what it feels like.

Vagabonding is the answer.

I recently came across a book called Vagabonding by Rolf Potts, I had heard the term vagabonding before but not really put much thought into what it means but as I was reading the book I felt this overwhelming sense it was describing the life that my and Isaac have and are creating for ourselves.

Vagabonding is all about taking time out of your normal life to travel on a long-term basis. The travel doesn’t have to be long, 4 weeks, 6 weeks to 4 months would suffice. The traveler doesn’t even need to live like a nomad, they can have a home that they use as their base when they are not traveling – sounds slightly normal doesn’t it?!

Rolf’s book is all about preaching a different mindset, a mindset that has all been installed in us from the moment we were born without even realizing it and when you realize there are ways around this you do start to think differently.

Vagabonding isn’t a means of living like a nomad permanently it is working towards a goal of being able to go away to travel as and when you feel like it.

So, our goal in life is still to have the house, the job, the norm but to actually create our own freedoms, so we are not refrained to just 4 weeks a year to travel – after all, I simply ask you, isn’t life way too short for that?!

Get out of the way excuses, I have a world to explore!

Moving to New Zealand – A parental perspective (Interview)

I am sure you can agree any life changing decision can affect not just you but the ones closest to you. To move away from your family and friends regardless of how far away it is whether it be the next county or state is a brave and tough decision.

To travel or live abroad regardless of how long comes with a stigma of guilt. The guilt you are leaving your loved ones behind, guilt you are missing out (FOMO) and/ or guilt you are upsetting someone’s feelings.

It is something I know have struggled with during this whole moving to New Zealand process. Therefore I asked Mummy Appleby a few questions on the matter I was awarded with an insight I am sure every parent can relate too.

“It is important to remember whatever their reaction maybe when you tell them you are moving to New Zealand it comes from a place of love and the understanding of your actions may not happen instantly but it will eventually.”

Feel free to show your parents/ loved ones this interview from my mother – it might ease their apprehensions about the fun but the unknown path you are about to embark on!


mum and family
Us on a Family Holiday

“Travel in my era was limited it was something that people only really dreamed about.”

When you were growing up, how did you perceive travel? Was it just for holidays? Did you ever want to travel? And if so where?

As a young child during the 19×0’s the world was beginning to open up to worldwide travel for more people.  My uncle was an Air Steward for Boeing (later British Airways) working from Heathrow Airport.  We used to visit him and he would show us around the airport, and I would wonder at the far off countries that he visited.

Also at that time, my friend at school was about to emigrate to New Zealand, I was so jealous of the adventure he was about to go on.  I started to read books on New Zealand I learned all about the discovery of New Zealand by Captain Cook and learned of the Maori traditions before I knew it the one country I most wished to see was New Zealand.

Alas for me in my young adult years’ love marriage and children all put such dreams far far away.  Then my youngest daughter, who already had a huge travel bug inside her, found love with a guy whose family came from New Zealand, and the circle of life brought this country back into my life again….Weird hey?!


“My emotions were all over the place when you told me you were going backpacking.”

Let’s take you back to 2009, when I told you we were going to go to NZ for 6 months to travel, what emotions do you remember in the weeks leading up to us departing?

Wow, a million and one emotions, it went a bit like this: Excited for you, super jealous, very worried you would actually move there to live, and hoping you wouldn’t.  Sad because you were moving so far like a gazillion mile’s away, I knew I would miss you loads but was so proud that you had both worked and saved so much to achieve this great trip.

Me and Mum - A lot younger then!
Me and Mum ten years ago – We were both a lot younger then!

“We missed you when you left but you were having such a great time and that made up for it.”

And when we were in NZ, how did you feel not seeing me for 6 months? But you saw me having all this fun!

Firstly so glad you arrived safely, such a long flight, tracked your journey all the way, then began to really miss having you around at weekends but we drank less Guinness because you weren’t around!

However, through the powers of the internet, we were able to see the wonders of NZ in the heart of our home and loved listening to the adventures you were having, sky diving, canyon swinging, rough camping, and living on £3 per day, ah the joy of being a backpacker.


“You inspired me to get out and see the world.”

Did my travel stories inspire you to travel more?

Definitely, we starting planning to see more of the world and we certainly have.  Also, as you were away from the British winter seeing videos and photos of you in a sunny climate encouraged us to go away in those dark cold months.


“When you mentioned you wanted to move to NZ in the long term, I couldn’t understand why…at first.”

When we first started talking about moving permanently to NZ (I think in 2013) – how did you feel about it? 

We talked a lot about it (me and your Dad) we did not want you to go and live so far away. “Why can’t they move to Spain” we said, “so much easier to visit”.  Dad kept saying “They haven’t gone yet, wait and see” he probably said that just to calm me down but all the time I was thinking I know how determined she is!

However, we never thought of saying you should not go, you were both very keen to move and try a new country and way of life.  Also, it came back to us that we as a young couple with a young child decided to move from our hometown to live in Cornwall, leaving behind close relatives – we could relate to this feeling.

When you gave us the actual moving date, I felt sick and anxious, but I didn’t say anything,  went into denial mode I think.  I was happy for you both as we knew you had thought long and hard about the move, so if it was what you wanted to do then it was fine by us, but it was sad all the same a stiff-upper-lip certainly came into play.  I remembered I used to say to friends who had relatives living abroad how lovely to be able to visit them and get free accommodation, well hey now I have one in NZ my childhood number 1 place to visit!


“A relationship over the internet was hard at first, but you push past it.”

After we left in October 2014, We didn’t see each other for 14 months, but we kept in touch via Facetime, how did it feel catching up once a week over a screen? Rather than face to face.

After you moved in October 2014 we got to grips with the awkward (is that how they named Auckland) time zone. So early mornings are a few times a week are spent on facetime (we are always in our pajamas when we facetime) sometimes you send a video in the early hours of the morning and the first thing I do before putting the kettle on is check the iPad – it’s become a habit!  We have really long talks on facetime so we do feel in your lives really as we still discuss lots of stuff, most of it nonsense, but those are the small things in life that make us laugh.  THANK HEAVENS for Facetime and Facebook messenger, makes the distance seem smaller, but it can’t do hugs though.

When we came to visit

“Visiting you in New Zealand made us understand why you are living here.”

It’s December 2015 and you’re here, in NZ! How did it feel seeing the new life I had in NZ and being part of it for almost 3 months? 

Firstly loved planning the visit, I did all the planning – Dad paid the bills! It was a  dream come true for me! We saw the awesomeness of NZ we loved it, what a diverse country it truly is.  The people are so friendly, and laid back, they have a very outdoors lifestyle (the TV is so bad that you have to get out!) New Zealand is such a free country, by that I mean they have far less red tape, it is an open country, they look after the environment better, there is free camping, free parking by the lakes and beaches, the parks are maintained beautifully. We understand why they love it so much, it is a wonderful country.


Visiting New Zealand was a dream come true
Visiting New Zealand was a dream come true

“You have to do what is right for you, we are proud of their achievements.”

Do you have any tips for travelers out there that are thinking of emigrating to NZ but are concerned how much they will miss their family? 

In life, you must do what you think is right for you and your family.  We would not have tried to change Dawn and Isaac’s mind about the move.  So proud they had the confidence to emigrate to find new jobs and homes.  Living away from close family and friends is difficult at times, you realize you are missing out on the lives of your nephews and nieces, missing grandparents, but if you want to live your dream it is a sacrifice you have to be prepared for.  The internet is your way into their lives, we even facetime during a party once so for a while we are together and making a memory.

Migrating will make you feel guilty, much worse than eating too many Easter eggs for example, but you should keep confidence in your plans, life is for living. New challenges in life make you grow as a person emigrating is a huge step so if you take it try your hardest to make it work.


“Visiting them really helps, it helped me see how settled they are in their new surroundings.”

Do you have any tips for parents and family members who have someone who lives in another country permanently, what coping mechanisms do you use?

My top tip would be you have to go and visit them, it helps to seem them settled to know they have more prospects in the new country than they did in the UK that they are living a more lifestyle more suited to them, once you see this for yourself in the flesh you will feel happier at the choice that they have made.  Do try not to dwell on them no longer being close to you, those two are always in our hearts and minds they are always with us and that’s where we keep them both.


BIG shout out to Mummy Appleby for her awesome inspiring post! We would love to hear your thoughts on the topic below!

Where Are Kiwis Moving in 2017?

MovingPros did a study recently (based on their site’s internal usage data) on which cities are Kiwis moving to – and sadly away from – for the first quarter of the year.
See the results in data visualisation below:

 Moving Stats Going NZ 2017


Despite the reasons and appeal to visit (and probably live in) Auckland, MovingPros’ data shows that 65% of Kiwis moving since the start of the year are fleeing from the city.

And we (I guess) have contributed to this statistic, check out why we left Auckland in this post that we wrote last year!

One of the key and obvious reasons is the city’s overheated housing market. Auckland rents have risen (from 5.3% to 6.2% this year).

Teachers, Nurses and staff workers from other industries are also starting move out and work in more affordable regions. With the cost of living in New Zealand being quite high it really is becoming a no brainer!

Where are the top places that New Zealanders are moving to?

1. Wellington – 23%
2. Bay of Plenty – 13%
3. Otago – 11%
4. Waikato – 9%
5. Canterbury – 8%

Have you moved to New Zealand recently or moved out of Auckland? What made you choose the place you currently live? We’d love to hear from you get in touch via social media or place a comment below.

Auckland Vs Wellington – Living in New Zealand

During our time spent in New Zealand we have lived in both Wellington and Auckland, we spent almost two years in Auckland when we first arrived into NZ and have been living in Wellington for the last 12 months. Now we have spent a considerable amount of time in each city we thought it was about time we did a comparison: Auckland Vs Wellington for anyone thinking of making the move down (or up!) to the big smoke or New Zealand’s capital.

You can read about the reasons why we left Auckland in favour of Wellington in our blog post here. We still stand by our decision to leave Auckland, in the long term our life there was just not feasible. Maybe if the housing market crashes it will be a different story but for now, it isn’t on the cards. That is not to say we don’t miss Auckland, we miss living in Auckland, the great bars we liked there, the sushi, the friends we made and the weather but thus far Wellington is the first place in New Zealand that we feel like we fit in.

But of course like anything, there is the grass is always greener attitude, Wellington has shown us it’s fair share of disadvantages too! Hopefully, this can help anyone who is thinking of moving out of Auckland or alternatively anyone who is currently overseas and thinking of making the move to NZ and is unsure of what city to start in.

I have covered 5 main factors, housing, people, transport, climate and geographical location. Please remember though this is a subjective viewpoint coming from a couple who have never really lived in a city larger than Auckland before…

After 18 months in Auckland it was time to move...
After 18 months in Auckland it was time to move…


For us, cost of living is the biggest change we have noticed from our move from Auckland. The savings aren’t huge (I am talking a couple of hundred dollars a month) but housing down in Wellington is generally at a lower cost than Auckland. We can find a comfortable 2 bedroom apartment/house with outside space with a beautiful view of the sea rather than a busy road for around $450 per week. But on the flip side, the houses are actually a lot older and probably less modern than we are used to in Auckland. There are a lot of old properties here in Wellington that suffer from damp problems or have insufficient heating. But money talks, so it a win for us currently.

If you are interested in further comparing the cost of living to say your lives in England to here in NZ I would suggest you check out our recent Cost of Living Comparison article with our lives in Auckland compared to our old lives in England. We hope to do another one of these soon comparing Wellington to life in England – watch this space!

People make places:

People make places, fact! Another fact: While Wellington is a city, it’s town sized to most of us. The CBD itself is home to just 17,000 people, what? This means unlike Auckland, you’ll  find yourself bumping into the same people and noticing the same people around town!

Within the first week here we met a few people and they said Wellington is built on networks, and it is so true. It really is not what you know it is who you know and it is great. We love it, we get this small town feeling that Auckland couldn’t provide us with. We felt like a number in Auckland we are individuals here. Wellington is also full of unique, quirky individuals and being that is simply exciting. My slight craziness is accepted here. 🙂

The Transport:

Wellington has the SNAPPER card, Auckland has the ATHOP card. They are the same concepts. I would say the cost is about the same as well. But hardly anyone takes the bus here in Wellington! Wellington advertising itself as NZ most walkable city. And they are not wrong. With the CBD less than 2km’s long if you live in the CBD there is really no point in waiting for a bus, walking will get you there quicker.

Wellington also has electric buses. If sustainability is your thing, you will like that.

What about the traffic in Wellington? The commuters from the suburbs moan a little but we really don’t think they have much to moan about compared to Auckland’s issues. You really can’t compare it. There aren’t many highways in Wellington, 2 minutes out of the CBD and it is like driving through a town in England.

Auckland highways
Auckland’s network of highways run right the way through the city.

We loved the cycle lanes in Auckland. Sadly, Wellington isn’t as safe or as leisurely for cycling to work. The roads are often narrower, hilly and there are few bike paths – unlike in Auckland. People who cycle in Wellington sit in one of three camps:

  • Biceps like Hulk Hogan
  • Electric Bikes
  • Sweaty Beasts

Auckland, on the other hand, impresses me with their cycle ways and there continual improvements to the cycle paths. It is the city’s way to reduce the number of cars on the road and I do think in a good number of years they will achieve this. I appreciate the long-term approach Auckland have taken on this issue!

Auckland has the best cycle lanes
Known locally as the Pink Bridge, it connects Auckland’s network of cycle lanes up perfectly, making Auckland a safe place to cycle.

The Weather:

This is my biggest and ongoing annoyance with Wellington. Auckland, being at the top of the North Island obviously gets a better climate. My friends in Auckland told me, Wellington is windy, it is cold, Wellington doesn’t get a summer. My ignorance got the better of me, surely it can’t be that bad? But yes, they were right, it can be.

The inconsistency in the weather in Wellington lies in the wind and it can be pretty bad. Our first summer spent in Wellington wasn’t as bad we first expected it to be though, the wind does die down and summer although less humid than Auckland was a pretty stable one. It certainly was more consistent than the average British summer that is for sure! Please remember though this is a viewpoint coming from very British girl!

You can’t beat Wellington on a good day.

This is so true! On the flip side, when it is great here it is great. Wellington has one of the world’s best waterfronts, it is simply stunning. When the sun is shining Wellington has this vibe, everyone comes outside, everyone is happy and you don’t feel that in Auckland. Even though Auckland has better weather, Wellingtonians seem to appreciate the good days and that is priceless.

Wellington's Waterfront is world class!
When the sun is shining Wellington’s waterfront is the place to be.

Natural Disasters:

This is an issue I contemplated not bringing up on our blog. In November 2016 NZ got hit by a 7.8 earthquake. Although Wellington wasn’t the epicentre it still was felt very strongly here in the CBD. It was quite frankly the scariest thing to witness. I am not one for drama and I don’t like to blog too much about negative experiences, but the reality is it happened, and this blog is also about documenting moments in our life.

Those 60 seconds spent under the dining table (yes that is where we went!) when the earth beneath us shook also shook up my mindset. The fact that Wellington is built on a fault line is not an issue you should ignore either. It’s very possible that Wellington in the future will have other strong earthquakes.

When we moved to Wellington we didn’t even consider earthquakes. They are very serious and not something you’d want to experience. What we have taken away from the experience is to not be fooled by our naivety and realise everything is possible.

The council has been doing a great job since on educating Wellingtonians on what to do in case this happens again. If anyone is interested this website by the council has developed in leaps and bounds over the last year and we have found it very useful.

That being said Auckland is a city built on volcanoes, with more than 50 in a 100 Km area…

New Zealand is a young country in the grand scheme of things and is still very active.

As I have said before…

New Zealand really does have it all!

Christmas in New Zealand – What every expat thinks about their first Christmas in NZ.

With Christmas officially upon us, we thought it was only suitable to write about Christmas in New Zealand. As a fellow expat originally from the other side of the world it is very bizarre to witness a hot Christmas day! It takes a while to get your head around it! The weather can sometimes make you not feel very festive. We certainly struggled with this in our first year here. But the more Christmases we have here the more we are getting used to it!

So without getting all D&M (that’s deep and meaningful folks!) on the issue I thought I would write this article in another way. For a bit of fun…you could say these are the thought processes of an expat who is about to experience their first Christmas in New Zealand. And you will notice in year two of being here, you will learn to embrace it – trust us!

Year One:

“It is so weird it’s hot at Christmas time.”

“Where is all the rain and the snow?”

“Where are the Christmas decorations? It’s October!”

“Can I wear my Christmas jumper?”

“Let’s do it, no, no…its far too hot for a Christmas jumper.”

“Can I send out my Christmas cards that have snow and robins on them?”

“What are you doing for Christmas? A BBQ? What!”

“We are NOT having a BBQ on Christmas day, I want my turkey.”

“Off to the super market we go… WHERE is the turkey?!”

“Ham? Who has ham?”

“Okay, ham it is. Let’s try this ham out.”

“But I still WANT my turkey.”

A BBQ’d turkey? Yes! Let’s do that.”

“You’re going on holiday? But Christmas time is all about being at home with the family.”

“You don’t watch Tele on Christmas day?”

“But where is Top of The Pops?!”

“Cold beer? Okay, well it is too hot to drink mulled wine.”

“I am sunburnt.”

“Boxing day at the beach? Okay then.”

Christmas in New Zealand Going NZ
Christmas Dinner the Kiwi way!

Year Two:

“I am still not getting used to this warm Christmas.”

“Well, everyone is going on holiday at Christmas, I might as well too.”

“It’s October and I am so happy I don’t have to put up with these cheesy Christmas songs.”

“It’s hot, but I will still wear my Christmas jumper.”

“I will make my Christmas cake.”

“I will put up my Christmas tree.”

“I won’t be having turkey this Christmas.”

“I love ham now, it lasts for weeks.”

“BBQ and Beer, this is the life.”

“I don’t mind seeing these pictures of Christmas in England because I am not cold!”

“Okay, I am sold, I certainly can never have a Christmas in winter ever again.”


Comment below if you understand this! As we have said before your perspective on a kiwi Christmas will change just give it time! We have decided to stick to our old traditions (like making a Christmas cake and still wearing our Christmas Jumpers) but we have also recognised we like and embrace the kiwi Christmas traditions! There truly is nothing better than sitting on a beach on Christmas day rather than staring at the T.V!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

What is it like to live in New Zealand?

This article was written for people who want to live in New Zealand. It’s a collaboration by people originally from the UK, USA and Germany who now live happily in New Zealand. We have interviewed 15 expats living in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and everywhere in between to answer the question what it is really like living in New Zealand?

You might be worried about moving half way round the world – hell, we were! Hopefully, these stories will help you to address some of your concerns ahead of taking the plunge and moving to New Zealand.

Questions we’ve asked tease out the following information:

  • What they would do differently – if they knew what they know now.
  • How they made friends and settled down.
  • Whether they plan to stay in New Zealand.
  • And importantly, what their quality of life is like here in New Zealand.
 We had quite a few recurring responses as well! Recurring comments such as:
  • The grass isn’t always greener;
  • But if you don’t try you will never know.
  • You will make friends and create networks when you least expect to.
  • And if you struggle there is a great app called Meet Up.
  • From the people, we have spoken to they appreciate the lifestyle  and opportunities NZ has given them and their families
  • Their lives are fuller because they have moved out of their comfort zone into the unknown.

And of course, a big thank you to: Zoe, Paul, Deborah, Dan, Rhonda, Anne, Leanne, both Helens, Heather, Jason, Gaynor, Penny, Lynda, Kerri & Nathan for taking the time to contribute!


Name: Zoe Carr, 26Goingnz


“In reality, no matter what country you are in, if it’s new or you have lived there all your life, there are always going to be life problems.”

Originally from: Suffolk, England 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?
To take every opportunity as it comes, whether it is good bad or indifferent. I had no intention to stay long term in New Zealand but after my friend went home after a week of arriving and being completely alone and unprepared I put a lot of pressure on myself to settle, to get a job and find a flat that feels like home.
I was hard on myself when my first job didn’t work out when I made the wrong decision to stay in the CBD and I felt like nothing was simple. In reality, I was doing more than fine, I was wanting perfection. I would tell myself to let go, chill out and enjoy the journey. Embrace the things you can’t control!
2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?
I was very lucky with my second job and third month in New Zealand to join a company with a bunch of amazing supportive people. I knew they had my back no matter what and in them initial months when I wanted to go to the movies or go out for dinner someone was always willing. I did find that I needed to expand out of the work circle and moved from a flat in the CBD to a house with flatmates in Mission Bay. To be able to come home and talk to people about my day and have people who wanted to go for walks to the beach at the weekend made an awful difference to my happiness. It wasn’t until the 8-month mark that I decided to branch out more and join adventure groups and expat groups.
Meetup has been my social bible since then. They have groups for everyone and every interest. To reading between the wines, girls mingle, hiking groups, art groups, girls adventure groups I have made some brilliant friendships. People from all over the world who are new to New Zealand, returning to New Zealand or just relocating, they are all so welcoming. Highly recommended and I wish I had known about this sooner. But if like me you don’t do it for a while it’s all about baby steps and moving forwards.
3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?
It’s not home yet; I am still useless at pronouncing town names, I still laugh at the use of the words “rad” and “sweet bro” and I’m yet to say “Eh” at the end of a sentence!
It is however somewhere I have grown to love and somewhere I would like to stay. I have just extended my visa for another 18 months and in this time I am pretty sure this will be another home.
4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

My whole outlook on life has changed thanks to New Zealand and oh my gosh I would not have it anyway. I think the biggest improvement in terms of quality of life is health and well-being. The emphasis on an outdoor lifestyle has made me rethink my lifestyle. I walk through the bush or on the beach most weekends or weeknights in daylight savings. I want to surf, snowboard, skydive, and kayak all at the same time! I buy local food, as the traders at the farmers market are so lovely, why would I not want to buy from them! I respect the environment, hardly anyone litters, I have seen people stop in the street to pick up someone else’s rubbish and take it to the bin!

I am conscious of palm oil, harmful chemicals in my shampoo, what my exfoliator does to the ocean… If you would have asked me these things 18 months ago I wouldn’t have even considered them. In turn, this has just made me appreciate life so much more, it’s the simple things that make all the difference. Thank you, New Zealand!

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Name: Paul Nash, 40goingnz-expat

“Literally, within weeks of getting off the plane, I made the effort to build friendships and network which is so important to make it in a foreign land.”

Originally from; Bath, England 

Now living in; Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

I’m really not into looking back only forward.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

Luckily I am married to a Maori with a huge family which welcomed me with open arms, helps that I am an engineer who’s happy to fix anything and by crikey there are a lot of things to fix!!!!, I also landed a cracking job working for a local security company with a great social environment (people are so welcoming), so literally within weeks of getting off the plane I was building friends and that network which is so important to make it in a foreign land.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Most definitely been here 11 years now I have a black passport!!!!, Don’t worry after 11 years I still struggle to call a vacuum a vacuum, not a Hoover.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

100% the weather got to be the No.1 it makes so much difference to everything work, play and social. It also helps that the big things like housing, fuel, and cars are considerably cheaper than the U.K.

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Name: Deborah Carter, 49

goingnz expat

“I met a kiwi through my husband but then met a group of girls from Yorkshire THROUGH MY HAIRDRESSER!”

Originally from: Yorkshire, England 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Research in-depth the area that you are going to live in and check out prices of things like central heating and kitchens… cheaper to bring in your container.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

I met a kiwi through my husband but then met a group of girls from  Yorkshire THROUGH MY HAIRDRESSER! I recommend joining your migrant or expats group we had neither here and as much as I love my kiwi friends they would be first to say they don’t always get me. Be inviting and open and invite people for coffee or wine.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Straight away I felt at home. Loved the lifestyle. It’s actually now after 10 yrs I am feeling restless and homesick.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

New Zealand is an amazing place to bring up a family, and there are so many beautiful places to visit.  Houses are much more affordable but career wise interesting, to say the least However it’s harder to travel and you need to understand it’s not like having Europe on your doorstep.  For now, it’s perfect but in the future, there’s a big world out there.

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Name: Dan Smith, 29

“I do think that my quality of life has improved since moving to NZ. The work/life balance that is instilled in much of the NZ culture allows for more free time.”

Originally from: Mount Airy, Maryland 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Be prepared to have patience. Things tend to take a little longer in NZ and generally move slower (at lease slower than the part of the US that I am from). Many people tend to be more laid back in NZ.

Expect to spend more money than you think. Everything seems to be more expensive in NZ, including rent prices (let alone the “competitive” rental market). If you have the opportunity, save as much money as possible before moving to NZ so you can enjoy the similar luxuries that you may already be accustomed to.

You will generally get further with people if you are calm, nice and patient, instead of being demanding and take the “my way or the highway” approach. This is regardless of whether you are dealing with a business, cashier, neighbour, friend or a stranger.

Get ready for a more “worldly” perspective on life. International concerns are commonly talked about and reported on.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

In my experience, most Kiwi’s are very friendly and generally nice people. It can be, however, difficult to have Kiwi’s “break out of” their group of friends whom they may have attended school/University with. I have found that many expats tend to be drawn to each other, possibly due to the fact that they may be having similar experiences. Most of my partner and my friends are co-workers, neighbours or other expats whom we have randomly met in bars/restaurants, etc.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

I think this depends on one’s definition of the word “home” and whether you can have more than 1 home. I consider NZ to be my home for now, but since I do not have residency/citizenship in NZ and have spent most of my life in the US…I would consider the US to be my first home if I had to choose between the two.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

I do think that my quality of life has improved since moving to NZ. The work/life balance that is instilled in much of the NZ culture allows for more “free time”. Utilizing vacation leave is encouraged and sometimes required in some companies…and there is no shortage of amazing places to see within the country.

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Name: Rhonda AlbomGoingNZ Expat Series


“We have more family time now, a safer neighborhood, and a generally more relaxed attitude. I think New Zealand is a fantastic place for children to grow up.”

Originally from: Hibiscus Coast, USA 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Bring less, although keep warm clothing, rent before you buy, be open minded and immerse yourself in the community.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

We found making friends here more difficult than we expected. Like anywhere else, the best way to meet people is to immerse yourself in community activities. After 13 years here, I can still say that over half of my good friends are also expats.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Yes, I call New Zealand home, although I will always be an American as well. I think it took only about 3 years for me to start feeling like this is home. Our girls are fully integrated and consider themselves Kiwi. They were 3 and 5 when we arrived.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

Yes. For us (coming from San Francisco 13 years ago) the cost of living in NZ is lower. We have more family time, a safer neighborhood, and a generally more relaxed attitude. I think New Zealand is a fantastic place for children to grow up.

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Name: Anne Baumscheiper, 29anne goingnz

“I have definitely learned to relax and enjoy my living environment more :-)”

Originally from: Steinfurt, Germany 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Stay calm and don’t worry so much about how to sort the little things – there will be a solution for everything. Prepare documents you need well in advance and estimate delays.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

Luckily I have been in New Zealand before so a few of the people I met when I arrived here for the first time are still around. We stayed in touch even when I was back in Germany for some time so coming back was easier. I found most of them due to my work and the others through my homestay, current flatmates and some common friends in Europe.  I can’t really say how long it took me – I think it was a process of a few months until I realized that I have quite a good support network here.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

I do actually. But I also call Europe home. I know the proverb is cheesy but “Home is where your heart is” definitely fits for me. My heart is here where I feel welcome and enjoy the relaxed way of living but it also is back in Germany where my other friends and especially my family lives.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

It has for me. I find the work-life balance here way better –  I didn’t even realize how much calmer you can get when you live close to the beach/ocean and can easily get there after work even if it is only for an hour.  I realize also that I am traveling even more than I did before over the weekends – to be fair I skipped that a bit in winter –  but the next few weekend are already planned again.  I have definitely learned to relax and enjoy my living environment more 🙂

Name: Leanne Dilnotgoingnz

“There is a great app called ‘Meet Up’  which I would recommend to anyone moving over.”

Originally from: West Yorkshire, England 

Now living in: Wellington

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Don’t bother wasting money going through an agency.  For us, it was a big waste of money and the support or advice really wasn’t there like they had promised.  Had we looked into it ourselves more closely we would have been able to save a lot of money and stress doing it ourselves.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

It’s taken a year to get a close friend also from England and a few friends who we enjoy spending time with when time permits.  Also from England.  As we came over on my partner’s job status I had to find a job before I really met anyone.  Funnily enough, I’m self-employed now and pretty much work solo so you need to step outside your own boundaries to meet people.  There is a great app called ‘Meet Up’  which I would recommend to anyone moving over.  The events and clubs are hosted by volunteers but it’s a great way to get out and about and mingle with people.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

When I’m in England I refer to NZ as home. When I’m here I refer to England as home.  Haha! I’m not sure, ask me again in 5 years!

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

Yes! It’s a relaxed environment.  Very outdoorsy,  even if you’re not that way out in England I guess you slot in.  So many things to do. All the time. I’m not a parent, but after traveling a lot this place certainly is a great place to bring them up!  Kids can be kids here. It’s great!

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Name: Helen Lingardgoingnz

“You may work harder in NZ (sometimes) but the lifestyle is far more relaxed.”

Originally from: Wales 

Now living in: Wellington

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Same advice I’d give my old self Love yourself, Follow your heart… Travel the world.. and the Grass isn’t’ greener – You take YOU with you 🙂

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

I went with my partner so I first made friends with his family and then I moved out and got myself a flat, work and made friends that way. When my marriage split up once again I had to make friends. So I used to go to my kid’s school and go up to people and just introduce myself. Plus there’s tons of Meet Ups. Lots of things to do 🙂  It takes as long as you let it 🙂 Like anything 🙂 Just do it.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Currently, my kids (grown up) are back there and I have a house there, so it’s always going to be my home and I very much appreciate my adopted home too.I’m not sure I really appreciated it until I came back to the UK. I love the UK too – very blessed to have two homes !! 🙂

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

I remember when we first arrived in 1999, (back after 6 years away) and realizing it was OK to l let my kids walk up to the park on their own…   I think it’s swings and roundabouts… You may work harder in NZ (sometimes) but the lifestyle is far more relaxed. I bought my house, as a single Mmum  – it has a beautiful view of the sea and it’s an old house, would never have got that in the UK, so I am very blessed.

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Name: Heather Wilson, 36expat goingnz

“My quality of life has improved, as far as not living in built up crowded areas, less stress, less crime.”

Originally from: Cambridge, England 

Now living in: Wellington

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

If having sold a property in UK and buying in NZ and funds are good, buy into investment properties, at least one.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

That was pretty hard, the kiwis where I moved to are very polite etc on the outside but not very welcoming in inviting you over the threshold…so I just got to know people slowly through working but still, they weren’t very sociable.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Yes its home now, don’t like the way the UK has gone, can never see me returning there unless I was stinking rich and lived on a big country estate lol

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

The quality of life has improved, as far as not living in built up crowded areas, less stress, less crime. But I’m poorer living here I have to say, but then I’m a single parent now…the joys. But I still wouldn’t give up my life here.

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Name: Jason Kennedy, 46jason-expat

“Kiwis can take some time to warm up but once they are their friendship can be very rewarding.”

Originally from: Durham, England

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Be patient as things won’t happen overnight. It takes time to settle into a new country and find a compatible if not better job, friends and social like. So don’t be despondent, good things happen to those who wait and are willing to work hard for them.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

I think with being in my early 40s it was probably a bit harder to find friends and a support network. You just have to put yourself out there and get involved with your local clubs, sports, and events. Kiwis can take some time to warm up but once they are their friendship can be very rewarding.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Yes, I do call NZ home but I can’t tell you how long it will take for me to switch allegiance to the All Blacks.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

I think my quality of life has improved in some ways but not others. I am better off financially and with living in the city it is so much easier to get around and see events, I have been to more concerts in the last 5 years than the previous 20. There are also so many varied and good spots to spend weekends and it feels like you are on holiday. On the downside, it is tough to travel to different countries and hard to replace those lifelong friendships that you have left behind.

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Name: Gaynor Gemmillhouse goingnz

“You will probably be drawn to people from the same country as you, as they’ve gone through the same journey as you, and that’s okay.”

Originally from: Cardiff, Wales 

Now living in: Christchurch

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Research everything. In fact, have a research holiday!  Get the feel for where you’d like to live. While here price up food, rentals, houses, furniture etc. it’s more expensive here.  Find a friendly rental agent if you’re going to rent for a while, and get her contact details. They’re harder to contact from UK. Tell her the kind of rental you’ll be looking for. The more info they have the better. You don’t want to end up in a filthy damp moldy place.  Take all your belongings with you -it’s cheaper in the long run. Get recommendations for good international movers. Ours were terrible.  Make sure they know exactly how much stuff you have or they will underestimate the size of the container and you’ll end up leaving stuff behind and having to negotiate the cost of them sending it over.  They have the upper hand as they have your stuff.  NZ is not Australia. We have seasons just like

Take all your belongings with you -it’s cheaper in the long run. Get recommendations for good international movers. Ours were terrible.  Make sure they know exactly how much stuff you have or they will underestimate the size of the container and you’ll end up leaving stuff behind and having to negotiate the cost of them sending it over.  They have the upper hand as they have your stuff.  NZ is not Australia. We have seasons just like UK. Warmer in the North Island though. I had several holidays here with my Kiwi husband which helped but I have lots of British friends who had never been to NZ and then moved out. Nothing will prepare you for the isolation you feel. The thought that if something happened to you while out shopping, no one would know who you are. The loneliness. You miss your friends and family and skype is not the same. It takes two years at least to settle and get to know people and you will probably be drawn to British people too as they’ve gone through the same

Nothing will prepare you for the isolation you feel. The thought that if something happened to you while out shopping, no one would know who you are. The loneliness. You miss your friends and family and skype is not the same. It takes two years at least to settle and get to know people and you will probably be drawn to British people too as they’ve gone through the same journey. Know this is exactly what you want and you’re not running away from something.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

I found my first friend while working, shes’s British too, and she introduced me to lots of people as she did Zumba classes and had parties.  Join Brits of New Zealand on Facebook, it’s great.  You can find fellow Brits in your area and meet for coffee.  Join things through community centers that you enjoy. You’ll meet people when working although not necessarily become friends but just that social interaction is better than being home alone. It takes about two years before you really find friends.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Yes and I also call Cardiff home. I have two homes and they both have things I love. Ideally. I would put all the things I love together in NZ and then be fully content.  You will always feel drawn to your country but as time goes on you establish a peace with it.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

Yes and no.  It’s been very hard financially. We got here 5 days before the February earthquake in Christchurch and that made things even harder. I feel the Kiwis tend to prioritize Kiwis for jobs first.  I’ve been here five years and we now have a franchise in the renovation.  It’s very hard work, you’re starting all over again after all.

Having said that I feel more content here. Fewer crowds, less traffic and I can’t complain about immigrants anymore as I am one.  Our house is nearly three times bigger and in a lovely area. We know we’d never have that in the UK unless out in the middle of nowhere. I also enjoy the traveling as the “motorways” are quieter.

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Name: Helen

“NZ still feels like a secret little paradise at the bottom of the globe. I love it!”

Originally from: London, England 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Do a lot of shopping before you come. Clothes for the next 5 years. Toiletries. Underwear. More toiletries. It’s really expensive to buy those things here and the choice is limited. Plus NZ is so fab you don’t wanna be spending your money on boring things like cleanser and knickers – you want to be camping every summer weekend and going to the snow in winter.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

I inherited a great bunch of mates through my sister who was already here so it was easy for me. Plus I’m in Auckland and there are heaps of migrants here. Took a few years to really have close friends of my own, like the ones I left behind in the UK.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Yes, I do. When I go abroad, it feels good to come home to NZ. Still feels like a secret little paradise at the bottom of the globe.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

Yes for sure. My life is not so commercial, I have no idea about the latest phones or gadgets or clothes etc. I go to the most beautiful beaches and there are no apartment blocks or shops or restaurants right there. I live in the busiest city in the country but I can still have a swim in the sea just 10 mins up the road. And when I’m out of Auckland, you suddenly remember that there is hardly anyone here. So totally different from Hackney!

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Name: Kerri & Nathan

“The people here are generally very upbeat, positive and incredibly friendly, which is very refreshing.”

Originally from: Newcastle, England 

Now living in: Rotorua

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Immigrant sooner. Things that you think would never be accepted into the NZ by customs/MAF will be e.g. cleaned garden tools. Best to bring everything and discuss it with MAF once your container arrives. The cost of living in NZ is higher than the UK, but odd things are sometimes vastly cheaper.

Relax, this is New Zealand, things just seem to work. The art of customer service still exists here and oddly, at least in our experience, the governmental services seem to work very efficiently! The housing market (buying or renting) is extremely competitive, so be aware.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

Thought work and school/daycare friends parents for the kids. Facebook groups. Generally getting out there and talking to people who you meet. Within about 3 or 4 months you should have a group of people who you can count as friends.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Not as yet, we have only been in the country for 7 months. But hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will. But neither my wife or I, have any desire to return to the UK to live. Which is a promising sign given everything we have read suggests the first 18 months will be the most difficult and the biggest strain.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

Vastly. The food and drink is far superior to that we had in the UK. The quality of life is far better, and we haven’t even been through an NZ summer as yet! The people here are generally very upbeat, positive and incredibly friendly, which is very refreshing.

As a family, we are excited by the prospects the country has to offer for recreation, activities and the general beauty of the place, all of which we want to explore thoroughly over the next few years. It’s a whole new world to explore.

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Name: Penny Scutt, 36

“We have a much more relaxed way of life here and to get to spend so much of our time outside….we are very lucky.”

Originally from: London, England 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Remember to think of the distance in days rather than miles. My Mmum gave me that advice. Be fully aware of what you are leaving behind and always remember that these days keeping in touch with loved ones is so much more accessible with the use of Skype, Facebook etc, the world is much more connected than it was 10 years ago.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

It took me a while to find a good circle of friends, to be honest, maybe 3-4 years, probably when my eldest started school, I met other Mums with similar aged children and became part of the school community. Before that, I wasn’t really aware of other groups for Mums such as playgroups and play centers. I was so happy to start meeting people it really helped to finally feel I belonged and that’s when NZ started to feel like home to me.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

I absolutely call NZ home now. It did take a while, to be honest, but that was probably due to the loss of my Father when my daughter was born. I still have waves of missing my other “home” but know that this is where my children and I belong. I used to think if I ever got to go back to England (it’s been nearly 12 years… yikes) I would find it hard to leave but now I know if I ever got back then it would just be a visit and then I would be coming home to NZ… if that makes sense.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

My quality of life has improved for sure. Not just for me but for my children too. We have a much more relaxed way of life here and to get to spend so much of our time outside….we are very lucky.

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Name: Lynda Taylor, 61

“Things you shouldn’t do are to compare things with the UK or the country you have come from.”

Originally from: Manchester, England 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

If I were to give myself some advice it would have been to commence this journey 10 years earlier. There is so much to do here but I am no longer brave enough at 61 to do them.  Ie bungy jumping…

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

It’s easy to become lazy here. I was so knocked out with the beauty I was just wanting to explore as much if the country as possible.  This is great but its, still just me and hubby.  John joined a football club and we quickly made friends. I took a teaching job at the local college and made friends. During the summer there are lots of free events and they require volunteers. So we did that. Every weekend someone will be having a bbq and it’s odd to have to go to an stranger’s home but in the same way, you have to get out of your comfort zone and do it.  Just have to get out there and try new things….. we even went line dancing…. ha ha!

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

I called NZ home after about a year…I settled in quite quickly. Things you shouldn’t do are to compare things with the UK or the country you have come from.    Tomatoes are cheaper in UK. Chocolate tastes better etc. Stop this you have to embrace NZ and its lifestyle. I missed getting mail through the post as no one knows you here so you don’t get the post.  On the other hand, the anonymity means you can do things you wouldn’t normally do in case anyone sees you.  I.e line dancing dressed as a cowboy or roller blading down the road or dressed as a chicken on the side if the road.  We raised funds for charity and stretched ourselves to do things we wouldn’t get the opportunity to do.

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Have a question or something you’d like to say about moving to New Zealand?

We would love to hear from anyone looking to move to New Zealand and expats currently living in New Zealand. Please leave a comment below or drop us an e-mail directly:

UK expat stories… Thinking ‘what if’ is soul destroying.

A few weeks ago we launched our very first Mini Interview Expat Series. We were (and still are) on the look out for expats who now live in New Zealand. If you want to get involved it is still not too late!

A long-standing reader of ours got in touch soon after we launched the expat series with his own story! Nate Edwards is 26 and a Civil Engineer originally from Kent in England. His story of how he came to NZ, settled here and continues to live here was so inspiring we just had to make this the first guest post to kick off our mini interview series! Who else thinks that his message is powerful?

Please note: We are working on putting together the results of the mini expat interview series so watch this space for the post over the next few weeks – and it is not too late to get involved! All opinions are welcome!

This is Nate’s story:

So there I was on New Years’ Eve…

about to enter into 2015 just plodding along with all aspects of my life as I was in 2014. I couldn’t bare the fact of wasting any more of my prime years (my 20’s) not doing what I love and instead slaving away paying taxes and bills then counting down the years until retirement. I did have one slight problem, I didn’t know what I loved doing. After a brief informal conversation with myself, I decided to move to Australia. So on New Years’ day, I started applying for my Australian Young Engineers Working visa.

Eight months after deciding to leave, sell up and quit my job, I thought I’d take a break in my career and do some adventures. Most of these I usually made up a few weeks before and then found myself persevering through it. Some of my adventures included: Cycling 5000km across Europe, riding motorbikes through India and Asia, Kickboxing fight in Thailand, and climbing to Everest Base Camp.

So after about a year or so of drifting around, I found myself on a remote Philippines island where I met a German lady. She had previously been to New Zealand, she said it was beautiful and that I should go. Two days later I jumped on a flying machine from this, a rather dull remote island and spent 48 hours traveling via five separate flying machines – cheapest route to Auckland, NZ.

I didn’t like Auckland;

The city was well, like any other city and not what I expected from New Zealand – others will disagree. I then swiftly headed to the South Island and found myself in Christchurch. Now, I wanted to work at this stage, I was pretty tired of wandering, I wanted some routine and, more significantly, funds. I thought this city would be an ideal place for an intermediate level qualified Civil Engineer but Nah, it was too depressing for me, and not exactly what I had in mind for New Zealand.

I wanted a beautiful place, somewhere quiet and somewhere that would make me content. I was in contact with a company positioned at the top of the South Island. They had been struggling to find any engineers to move up there, as I later found – it’s not really a town a single young POME would typically move to… according to the locals. In the end I got an offer from this specific company, in fact, at this stage, I had 4 offers on the table with 2 in Auckland, 1 in Christchurch and 1 in this small town, Blenheim. Now for this decision, I literally went with my gut feeling, it was a difficult decision to make but I had the ball in my court, I could, for once at least, make a decision based on what I felt was best for me. I was free, I had no commitments and was able to be anywhere I wanted – I had freedom to find happiness and decent job offers.

Snowboarding in New Zealand

So I loaded my trustworthy $2000 Honda automobile with my somewhat limited life belongings and drove 4 hours to a place where I worryingly realized that I might be for quite some time – this was hard to comprehend after being on the road for over a year.

So now here I am in this little town, loving my job, training at Crossfit, and enjoying not making the same mistakes that I had made in my previous life back in London – mainly buying silly materialistic things. I love pure beauty, nature, the outdoors and being allowed to do so many different activities. I now have many friends to enjoy hobbies with, have a beer or two, or go on adventures with.

Probably the weirdest and wonderful thing, at least for me, is that I now have a girlfriend; she was actually my receptionist at work so she was in fact one the first girls I met in Blenheim. I never thought I’d have someone to share my travels, adventures with but now it appears that I have. We are now involved in a sailing racing series, we train at Crossfit together 4x a week, hike mountains, go on bicycle trips, wild camping adventures and have similar travel goals which include sailing the world.

Going NZ mini interview series

In New Zealand, I can snowboard in the winter and sail in the summer.

The weather, where I am at least, is incredible. Blenheim is, in fact, the sunniest place in the country. It’s also the place they grow grapes to make some of the world’s best wines – which is even better when you have cheese!

Now is the time for one of those bullsh*t motivational one-liners/paragraphs that people often say. This, however, is true for me and only those that have done it would know. I always go on my gut instincts – I don’t regret anything because I just do it. I truly believe that it always works out; it’s just your brain that is hardwired to refuse change or stepping into the unknown.

If you’re unhappy with home, life or work, then make somewhere else your home, try New Zealand – simply sitting at home thinking ‘what if’ is soul destroying.