NZ move

Thinking very seriously of a move to New Zealand with the family, anyone out there got any advice, Good surf spots, family friendly areas, work prospects . any advice would be great. Whats the construction trade like out there, any room for one more carpenter.

Cheers Swaylockers Rule

I went to NZ some years back (pre 9/11) and fell in love with the place. And for good reason…beautiful country, super friendly people with good priorities on how to enjoy and live life…not unlike Southern Italy.

We ended up buying a house on the north island (Browns Bay, east bays…no surf there but I couldn’t convince the wife to look at Raglan…). Long story short, we wanted to make the move but I still needed to have money coming in as I calculated I would outlive my little pile of money from selling my house in Santa Barbara…

It’s a difficult economy in NZ…not a huge amount of available jobs unless you’re a nurse or in I.T. computer stuff. The school’s for kids are excellent; rating amongst some of the tops in the world. Hence what they call “the brain drain”…meaning from the time young people graduate from university they are immediately offered and whisked offshore to jobs that NZ either doesn’t have, or could not pay equivalent scale. However, our CPA there told us she has graduated a son with a Master’s Degree, and a daughter who had just gotten her BA, and the cost including everything figured out at $4K per year per student…this is USD figures. Now remember this was pre 9/11 (2001) but you will find this amount still pretty close and by no way near the cost of education in the U.S. , wich runs around 5 to 9times that amount depending where you attend.

As fas as my plight, I looked for employment but found the only way I could really move to NZ would be to buy a business. This would have fared well for me because they have a point system that you must meet in order to be accepted…that is unless you have a shit load of money. However, they were counting that we had purchased a house, and what we bought (we later found out) was what they consider an ‘executive’s home’…we rented it out for a time but found out that the average kiwi makes the equivalent to $18K USD per year and they couldn’t even begin to afford our property that overlooked Browns Bay (prestigious Clifton Rd. area) with views of the Hauraki Gulf the islands and the beach…wonderful little town, Brown’s Bay and it is along a stretch of road that winds thru bay after bays of towns on a PCH (Pacific Coast HIghway) sort of set up. A Korean dentist rented it for a year from us. After 9/11 the Kiwi dollar strengthened because NZ was now preceived as a ‘safe haven’. We were fortunate because we had bought low and could sell high due to currency exchange rates.

To give you some insight as far as your work question…if you are in the trades, you should find work a plenty. The trades are one of the few occupations that we found pays very close or equal to stateside rates…plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc…it’s a good gig if you are dependable. Like the U.S., if you are good and dependable, you will have a ton of work from people that need you. A lot of guys take the month of December of for Xmas, and some of our friends said it used to be worse…like the whole country would shut down for 6 weeks. Imagine if you really had something pressing to do during the holidays.

Raglan obviously is a premiere spot for surf, but there are many spots on both north and south island that you could discover and be turned onto once you settle and make friends (no hard task if you aren’t an asshole with an attitude). There is very good quality surf esp. in the 2’ to 8’ range not altogether different from the ranch and Santa Barbara area…very clean, pretty waves…green water.

NZ has always remnded me of Peter Pan and where he would live if he really existed. Endless points, coves, bays, peninsulas…South island property costs a fraction of the north island but you can find something quite reasonable if you desire,or you can find incredibly well built architectural masterpieces if that’s your fancy.

New Zealand has got it all. If I’d found the right business to buy, I’d still be there.

P.S. The other thing I wanted to add was that NZ probably has the best sailors in the world. They live in what is called ‘the roaring forties’ and kids in grade school get the benefit of sailing little boats at an early age. If you watched or are up on America’s Cup, you might have noticed that nearly every top team had Kiwis on board in key positions because they are so highly regarded. After Alinghi won the cup, this was a sore point with locals because a lot of the winning crew and other top Kiwi sailors were ‘bought’ by other teams which diminished the power of the NZ team.

A Kiwi priority was pointed out to me one day as we were driving along the road, my friend pointed to a very modest little house and parked next to it was this gorgeous 25’ cabin cruiser with a covered garage for it…these people know how to enjoy life and I applaud them for that…you sure as hell can’t take it with you.

You shouldn’t have any problems finding work as a carpenter, as Deadshaper says, it pays well, and everyones looking for a contractor and no-one can find one!

You’re from the UK though? You might have to pick your standards up a bit… (joking - sort of)

I worked doing loft conversions in London, never seen so much bodgy sh*t in my life! I 'spose when nothing is square to start with (old buildings), then the renovations don’t have to be built square either! :slight_smile:

Theres plenty of surf here, but access is the only problem…

That may be a plus side, depending on how you see it - it means uncrowded.

So living in a built up area and having surf on your doorstep is not reality in NZ.

To get where the real surf is you need to live in the smaller coastal towns, and still be prepared to hike to the waves.

I guess i’m just sick of Auckland, that sounds like a dream to me.


Thanks for info, lots to think about. Gonna take the family for a holiday early next year, hire a camper and travel about a bit see where best areas are probably try Raglan first if thats were the best surf is. I like the whole Peter Pan description sounds like a great place to bring up my kids… Thanks again for taking the time all advice greatly appreciated…

everywhere has good and bad points

new zealand is a nice place with good surf and relaxed lifestyle

people are pretty friendly and friendships seem to cross social and class boundaries alike

farmers and hippies getttin along

pig hunters and bankers having a beer in the pub

that sort of thing

the whole country lives and breaths rugby

there are gang problems and high rate of violent crime per capita

there are lots of paddocks and sheep

there are coastal access issues in government wrt surfbreak and recreational access across farmers and foreign owned land

pays are shit, rent are high and there is an inflated housing market with many kiwis now unable to own houses

sking and surfing are great

hunting and fishing and sailing

outdoorsy stuff

a lot of kiwis drown themselves for some reason

and some others beat there kids to death, seems to be in the headlines all the time, one a month type thing

very sad

i think the pluses outweigh the minus and i prefer it to Australia


thanks for giving an unbiased view to NZ…I was actually surprised about some it…esp. the note on gangs and beating kids. We didn’t get that at all in 2000. We took our son who was 8 at the time, down for several weeks during Xmas break. e loved the place and was invited for a sleepover the first day there. The people were South African expats who had escaped like so many of them at the time. We had a bbq at the park the next day and the parent’s dad (who had gotten out before sending for the rest of the family) told us of how he had built a beautiful custom home and enjoyed a successful business before it all went to shit.

He was able to smuggle out small amounts of cash to a friend who had earlier moved to Canada. The Rand took a huge dive and he cried when he realized 10 cents on the dollar selling his home. He said the Aids was so bad. Men were raping babies because they believed they could ‘give the disease away’ and be cured from it. What a hideous misnomer.

You are right in that every place has its plusses and minuses. I was made aware that in NZ a common bitch is that the Mauri leaders have been given several billion dollars by the gov’t. but that the distribution isn’t equitable. The leaders were driving around in limo’s and the common folks would be devasted with alcoholism or poverty or whatnot…it’s a bit like the ‘rich indian’ scenario we know in America with the casino owning tribes.

Still, I have to say, the comparison of crime in NZ (even if you say per capita) cannot begin to compare with America. We are the most violent nation in the world and it starts at the top with idiots like Bush and Cheney. Anyone that thinks they have a terrific record on our econmy should go abroad to Europe and see what their U.S. dollar will buy them today. Even the Aussie and Kiwi dollar has made tremendous gains against our yankee doodle dollar. Bush was also very quick to embrace outsourcing everything to China and India. That will be our coup de grace.

If you look at how little Kiwis actually own of their own country, you know what I’m saying. The banks are primarily owned by Austrailia, they sold their Ari Force back when to Oz, they export 90% of their seafood…thankfully there is sheep, tea, and timber as businesses and imortant exports as well…but my point is, by and large, New Zealand lacks a vibrant and flourishing economy. Still the people live simple and enjoyable lives. The only danger I saw when there was that the marketing powers that be want to muck it up and sell them a lot of crap conveniences that they don’t need…Austrailia is also subjected to this and they both stand to make the same blunder too many of us have made in America…too much of everything. Now we are producing high incidents of enviormentally prone kids to ADD, AHD and the like. How critical is it to have that new nano ipod cell phone that can send a rocket to the moon?

Keep it simple, wake up, greet the sun, go have a surf, hug your kids, love your spouse, know your neighbors, be proud of doing a good job, whatever that may be. BREATHE

dont know much about the maori political thing

i know a whole few activists are in custody under new terrorism laws though

basically NZ is multi cultural and we all get along

its the media and gangs and politicians that fuels the fire so to speak

most people like to avoid these issues

but issues they are

i have no polititcal agenda

i have close friends who are maori ,thai ,japanese etc\

ther is a costco mentality creeping in as you say

and a lot of small towns are like ghost towns

but really the people here are so nice

there always help if you break down and everyone pulls together in a crisis

Im a kiwi living in oz, silly is right about the abuse, we(NZ) have some of the highest child abuse statistics in the world, and considering a pop of about 4mil that is very sad. (plus i have just had a lil baby girl with my partner 3 days ago it makes it even harder to understand how people can harm children)

We live in far north NSW now, used to be in the heart of the gold coast, but we moved for your very reason, it was a horrible place to try raise a child, concrete buildings with no limit, block out the sun, chicken coup apartment housing, drugged up drunk folk strolled the street, my partner had some out of her mind lady throw a piece of 4x2 at her when she went out for walk one day a few months ago, my pregnant partner!! WTF!!

Anyways, we live in a little township now, 2mins walk in each direction will but you either in front of a beach or at a freshwater lake, its the life now, and it relaxes you, the stress does melt away and life feels good when you are able to live where you in your heart feel is good, then that feeling hopefully will overflow to my little girl as she grows cos her mum and dad are happy. (sorry to sound cheesey, still dealing with the emotion of having a baby) :slight_smile:

Good luck Tommo,

Don’t think you can go too wrong in just about any country if you are a carpenter or plumber. I live in Auckland myself. Trade wind for Auckland is south west so the west coast around here is crap for surf a lot of the time. Auckland east coast is flat for the most part as well. Central Auckland is about forty minutes drive to the closest surf beach too. Gisborne is where I’d like to live as Auckland get’s up my nose quite frequently. Gisbornes main trade is forestry so I don’t known how easy that makes it to get carpentry work. Even getting to the supermarket in Auckland takes time. Trade wind for Gizzy is NW, and there’s a lot of south swell around most of the year. Ask yourself, where do most of NZ’s top surfers come from? Otherwise, you might try Taranaki. Very good beach breaks when it’s on but not as consistent as Gizzy. So just about anywhere but Auckland.

i cant tell you much on the political side of things but i can tell you this.

ive travelled the world a lot. a real lot. i found new zealand to be the best place ever. great little towns with a great lifestyle. unbelievable country. even more unbelievable fly fishing. amazing waves everywhere. great snow. super friendly people who did nothing but go out of there way for me, constantly. i now just devide my holidays/ travelling to nz and bali. why go anywhere else?

my only regret was not buying a little place at ragland the first time i went there.

8 years ago $70,000 nz could buy you a little place.

thats all changed now of coarse…

I probably can’t add much to what others have said but …

I 'll mention too , you might like to read a thread a guy started a year ago almost to the day about biking around NZ.Search for

''cycling NZ ‘’ and you’ll find it.

People say NZ is the best country in the world.I would put a caveat on that and say ‘’ the best in the world - if you’ve got money .‘’

Great place for a holiday.

I’m a surfer, carpenter and family man too.

I grew up just over the hill from where DeadShaper is talking about.I still live just a few clicks away.

The nearest consistent surf beach is about 40 mins from my house, with quality spots a good day trip or even o’nite trip away.

When you’re working every hour God sends your way to make ends meet,plus other commitments and friendships demanding your time, it can test your mettle as a surfer.

No ducking out for a quick one during a busy day, like you can when you live 3 blocks back from a surf beach.

A lot of guys either fade out of surfing , or leave town.

The best surf by far is in the provincial centres.These have blossomed with the economic boom we’ve had in recent years, though when the wheel does turn the building sector in those places will be the first to take a hit.

And the winters can be harsh.

A lot of core surfers bail to Oz.Better surf , better weather,and rumours keep drifting back of much better money and conditions for chippies.

I’ve done two long stints myself- only family and owning property here brought me back.

Just my experience/observations.take it with a grain of salt.

But you’re doing the right thing - come for a long holiday and have a good look around.You’ll be welcome.

I was told the gov’t really endeavors to make (and keep) it multi cultural. There is a very definite presence of Pacific Islanders of all ersuasions. Actually when I was down there my Kiwi friends said the goitv’t was currently going overboard on admitting Asians…they added that at some point the gov’t would then get on a caucasian bandwagon for awhile…maybe that’s when a lot of Afrikaners were coming in.

No society is without its problems, inherent weaknesses, challenges…that’s probably at least part of the definiton of society. If we were all the same, what a bore life would be…plus it might start ressembling Brave New World or 1984…

My kids are all that matters and are the main reason for my move. I Live on the isle of Man (if your into bike racing then it will be familiar) which has a very British mentality of yobish kids who spend there spare time drinking or taking drugs. Our surf is at best, shit (mainly onshore windswell), and work is becoming slowly strangulated by an influx of cheap european workforce. A need to provide and protect my family is the reason for my itchy feet and of course in no way due to my desire to surf decent waves…

Thanks to all for advice…

Enjoy your baby girl… these are the best times…

Nuclear speaks from experience I certainly don’t have…and I can well imagine Oz has quite a pull with a lota surf, a loota hot Aussie girlz, and a huge vibrant surf industry…basically there’s more of everything in Oz except perhaps sophisitication.

I mentioned the quirky economy of NZ and this is certainly true. The one note I didn’t mention is while down there my wife and I discovered a budding vinaculure (wine) industry. What has happened since is something we knew while there: New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are regarded as some of the finest SB’s in the world. Marlborough is rich with wineries producing incredible wines now being shipped all over the world. Waiheke Island (just a stone’s throw outside of Auckland) boasts of excellent RED wines. And Waiheke is also an absolutely beautiful place to spend some time. A friend of ours, Chris Palmer (Premium Real Estate agent) grew up there and decided to raise his kids on Waiheke. This is only one of many such places that will make you drool. On the northenmost point of the South Island you can check out Nelson…which has turned out to be a haven for American ex pats and retirees. The weather is a bit of a micro climate boasting considerably better weather than the NZ capital (Wellington) across the way on the bottom of the North Island.

Cold winds blow in from Antarctica and don’t forget the season’s are turned around…Xmas is warm and Summer is cold if you’re thinking our hemisphere. But the people are warm and YES, it’s important to have money…that was my challenge as previously stated. Maybe I’ll win a lotto ticket and just jump a plane back there…but I’m fortunate in marrying a retired flight crew person and I fly for less than you even want to know.

Well , drinking and taking drugs …

The kids here do plenty of that too , bro.


But I see what you’re getting at - it’s about choices, as far as avenues for you to offer your kids.

Anything I say is filtered through the walls of my white middle class bubble of course.

I forgot to say-

as far as work : I’m just cruising at the moment , working for a medium sized company in the residential sector.

I get 30 /hr flat rate.Technically self-employed- I supply all my own tools ( except the really expensive,rarely used ones),

no holiday pay , no o/t , no sick pay , no wet weather , you get the picture.

That’s a pretty reasonable rate around here at the moment for an exp. tradey with no particular responsibilities on site.

I know guys , own business sole traders , who charge themselves out at 40 , 45 , 50 bucks an hr.Once again that’s before tax and all other expenses.

Formal qualification is always a plus too.

Anyway , I’m off to sand the glass on my fins.

NZ’s towards the bottom of OECD wealth wise, the economy’s been growing faster than OECD average, but that’s mostly from working longer hours - much higher than OECD average. Unemployment’s lowest in developed world, and as everyone’s said, if you’re in the trades you’ll have plenty of work - teachers, nurses, IT and other qualified professional occupations are also in very short supply.

mate. if nz’s not your place. oz is a great place. i have a spair room you could use for a while…?

Drop through Perth on the way there, screaming out for chippies, heaps of work, basic wage around $100k for a good worker…

So many Poms here you’ll feel right at home…

Got a couple of spare beds if you’re interested…

hi all,

I was living and working in NZ last year for a year, and I agree with many people : it’s an amazing country.

But I must give my opinion for some few details said previously :

_ first, skiing is not that good (!) : bad an few snow and small ski resort compare to north america or europe… it’s a shame because the landscape is beautiful.

_ Silly said : “there are gang problems and high rate of violent crime per capita” what a joke!!! you should come to some countries like US, Brazil and south america in general, europe to see what the word crime mean…where the human life have no price. NZ is sooooo peaceful… the thing is that NZ is so peaceful that the press increase the idea that there are problems, because they’ve got nothing else to say…it’s really a kiwi thing to think that NZ is unsafe! so, just enjoy…!

_ don’t go to NZ to be rich! except if you own a business, the payrate is so low. and even if the cost of life is low as well, you will find quickly that it’s really hard to save money. But it’s true that you can find very very easily a job, in carpentry, or in an other branch.

oh, yeah, I forgot to say that if you like to get just a little bit of culture in the museums, theaters, history or this sort of things, if you like art, fashion things, etc… simply avoid the country, you may feel bored very quickly.

for surfing, let’s say that new zealand is just perfect! waves everywhere! east coast is good : not a “big” swell (well…! just kidding) and some offshore winds.

The west coast got some impressive massive swells with some west winds as well, but not comparable to UK channel :wink:

_ definitely avoid Auckland (if it’s to live in a city, stay in europe tommo31), and try to find a good compromise such as New Plymouth in Taranaki (I used to live there for 6 months) in the north island. I rent a flat just up a surfbreak and had a great time in this region. Many amazing surfspots around the corner, and a human size city (like a big village).

in the south island, one rule : stay in the northen part (blenheim or even better nelson). sunny and dry weather, really cool people, very good surfing on east and west coast (!) both very close. and not far from the alps for some skiing.

I was working in Picton (20 min drive from blenheim) in 'carey’s boatyard", i know the boss is regulary looking for some marine carpenters, and a 30 minutes drive spot call “robin hood bay” is a perfect place for surfing with the southish swells… for example.

_ last thing : education. I think it’s a really bad system. the teachers can be changed like toilet paper during the year. I believe it’s just some basics course during the morning. I reckon the good point is an important size give to the sport in the education. Uni system is to my opinion just an old mind system : the students must pay their courses (as it is in many country in the world, I know) which means people don’t have an equal chance to have a good job, so a good life, if they were born rich or poor… but I guess it’s just because of my french point of view… .

So, if you like outdoors activities such as surfing, windsurfing, skiing, sailing and more… go there!!!

see ya guys,


hi loic

i said a high rate per capita

this is a very relevant statistic

actually one of the highest child deaths from abuse in the “civilised world”

and a 3rd highest reported violent crime rate

not media just a fact

cant compare ourselfs to third world countries

then we can all sit back and pat ourself on the back for being so great compared to brazil

so instead of things getting better

through apathy , things get worse

btw ski i is good south island

club fields with rope tows

less yuppies, no crowds, 4 wd only

same as why the surfins good

limited access,cold water,big and less then perfect means

no people