Migrant Tales – Adele’s Story, Kids Falling Light Years Behind

A NZ education can seem like light years behind

Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand taken from places around the net.

Today’s tale was left on this blog by Adele,  she tells us how difficult it can be to leave New Zealand after one’s children have been failed by its educational system. Falling light years behind is how many migrants describe it.

Mmmm what can I say… well here’s my story. Arrived in NZ in 2007 with the biggest pair of rose tinted spectacles you have ever seen. Yes, I had done research, I just wish I’d fallen on this blog before I came. Would I still have come? Probably. Been here nearly 5 years now and I am so ‘over it’ it’s untrue!! I have never felt so isolated, alone, bereft the list goes on…

I moved out here with a fourteen year old boy, and two girls four and nine. My son was excelling at school in England, ‘destined for university’ were amongst some of the comments made by his year head in his leaving letter. Three years after being in one of the most shocking schools in the county he left with sweet FA!! They don’t have an education system here unless you are earning copious amounts of money and can send them to ‘private school’. We are currently paying for extra maths and english lessons for my daughter just to give her ‘half a chance’ at NCEA.

It’s like treading mud…. one step forward and five thousand back. If your kids aren’t into sport then theres little else to keep them occupied. Don’t get me wrong I’m not anti-sport and my two daughters play lots but they need more as teenagers. Its just not here. What they tend to do is go looking down the wrong path… I’m by no means a snob but getting dressed up to stand round an oil drum in someones garden, getting pissed on a grotty flea ridden sofa is not my idea of a night out.

Friendships… ha ha ha what a joke.. they don’t do friendships. In all my years as a parent and a teenager growing up in the UK I have never come across such disloyal, backstabbing, emotionally retarded people in all my life. Unless you’re the type that change your accent on touchdown and spend your days licking arse then forget friendships.. they don’t do them!

Expensive… what an understatement. You just get ripped off for everything. Food, dental, clothes, as soon as they hear your accent a plumber or electrician etc are in seventh heaven.. Lets rip the balls outta these guys!! Curtains.. please, you need to remortgage the house for a set. Paint!! don’t even go there, get the sugar soap out and get the walls washed.

‘What a negative person” I hear you say.. “why don’t you move back then”. If only.. it’s not as simple as it sounds. My nineteen year old son has started an apprenticeship and If I went back now he wouldn’t come with us. My daughter would be thrown into her GCSE year and has never had a geography, history, chemistry, physics or language lesson in other words she is ‘light years’ behind and I feel it would be cruel. Its called being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

On the plus side (because I’m not such a negative person really) it has nice scenery!!’

4 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – Adele’s Story, Kids Falling Light Years Behind

  1. The spelling and use of words that don’t mean what they think they mean.
    I prowl Trademe on a somewhat regular basis, looking for stuff that has been “brought” into NZ by people traveling abroad. When you read the listings, they’ll say that they’d “brought” it [purchased] when what is meant was that they’d “bought” it overseas and “brought” it to NZ. There have been a number of times that I’ve seen this, so many that now I’ve learned to “interperate” the meaning through context as opposed to reading the actual words that are used.

    Products of the “world class” education system here in NZ.

  2. I’ve just spent 4 years in London and had the same think re trademen–they will rip you off if they hear a different accent and think you don’t know local prices.They also don’t seem to pay tax over there which considering the state of the country made me angry. I think like anywhere you have to find out which are the best schools before you buy/rent a house in an area. A BA degree anywhere in the world is not worth a lot unless your going to teach. My daughter did a commerce degree and has found work in commerce in London but it took a year or two to get in to that type of work.
    I agree that food is dearer than Britain and dentists are not subsidised here like they are over there. I find clothes cheaper here but there is more variety over there both in price and quality but than they have a bigger population to support it. health care was better there by far BUT they are moving to community based health care like we have had for ten years here ie chronic patients are expected or trained to look after themselves supposedly to avoid acute periods and stay out of expensive hospitals. This is a world wide change due to the coming elderly care crisis due to baby bombers.
    There was a huge knife crime problem in London among the youth and although my Mother tried to tell me the same thing was happening in NZ (she has a love affair with the Uk), I have not heard anything in the 9 months I have been back.
    I agree that friendships can be difficult here but I also had to make a huge effort in London, I did make some very good friends but it took a while. My daughter has found it hard because she didn’t go to school in the UK. Years ago when we first lived in the UK and I had been a long time in hospital , I was told you have to go to people as people won’t come to you. Of the heaps of email addresses/phone numbers I took in the Uk only a small portion became true friends.


    • Did you ever consider moving out of London? Many British people wouldn’t consider living there because of the problems you’ve highlighted.

  3. It’s true… I’ve been living in NZ for nearly 7 years now (originally from Taiwan) and it’s been extremely difficult to make ‘kiwi’ friends. Instead, I have met a lot of international people from uni and still keep in contact.

    Yes, tradesman treat you like a retard, and they look at me as if I’m an alien with a kiwi accent. Arrrrg what’s with the attitude!?

    Poor education is another long story (I have a BA degree – as kiwis say ‘bugger all’). I have received my citizenship recently and I can’t wait to leave now. And I don’t think I want to come back for a while.

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