Continuing in our popular Migrant Tales series – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.
Today’s tale was sent in by Justine, a successful woman who emigrated from the UK with her Kiwi husband. In common with many migrants Justine soon found the scenery wasn’t enough and she returned to Poland.
This is Justine’s story.
“Polish girl moving out – I am so happy!
First of all, I would like to thank you for creating this website and making such a huge effort to provide people with the genuine information about this ‘pure’ land! I have been in NZ once before me and my ‘Kiwi’ husband decided to move to NZ from the UK, where I was a successful woman. My first visit was almost, as drastic, as the following 6 months (because that was all I could handle) living in NZ. My husband is a half Maori, and I am from, of course, a country where we don’t have many majorities or minorities. I wasn’t aware of many things from back of my husband’s background, but I guess we all are getting know each other during the years. So we were together 3 years before he proposed to me. Just before that we traveled to NZ to pay the visit to his parents. OMG! The thing is that his father didn’t even want us to stay in his house, not mention that parents were separated and he has his entire house to himself. At first I didn’t understand why we are staying at my boyfriend’s (at that time) friend’s house! That was only the beginning.
I must admit I loved the mountains and the beaches and the access to the ocean, but when we were visiting the people, I had so strong bad experience I was just crying in the bed, as I knew I will have to hurt someone if I want to be myself. I needed to speak about my impressions. So we visited also the mother which was 1 of 17 children, the family was living in very basic houses, plus some of them, which were living in Auckland were so poor, that I was just almost having problem with my face, when I saw: 10 people in two boxes (homes) from wood, plus mothers with their beers and cigarettes while the children around or on their hands, this was all appealing the homes and the behavior. I must say, I am average looking girl, but I had this kind of impression from them – I don’t know why – woman looks on my like they would want to say, you stupid bimbo!!! The irony is that, it was me who was feeling intimidated because I have some kind of empathy, and I felt sorry for those people somehow. This very much gave me a mental shock, I would be than talking to my boyfriend at that time, that I am really sorry but I didn’t have the best impression on the all NZ. I am actually glad I did have the fast acknowledgement of the culture there. This probably contributed to my quick decisions after our movement there.
Anyway, each time I was trying to go back to the way I was feeling about the place, we would be arguing and he would called me a racist and superficial. I should leave back then, but I was feeling guilty for maybe my way of perception. I believe that in a healthy body lives healthy spirit, and I had so bad impression of those all people, moreover there were all fat (sorry to be so precise). They also almost all had cars and they would be driving for a bread five meters to some local shops (what I am trying to say here is that they were lazy or extremely lazy plus they don’t appreciate the nature at all)…anyway.
After three months from this visit he proposed to me and I seriously had a big heart to this person. We spent few nice years together and I loved him. I see in people good sides and I do believe in people in general, so I did decide that why not, we were happy back in the UK. I must point out here, that being in the UK I was on a higher wage, as I have an engineering background and I am highly qualified, so I have never been dependent on him in terms of finance.
We got married and he started pushing for the idea of going back to NZ. I had a mix feeling. Anyway I like taking challenges, so I said to myself if I won’t try I won’t ever know. I invested in all the transfer, all the visa and papers which probably all cost me around 1500 GBP, but this was only beginning of me spending my money. Thanks God I had so much savings. Once we arrived to this shit land, it appears that we will live in the camping, as we didn’t have any history record of renting in NZ and we didn’t have a job – yet. I got to know in the meantime that mother of my husband had some financial problems and he himself did not pay his loan from the University, and it came to me that he has around 64000$ debit and owns this to the gov WTF!!!!! Next it appears that there are no jobs in NZ especially for a woman with my qualifications and the background and thanks GOD because it made me want to go out of this place even sooner. I was unaware of so many things!!! My husband didn’t want to go to Auckland, as he said there are snobs living there, despite the fact I would have had probably the best opportunity there, but the worst was that he would force me to work physically because – you should work hard and get any job – what do you expect in NZ (when I am talking about this with him today, as I want to take divorce – he is claiming he recommended, not force me). So after three months of working (with some breaks, because picking kiwi fruits depend on the weather) with some criminals and losers which would tell me how their sex life looks like after for example a night work, because we were working night shifts in pack-houses as well, I had enough. I would just talk about this to my husband but he was even more accusative. He told me I am using him and I used him (????) and I am abusing him. I was so depressed at the end of these six months in NZ, that I was crying all days, while sitting on the internet and looking for some jobs.
I had actually few interviews, two of which were in good companies, but they turned me down. I had also very ‘professional’ experience where the guy sent me an email that they actually rejected my application a minute before my interview, and he did go through this interview with me, only when I left I saw the email from him from an hour before!!!.
The attitude of people, while I thought it can’t be worse than in the UK when you are Polish 😉 it was so bad (this time not because I am Polish, because most NZ not recognise anything except UK, USA, and Australia or maybe Asia as whole, but because I was stranger!)! I had to escape, I told my husband I am not going to survive like this, and he anyway was sorting my food and just yelling at me that I am still not working, as I refused after those three months to go back to this shit work. I had 7 years of University education and 7 of work experience!!! Now I was just nothing. He would not let me go back; he said that I am crazy (again he is claiming he do not recommended me to go back)!. When I found you guys I was so happy. I was on an age of my strength, and believe me I have been through a lot being alone and starting from 300 GBP in the UK few years before and before that in USA when I was 24. I had many hard situations but I have never felt like in the prison more than in NZ. It was not only my husband attitude; it was everything around me.
It was very expensive compare to the UK and yes the houses OMG! We were sitting in jackets in the winter in the house! I couldn’t believe this. The houses cost fortune but they are so poor quality, almost like everything there. The ozone layer is another thing, you coming to this called ‘paradise’ for its lifestyle and then you actually can’t get out on the sun without 50′ cream on, otherwise you will have cancer probably soon or later. I had also pleasure to talk to the locals at ‘this’ my work. I heard stories of rape, killing by knife children, prostitutes, and gangs. I was just amazed (read extremely scared) for such a small society, how often people had those common experiences. The funny thing the family violence, it appeared now that my husband mum was molested while she was young (what a surprise) and it is not the end, and his brother is smoking weed everyday!!! Where the hell I came to!!!
Once I was driving to work it was late around 7pm, I actually wasn’t the driver, but my German friends from the same camping (as except travelers, and mentioned earlier losers and criminals no one else was working this way). We were driving while on a sharp corner (with the speed limit 40), someone pushed us off the road. We were lying on the side, and the car which pushed us off, was converted. We than checked if everyone is alive and get off to confront the idiot. The guy turned out to be drunk and he also was going to the same workplace. The thing was fortunately we took the pictures because he just drove off to work. We called the police and they took the report, but he never suffered any consequences and he was working there ever since, even though you have a HSE statement that it is prohibited to be drunk at work!!! Anyway I guess they are waiting for a killed victim.
To be honest I came back to Poland and I feel like in heaven, I am afraid so many people also in my country believe this propaganda created in media about the beautiful country. I want to share the story as this is good we can talk about our experiences, it is good to warn people before they will regret some life changing decision. I would never want to have kids in NZ and moreover I am happy on a way this all happened to me. It, at least, didn’t last for long. Now I am wondering if marring a white woman as a Maori man is something prestige because I could feel the misalliance in some circus of people (but I guess they were just curious). I know my bad experience is related with the person my husband becomes in NZ, but I am also aware he exactly doesn’t see anything wrong with all this society. Once we were on a rugby game and someone said a joke that if the All Blacks will lose there will be a lot of broken jaws tomorrow at work!!!! At the end of those months I was at the stage where it was just a simple little step from depression or worse, I knew I had to get out. Thanks God I had a lot of money on my account and I have never shared them with my husband, even though he persist before the arrival. That would have killed me, I would be stuck there and I think I will lose my mind.
Thank you so much for this website (I am not sure what drives you to create it, but I have an impression that we all shearing something as we want the true to be out there). It was you who also convinced me in those dark days I am not the one who is crazy!!! This was form of abuse and now I understand that, but it’s not so easy to get out if you are in the middle of the manipulation.