6 Years In, Stay Or Go?

exit NZ

Continuing in our series of Migrants’ Tales – first hand immigration stories about New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.

Today’s tale is taken from Expatexposed.com, the only NZ immigration support forum on the net that allows posters to contribute without fear of their posts being censored, edited or removed by moderators. It is also a not-for-profit self help site, unlike other emigration sites.

The poster tells of island fever setting in after 6 years and seeks advice on whether to stay or go. For this family, even after 6 years, New Zealand still does not fit the bill. But, is it bad enough to leave it?

The full thread may be found here, read the responses that were given to this post:

Too Far Down The Rabbit Hole

Excuse me I can get a little wordy..

My wife and I moved here before we met each other…we are both non new zealanders…both first generation english speakers from European Descent.
We have a little girl (15 months) and an another baby due in December.

We are both multi skilled with degrees and drive in the information technology sphere and are self employed..which is kiwi for working for the priveledge of working for yourself and live week to week mostly..try and save I believe that should be the national motto..

We both feel tricked into coming here but have been here 6 years now and I believe we are suffering severely from Island Syndrome...So if any of you don’t mind proffering a little clarity to our clouded minds it would be much appreciated…so here goes:

Everytime we think of throwing it all to hell, pouring gasoline on it and lighting the match, we get stuck…We know its bad, the crappy quality and expensive prices for housing, the high price of groceries and the rubbish quality of cheaply imported chinese everything,the rubbish wages for highly skilled jobs…but is the rest of the world any better? and if so is it worth it at 34 and 28 respectively going through all that crap again…Shifting country, visas, passports (not that my wife has hers yet by the time she is done with all the rule changes it will be a total of 11 years to have finally got that) and the works?

My biggest problem with this country is being part of the status quo, in other words thou shall not show that thou are smart, talented or creative unless though don the black jersey!! The question I ask myself is do I want my kids growing up thinking that is normal way to be!Or attending a decile 10 school and ending up barely able to read (and trust me I have seen loads of kids like this)…

What is kind of tempting us here is the free health and dental and glasses for kids, and free schooling etc etc…(ed. free schooling? there’s the donation and books to pay for, dental care is basic and doesn’t cover orthodontics and most free care ends when they’re 16) But then again you get what you pay for I guess and I remember that things wern’t free for my parents and they didn’t have flash jobs but managed…

We feel stuck, essentially im at the point where we should sell everything we own and just go for it and head to the US or Dubai or Europe with the clothes on our back, some in bag, a laptop and a camera…Hell at least we could do it tough for a while till we got established and it got better?

You find yourself lulled by a false sense of security here in the south pacific, where the dangers and problems of the world seems miles away, and the news is full of scary stuff and doom and gloom…But please tell me its not all that bad? Or is this part of the get them here strategy them keep em here?

Most of all we miss friends that won’t stab you in the back, that invite you to dinner and it doesn’t mean bring your own and eat at our table, we miss conversations till the wee hours about life, art, politics and the like.. We miss museums, art galleries, good dining and doing all of the above as well as being able to save
Any thoughts anyone has would be welcomed…

Ok suffering from a little too much alice in wonderland watching but its a theme I will stick to..

The 11 years deal was because she came here on a student visa which “isn’t recognised and doesn’t count towards hard time, and residency wasn’t gained till 06, then indefinite was in 08..So its the hidden little things that count..but no biggie really I mean if you can get residency somewhere a passport means bugger all if you want to go holiday somewhere its just an application process…

I find it stifling if I am being honest…And yes the whole big bad world syndrome really does take it’s toll..just ask my pregnant wife about fears mixed with hormones a deadly combination.

I guess what was I expecting (stupid stupid stupid) of a country of 4 Million odd people, we have Cities back home with more per city…

My days start with the thought that I am throwing away my life with every minute I spend here, that’s a very motivating and very disempowering thought, as my standards keep slipping the more I accept and put up with
. Half the time I spend lamenting the fact that I have to put up with all sorts of things, remensicing about the good old days, then thinking am I glamourising the past and it really wasn’t that good.

Then again I never had to take a fist full of meds to get through the day back then, there wasn’t “something wrong with me”..Not im not a drug addict I am a victim of NZ surgery gone apparently right and this is to be expected after 2 years…oh google how thou tell me otherwise but it cannot be true for the professions here art highly educated, or not bright enough to leave…

The questions we ask ourselves always lead to silence, the unknown and the go and see thing gets a little tricky with little ones…Yes Island Syndrome is a major part of this, I find myself floored when I make friends with a non kiwi to hear tales of the outside world, it begins to sound magical…Then I ask myself this: You don’t see a flood of Americans, Canadians or French landing on these shores in rafts? Desperate to do anything to get in… What you do see is a lot of Asian, Indian and the like coming in and loving it, NZ immigration tailored to 3rd world countries where yes it is better for them…But thats the crux isn’t it…The ex pats who are truly blissfully happy here are usually working class people that sold their semi and when they arrived they had a small fortune, paid cash for everything and need next to nothing to enjoy a great life..So why would they complain…

You don’t see highly educated entrepueners saying hey NZ what a great place to run a business, I mean hell the government is all about making people money!! I think there has been only one chinese fellow in the 15 years the programme has been running that applied under the investor category and he’s now wanted for tax evasion…

Sorry im rambling…just venting a little really, trying to build up the venom for the exit so to speak..Im at the point now even though we are both educated and skilled that I am willing to drive trucks or diggers in the US just to get a foot in the door…Shovel sand in Dubai or work in Finance in the UK just to be done with the place.

I guess what I am after from the fine people here are stories of home, like I went to the store and bought some milk and bread and had change from a dollar..Or we were at friends discussing the latest economic scandal when my 4 year old came out and said “Oh Daddy what did you expect from Globalisation” and she could spell it….In short trying ever so hard to be inspired…Have been looking at you tube where you can do virtual town tours…a really great way to get a feel for a place..Wish we had that years ago would have saved us a fortune…

Also am finding inspiration in OS house prices, $50,000 US buys a lot and im willing to commute, or apartments in Germany for less than a used holden here…and the like…Ahh I dream of a savings account and owning my own house and car, heading off to Rome to look at museums, then to Paris to take in 10% of an actual art collection..and when someone asks what I had seen, and I answer Rodin…not to be told back “oh yeah they are upgrading that section of highway, its a hell of wait isn’t it”..

10 thoughts on “6 Years In, Stay Or Go?

  1. Yeah there is undue pressure on the kids to perform and the support is non existent.
    Puplis’ deaths spark crisis meeting: “The sudden deaths of two Flaxmere College pupils in the past 10 days have sparked warnings for the Hawke’s Bay community to look out for signs of self harm. It is believed the two pupils were 15-year-old girls on the verge of their level 1 NCEA exams.” http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/9388081/Pupils-deaths-spark-crisis-meetings

    The rates of teen suicide are the worst here in the world and no-one seems to care.

  2. Marc Whinery :
    We understand the education issues people report, but we don’t have the problem my nephew had in the US where he was expelled from school before every standardized test to get him off the role because he had a diagnosed learning issue they refused to treat and didn’t want his low scores to hurt the school.

    It happens here too only they’re not so open about it. When our neighbour’s kids school was concerned he’d affect their performance they used other ways of getting him to leave. The quality of the teaching here is terrible, it’s only the Asian kids that keep the scores up and the money rolling in. There’s so much manipulation going on here it’s incredible. Can’t wait to leave.

  3. “You don’t see a flood of Americans, Canadians or French landing on these shores in rafts? ”

    No we come in airplanes. We live in immigrant ghettos like the North Shore, surrounded by South Africans. And we don’t make a stink about it. We know Americans aren’t liked. But we don’t mind because having been here 5 years, we still remember the “old country”. We laugh at NZ’s massive racism. The US gets race riots and much more overt and violent racism. We laugh at the “crime problem”, where the worst streets in the CBD/South Auckland are safer than the average streets in major US cities. We understand the education issues people report, but we don’t have the problem my nephew had in the US where he was expelled from school before every standardized test to get him off the role because he had a diagnosed learning issue they refused to treat and didn’t want his low scores to hurt the school.

    For all the problems I hear on sites like these, I can think of things “back home” that are 10 times worse. I get paid more here and have lower taxes, and those lower taxes pay for more services. We bought our first home 3 years ago, and housing has gone up so much since then (yes, problem people complain about) that we borrowed against the equity and are buying an investment property. It sucks that I’m causing housing prices to rise by buying a house that I have no intention of living in, but the government has made it clear that they don’t want cheap housing, because it would hurt investors and rich people, who are the ones who donate to (and run for) political parties.

    It’s not perfect, but it’s so much better than where I left, I’m not upset, and I wasn’t mislead before coming, I did my research and it was what I expected. I wish everyone the best of luck, but I just don’t see the problems reported to the extent described.

    Even for custody (another thread I was reading), the laws here are simpler and clearer than the US. Though not in line with the rest of the world. My wife had a previous child, and if she dies, the courts will look at the best interests of the child, with my “rights” and the “rights” of the birth father not really considered. Does that suck for parents in custody battles? Yes, but for a child who has spent the majority of his life in NZ and likes his school and friends, the US way is worse (snatch the child from the home, put the child in state care until the courts decide where to sent him, and always favor blood over family). We don’t have to look at expensive options like adoption, because the law favors the child, and the child favors NZ, and NZ favors the child’s wishes/needs. No, I didn’t test this in the courts yet, the mother hasn’t died, and hopefully I’ll never have to test it, but we have looked at it a few times ensuring the best interests of our children, and NZ does a much better job of that than the US.

    NZ may suck for those who came on rafts or whatever, but for those from the USA, it’s a step up. If you want cheap housing, move to Detroit. If you want a good life, NZ is better.

    • “We know Americans aren’t liked. But we don’t mind because having been here 5 years, we still remember the “old country”.”

      Wow, you admit that New Zealanders don’t like Americans, and that’s ok with you. I guess you don’t mind your children being raised with such attitudes. No surprise then, that New Zealand does appeal to you. My husband and I, on the other hand want to raise our child to respect all people and not dislike them because of where they lived or what accent they have, and we don’t want to be surrounded by people who are “ok” with disliking people because of their nationality. That’s why we are leaving New Zealand after the New Year.

      I was raised in the States, lived there for many decades in fact, but I wasn’t born there. I am of Latin American birth, and have the black hair/olive skin of many people from my part of the world. In my personal experience, I have felt more overt racism in New Zealand than I had in the US. Where I lived in the States, there were people from all over the world, many Hispanics like me and felt well assimilated. In New Zealand I’m often aware of my “otherness” and I have had unpleasant comments leveled at me both for being an American and for being “ethnic” looking.

      “We laugh at the “crime problem”, where the worst streets in the CBD/South Auckland are safer than the average streets in major US cities.”

      Would you care to provide examples/statisitcs to back up such a claim. It so happens that I’ve lived in South Auckland for many years and I KNOW that there is a lot of crime here. My parents back home in their average street in a major US city have never been robbed, mugged, or vandalized in their home. There has never been a shooting in their neighborhood. The same can not be said about my suburb in South Auckland, where in 15 years my house has been burgled three times, vandalized regularly, not to mention two shooting in recent years. My New Zealand husband marvels at how families on the street where my parents live leave out children’s toys in their UNFENCED properties and no one steals them. Try doing that anywhere in Auckland, much less South Auckland. My question to you is – Have you ever even been in South Auckland?

      As for you doing research before you came, websites like this one which allow an unbiased view of life in New Zealand are only a few years old, so it actually was quite difficult until recently for the researcher to find anything apart from BS from interested parties trying to make a buck trying to sell New Zealand. Try to have a little understanding, although considering you think it’s OK for Kiwis to dislike Americans…

  4. “Harden up”, til you get your NZ passport, then jump to Oz. Most ex-pats as well as Kiwis are “like rats off a sinking ship”. The “tall poppy” thing is not so rampant, and [in my case] are a bit more friendly to Yanks. Kiwis do better with Brits than Yanks.
    Every thing US is revered here, except the people that created it.

    Suck it up, get your citizenship, then go to Oz where Kiwis are allowed to stay and work as long as they like.
    NZ is one of the places that allow dual citizenship, so you should be able to keep yours.

  5. @Wenger, I looked at your website, and you remind me of myself. I found that I developed a “wordy explaining tendency” a couple of years after I moved here, because it was impossible to communicate with these people, yet I needed to get a point across sometimes when a problem arose. I felt like they didn’t understand a thing I said. The more I tried to impart some important perspective to them, the less they seemed to understand, and the more I tried to explain it to them, in a vicious circle. Even explaining “against my will” (that is, futilely and knowing it), because I thought they “should” be able to understand. But the fact is, if it isn’t in their interest to do something, or if they don’t want to understand, they will not listen just in order to acknowledge improve the communication, even if they did have the ability. Persisting in it simply drives YOU crazy and makes you look crazy to them. Anything beyond the length of a text message is insurmountable and annoying to them, even many educated professionals. This becomes maddening when there is a genuine problem that needs addressing, and it’s not being brought out into the open to be dealt with. I did not have this problem back home at all, ever. People “got” me right away so I didn’t have to go on and on “trying to be understood”. It is so weird, when both peoples do speak English.

    They’re not much on the inner life here, are they! Reflection and theorising are a waste of time to Kiwis. They would rather be at the beach with some beers, baked and blitzed, or making money, or DIY or gardening. This is a fine lifestyle for some types. Not for others.

    • So how did it go mate are you leaving or going to soon?
      I understand all your frustration when i have red your post it felt like myself and no you are never to old to leave nz ,and at the end of the day its not worth it to live here, its a crapp place, scraping by cents for day to day life. For what?? NZ will be bankrupt soon after Christchuch,,, leave Nz for new Zealanders with their island syndrome
      Best wishes my cultured man

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