Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales – first hand immigrant stories about life in New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.
Today’s tale is taken from a NZ emigration forum.
At this time of year talk frequently turns to the topic of cold, unheated homes and high fuel bills (read “Scarily cold houses,” “Most people consider hypothermia a symptom of being cold, rather than an expression of national identity” and “So cold it’s warmer outside“)
Most of the readers of this blog come from the northern hemisphere and are enjoying the highs of summer at present. When you brush your teeth before retiring for the night, spare a thought for those who endure the cold in New Zealand – children, babies, the infirm and the elderly included:
How to go to bed and keep warm in New Zealand:
“This was our routine, coached by Kiwi relatives.
The bed needs to be made up with several layers, under you and over you, to insulate you and keep your body-heat in. You can always push off a layer or two if you get too warm, then just pull them back over as necessary, but they need to be right there so you don’t have to get out and go looking.
About half an hour to 40 minutes before going to bed, put on dehumidifier in bedroom, possibly heater as well depending on how cold it feels. Dry air doesn’t feel as cold as damp air. Also put on electric blanket, or put hot water bottles in the bed.
Get into your nightclothes in a warm room, so you don’t lose body-heat. Your nightclothes need to be a little micro-climate of your own – long-sleeved, long-legged in warm material, worn with socks, and maybe a fleece or jumper. What you choose depends on where YOU feel the cold.
Just before you get into bed, turn off the dehumidifier (and heater and electric blanket, if used). You can keep the hot water bottle(s) in with you if you want. You are warm yourself, in a warmed, insulated bed, breathing dry air, and should be able to get to sleep. Once asleep, people can usually cope with breathing cooler air as long as their body stays warm. “
Further reading “Your stories – Kiwi experience of unhealthy homes“:
We live in Lower Hutt with our 2 young children. Our landlord doesn’t do anything to help us out. We have no insulation at all. My landlords family member said he would suggest to her about a heat pump but we never heard anything. Our house gets so cold and damp in winter that our blankets get wet. My and my children have asthma and its not helping.
I think it should be compulsary for rentals to have insulation and a decent form of heating. There are too many landlords out there who do not care!
Brrrrr, come on goverment, help us hard working families to live comfortably…please?
We brought our first home three years ago, a 40 yr old weather board place in good condition,, with woodburner, but no insulation in walls or floor, and during winter the temperature drops to an average of about 5degrees!!, we both work full time, but with a mortgage, increasing everyday costs of living and a baby on its way it is impossible for us to afford insulation! I am so worried about this house being unhealthy for my new baby – the lounge is fine with the fire, but the rest of house I cannot seem to keep dry – there are musty smells I cant remove and Ive cleaned and aired out …. dont know what to do, help us please
My partner and I are living in a 1960’s rented unit in central Auckland. We pay nearly $400 per week for a damp, mouldy home in winter, and spend a fortune on trying to keep it warm and dry. I can understand how it is not high on a landlords priority list to insulate his rental properties – I don’t blame these people at all. But this is definetly a problem that affects a lot of tenants in this country – and not just in the cheaper rental homes either!