Continuing in our series of Migrants’ Tales, first hand accounts of the migrant experience in New Zealand taken from locations around the net.
Today’s tale is taken from an emigration forum. In it the British poster (living in North Shore, Auckland) who is still in the ‘honeymoon stage,’ tells of how difficult it has been for her husband to find work but how ‘happy’ she is with New Zealand; her young child has settled well and is enjoying the Kiwi lifestyle.
Meanwhile her husband struggles with depression and their relationship is under strain.
She says nothing about her concerns for her child’s long term prospects in New Zealand but this quite normal for many migrants who initially learn to live for the moment and suppress feelings of unease about things like their children’s futures, their lack of savings and pensions for their old age and the great distance from their traditional support networks. Over time this usually changes:
“Well, time keeps passing and we settle in here more and more everyday. Sprog loves it and has a kiwi twang to her voice that gets stronger everyday. My job is brilliant and couldn’t work with nicer people. It helps that I can see lake Pupuke, the ocean and the sky tower from the windows We have made our little rental home and love our neighbours. Social life improves all the time but at the moment we are beaten hands down by the 11 year old who spends most of her life with her new freinds and the rest on the phone to them!!
The downside has been OH and work. He has applied for stacks of jobs both in his trade and out of it. He has picked up a few bits of work here and there but the permanent job still alludes him. Until he gets a proper job putting down permanent roots is not going to happen. It has come to the point where he may have to go back to UK for a while and return when (if) things pick up. This is not the worst thing that could happen as that would be that we all go back It is still sooooo not what we wanted, we had no idea the recession had hit as hard as it has and that has been a real shocker.
Which makes us ask why emigrants don’t know that unemployment is still rising in New Zealand, Kiwis are leaving to find work in Australia and employers are obliged to give jobs to Kiwis rather than immigrants on work permits? See jobs for kiwis on blogspot.
He has struggled to keep his chin up and not sink into depression, that has at times put a strain on a usually very happy relationship!!! Luckily those dark days are gone (Ihope) and if he has to go back for a few months, so be it, if that means we stay here its what we will put up with. Not sure if that affects his PR maybe someone on here will know?
Not sure if I will cope with doing shift work and an 11 year old with an attitude getting bigger by the day but I hope she behaves herself if he does go. Can’t imagine living without him for even a few weeks let alone months but neither of us can imagine going back to live in England permanently either!!! Hope things pick up here soon
So mostly good here but could be better, keep fingers crossed for us please…
…think he would probably go for about 3 months. He doesn’t do well without me about!!! Can’t cope with chores I think He would stay with his mum to cut down on expenses and as long as he covers the flights and brings some money back home with him that would do us. Trouble is he knows he can get work tomorrow in England. Here its just waiting for the phone call that sometimes doesn’t come So love our life here we just can’t afford to do the stuff we want to with just my earnings Its not even expensive stuff we want to do, just go exploring for the weekend and things. Nursing doesn’t allow for that!!!! At least its an option open to him. There is talk that it will be another year before things really pick up here and we just can’t live on my wage for that long without using all our savings and that wasn’t in the plan. Here’s hoping he finds something soon.”
This is a response she got, a now familiar story of low wages, expensive rents and a constant drain on savings just to make ends meet (many people eventually exhaust their savings) another example of how the scenery doesn’t pay the bills:
* We have been here 4 months now and i am starting to struggle without having something to occupy myself during the day.
“I have always worked but my money has been ‘playing’ money rather than ‘bill paying’ money. We arent living a lavish lifestyle here. we live in a moderate house with average rent (which is half his wage) every week. We have to keep topping up the bank account with money from the Uk that we still get but are conbverting that at almost 2-1 now. We dont go out lots (if at all) we dont particularly do stuff thats expensive at all. i dont buy the ‘homebrand’ goods when i am shopping but am happy to try the NZ stuff without having to buy ‘british’ stuff either. I buy whats on special – but thats just the way i am – tight i am staggered by how his wage dissappears every week when we dont seem to do anything!!
I know that sounds like its all ‘about me’ but i just want you to know that i know exactly how he must feel. I guess it is different for him if he has been the breadwinner but its all about how busy you are during the day and what stimulation you have. I have started applying for jobs but so far nothing.
Going back to the UK wouldnt work for me – i am as useless there as i am here – but if thats what he needs to keep himself ‘together’ then maybe its for the best short term.
I have no regrets about moving here – and am in no way thinking that we have made a mistake by coming – yet. I hope you and your family can sort things out swiftly and get on with enjoying what is a really beautiful country with lovely people.”
Compare this lady’s story to that of an American couple who’ve lived in NZ since 2004, neither of them have been able to work in their chosen professions and they’re shocked at how their lives have turned out, they have no money or savings left after 14 years of professional life in the USA: