Emigrating When You’re Older

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 the self help and support forum for migrants Expatexposed.com:

In it the British poster talks about what it was like to migrate to New Zealand as an older person, and why they left after two years of struggling to live in the North Shore, Auckland – an upmarket area very popular with immigrants from both Europe and Asia.

“My wife and I are in our mid 50s and returned to UK last month after nearly 2 yrs living & working (and struggling) on Auckland’s North Shore. We, too, experienced many similar aspects of work life as you say you have, and that was certainly a large factor in our own deciding to bail out.

We have now decided to look on the last 2 years as having had an adventure, although it’s very tempting to mirror your own view of it all as really having been a waste of time. Certainly one thing we noticed was how every one seemed to be, as I put it, “Desperate For Every Last Dollar“, and that’s probably why so many NZ workplaces often seem to want more than their pound of flesh. It’s a poorer economy, of course, than that of the UK or even OZ, and this spins off in so many ways throughout Kiwi workplaces, the standard of living and lifestyles. The tourist brocures etc don’t show this side of the coin, and I’m really sorry that your experience hasn’t worked out, but I do hope that at least when you return to the UK you will have the advantage of being back in a country and culture etc. which you presumably grew up in and are 100% accustomed to. Good Luck!

It certainly was an adventure in being resourceful, in learning how reticent many folks were where we lived, in coping with so many exasperating aspects that grew more frustrating as time went by.

I’m talking about things such as paying income tax on every single dollar we earned, neighbours who kept their selves to their selves to the point where they never even passed the time of day over the garden fence; no central heating in our house with no curtains, no double glazing, no insulation and not even a fireplace or wood burner, invading bush cockroaches, choking and filthy car exhausts(Clean Green NZ???!!!), wages around 25% or more under what we earned in the UK, overall cost of living up to 30% more; careless designs such as no overflow vents in sinks and baths, no individual plug fuses – and a spur domestic electricity wiring system which a Kiwi sparky agreed is less safe than the UK’s fused plugs and ring main system; social starvation/isolation because Kiwis tend to stick to family and close childhood friends only, ugly warehouse retail sprawl on the North Shore and appallingly dangerous road marking and signs systems that obviously haven’t been given more than a moment’s thought by planning departments only too anxious to flee the office at 4pm sharp in search of their beloved bachs, BBQs, BMWs and boats.

What made us roar with laughter was when we heard radio adverts in the daytime advertising a brothel…. yet at the same time a woman was admonished by North Shore City Council for sunbathing topless!!
Roll with it

Just a few of the things that more than peeved us as time went by.”

5 thoughts on “Emigrating When You’re Older

  1. Totally forgot about the too low steady shower heads made for midgets. There is so much one forgets after beeing here for a while. What else? Lamps that don’t have a on/off switch. No paper recycling bin, got tired of bundling it myself with string (no boxes in the supermarket here), nowadays I am just chucking it in the plastic garbage bags, it’s worth the $2. Who cares. I definitely learned that here, also I chuck batteries and lightbulbs in the normal garbage, didn’t do that in the country where I come from, but here: who cares!

  2. Forgot about their toilets, you need to flush three times (if you’re lucky), just some lousy weak amount of water that doesn’t do the job.

    • And they seem as though they’re going to erupt [noisey with water nearly spewing out of the bowl]. And open “grey water” drains [everything but toilet; kitchen sink, shower…]. A very unsanitary situation, smelly, too.

  3. “Careless designs such as no overflow vents in sinks and baths”. My thought as well (after an overflowed bath). Cheap is the magic word here in NZ. Nasty cheep ways to hang up curtains, cheap netting for the windows, nothing is made to last for a decent while. Clothes in the shop cut out of not enough fabric so you get these ‘turning wedges’. Why? The Kiwi wants ‘cheap’ and doesn’t care, simply because they don’t know any better and are used to be treated like shit, beeing humble for anyone ‘above’ them.

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