Back In The UK

Many people who emigrate to New Zealand only manage to stay for a few years before moving on, either back to their places of origin or to other countries.

Despite the data given in the misleading ‘satisfaction’ surveys a high proportion of immigrants do leave New Zealand after a few years.

To complement our migrant tales about the immigration experience in New Zealand we thought it would be useful to have some first hand stories of what it’s like to leave New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.

This one was found on  a NZ forum which has since closed down.

The poster tells of his return to the UK, his astonishment at how cheap things are relative to NZ, how satisfying it is to be working again for an employer that truly values his service and how the family is getting a fair shot at life again:

Been back a week now and all I can say is we are BLOWN away by the cost of things here!!!!! Food and Furniture OMG!!!. You are all SERIOUSLY being robbed out there!!!! (we all know this anyway!) **** went to town the other day and came back with some serious food shopping and being in NZ mode I panicked!!! 65quid!!!!! I couldn’t believe it. You are paying at least 2-5 times more over there for a lot of stuff (and im taking into account the exchange rate obviously) We cant believe we put up with it over there for so long. We went and got a load of furniture yesterday its all so cheap here and people are willing to do you a bit of a deal if you are spending a bit, I remember shops in NZ letting me walk out the shop and lose a sale for the sake of chucking in a few bucks worth of stuff to go with what you were buying.

Get home guys dont think you will regret it. Have heaps more to tell you, will put some more on later…

Just been offered a good position back at my old company, factory team leader in an international company, finally feel worth something again after years of bull***t and rejection by kiwis. Remember guys they are threatened by you plain and simple. Least here you will get a fair shot and your skills and background will generally be embraced. More later…

Back on now guys, just had cable put on (another thing NZ is years behind with!). Have noticed customer service over here as slipped quite a lot since we left the UK 7 1/2 years ago, senior schools are an absolute PAIN IN THE AR*E to get your kids into but did go to the dentist the other day…………16.50!!!!!!! Both my kids have been referred for braces FREE of course (just like mine were 20 something years ago, we were talking about REMORTGAGING in NZ to get the kids braces so already saved ourselves $10000!. Still cant get over how cheap food is but would say electrical items are on an even par but GAS BBQ’s over here are an absolute RIPOFF but hey you cant have everything!!! My job is going well (Manufacturing team leader for an international conpany (my old employer of 17 years)) a roll that none of my old bosses in NZ would have been capable of doing, they were far far to incompetent. Its quite high pressure but am loving it, mainly because I actually feel worth something instead of feeling like cr*p due to arrogant kiwis who refused POINT BLANK to recognise my background, more fool them. Still very glad to be back and am AMAZED how quick the kids have made friends here. We hardly see them as they are always out. They were pretty lonely over there thanks to the kiwi kids arrogant redneck parents who are passing it all on to the next generation. My eldest (13) had to sit some tests today to see where she will be placed in school and it has really dawned on us how very very poor the NZ education system really is, no wonder they are like they are.

Had a great weekend guys, weather hit 30!!! Took the kids to Portsmouth, round some of the Museums and Southsea Castle, the kids were well impressed at how old it was and we told them “this isn’t an old castle”!!! It made them realise there was nothing like it in NZ, great places to visit with kids truly are few and far between over there (compared to here) and you generally travel for miles to get to them. Have to admit, I do miss parts of NZ, our old house for one, but we did live there for 7 years and I am making the mistake of calling it home to people i talk to over here. One thing you will get a lot of over here from the “uneducated” is “what the hell did you come back here for, from a country like New Zealand!!!” Have had heaps of it. I keep telling people that after nearly 8 years away it really is not that bad here and that NZ truly does start to wear off after enough years and that they would have to live over there to understand. Be warned you will get a lot of it! One thing OH just said is before you move to an area check local school admissions, apparently catchment areas dont mean anything anymore!!!!”

44 thoughts on “Back In The UK

  1. Thank you Rose. Your comments are really encouraging. I was thinking of moving from rural NZ, where we are at the moment, to Wellington to see if that would make a difference before making the final decision about moving back to the UK. However, I might just skip that step as this will still not bring financial security – in fact, it will be even more expensive to live. I actually did a brief comparison between rental costs where I’m living now and my hometown of Hull and was horrified to see I am paying almost twice as much here.

    Can I ask anyone how they found moving back with regards to getting a benefit while they were looking for work?

  2. I am really interested to read of the loneliness experienced here. I have been here just over 8 years and have no close friends. I can catch up for coffee but there’s noone who wants to do life together. I thought it was me being over sensitive but i can see that it is way too frequent. I have been qualified as a social worker for 12 years (qualified in uk) but i have never been able to earn more than $25/hour here.

    One of my main questions is how is the U.K now with brexit and terrorism. And how easy would it be to get a decent job and house? I have an 18 and 19 year old who might come or might not. What would it be like for them?

    • Hi Barbara, it is sad to read how lonely so many of us are even after so many years. Re: terrorism and islamophobia – we too worry about these along with taking our daughters to the UK but overall I hear on a daily basis everyone else lives daily lives quite normally! The other forums I read say many villages and towns are so multicultural that it brings a richness to the area. Then, I read other forums where there is clear hatred and fear. In NZ we have a growing crime rate, homicides and violent attacks. There is racism against POMs and like you say challenges in making connections and living on low wages, I dont know if overall it’ll be any more scary – especially since, I beleive, friends will be made easier in the UK from every creed and race and that in itself will be some form of security and settledness that we havent had and dont have here in NZ. Just my thoughts. Children are highly adaptable – they’ll have more things to do, more to see, more to investigate and safer options than drugs, alcohol and the roaming nature of NZ youngsters, I know there are issues in the UK too but at least there are things to do, see and engage in no matter the day whereas in NZ what is there for youngsters to do other than hang out in malls, on the street and cause mayhem – if they arent into sport there isnt much else to do here. Kids are incredibly versatile and having travelled yours are likely to be well rounded, mindful and much more insightful than most. I wouldnt worry too much – youre not only a mother but a social worker and will have the resource and mindset to make it successful for them no matter what.

  3. I came to NZ in 1996 from Lancashire. Tall Poppy syndrome rules the NZ workplace along with anti POM sentiment. I now have two daughters 8 and 10 and want to return to the UK at the end of this year. Maybe West Yorkshire, Solihull or anywhere really. I’m not sure how I would get the kids into schools or go about organising health care anymore but I am sure we would manege. I’ll be 48 when we move back. Even on visits over the years Ive made friends in the UK. 21 years in NZ and still floundering around with any real friends at all.

    • Good luck with the move. I noticed on the Stuff website this week immigrants are invited to list the pros and cons of living in New Zealand. An English lady did quite a balanced list which caused the usual anger. One of the mains cons, i think is that you can’t discuss the cons. I think a typical British person can’t bring themselves to fake it which means we would rather have no friends. I went to an All Black Test once and I just couldn’t get into the hype, everyone was intoxicated with national pride. I just couldn’t let go of who I am and turn into a Kiwi which is what is required to really fit in.

      • Yes – you are right. NZers get very defensive should you mention or compare anything, yet they are free to say anything they want including “go back to POm land” if they dont like what you have to say. Those that have not travelled or have led insulated lives here are really not open to any kind of debate or critisism. Such attitudes that ignore issues contribute to the increasing homicide rates, mental health issues, self-harm of youngsters and one of the highest suicide rates of a ‘western’ world. People live with these issues and they pervade the whole of society. NZ also has a terrible family violence culture. All true but largely swept under the carpet in favour of ads that outline the scenary (which is stunning) and overlook the disgusting filthy polluted water ways. There are many Pro’s to living in NZ but there are equally as many Con’s as anyone with half a brain can entertain. Unfortunately making any observation not in favour of NZ being shown as the land of honey and paradise is met with aggressive defense, abuse and intolerance – a way to ignore the issues which is contributing to why NZ is struggling with so many issues currently. It is impossible to fix a country unless the problems are acknowledged and accepted. So, I guess youth crime will continue to rise, family violence will increase, death of children and those vulnerable due to cold, damp, unseated housing and mental health and suicide rates will not significantly change. Agencies trying to force change are vastly underfunded and mental health services in NZ are abysmal. Being an immigrant elicits comments of “if you dont like it leave” or “go back where you came from” and then people do leave because they get fed up of trying to help change a cycle of abuse that NZers dont want to see or be bothered with. Its very very sad. Sad that children are still being battered to death, suicide rates are still high and mental health issues are tenacious. I wonder what needs to happen before NZers see that it isnt all roses and blooms and change is needed without the abuse towards and aggression towards those that have tried and continue to try and highlight those areas that need change for THEIR sake, sanity, children and future generations…… might never happen.

  4. Hi Guys,

    I am 27 moved to New Zealand when I was 22 from Leeds in the UK , I am absolutely shocked at the negativity of everyone on here. Both the UK and NZ have pro’s and cons, it seems that nothing is ever going to satisfy most people on here and you don’t realise or have forgotten how privileged you are. Yes it absolutely sucks missing family, new zealand doesn’t have big career options, but ask yourself why do you need a career? Is that really all your living for ? In New Zealand you will have to sacrifice a few things such a as career opportunities (not always though) and will have to cope with less quality housing, but at the end of the day you are living in one of the most beautiful parts of the world that any of those poor refugees would kill to have. I am sure going back to the UK will make some happy but it is the homesickness that is making it worse..think about it , if you could bring your family here you would be more than happy, its not the country that is shit, its your attitudes and basically you have to be positive and realise that yes NZ will never be perfect, nothing is life is perfect, and all comes with pros and cons. I will live in NZ forever now, I miss Yorkshire for sure, I miss the history, but it depends what is important to you in life. If you have kids then its a different story, my situation is different as I won’t have kids but I am sad that some parents are dragging there kids everywhere and forgetting how that affects their children, just because you can’t make you mind up. Just learn to BE at peace and relax, stop trying so hard to strive for a career or to be HAPPY, your never going to be fully happy. Anyway…basically just sad to hear all the negativity !

    • You my friend have a great attitude and will do very well. Best comment I have read on this site. Good luck but I don’t think someone like you needs it as you will attract it by being such a positive person. Peace man

  5. Just been back to UK Christmas. Wasn’t sure if it was the best idea, but now I’m back in NZ I realized “yes it’s where I want to be” only taken 30 years lol.
    Also for anyone wanting to move and on the NZ pension (if British that is) you automatically get full state UK pension) for the rest well – for everyday in NZ is a day in Britain and national contributions.
    So go home I say.

  6. I went back to the UK for a spell with my Kiwi wife. I found the summers over there were great and realised I had forgotten that after spending several years here and being continually told the English weather is shit that I came to believe it. The area of the UK I come from has a very low crime rate and a lot safer than where I was living here. The people are friendly but you keep getting told here how rude and horrible everyone is in the UK. I did notice that living in NZ had changed me and I didn’t quite feel like I fitted in anymore as I had become used to being an expat. We stayed back in the UK for a few years but financially we just seemed to be going anywhere and came back to NZ. My biggest regret is that my kids are now Kiwis and view themselves as such and view life through a Treaty of Waitangi prism and the history of their country is this country etc. Hard to explain why it matters. My son has said to me that he hates having pommie blood running through his veins for reasons of Gallipoli, taking land from the Maoris, the English Rugby team and all the other anti English stuff they learn at school. Good luck with the move.

    • George,

      You could remind your son of the democratic institutions that NZ has inherited from the ‘Poms’, Magna Carta, Parliament and the common law.

  7. Enjoyed reading through this post as me and my partner are making the big move uk in 2 months after living in Nz for five years I have never settled and always yearned to go back to the UK my partner enjoys it here and is worried about moving back to the UK I never made any friends and feel so lonely here just worried about returning to the bad weather and high levels of crime

    • By the way, I was over in England last April and it was very hot. My wife and I got sun burnt which everyone found hilarious as it was just spring and We had just come from the NZ summer.

    • I just read the thread at the top about Portsmouth. The climate there is probably similar to Wellington if you want a very mild UK Winter. I was in the area last year and noticed some really nice quality detached properties going for £250-300K. A real bargain compared to Auckland. Another comment about the Winter is that my last Winter in the UK we had half a dozen frosts all Winter. Back in Christchurch I counted 40 consecutive heavy frosts and that horrendous smog. Smoke coming under the front door at night and burning the throat, sort of like London 60 years ago. For any one planning a move to Christchurch, you won’t find Winter Smog in the guide books. Many locals say it is a natural phenomenon and are in complete denial to what is pumping out of chimneys all across the city.

  8. Where abouts have u moved back to in the Uk and how old are the kids?
    We’ve been in NZ 11 years and tbh I’m a bit over it now…great beaches don’t pay bills lol!!

    • My kids are teenagers so I will be staying here now and of course I am married to a Kiwi. Although I am fairly happy with my lot here, I would have preferred in hindsight to have raised my children in England. I personally find the school peer pressure intense here compared to what I had growing up in the UK.

  9. i am in wanganui new zealand i use a vpn system

    On Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 10:06 AM, wrote:

    > Admin commented: “Just one thing Tony – your IP address puts you in > Britain. Not New Zealand.” >

  10. We are planning on returning to the UK, when my daughter has finished her NCEA level 1 here. I know it’s not the best time for her, but if we stay until she finishes level 3 then, we may never get home. We arrived in Tauranga from Southport, Merseyside in 2003. Things were terrible on the job front- despite my husband being an experienced nurse; he was given a post reg position earning buttons, and I couldn’t get a job, so we frittered away most of our savings in the first year just on living.

    We moved to Nelson a year later, and husband got a better paid job, but we socially and emotionally we were unsettled and still very homesick. We stuck it out until we got our citizenship, then moved to Adelaide, but even there my husband’s job had been misrepresented and he was very unhappy. So was my 17 year old son, so much so that we were very concerned for his mental health. Anyway, foolishly we returned to NZ after 5 months in Adelaide. Son was happy and reunited with his friends, but we were back to square one!

    Four years later we decided to give Australia another shot, as my husband was working himself to death with overtime just to make ends meet. We went to the Sunshine Coast- where jobs are possibly even less abundant than here, and stayed there for four years. Financially we were better off than in NZ, and we lived in a lovely place, but we still couldn’t get rid of that yearning for home. My husband would move back to the UK in a shot, but I have always been influenced by others tales of ‘Broken Britain” and how mad we must be to even be contemplating moving back there…so to cut a long story short- when my son finished high school in Australia- we moved back to NZ!! Yes, I know we must be out of our tiny minds, but we thought that living nearer a city and near to our son ( who never came to Australia with us) we would feel more settled. We are now living in a beautiful area with forests behind us and water views in front- everything I ever dreamed of for a home- but I STILL have this terrible yearning to go back home before it is too late. Husband hates his job, and I am still waiting to hear about an interview I attended 6 weeks ago! I cannot believe how food prices,rent, power bills and everything else has risen since we left in 20011- its ridiculous!

    So we have ping ponged between Australia and NZ, and although both places are beautiful, and we have some lovely memories- that feeling of yearning for the familiar, for our homeland- has never really gone away. So we have to go now, otherwise, one of us (me) will get cold feet and we will end up buying a house and getting trapped again. I may have to leave my eldest son behind- which will tear me apart- but he is 24 now- and makes his own choices.

    We gave it 12 years…it’s not all been bad- but it has been a financial struggle, and it has been very lonely at times too. Most of our friends have been ex pat Brits, and most have returned to the UK now, with no regrets. I hope we can say the same thing when we return!

    • Hi guys were r u at now I am a Nurse from Southport living in the kapiti coast and I am not very keen on nursing anymore in New Zealand and we have had that pull back to England, were are you at with things and is there any advice you can give. We have 3 young children and we just cant decide what to do but we are getting sick of the lack of choice of things to do, cost of living and very shite career opportunities and as your husband will know in nursing a lot of DHB croynyism in management treating nurses like crap especially foreign nurses.

    • Hi Christine we have done exactly what you have done and now I’m sick with Lyme disease and there’s no treatment here for me I have been up to Northland Tauranga and Takapuna. We live in Christchurch now since returning from Adelaide two years ago. We are from Southampton area Hampshire UK. We need to back now as there’s no help for me here – truthfully we want to go back even though we are torn now and have lived a very different lifestyle it was really encouraging hearing your story we also have been back and forth to Australia three times to Adelaide once to Queensland and once to the Central Coast NSW. All the best T

  11. Reading this post gave me some comfort. Having lived in NZ for 8.5 years I have never been so lonely. I have yet to make one decent/loyal friend and it hasn’t been through the want of trying. Kiwi’s by nature are not friendly, unless they want something. I work 5 – 6 days a week and we are up to our eyes in debt! I feel so trapped. At aged 50 do we bite the bullet and go back to the UK and start all over again?

    • Just wanted to echo the difficulty making friends in nz, but I will be 50 next year and I feel it is never too late to go back. We have been here for nearly 10 years and have decided out adventure is over, we have experienced, travelled and enjoyed nz whilst our children were young but for opportunities it is back to the uk and of course be with family.

      • Marie-Rose, did you go back to the UK, interested to hear how you found it. My husband is 50, I’m 45 and are seriously thinking about returning, but wondering if we have left it too long?

        • Yes
          Did you go back as I’m thinking about it at 54.
          Just got hold of future pension and if I’ve read it right.
          Time spent in New Zealand goes toward time spent in UK. So hopefully when time comes I get a full pension?

    • im living in tauranga came here 15 years ago . we have our own nursery in welcome bay. we are making a living and hardly have any mortgage left so thats good. but i really miss the british humour and friendliness kiwis are not friendly at all ive been in this house for four years now and have never met any of my neighbours wouldnt know them if i fell over them. all my kids are here and my grandkids so goin home is not an option.if there are any expats out there who need a good mate please let me know

      • Hi Pam, I live in Chch and after 22 years find the same thing. We are about to sell up and go back to the UK. We wont have our quater acre or a detached house but we figure the benefits of no longer being lonely or treated like imposters will be wortth it. We are mortgage free too and it would be easy to stay and relax but it is a terribly lonely existence for all of us…… including my girls…. I hope we’ll make friends back in the UK to at least give the girls an idea of what social skills look like and its not just downing beers with strangers in a pub. I know my neighbours but they arent interested in an hello let alone becoming friends……. true….. sad….. lonely

  12. New Zealand driving licence still ok in UK? Do we have to re take a test ( at 53 that might me rather amusing!)

  13. Planning a to return to my native North Yorkshire next year after 15 years of living in NZ.
    I echo all the sentiments, the bias, the racism, the put downs from everyday kiwis – you know, the ones stuck in their place of birth with no hope or optimism. They see Brits as a real threat because we have the skills and experience they will never attain, yet they will do their utmost to keep you down and work well below your level of experience. Despite all the negativity towardsthe “Poms”, they seem to accept the Chinese taking over their cities and businesses much more than a few thousand Brits who take the big leap to relocate. Auckland is like Hong Kong.
    Their politics and social system is screwed, only the rich benefit whilst most ordinary Kiwis struggle with low wages and very poor housing. Children have died in cold damp State owned houses, private rentals are generally not much better.
    My children are 22 and 18 now, so we have finished with the kiwi schooling NCEA system. With guidance, I hope they study for degrees in the UK.

    if anyone thinks NZ is a Clean and green country as portrayed, think again. 60% of rivers are so polluted, they advise no swimming in them! 1080 poison dropped into the bushland to kill pests gets into the food chain and water table. This year, certain rivers are a catch and release policy only on trout, as they are not safe to eat. Scenery is no better than Scotland and the English lake District.

    So, after 15 years will there be anything I miss about NZ when I return, and would I recommend anyone to try emigrating. Certainly not. It is too isolated, Xenophobic, with little culture to speak of

    • Going to uni in uk after being away for more than 3 years means our kids will be ‘international’ students. Paying tens of thousands if pound for the privilege. We have been here 7 years, my girl,us in year 12. We need to go back after she finishes school ( husband left me). She wants to go to uni, but I haven’t a hooe in hell if paying the fees.

      • Couldn’t do that to her. She’s coming up to Year 12 Cambridge exams. Have to let her finish school here. Wouldn’t dream if making her go gack a year ( she keft in year 4 and came into year 5 here). I actually find it hard to believe a British Born Citizen is unable to attend Uni wothout geing an International Student.

      • They don’t have to study in England. Germany is remarkably cheap and most of the courses are in english.

    • I have lived in NZ for 12 years and feel exactly the same and hope to return home this year. The observations and remarks made above are 100% accurate. Although I have done very well here but you need to be very strong minded and thick skin to make it. All the workmanship and so called kiwi tradesmen would never get a job outside of NZ as most, not all, standard of workmanship and work ethics is about 2 out of ten.

    • Hi there I’m interested in your comments we have been here nearly 13years and are looking in to going back to wiltshire, my husband has never settled here and im really feeling the pull of home. But our daughter is 19 and i’m worried about going back to the UK with her, how do your children/young adults feel about the move? Interested to hear your thoughts please.
      Kind Regards

      • I have a perception that the NZ education system produces children (based on my own children) who are lacking certain attributes that I gained from a UK education. The technical skills are fine but critical thinking doesn’t seem to be there. I thought that maybe they can complete their High School education and then attend a University or College in England. I looked into it and from my research I think the children have to be resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the enrolment to avoid being deemed “International Students” and paying the higher fees. That is something I would look into if I was you. That dashed by plan so will brace myself for my kids doing a Bcom in couch burning and funnel drinking etc. etc Sigh!!

        • It’s worse than that. Critical thinking is more-or-less actively discouraged – as much by the assaults from other students as the resentment from teachers who don’t like being questioned.

          That bleeds over into mainstream society. Kiwis _hate_ those who rock the boat by asking awkward questions. Whilst that happens in other countries, its not as visceral as the reactions against New Zealanders who publicly (or privately) question the quarter acre pavlova paradise in gods own country – reactions which seem to be getting worse as the country’s socioeconomic state continues to deteriorate long past the point where it’s impossible to cover up the inequality, xenophobia and deep-seated insecurities.

  14. I have been constantly Homesick and we came here in 1988!!! I want to go home before i get too old but am i able to get gp and hospital care (if needed for free)

  15. We can’t afford braces for our children, and we need them. My ex is one of those dakhead Kiwi parents who went through Family Court to prevent me from returning to my parents in western Canada, where life was affordable. But going abroad to Thailand this year for dental tourism to buy some dental work, because her teeth fell to bits for lack of hygiene, lack of money and years of smoking. She is not old, just lazy. She can’t afford to have dental work for herself performed in her own country, but will not permit us to leave so I can secure a better standard of living for our children. Braces are for foreigners with too much money and appearance consciousness. Kiwis let teeth rot in their skulls, then have them pulled or travel to a country they would not permit their children to live in (the horror! moving to Thailand! Floods! Snakes! Political unrest!) for good afforable dental care. What is wrong with this picture. Family friendly place, New Zealand.

  16. After spending my teenage years followed by ten years of my professional working life here in NZ, I finally got sick to death of constantly being told by my bosses “Go away and get some overseas experience and bring it back in a few years time.”
    I did go away, not just the three year OE we keep hearing about, but for nearly ten years.
    And what happened when I got back? I was completely shunned by those I had previously worked with. The overseas experience was worth zilch. It made no difference. I may as well have never gone away. What a mistake ever coming back here. As the poster above says, the locals seem threatened by those with experience. I guess they see those with experience as tall poppies.

  17. Wow good to hear those things, i cant wait to get back how did you manage eight years here i have not even made a year yet and im leaving! Sick to death of arrogant Kiwis! Cant wait to get back to good old Guildford!

Comments are closed.