Moving to New Zealand
In September 2004 I moved to New Zealand with not much context or history. I had given myself my 20s to travel around the world and as I wasn’t from a commonwealth country I could either go to Australia for 5 months or to NZ for 1 year. Well that was an easy choice for me as I wanted to slow down my travel and spend a good amount of time in one place. I used BUNAC to get my visa for NZ which is the same company I used to get my visa for the UK. As part of the visa process we had to fly into Auckland and attend an orientation session. They gave us a little history on NZ, helped us set up bank accounts and had a database of jobs available. I really thought I needed to stay in Auckland, the largest city in NZ, to get a job in IT. But what I didn’t realise is that it takes an hour to get anywhere in Auckland. This was all to familiar to me as this was the same in London. I didn’t want to find a flat in one area and then be one hour away from all my friends who lived in another area. I also didn’t get a good sense of Auckland. Yeah, Queens St was vibrant and we spent a lot of time walking up and down and all around the Viaduct but I didn’t get a good feel from the city.
I spent a few days in Auckland doing all the usual things like bungy jumping with AJ Hackett off of the Auckland Bridge of course!
I wasn’t really in a hurry to get a job as I had plenty of money saved and I had met some people who were going down to Wellington and I thought why not. I’ll get a chance to see some of the beautiful countryside and then make up my mind about finding a job. On our way south we headed to Taranaki and climbed Mt Egmont which was really cool and absolutely beautiful. Then we made our way over to Taupo and checked out Huka Falls, the lake and Craters of the Moon. And then we made our way to Wellington.
I’m glad I waited because once I came to Wellington I really loved the vibe of the city. It was so easy to get around! It had a lot of different characters walking around. It had a lovely harbour. I could go on and on. So I was here in Wellington checking it out and decided I should see what the job market was like. So I sent my CV to a random agency and then I thought I could use a little nap and then I’ll check my emails again in a few hours. Wrong! They called me back within 10 minutes and they were putting my CV forward. They called back later to say I had an interview the next day. Wow, the job market was crazy here in NZ. Well, I didn’t get the first role but it didn’t take me long to get one and it was a great opportunity to work for the Department of Conservation for a year for two small funds that gave grants to private land owners for biodiversity projects. It was a great new aspect of NZ that I hadn’t thought about previously and can I remind you how this ties in nicely with the previous conservation work I had done.
Next on the list was to find a place to live! I had based myself at a backpackers and was paying a weekly rate for a small room I shared with just one other person. It was perfect. So perfect that the hostel figured it out and made us move into a shared room with 6 other people. This was the motivation I need to find a flat. So I got a paper, deciphered the codes such as WWI – white ware included and I was off searching for the perfect place. I looked at about 30 places before I finally found one. A lot of places were too dingy – I wasn’t a student after all and some were just not the right fit – two guys who lived in a tidy place but were were students and wanted someone they could party with. Once I finally found a place, I moved into my flat and wasted no time making it my own and inviting some friends over for a Thanksgiving dinner. My first two months in Wellington had flown by with the excitement of a new job, new friends, my birthday, Thanksgiving and heading into summer months as well.
I was really settling in to life in NZ in the 3 short months till Christmas…..but there was exploring to do of both of these islands. So I planned a trip around the North Island at Christmas/New Year (NZ shuts down over this time as there are so many public holidays and its summer of course) and a trip around the South Island in May where my mom and my sister would join me.