or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Welcome to Mothering! › Connect With Other Moms › Moms In Your Area › Australia and New Zealand › Finding a sense of community in New Zealand?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Finding a sense of community in New Zealand?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
We are thinking of moving to New Zealand soon for a few years so that dh can get his Phd. I am so happy and excited, and yet apprehensive. When ds was six months old we moved from Boulder to Atlanta, and I was miserable. I did not meet any mamas that I felt I could bond with, I was stuck at home all the time, and I couldn't go anywhere anyways because of the traffic and heat.

Now, New Zealand is not anything like Atlanta, of that I can be sure. But, I am wondering how hard you think it would be to meet other moms that were on the liberal side and had more natural parenting philosophies? I don't need a perfect best friend, I just need friends I can hang out with and talk to. Otherwise I suffer and my relationship suffers.

He has a couple schools to choose from, and I am leaning towards Auckland. It seems more likely that I could create a sense of community if a larger city because of the diversity. We'll' be traveling there soon, but I would love to hear from anyone who lives or has lived there. Where would my best bet for this be? If anyone knows Boulder, I love the people here...is there a nice little laid back college town you could suggest? Also, I will have a new baby as well as my 4 year old son. Will the culture shock be as bad as it would in say, Italy or France? I know I felt a little culture shock when I spent time in Europe, but I wonder if it is any better in English speaking countries.

Any and all thoughts are very appreciated!
post #2 of 8
This is what I love about living here, the community! I came here 6 years ago, to study six months, and stayed...

You are right that your best bet is probably a city, anything smaller than a city is very small!!!

As for Auckland, it is a very spread out city (not a lot of city, more spread). I do know that there are quite a lot of home-schoolers there, but otherwise . You might find more organic food in the Auckland/Hamilton region.

I like Wellington. It is a very relaxed place, everywhere is close to the beach, ok public transport (terrible public transport/traffic situation in Auckland, hardly an public transport anywhere else), excellent access to nature, a couple of good organic shops, a homeschool network, great access too alternative/complementary health services, a lot of SAHM/nannies so a lot of cheap/free community activities: playgroups/music/story time/outdoor pool/museum with activities for children of all ages and more. I go to coffee mornings with the Wellington Homebirth Association (, where I've met most of my friends), and sometimes Birthwise (they run natural antenatal classes, but it is a great place to meet parents of babies and toddlers), and Potty Parties with the local EC group (fortnightly, . There is a good Steiner school outside Wellington (I love their annual fair!). We live in the suburbs, in a green valley surrounded by green hills. Yet we are only 10 min by train, bus or car from the centre of the city!

Christchurch has a Homebirth Association, an EC group and a homeschool group. They have some public transport.

Dunedin is a lovely place, very beautiful area, but few of these groups, and only inner city public transport. We like Dunedin, but one reason we haven't moved there is community.

There are some great small communities (Takaka comes to mind), but they are very isolated, so difficult with jobs.

I was here for several years without culture shock. Two things bother me now I'm here permanently: economy(low pay, average to high prices) and housing stock/building standard.

You are welcome to PM me if there is anything specific you'd like to know!
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much! That is all good to know. I joined a forum: ohbaby.co.nz and have been getting a ton of feedback there.

I have narrowed the choiced down to Auckland and Christchurch. We really only had those two choice plus Hamilton since that is where his programs are. I think Hamilton is too much farmland. Wellington would have been our #1 choice, but the iniversity does not have the program he needs.

So, from what I have heard so far, NZ seems such a wonderful place to live. Are you from the US?

We will actually be good as far as money because we will be living on two US incomes but our living expenses will be NZ. So we will even be able to pay off our debt here. That is such a relief, as money is the one thing I worry about. We'll hopefully always have the one US income, and when dh graduates, if we decide to stay, he will then be making a NZ income. But still, we should be okay.

We will be visiting in April or May and I suppose we will go to both cities and maybe a few other places. The mamas at Ohbaby are so great and I am sure I can find people to meet up with in both cities so I can get a better idea of how it is to live there,=.

Overall, I am so excited and can't wait to go, but nervous at the same time. I will keep you updated. If anyone has anything else to add, I would love to hear it! Thanks!
post #4 of 8
I can't provide any info on sense of community in Auckland or Christchurch, but I just want to say Good Luck! I just moved to Napier, New Zealand from Boston last month. So far I haven't met anyone here, but I'm sure once my girls start school/preschool we'll make some friends. We came during summer holidays, but we've been so busy trying to settle in I haven't yet felt my personal lack of a community network yet.

Keep us updated!
post #5 of 8
I'm actually from Sweden.

Keep in mind that a lot of what is very crunchy and alternative in the US is mainstream or semi-mainstream here. Most women aim to breastfeed here, the sort of women who don't seem to be the same who smoke and drink through pregnancy, and, unfortunately, usually are poor and un-educated. That said, supplementing is certainly very common, and a lot of women seem to run out of milk early on.

Where I live, cloth and disposables is a bit half and half, lots of people use cloth, lots don't, and some use cloth at home and sposies when out. It is a personal choice, no one else care what you do.

Carriers and slings are quite popular - I've never got a negative comment, but almost every day I get comments, from all sorts of people, on how cozy my 11-month old looks in there.

Osteopathic treatment for children (and pregnant women) is quite mainstream.

Everyone has a midwife, even women who choose to have an obstetrician (not common, unless there are complications, or a high-risk earlier pregnancy), have midwives as well. Midwifery care is free, and the midwife is usually the one who delivers a baby (or catches a baby), even in hospital.

You can opt out of vaccines, your doctor shouldn't bother you about it (the vaccine register does, until you tell them in no in no uncertain terms, your baby will not be in their register!). For school and preschool you need to show a signed vaccine certificate, with all (or any or none) vaccines your child have received signed off by a doctor. Although we've been bothered at the ER because DD wasn't vaxed, and it certainly isn't common to not vax or delay. A lot of parents I know hesitated, but went with it anyway, out of fear.

And also, my antenatal class was a natural birthing-type, half the group planned home-births. At the beginning all used cloth (except the very tiniest, who didn't fit yet, the prem twins, and my tiny DD, who still fits newborn sized cloth nappies), and all breastfed exclusively. At 4-5 months most started solids (claiming their child was advanced and ready before the recommended 6 months, also that they slept better on three meals a day). By six months the main topic was CIO (or "tough love" as they choose to call it), most of them feeling they "had to" try it as their LO wasn't STTN yet (gasp!). By now most of the babies are in sposies, and either weaned or closed to weaning. They look at me sort of like I'm depriving my child when she asks for a feed and I breastfeed her (she usually prefers to play with solids at home a couple of times a day), while they feed their children a big bowl of lunch, and hand them cups of milk. Oh well.
post #6 of 8
I live just north of Auckland. I love it up here. We are surrounded by beautiful safe beaches and regional parks. Although I have only found one (!) other person in my area who holds the same parenting ideas/values as I do, there is a large community about 20 minutes down the road on the North Shore who are a lot more alternative.

AislynCarys is right about traffic and public transport in Auckland. Shocking! It is being worked on slowly but the city grows so fast and has a hard time catching up.

Another NZ forum you might want to look at joining is The Nappy Network www.thenappynetwork.org.nz. A great bunch of ladies there from all over NZ.
post #7 of 8
I think NZ in general, and Auckland is a pretty liberal place! Heck, we had a woman Prime Minister for so long, and even a transgendered member of parliament!

As for finding a sense of community, well in lots of ways it is what you make it. I live in a lovely suburb of Auckland, but I'm perhaps not part of a community. However, I recognise that that is of my own doing, if that makes sense!

And like someone else said, a lot "crunchy" (altho we don't use that term here) practices are the norm, breastfeeding is majorly pushed by the hospitals and supported, our homebirth rate is about 7%. We're pretty much a live and let live society, and I've yet to meet anyone who moved here who regretted it
post #8 of 8
good information, thanks. We're getting all our immigration paperwork done (to be turned in by the end of Feb) and hope to get to experience all this for ourselves soon! We hope to move to Christchurch.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Australia and New Zealand
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Welcome to Mothering! › Connect With Other Moms › Moms In Your Area › Australia and New Zealand › Finding a sense of community in New Zealand?