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Planning to migrate within the year

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

my husband and I are planning to uproot our family and move to Northern New Zealand.  We are still hashing over the "where's" and the "how's", but all in all...it seems do-able so far.  My husband is a clinical masters level social worker, which qualifies him for a migrant work visa and he is very excited to work in a country where a more socialist government is in place.  Because we both feel adamently that it is impossible to give adequate social care to a people whose basic needs are largely unmet, as it is in the USA, we are eager to live in an area where the people MATTER.  Everything we have researched about New Zealand appeals to us...but I wanted to hear some authentic "people stories" as well.  Currently, we live in Montana where we are homeschooling our 4 sons.  Our eldest son is now 20 and doesn't live at home anymore...he is keen on visiting us in New Zealand, but isn't currently interested in joining us.  The 4 younger boys range in ages from 14 to 7...and we just found out last night that we are expecting again; this news was very happy for us because we lost our twin sons to still birth a year and a half ago...we weren't sure if we would ever have another child, but now...we are very hopeful.  We are rather earthy and enjoy alternative living and are pretty sick of the American "Bigger is Better" mentality.  I can see us all enjoying a slower pace with beautiful beaches and friendly people...but of course, I've never been there....so I am curious...how is it REALLY in New Zealand?  Some relatives have tried to "scare" us away from moving by telling us the government takes 50% of your income ---I have found this to be untrue based on the imigration sites...And others tell us it is freezing cold there....---I have also read contradictory accounts of this.  So far, nothing sounds like anything we wouldn't love completely....Sooooo....I guess my questions are: 1) where is the warmest spot?  2) Where is the most alternative spot? 3) Where can I have an orchard? mangos? peaches? avacados....?  4) Are kiwis friendly to larger families? (not so much here in Montana...surprisingly...) 5) What about unschooling? 6) Can a family subsist on a NZ dollar income of 40 to 60,000?   7) What is the best area for swimming beaches?  8) Are sharks a danger?  9)  and my 7 year old would like to know if the zoos are nice and big?    Thank you so much....Again...we are SO excited to become kiwi's!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerging butterfly View Post

Sooooo....I guess my questions are :
1) where is the warmest spot?  
2) Where is the most alternative spot?
3) Where can I have an orchard? mangos? peaches? avacados....?  
4) Are kiwis friendly to larger families? (not so much here in Montana...surprisingly...)
5) What about unschooling?
6) Can a family subsist on a NZ dollar income of 40 to 60,000?  
7) What is the best area for swimming beaches? 
8) Are sharks a danger? 
9)  and my 7 year old would like to know if the zoos are nice and big?   
Thank you so much....Again...we are SO excited to become kiwi's!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


38% tax is the highest, and as a social worker, your DH isn't likely to end up in that tax bracket! Iĺl try to answer the rest of your questions:

1. The warmest spot is probably Bay of Islands, far North, which is sub-tropical. The further north you go, the warmer, the further south, the colder and darker. However, it is different. There are warm pockets throughout the country. In the North Island, Coromandel is warm, as is the Hawkes Bay, and Whakatane (they grow oranges there). The Wairarapa is a wine-growing area. In the South Island, Marlborough is as well, and Nelson. Golden Bay is warm (tell you more about Golden Bay later!). The Northern part of the South Island is warmer, usually, then thanthe souther part of the North Island. However, even here in Wellington, it never snows, and winter temperatures are usually around 8-12 C, sometimes more. People grow lemon trees in their backyards.

2. I think Golden Bay is the most alternative spot, it is wonderful there, a dream place to live. Very, very rural. Far North is quite alternative too, although more social issues, so not always "alternative" the way you may want. Among the cities, Nelson is quite alternative, and there is a very strong alternative community in Wellington! Wellingtonians, I'm told, are very open-minded. And it is certainly true that I can breastfeed my nearly 3-yo everywhere, and while it is extremely unusual, nobody ever minds, and I usually get smiles.

3. Not sure where you can have an orchard like that. I know people who grow avocadoes in central North Island. And I know peaches are certainly grown here and sold commercially. I'll ask around, if you like.

4. Kiwis are quite open-minded, so whatever size family you want. My friend hopes for 6 kids.

5. We plan to unschool. There is an unschooling community, and homeschooling is legal and a right. There isn't much control of it.

6. Economically, it depends. Can you buy a house? If you rent it might be difficult, as rent is very high. Also, if you plan to produce a lot of your own food and know you can do it, that will help. But you make choices. I say you probably can. Closer to 60 000 would be a lot easier.

7. Swimming beaches: Bay of Islands, Auckland, Coromandel, Golden Bay.

8. Sharks occur, but are extremely rare (last time anyone was killed by a shark was many, many years ago). On the other hand there are no snakes, and very few poisonous (though not deadly) spiders.

9. Auckland Zoo apparently is quite big. Wellington Zoo is tiny, but doesn't have many animals either. Most places don't have zoos. But there are some wildlife parks, of various kinds.

I love it here. It is very different, and it took a while to get used to, but this is my home now. The people are lovely, and very welcoming, and very accepting, actually.

Good luck!
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 

Wow....It used to be easier to writer here....I'm having a lot of trouble with formatting.  In any case...THANK YOU for responding!  Yes...I think the northern most tip sounds perfect.  I've been looking at The Bay of Plenty region as well....And your Golden Bay sounds perfect too.  I'd love to be closeish to a city like Hamilton because my boys are reaaaallllly into Akido, and have told us that they will "not" move if they can not continue taking classes.  The 14 year old would love a fencing class too...who knows.  All in all, I can't imagine that anything about New Zealand could be worse than Montana...or anywhere in the US.  So, we have only to go UP!  :o)  (Or down....considering the location of the actual contenent.....heh heh...) I'm also wondering about availability of things like: sprouted grain bread, healthy foods, clothing...  For example, would it be better to ship clothing from here, or buy it there?  I want to streamline this move, so we will be selling almost everything.  Except my treadmill desk and computer, which I will buy transformers for....because I HAVE to have my office. :o)  I'll be working for an American company for a while while in New Zealand until I can glean work there, and hubby is an author and social worker.  We are happy to live lean...just not....in dire conditions.  :o)  Do people like to camp there???  Oh drat...I hate that I can't seem to format here....weird.  Thanks again!!!! 

 

 

post #4 of 37
I had trouble with writing here after the changes. Someone suggested trying this: Go to your profile, and choose Edit account details. Scroll down to Site Preferences and change it to BB Code Editor. It worked for me!

I don't even know what sprouted grain bread is, but I really don't know what is in the shops. (Bread is expensive, so I make my organic bread myself, it is cheaper than most of the non-organic store-bought ones). There is plenty of wholefoods and organic foods, although very little in the ordinary shops. Food is expensive, and organics generally very expensive. We get most t the local organic shop (a chain), a farmer's market and have joined a new organic food co-op. It depends on where you live. Organics may be harder to get in some areas of the country. There's plenty of organic baby clothes and baby stuff, but not much except t-shirts for over 2s. I'd bring that sort of stuff (we have, and I have my family send stuff from Sweden that I want).

Yes, camping and tramping(hiking) are national past-times, a part of how Kiwis see themselves. And there is a lot of fantastic places to go to camp!
post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks SO much for all the information...
(YAY...the formatting advise works too! joy.gif)

My 14 year old is pretty keen on living somewhere nearish a city due to his interest in fencing, music, choir and martial arts. The younger boys require Aikido, swimming and music in order to be happy. My husband would like to be in a warmer spot...(he's a sun worshiper...but is grateful that NZ seems to be cooler in terms of temps. We often spike past 100 degrees F here, which is WAY too hot.)

As for me, as long as I can hike and hike and hike...I'll be happy! Our Old English Sheepie, along with husband and I love to roam about in the evenings. Usually, we are left to ourselves as very few people here in Montana seem to like to walk at night--but we are addicted to the stars and the peacefulness. It's a nice way to connect after the kids are in bed safely, and we'd love to continue romping in our new home land once we get there.

Hopefully, all will go smoothly, and we will find our little corner without much ado.

Again, thank you so much for your friendly responses....I appreciate it ever so much!
Sara
post #6 of 37
It is quite warm here for being a temperate climate. Summer's fine, not too hot, not too cold, but usually just nice. Rarely over 30 C were we live, but mostly around 20-25 at the moment. In winter around 8-12 C mostly, and it often rains in Wellington (When I first came here it was winter, and it rained everyday - just not all day. It just rained a little everyday. And there were days when temperature changes 10 deg C in 30 min (from 18 to 8 in July, midwinter), difficult to dress for, layering is best, but otherwise ok. But it does matter a lot how you live. Housing here is really quite bad, they didn't realize until recently that they're not in Southern California, and un-insulated Californian bungalows anno 1930 are quite useless here. This is changing, but slowly, as most people don't like to waste money on stuff like that.

We rent, and live in a really nice house (two houses stuck together), on a hillside, with a deck below, behind the house, and a garden in two terraces below that. We're lucky, because not only do we have wall and ceiling insulation, but the back of our house, kitchen, living area, main bed room, face north and east, which means we get morning and all day sun. In winter SS and I would have smoothies on the balcony mid-afternoon, on sunny days, as it really warmed up, getting sun through the glass door all day as well. We could usually turn heaters off by 8 or 9, as long as there was some light (so not dark skies and rain), on sunny winter days we gave to open windows as it gets up to 28 def C in here (in Summer sun is higher so not really a problem). I hate the cold, and love the sun, and I love it here!

We've got a bush track a hundred metres or so from our house, which winds up the hill. And another bush area down the bottom of the hill. Despite living in the capital (5 min by car to the centre of the city - DH just walks over the hill to work). This is New Zealand!

If you want all those activities, you might have to find an actual city, and there aren't very many of those here. Mostly towns, and towns are often of a size I'd call a village! Even Wellington isn't actually that big, compared to European and American cities (There's nowhere n Wellington City I wouldn't walk with my 2 yo, all very safe, and not very far).
post #7 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thank you! I know I've been away for a bit, but I've been emotional and tired being pregnant....

My teen son also freaked us out with learning about the super volcano on the northern island, which is silly really because we live 200 miles from yellowstone, the second biggest super volcano. You guys have the first biggest. Anyway...we just got a bit worried about the idea that we could move into another lava and ash zone. My son's fake new zealand accent kept being heard around the house with "But...I don't want to move to a place where I'd be turned into bone and ash." Very funny. When we broached the alternative of moving to Austrailia, he changed his tone. He does NOT want to move to Australia. He says that is where every man eating shark lives. How are the sharks in NZ?

He watches Flight of the Concords and is quite talented in the accent department....

In any case...I used to live in California, and we had earthquakes too. I'm not really worried about that part... I'd love to live near enough to Wellington to have access to good social work positions for my husband, but don't need to live IN it as I really want to have a lovely garden. I'm wondering...is there a spot near wellington that is affordable, with garden successes for fruit and veg growing, that is not quite as windy and nearish to a nice beach? Sounds too good to be true maybe..

We won't move till after the baby is born...but we've just got to leave this ridiculous country. We really want to be in New Zealand.
post #8 of 37
You might want to look into the Kapiti Coast. About 45 min to 1 h drive north of Wellington. Lovely beaches, lots of old holiday home areas. And trains and buses that link to Wellington, most people there commute to Wellington for work. Quite good area for gardening too, lots of market gardens for fruit and veg up there! And quite a bit of land, as in bush, or bigger plots of land for sale.

Asked my husband about the super volcano, he said, yeah, Lake Taupo. But it isn't like anybody's expecting it to erupt. I mean, earth quakes we worry about (and this latest one in Christchurch was devastating and horrid), they're part of life, but we prepare for them and hope they won't come, or won't be so bad... super volcanos aren't really on our minds.

And again, sharks are very rare, and shark attacks basically unheard of (on the other hand, I think someone was killed by/severely maimed by a dolphin some years ago.

I will add, looking back at your original questions, that we've now joined the local home school group, and it is huge! There are lots of unschoolers there, and of the people I have met so far, quite a number with 6-9 kids!
post #9 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AislinCarys View Post

You might want to look into the Kapiti Coast. About 45 min to 1 h drive north of Wellington. Lovely beaches, lots of old holiday home areas. And trains and buses that link to Wellington, most people there commute to Wellington for work. Quite good area for gardening too, lots of market gardens for fruit and veg up there! And quite a bit of land, as in bush, or bigger plots of land for sale.

Asked my husband about the super volcano, he said, yeah, Lake Taupo. But it isn't like anybody's expecting it to erupt. I mean, earth quakes we worry about (and this latest one in Christchurch was devastating and horrid), they're part of life, but we prepare for them and hope they won't come, or won't be so bad... super volcanos aren't really on our minds.

And again, sharks are very rare, and shark attacks basically unheard of (on the other hand, I think someone was killed by/severely maimed by a dolphin some years ago.

I will add, looking back at your original questions, that we've now joined the local home school group, and it is huge! There are lots of unschoolers there, and of the people I have met so far, quite a number with 6-9 kids!

Well, that is a relief...we wondered about the super volcano issue quite a bit. I grew up in California, so the earthquakes, while scary, do not bother me so much. In part, that is why we wish to be outside a city...just a little less damage issue. It was so sad to hear about Christchurch's earthquake...Such a beautiful city! We were so sorry about all the loss... I will look into the Kapiti coast...and sorry about asking about the sharks again. I noticed that you already mentioned that! Funny/not funny about the dolphin! My son will have a laugh about that because I really love dolphins and he's always warning me that they are dangerous. And now...he's right!!

I'm so glad to hear about the unschooling group! What wonderful news! Most of the homeschoolers in Montana are fundamentalist Christians...not an easy group to befriend when they are so convinced that everyone is going to hell but them. eyesroll.gif

My husband is getting rather impatient to move and asked if we can go before the baby is born. I told him I thought it would be best to wait. . .He really wants OUT of the USA. NOW! praying.gif I think, being a social worker/therapist, he is just acutely aware of how poorly our government treats its impoverished and mentally ill people....He wants to be part of a better social system and feels NZ will fit that model nicely. Honestly, I just don't think we could get everything in order in only 6 months....I need at least a year! We have to sell everything, including our home....I'd rather not be in transit while pregnant. Maybe we can manage it by october though??? Just in time for a kiwi summer! redface.gif)
post #10 of 37
Personally I'd rather give birth in New Zealand (I'd really not want to give birth in Sweden, where I come from, and as far as I understand, that is still a lot better than in the US, generally - I love that birth is normally midwife-led here, and you choose and employ your own midwife, for free, who cares for you, with her own back-up midwives, throughout pregnancy and birth and cares for you and baby for the first 6 weeks after the birth), but I do understand what you mean. It is a big upheaval at any time, but huge while pregnant!

I know that some of the people in the homeschooling group are Christian, but it certainly hasn't been anything they've made obvious at meet-ups so far. I think the biggest clues have been in families with lots of kids, where the kids all have biblical names (not saying that big families are a clue to religious faith, just that if the family has two kids named Matthew and Joshua, that could easily be coincidence that they are biblical, less likely with seven kids all with biblical names). But I met one family recently with six kids, and I don't think they are Christian. The mum told me she liked being pregnant, and her husband was quite keen on more kids (he spent the meet-up, at a playground, racing around playing with the kids!).

Well, I'll look forward to hopefully meeting you later this year!
post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 
Well...I'd loooove to have the baby in NZ for all the reasons you mentioned....but I was under the impression that it would be harder to migrate if we were "a strain on the system", which is what pregnancy is deemed to be. Perhaps it wouldn't matter if my DH had a job...and maybe they would consider making an exception...but it would mean not really having time to get to know my midwife...it's all so complicated and I'm really confused about what is best under the circumstances. When we first started talking about NZ, we were not pregnant...So it was much more simple. I do have a beautiful midwife here, but if NZ would let us in in time to feel settled...I'd leave in a heartbeat.

I had to laugh...yes...big families are often Christian, or Mormon...or something. That's why we are often assumed to be Catholic or...something. In the states, christian takes a whole new paradigm of interesting because of the fundamentalism that is so rampant here. I think of myself as a very earthy christian/pagan person....in other words...I find my spirituality in places other than church. . .The Christians here....wow...they are a piece of work. They seem to think it's their mission to let everyone know that hell fire awaits them. It's kind of sad....because, in spite of the fact that I'm very tolerant of most beliefs...I just can't help that I'm too open minded to be close minded.

The family you mentioned sounds like MY family....my guy is always playing with kids. Loves them. He's a great guy. I'd love for him to meet another great guy...seems like American Dads are all too busy watching football to pay attention to their families.

Thanks for your warmth! love.gif
post #12 of 37
Right. By the time I got pregnant I had been a resident for a few years, after marrying my husband, so I don't actually know how immigration and pregnancy works. Though I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask. NZ is generally more case-specific, in that what applies in one case, doesn't necessarily apply in another (for example, regarding immigration, I came here as a student, and to be awarded a student visa you need to prove that you have a set sum of money, to keep you for the duration of the study. However, if you come from one of a number of apparently desirable countries, and have been accepted by a university here, and have been awarded a student loan from your home country, they wave that requirement, regardless of the size of the loan!).

Good luck with the planning! (And feel free to ask any questions, I'm happy to answer!)
post #13 of 37

lurking with interest!  az mama looking into relocating abroad in the next few years - new zealand is top of our list!  had many of these same questions, so thanks!

 

hubby and i are both teachers with 3 young boys!

post #14 of 37
Thread Starter 
Well...the student thing is another option...We need to find out about that because one of the highlights of NZ for me is their midwifery training. I'm nearly done with my degree (just 2 math courses left) but we've been thinking that maybe I should finish THERE with a triple major in psychology, pre medical sciences and midwifery. I tend to get a lot of grant money for school, so we thought it would be amazing if I could apply it to the thing I've always wanted to do: Midwifery. Will not be able to DO that of course until little babe is older....but it's still on my mind as a possibility.

There is also my sweet 7 year olds beloved pet Ferret to consider...apparently NZ won't let our little darling in due to an unscientifically based biased fear of domestic ferrets, which are NOT the same as wild ferrets in any way. I understand the fear...but when the facts don't support the fear....well...it's just really too bad. We have a dear friend who would love the Ferret, but I hate breaking my little one's heart. I'd say this issue is the main hesitation at this point. For the record....Ferrets are in no way as dangerous to birds as cats are.....wink1.gif

I told my husband about the homeschool meeting you described....he said "I wonder if we could meet THAT family! It would be so nice to meet another father that likes being a DAD!" thumb.gif
post #15 of 37
About the ferret I suspect the reason the rules are what they are is because bringing in small animals have devastated the NZ fauna in the past, AND caused huge problems with native forests AND bred incredibly (for lack of predators) and become a plague for farmers. But i understand how sad it is. And I agree about cats, they are awful for the fauna here! But unfortunately, if there's something Kiwis are attached to it is their cats - most house have cat doors, and the idea of keeping a cat inside is seen as animal cruelty.

And in the circles we move (generally AP-oriented, there's quite a lot of us in Wellington!) , I'd say that being an involved dad is the norm. smile.gif
post #16 of 37

When I lived in Helena, there was a homeschool family there that had returned to MT after a few years stint in New Zealand. Father was a dentist. Not sure if they are still in Helena or not. They didn't enjoy it and came back. But, climate and country wise she said it was a lot like MT in many places which is what drew them there in the first place (along with a lot of what you're saying about the more socialized medicine, etc.). Have you posted to some ex-pats boards for New Zealand to talk to folks who are there and have moved from the states? Have you visited yet? I just spent a year in Puerto Rico and thought I would love it, but the actuality of living there was far different than what I read. We moved sight unseen due to a job transfer. It was nice, but so beaurocratic and very, very hard to get anything done. Lots of seemingly ridiculous steps in processes to get things done and to just employ more people. And it really wore on you!  Beautiful scenery, interesting people, but overall, I'm glad I didn't have to stay! And, I am someone who has traveled pretty extensively and even lived in Romania for part of a year.

 

If you haven't actually been and stayed for a while (and not just tourist areas), I would highly recommend at least one or both of you doing so. I know it will be expensive for flights, but very worth it to not move your whole family and dislike it.

post #17 of 37
Thread Starter 
I've been to quite a few expat forums...it seems that a lot of what people don't like are things I think I would like. wink1.gif We really would love to visit...but it's hard to figure it all out. DH gets two weeks vacation a year, and will be taking it for the baby when he/she arrives. So, it really would be sight unseen or, as it were, unlived! There are so many reasons to leave this silly country...I can't imagine NZ could be any worse, and suspect it will be better.

Just wondering though...in the wake of Japans horrible earthquake/tsunami....how are you dear kiwis???! Hoping all is well and that your all safe and sound.
post #18 of 37
So far we're good! The authorities issued a Tsunami warning, that a tsunami would hit at 8.30 (it is now 8.35), but that only far North was there any risk of a small tsunami hitting land. A marine warning went out for the whole coastline.

I came to NZ as a student, and meant to stay 4 months. That was nearly 9 years ago. I fell in love with the place and the people. It is a weird place. It has odd beauty (fantastic natural beauty, but a lot of the houses and the city looks more like a child's drawing!). The light is absolutely fantastic, and the green is much more intense in the light. In combination with the mixture of European/North American trees and plants, and exotic and native, there is a bit of a feeling of living in a fairytale. Too much to be real, if you know what I mean. And people are great, inviting, and genuinely friendly. My experience is that Swedes and Brits for example, don't really let people in easily, while Americans do on a more superficial level - Kiwis genuinely are easy-going, makes friends easily, and really don't care about appearances.

There is very little red-tape here, as they often say, "it's not what you know, it's who you know". It means that there may be regulations, or guidelines, but they can be waved. Being reasonable is important.

Generally this is all very freeing. It means that I could tell people I was planning a homebirth, and while it isn't very common (a few percent), most people have heard of it as an option, and were generally encouraging. I breastfeed my 3 yo everywhere, and while breastfeeding in public isn't common, only once did I get an odd look, quite recently. When she was little I got lovely comments!

But this laid-back attitude also means that Kiwis don't care about a lot of things. It is just recently that they've put in any half-decent building regulations (except for earthquake proofing!), in particular for family homes. Which means that the majority of houses are un-insulated, single-glazed, with no permanent heat source (stand-alone heaters is norm, bring your own). Kiwis don't mind, they have a make-do mentality. If you're cold, put on a sweater. As an outsider, I see it differently. It is concerning that 4 times as many children die in NZ in winter from respiratory ailments (mainly pneumonia and bronchialitis), than in comparable first world countries. (It doesn't mean that it is impossible to keep homes warm, just a bit more expensive, and takes some creativity, like fabric on walls, fleece lining on curtains, as well as lined curtains over doorways or closing off large areas - like the kitchen from the living room)). Also helps a lot if you're having a north-facing house. The housing is what most foreigners I know complain about (and I know quite a lot of people from all around the world).

We lived in Sweden for a while, and I was desperate to come back to this lovely place, the housing we've just had to fix. We live in a rented house, with a garden we get to do what we want with, the house is small but has ceiling and wall insulation, and wooden blinds. It is positioned perfectly so the sun heats the living areas in the winter, as long as there is any sun at all, but in the Summer the sun passes more over the house, so not too hot. We love it here!

Nearly everyone I know who has visited NZ has loved it, and I know people who return for a few months as often as they can. The Swedes I've known who went back after a few years missed the regulated society, as they felt unsure when not told what to do, basically.
post #19 of 37
Thread Starter 
In Montana...it gets very very very cold. We've had snow since October, with most days dipping into double digit negative numbers (Fahrenheit)....Below freezing...bitterly cold...wearing two heavy down jackets hasn't been enough outside...not by a long shot. We keep the heat at 69...and you can see the heat flowing out of the house, even though it is insulated. I think NZ has been sounding rather warm in comparison, but, I have no idea what it would be like to live in a house without double paned windows, climate control, and insulation. I've been looking at homes around the Wellington area, and they seem reasonably priced for the most part...but I suppose I have also been assuming they were the same as houses here...as in...you could heat them with the twist of a nob. Not so??? hummmmmm......I'm sure we could make do....As a child, we had wood burning stoves, and it was always warm enough. Lots of wood needed though...how is the price of wood there? Is wood imported???

Do you know if people know about homopathy there? I use homeopathic medicines for my family, because I find allopathic medicine to be fairly....uh...incompetent. It's great for emergencies or severe illness...but...for everyday things, I love homeopathy. Very sad about so many kids dying from respiratory ailments. Here in Montana, we have a human resource counsel that uses government funds to insulate homes, pay partially for heat and ensure that families with children can keep their homes warm enough without having to cut back on other things....like food. Also, it surprises me that kids would be dying from illness related to cold in NZ....I thought there was socialized medicine there...doesn't everyone have insurance? How does that work?

The way you describe the actual place and the actual people sounds very appealing...I'm so grateful to have found a forum with real live mamas of like mind who can answer my questions!! Thank you!!!
post #20 of 37
Well homeopathy is quite common here, not too out there, actually. Like acupuncture and herbalism and in particular osteopathy (most new mums I've known, even very mainstream ones, take their newborns to the osteopath), it is fairly mainstream. There's a homeopathy pharmacy downtown where you can by things over the counter, or see a homeopath. Plenty of naturopaths around too. Our local organic shop have two employed part-time.

Of course you can keep warm! But it may take an effort, (and for some people, give up smoking or holidays for example, to pay for it), and most Kiwis grew up with the harden up attitude. If you're cold put on a jersey, don't waste heating. They actually feel it is un-necessary an wasteful to have place heated nicely. If the new laws didn't insist on some insulation, most people wouldn't, because most people would find having gold taps in the bathroom more important, or going to Fiji 3 times a year or something. It isn't a priority. Same thing, harden up, with doctor's visits for some people, it costs, so they rather not (despite most doctors charging only about USD2.50-7.50 for kids nowadays). There are many more children treated for pneumonia and bronchialitis in the hospitals here too, so more kids get sick, more kids will die. ER visits are free, maternity care and child birth is free, well child visits are free (with nurses) , emergency surgery is free, and a lot of children's medicine is heavily subsidised.

Some houses have central heating, either an old form of under-floor heating (hot air is blown around under the house, up ducts in the floor, one in each room. Gets nice and warm by the ducts), or a more modern version when it is in the ceiling instead. Or the newest, with is to have a heat pump installed. They cost a lot but are much cheaper to run than other heating. They are not very good at spreading the heat evenly, though. And none of it makes a huge difference if the house is uninsulated.

Other options include gas heaters, either permanent flued ones, or unflued portable ones (not very healthy or safe). We use oil heaters, and a convector heater. . They're portable, so you need to take care with kids. But as our house is quite well-insulated it works really well. You can definitely make even a rented home warm, and there are incentives for low income earners renting or owning, where the government pays part of the cost of getting insulation. Windows are less of a problem, as window treatments quite easily can solve that issue. And if we owned a house, adding insulation would be one of our first priorities. So not impossible, just a bit more work (and money). Or wood stoves, some houses have them, and they are a great option. Although more stringent environmental rules for installing them now.

Yes, house prices here aren't necessarily that high compared to other places, but there are very high in comparison with average incomes. We've got some of the least affordable homes in the world, according to some ranking.

It is warmer here. DD misses snow. There's snow in the mountains, but not around Wellington (except for the mountains). In Winter the temperature is around 12 degrees Celsius (53.6 F, I think), in Summer it is in the 20s, quite normal summer temps, not too hot, not too cold. I was cold indoors when I first came there, but over the years I've learnt a lot, and now I keep warm. The living areas in our house face north and east so we get morning sun, all day sun and the last rays of evening on the balcony, in Winter. In Summer the sun pass over the house, so it doesn't get too hot. I had no idea these things matter so much! But you can keep even an uninsulated house warm. What you need to look out for is mould in houses, and dark, wet locations, because then you'll have humidity issues. We've got quite high humidity here in NZ, we keep a dehumidifier going mostly (we also use it to dry clothes inside, we don't have a dryer). Can be up to 80%.
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