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#1 of 10 Old 06-13-2009, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband has the opportunity to work as locum tenens in a year or so, and we are leaning heavily towards either Australia or New Zealand. DH is a child psychiatrist, so we really needed to pick an English speaking area, and DH spent a semester abroad at the U of Melbourne in undergrad, so he already knows he loves that area of the world.

Anywho, I'm trying to do some legwork to help us decide what area we want to go to, so any of you who would be willing to give me some insight would be greatly appreciated!

A little background into the situation: We're leaning towards Australia because it pays about $30k more, but they require board certification. DH has his MD, and is signed up to take his psych boards next year, but if he fails his first try we'd have to go to New Zealand because they would let him practice with just an MD and no board certification. DH also loves the animal diversity in Australia and is sad about the no-mammal situation in NZ. However, because NZ doesn't require board certification he would get to actually work with children there, whereas in Australia he would only have taken his adult boards (it'll be 2 more years before he can sit for child boards) so he'd be stuck doing whatever they say he's allowed to do.

So needless to say, we'd like to get info about both, as we won't know until after his boards where we'd be going.

We haven't been told specific cities, and wouldn't know that until closer to the last few months, but we know areas. Victoria, Tazmania, Queensland...North and South Island of NZ, high need areas so that would be cities between 20k and 500k people. We'd *prefer* cities in the 50-100k size.

So with that said, here are some questions we have. Could you please compare these areas for us, keeping in mind cities in those size categories?

1) We are homeschoolers...what is the homeschooling climate like?
2) There's a major chance that we could have either a brand new baby, or give birth while we are there. What is the breastfeeding and homebirth climate like? What is the out of pocket cost like for hb mw's(we would have to have private insurance, we couldn't get in the social system)? What about doulas? Costs and availability?
3) We are Christians and would love to find a faith community. Is there a good mix of Protestant denominations and churches?
4) I'm a birth doula...what are the odds that I could doula/doula group/hb mw who would let me work backup for them or could help me find clients?
5) What is public transportation like in cities around 50-100k people? Are cities that size compact enough that we could walk most places, or more spread out like US cities.
6) Entertainment options? Odds are we wouldn't be within an hour of a major city like Sydney...do smaller cities have parks/museums/theatres?
7) Do cities in the 50-100k size have fresh markets/farmer's markets/open air produce?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Vallere: Blessed Wife, Doula, Homeschool Mom to Ian Gray(11/20/05), Zollie Isaac(10/14/07), Anna Zophia (8/14/09):, and a GIRL coming June 2010!
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#2 of 10 Old 06-16-2009, 06:22 AM
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Well, if you're after a home birth, NZ might be what you're after!

I live in Wellington, which is a lovely city, with a lot of groups for AP and natural-minded people! It doesn't really feel like a big city - we're 10 min from the city centre, but live in a green, secluded valley (villa area). There are almost 200 000 people in Wellington, though. I'm not a city person, but I love living here.

1. Homeschooling is not a problem, you are allowed to, you do have to apply for it, but are actually entitled to.
2. Breastfeeding is very much encouraged, it is expected that new mums get breastfeeding established (that doesn't mean that a lot of people breastfeed exclusively for very long, though). However, I breastfeed my 15 month old in public everywhere, and although I rarely see anyone else do that I have never got a negative comment or a look. Sometimes I get nice comments, but usually people don't even look. And I've never used covers, blankets or nursing tops. Home birth is, well not un-heard of, and everyone I talked to was positive about the idea when I planned one. Midwives are the norm wherever you give birth, and there are a lot of home birth midwives around - and they all have access to the hospital. Midwives are for free for permanent residents and citizens, as is giving birth in hospital. (I do know that midwives and home births are much less supported in Australia).
3. I don't think you'd have any problem finding any Christian community here - there is a wide variety.
4. I don't know about doulas. Problem is that nobody pays for maternity and birth care, the midwife is free as Lead Maternity Carer, which a doula can't be. Meaning the government pays.
6. If you want to use public transport/walk around, Wellington is IT. There is no other place in NZ you can do that. I don't drive, so I know!
7. Yes, you'll find entertainment even in a small town.
8. Yes. Wellington has plenty. A lot of towns do, as farming is big.

Good luck!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DoulaVallere View Post
1) We are homeschoolers...what is the homeschooling climate like?
2) There's a major chance that we could have either a brand new baby, or give birth while we are there. What is the breastfeeding and homebirth climate like? What is the out of pocket cost like for hb mw's(we would have to have private insurance, we couldn't get in the social system)? What about doulas? Costs and availability?
3) We are Christians and would love to find a faith community. Is there a good mix of Protestant denominations and churches?
4) I'm a birth doula...what are the odds that I could doula/doula group/hb mw who would let me work backup for them or could help me find clients?
5) What is public transportation like in cities around 50-100k people? Are cities that size compact enough that we could walk most places, or more spread out like US cities.
6) Entertainment options? Odds are we wouldn't be within an hour of a major city like Sydney...do smaller cities have parks/museums/theatres?
7) Do cities in the 50-100k size have fresh markets/farmer's markets/open air produce?

Thanks in advance for your help!
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#3 of 10 Old 06-16-2009, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much! That's exactly the type of info I was looking for. Now I just need some Aussies to chime in.

If it were up to *me* I would be all about going to NZ. DH is concerned about the income difference, though, because we'd still have bills to pay at home in the US while we were there as well as wanting to start paying off med school bills. I think he said the NZ dollar is kinda weak right now, too, but that could change in 18 mo which might make it more appealing.

Again, thanks for the info!

Vallere: Blessed Wife, Doula, Homeschool Mom to Ian Gray(11/20/05), Zollie Isaac(10/14/07), Anna Zophia (8/14/09):, and a GIRL coming June 2010!
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#4 of 10 Old 06-16-2009, 08:51 PM
 
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I'm emigrating to Australia from Canada, so I can't provide a lot of the info yet to your questions but I'm curious to see what others will say...I did find a lot of options for farmer's markets/fruit markets in Perth (where we're headed) so that was encouraging. I don't know anything about the doulas, midwives etc. as we're so done TTCing (LOL).

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#5 of 10 Old 06-18-2009, 10:53 PM
 
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I moved to Napier, New Zealand 6 months ago, December 2008. Napier is a great little city in Hawkes Bay (east coast of the North Island). It's got only about 60,000 people, but 15 minutes south is Hastings and Havelock North, which have about 100,000 I think, so together it's a pretty sizeable population center.

1. I don't homeschool, but I've heard the laws are not restrictive. The government actually pays you the money that would go to a school if you homeschool.

2. I know there's a Hawkes Bay Home birth support group that I've seen advertised, but I haven't been in contact with them yet. They seem well established. I think if you're here on just a work visa you'd have to pay for your maternity care. But be careful, there have been recent stories about students here on student visas being deported when they became pregnant. Even though they offered to pay full costs, they were told the maternity services here were too over-stressed for them to stay.

Breastfeeding at least for newborns is very much encouraged. There are national ads on TV all the time. I've heard of no problems encountered by mothers breastfeeding in public.

3. There are churches all over of different denominations. New Zealanders in general don't seem to be very religious, but Christianity is kinda the "default" religion. Coming from the States where the separation of church and state and religious diversity has removed specific references to Christianity in most public spheres, I find it strange here. For example, I went to a public school assembly in December where all the kids sang Christmas carols they had been practicing for weeks. That would never have happened these days in Massachusetts because non-Christians would rightfully protest.

4. I'm not sure what the doula situation is like here.

5. Hawkes Bay has buses which I use daily to get home from work. The routes are limited, but if you're on a route it is immensely useful. I think they're mainly focused on commuters for work. Key expected routes, like one from the airport or to the up and coming nightlife area don't exist.

Napier center is pretty compact, so if you live in or near the center, you wouldn't need a car at all for your daily routine. But getting out of town is the most fun, and you would definitely need a car for that.

6. Napier has small museums, small local shows put on, a small aquarium, a movie theatre, a botanical garden and heaps of other small parks and playgrounds around. It's got swimmable sandy beaches right in town.

7. There's a year-round Hawkes Bay farmers market that is in Napier every Saturday and Hastings every Sunday. But the Napier one is sad and pathetic and very few vendors come. The Hastings one is huge and lovely, so we go down to that regularly. There is SO much wonderful local produce. Hawkes Bay is often referred to as the 'fruit bowl of New Zealand'. There are also hepas of vineyards, which give the area a bit of a Napa feel.

We looked at here and Wellington. I LOVE Wellington, but it is a big city, and we were moving partly to downgrade to a slower pace, and though Wellington is slower than Boston, Napier is even slower still. Plus, the hills in Wellington would have driven me crazy.
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#6 of 10 Old 06-19-2009, 01:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you!

Vallere: Blessed Wife, Doula, Homeschool Mom to Ian Gray(11/20/05), Zollie Isaac(10/14/07), Anna Zophia (8/14/09):, and a GIRL coming June 2010!
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#7 of 10 Old 06-25-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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ooh, we are looking to possibly move to Wellington NZ, does anyone have any pros and cons about different areas in or near Wellington? I don't imagnie we'd have a car so public transport would be good for things like library visits and groceries.

Also, is there a furniture equivalent to like and Ikea there?

tia!
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#8 of 10 Old 06-26-2009, 09:57 PM
 
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NAK

I'm from Melbourne so our 3 million+ population is too big for your specs. Though i do love love it here and you would have no problem fulfilling your other criteria here!

The BIG issue in Australia right now is the impending ban on homebirth. A draft bill has just passed in which birth practitioners will not be allowed to practice without indemnity insurance ... which isn't available to homebirth midwives at present ... thus rendering homebirth illegal. It's an outrage and there's a big campaign being mounted to defeat it, though no one is particularly hopeful.

FWIW, I think you'd really love Wellington!

One gorgeous solstice babe 12/08, two smitten mothers - mothering consciously with conscience and compassion. Birth & Postnatal Doula. Student Midwife. Expecting #2 November '12.

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#9 of 10 Old 06-27-2009, 04:09 AM
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Wellington has VERY good public transport. I love this place! We have a very good community. As for surrounding areas, well there are a lot, but I have to say, that the mama friends I have in Hutt Valley tend to stay in Hutt Valley. They mean to come to get-togethers, but despite driving, rarely show up, they seem to find it too hard. The ones out Kapiti Coast don't even try.

On the other hand, even in the actual suburbs of Wellington City, you frequently feel like you're in a nice small town or small village. The central city is rather cosy as well. And very green!

Anyone of you are welcome to PM me for more info about Wellington!
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#10 of 10 Old 06-28-2009, 08:22 PM
 
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Quote:
1. I don't homeschool, but I've heard the laws are not restrictive. The government actually pays you the money that would go to a school if you homeschool.
Heh. Well. The government pays you a miniscule percentage of what would go to a school, actually. It isn't much - a few hundred a year, more for first children, less for subsequent ones - but it's better than a kick in the teeth and you can buy the odd Bic pen with it! You have to apply for an exemption by age 6 to homeschool, and in theory you get "inspected" by the ERO every so often, but it's not too bad. Once they check you out the first time and realise you're OK they come around less often - once every few years, maybe? The line is simply that you have to be taught "as regularly and as well" as in a public school, which frankly isn't too difficult - NZ education is not known for its brilliance. In Hamilton, where I was homeschooled, there's a very large and active HSing population, so plenty of activities.

There's also a good bunch of Protestant churches in Hamilton, and the public transport is, ah, improving. Better than it was! We don't have a car and it's OK, although we don't go out that much. Hamilton is hardly the hub of entertainment, but we do have theatres, gorgeous public gardens, a museum and a zoo. It's actually not a bad city to live in, although I'm a fan of Wellington myself for the arts scene; but Hamilton's more kid-friendly, I suspect.

Birthing climate is good! I would have had a HB except I got pre-e. In theory NZ is very pro-BF, though it doesn't always translate into mothers CLW or EBF by any stretch of the imagination! But yeah, NZ is fairly "crunchy" all told. VERY low circ rate, quite a few non-vaxers, and if you said to someone "I'm a doula" it's even faintly possible they'd know what you were talking about.

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