As a New Zealander, the world has always seemed like a great big, exciting place. Lacking the historical architecture of Europe or the cultural diversity of Asia, the South Pacific can seem like a rather dull place to grow up. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth through the eyes of an adult, but that’s a lesson best learned the hard way.
To make a rather long story markedly shorter, I found my way to the UK in my twenties and proceeded to embrace the country as my own. Ten years later, in 2021, with citizenship, a mortgage, a husband and two children, we decided to up sticks and leave. In this series of blogs, I’ll share the trials and tribulations of moving from the UK to NZ, what to expect, and any advice for those contemplating making the leap themselves.
The Decision To Leave The UK
Leaving the UK wasn’t a decision we took lightly, but it wasn’t as difficult a choice as you’d think. We had always hoped to explore Europe with the children and dreamt of buying a van, slowly driving down the coasts of Spain and Portugal before heading toward the mountains.
Following the 2016 referendum, we put our idea on the backburner when the freedom to travel within Europe was made less certain. Fast forward to January 2020, and we returned from a Christmas holiday in NZ at precisely the same time COVID-19 began to make itself known. Nothing amplifies post-holiday blues quite like winter in lockdown.
After more than 12 months of the “keep calm and carry on” spirit, one cold March night, we had the realisation that, with three members of the family holding citizenship, we could escape all this and head to (what as at that stage) COVID-free New Zealand.
From Idea To Reality, Moving To New Zealand
As a COVID-free country, getting into New Zealand was much more difficult than we had anticipated, with air travel not possible unless you had received confirmation of your space in managed isolation. A mandatory two-week quarantine in a state-managed facility was compulsory for all arrivals, and as you might imagine, places were limited.
After more than six months of trying to secure a place, we received our confirmation voucher in October 2021 and flew out on November 30th.
While the first six months in the country were far from smooth, things have markedly settled since that half-year point. There’s still the occasional blip of uncertainty about whether we’ve made the right choice, but much of that is down to simply not being prepared for what life here would be like.
In the next article, I’ll share how moving abroad went from an idea to a reality and how you can do it too (even without dual citizenship).
Sarah Todhunter is a writer, mother-of-two and a dual citizen of New Zealand and the UK. As the sole proprietor of Fyxen Copywriters, she has navigated the ups and downs of moving a business and family across hemispheres, sharing the lessons she’s learned along the way. Find her on LinkedIn or anywhere good coffee is served.