Last October PSS helped Mandi H, the blogger behind Looking & Leaping make the successful move with her family to New Zealand.
Here mum (33), dad (33), toddler (2) and two cats – tell PSS International Removals about their experience of planning a move from Greater Manchester in the UK to Auckland in New Zealand – and finally taking the leap. You can follow their emigration adventure on her Facebook: Looking & Leaping and Instagram
“I have family in New Zealand and it’s something we’ve been thinking about since we visited them back in 2010. We came out once more while considering the move over to Auckland, so it has been a big plus to have them here.
Another big draw was that my husband is in the construction industry and his skills are sought-after in New Zealand. Whereas, with Brexit and unknowns surrounding the future of the economy, the sector has started to scale back in the UK.
Not so long ago, back in 2009 when the UK went into recession, we had to move from our home in North East England to Greater Manchester to avoid redundancies. Job security, although never guaranteed, is even more at the forefront of our mind now we have a family. We’re encouraged that Auckland is investing a lot into its future at the moment, with plenty of structural engineers needed.
Of course, the lifestyle and better weather also helps!”
What was your biggest fear throughout the emigration process?
“While having a family has been one of the biggest reasons for wanting to move into New Zealand, it has also been a concern that we are doing the right thing for our son. If we were a young couple without family ties, it would perhaps have been easier to make this kind of decision. You would know that, if it didn’t work out, it would only affect you, rather than having an impact on your children.
Leaving family back in the UK was also a worry, particularly both sets of our parents. It is a very long and expensive journey and it is a lot to expect of them to travel so far to visit their grandson. We have committed to always maintaining an emergency fund to jump back on the plane in case of any problems. It takes around 24 hours, so it’s quite an undertaking that can’t be taken lightly.”
When you think about living in New Zealand, what excites you most?
“We’re both really excited about the fresh start. Although it’s not without anxiety, selling up and starting again is an exciting prospect. Also, not having had access to our extended family while we lived in the UK, it will be a joy to see our son playing and growing up with his cousins.”
Who in your family was most worried about the move to New Zealand?
“I think, at the beginning of the process, my husband was probably more worried than me. He was particularly concerned about how his parents and extended family may react to the news of what we wanted to do. After all, no-one wants their children and grandchildren to move to the other side of the world.
Now that it’s actually happening, it’s me who has been more worried. My main concern has been for my father who, although he has good friends, does not have any other family members living close by. I doubt I will ever not feel guilty about that. Thankfully, he is aware of Skype and he gave it a dry run while still in the UK, skyping twice daily to talk to me and his grandson.”
Who your family is most excited about living in New Zealand?
“I think we’re all excited about the new adventure, each with our own particular reasons. I am really excited about getting to spend time with my family over here; and Mr H is looking forward to his new job, which involves challenging projects that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to undertake in the UK.
Our son, although only almost three, has so far been most excited by the planes in the airport and going to the beach! I don’t think young kids really understand what is happening, but he is an adventurous child, taking it all in his stride.”
Now that you have moved, is there anything still to arrange?
“Before flying to the other side of the world, we wanted to make sure we had as much arranged as possible. The thought of moving abroad without a job secured made us very nervous, so that was very important for us to do prior to leaving.
To help achieve that, we applied for our visas. We started the process separately from any employers or job offers, as we were lucky enough to have enough points to apply for residency in New Zealand without assistance.”
When my husband was offered a job in Auckland, we were extremely fortunate that it came with a relocation package, which took a lot of pressure off in the first instance.
Our two cats, which we shipped over, are currently in quarantine. Shipping pets is a long process, requiring certain very carefully taken steps to be done at set times. We’ll be glad when they are at home with us, completing our family.
What is still to be arranged is a big one – a long-term home in Auckland. We have furnished rental accommodation in a beautiful area until our shipping container arrives from PSS International Removals, with all the contents of our home.
We’ll continue to rent afterwards, despite being owner-occupiers for more than a decade. Buying in Auckland is not attainable for us in the immediate future, due to house prices being considerably higher than where we lived previously.
I’m very much aware that the rental market in the areas we’re looking is competitive and fast-paced, and we’re now under a deadline to secure the right place. That is a big concern and it will be a huge relief when this is sorted and we can settle in.”
How did your husband secure a job in New Zealand?
“When job hunting, we looked at immigration websites and at specialist construction industry recruiters in New Zealand and the UK. We had to get the timing right and not to apply too soon, as employers naturally want to know when you’re going to arrive in the country. If you still have a lot of obstacles in your way, such as putting your house on the market, it’s impossible to suggest a starting date.
In the end, the job came through the same UK-based recruiter who had secured my husband a job in Manchester previously. My husband spotted that he was advertising a role in Auckland on LinkedIn, which was quite serendipitous.
The recruiter sent my husband’s CV and portfolio to the company, which led to a Skype chat late one night, followed by a brief meeting in the UK. My husband received a job offer by email soon afterwards.”
Do you have any friends and family in New Zealand?
“Yes, my half-sister, her husband and my niece and nephew live in Auckland, having moved here more than 10 years ago. They are now residents of New Zealand and both their children were born here.”
Why did you choose PSS to handle your international removals?
“During my research into shipping, I asked three companies to provide quotes. Only two of them, including PSS, offered a home visit to obtain an inventory for their quote, which was really important to me.
We chose PSS because of a positive face-to-face meeting, good value and ease of communication. Having a toddler in the house, I found it easier to keep in touch by email than on the phone, and PSS’ online communication was excellent. They were always very efficient and pleasant to deal with.
On packing day, there was a slight miscommunication and our move manager was on the case and it was sorted quickly with no problems. The packing guys were very quick, professional and full of good advice. My son was absolutely thrilled when the lorry arrived with the shipping container – it made a two-year-old boy’s year!
On the UK side of things, I had a good experience with PSS. We are expecting the shipment to arrive soon for phase two of the operation.”
What has been the hardest obstacle in your emigration adventure so far?
“Obtaining visas was a very lengthy process and required a lot of work. However, I knew from my research that we would obtain them without any major problems, so I didn’t experience the nerve-wracking wait that many people endure.
I think the hardest obstacle we faced was saying goodbye to friends and family and the life we had built in the UK. The weeks in the run-up to flying were particularly challenging and emotionally draining for all involved.”
What belongings did you take with you?
“Prior to moving, we had a really good clear out. It’s amazing how much you accumulate in your house and it was a good opportunity to look and ask, “If I haven’t I touched it in five years, do I really need to send it to the other side of the world?”
Once we’d decluttered, we decided to ship the majority of our remaining possessions, including most of the large furniture (sofas, beds, chairs etc.), and larger electrical items, like our TVs. And, of course, we brought our pets with us too.”
Which belongings did you leave behind?
“To avoid complications with New Zealand’s customs, we didn’t attempt to bring any particularly examinable items from the garden. We left our lawn mower, garden furniture, bikes and outdoor toys, as we knew that customs would want to pick through and potentially charge if there were any issues.
The only large item we brought, which we know customs will examine very carefully, is our Dyson vacuum cleaner. I had it professionally steam cleaned and disinfected to help it pass inspection. There will be a charge for it to be examined and hopefully it will meet the standard so that no further action is required.”
What emigration advice were you given?
“When my sister and brother-in-law moved over here, they sold all of their possessions in the UK with the intention of buying everything new here. However, on arrival, they found that the price of home furnishings in New Zealand was high and there was no wallet-friendly IKEA option. After their experience, they recommended that we ship the majority of our furniture, which is what we have done.”
What emigration advice would you give to others?
“I would recommend visiting the place you are intending to emigrate to more than once. It’s important to remember that living somewhere is not the same as going on holiday. You have to work, pay taxes and do boring, day-to-day stuff just like in the UK. So, when you visit, you need to investigate beneath the surface and not be too distracted by the beaches, sunshine and lovely landscapes.
I also strongly advise that people considering emigration do their research. Don’t spend too much money on the process until you know what visa options and job prospects are available. Only then can you decide if it’s for you.
That said, there are always ways and means to your end goal. It’s taken us many years to make this move. At the start when we were considering it, we would’ve had the better exchange rate, but my husband wouldn’t have had experience in his profession to obtain a job with a relocation package so easily.
Did I mention research? I can’t stress that enough. Research, research, research.”
Update: How are they getting on 3 months on from arrival in New Zealand?
It’s now three months on from their move so we caught up with the Henderson family to see how they settling into their new home.
How did your move over to Auckland go?
I think the move went smoothly as it could’ve gone thankfully, that’s not to say there wasn’t any delays or minor hiccups en route but it’s such a big deal that you expect there to be a little something here and there.
Finding permanent accommodation in Auckland was our biggest challenge to meet within a fixed deadline – particularly with no references and pets! Thankfully we are very happy and settled in our new home, definitely learned a few lessons along the way navigating the competitive rental market here in Auckland.
How are all the members of your family settling into their new life in New Zealand?
We are all settling in really well. My husband loves his new job which is a big relief as that was a massive factor in the relocation. Our son is thrilled to have his cousins to chase round the garden and a sunny family Christmas was certainly a pleasant experience. Even our cats seemingly have taken it all in their stride!
Are you happy with your decision to move?
Definitely. I’m glad that we got here in spring as it allowed us to acclimatise before this particularly hot summer has kicked in, not that I’m complaining!
It’s not to say that the future will be without challenges – the housing market in Auckland is, as we expected, more expensive than what we came from so it’ll be a while before we can escape the rental market. All things considered, we have no regrets so far and the future looks bright.
Are you thinking of moving to New New Zealand?
If you are thinking of following in Mandi’s footsteps and relocating with your family to New Zealand, then give our team a call on 020 8686 7733. They will be happy to advise you on your move and answer all your shipping questions.