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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: Off Topic:
This is a question for all Kiwis

Cirashala
Grey Havens


Sep 18 2013, 7:22pm

Post #1 of 24 (268 views)
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This is a question for all Kiwis Can't Post

In trying to find more landscapes for NZ for a story I am writing (yes, FF, so sue me Tongue), I happened to end up spending hours reading about New Zealand, and have come to realize that it is a fascinating country.

So my question is, what is it like to live there? What sort of cost of living does it have (I am in the US, so would probably need to find out exchange rate to make fair comparisons). For example, here where I live is one of the least costly places to live in the US (and also considered fairly rural- town's population is about 27,000 people), where a 1,000 square foot 2 bedroom apartment with washer/dryer runs about $650 per month in a mediocre neighborhood, gasoline is $3.51 per gallon, milk is $2.78 per gallon, and 24 softball sized oranges are about $14.00. Our 1,412 sq foot house on 1/4 acre lot in good neighborhood ran $162,400 3 years ago (though the value has dropped to about $140,000). So, in relation to most areas of the US, it is pretty affordable to live here, if you make a decent wage. However, to compensate for fair comparison, our minimum wage in this area is only $7.25 per hour. Many places in the US has that wage, even if their rents for studios and 1 bedrooms in the cities exceed $1,500-$2,000 per month! That is nearly TWICE as much as minimum take home pay! The highest minimum wage in the US is in the state of Washington, at $9.25 per hour, or something like that. But their rents are higher-$750-$800 per month for 2 bed in a not so good neighborhood, and that's the CHEAPEST part of Washington! Western Washington (Seattle area) has the $1-2,000 rents I mentioned above, but same minimum wage.

Where is the most pleasant places to live? What are some aspects of NZ culture that you find particularly enjoyable?

Not that I am thinking of moving to NZ....or at least, not right away....visiting NZ is DEFINITELY on my bucket list though....

It was going through my head how many of the hobbit actors had to completely upend and relocate for a year and a half-two years, and some (like Jimmy Nesbitt) had children and families who were uprooted as well.

I cannot imagine how it would be to just go and live in another country on the other side of the world...

So, if any kiwis would like to help me satisfy my curiosity, it would be much appreciated! New Zealand seems to be an undiscovered gem in a way Smile And I am glad to have discovered it Cool

Race is meaningless. We all bleed red-no matter who or what we are. What matters is the heart. For each race has those with good hearts and those with bad hearts. You have a good heart. You do not deserve to die.

(This post was edited by Cirashala on Sep 18 2013, 7:24pm)


Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 18 2013, 8:00pm

Post #2 of 24 (211 views)
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Not a Kiwi, but I lived there for two years [In reply to] Can't Post

The cost of living is pretty high. I was paid substantially less than I was in the UK (admittedly London, which has the highest wages in the country) but things like going out for dinner or a drink, going to the cinema, and internet cost only a little less than at home. Energy costs are also high because many Kiwi houses are very badly insulated - I lived in a flat in a typical Wellington house, about 100 years old, wooden frame, and it had no insulation or double-glazing or central heating. In the winter the windows just dripped condensation in the morning. My rent was pretty good though, but it was a private rental and I think I was lucky. However compared to London I saved significantly on transport costs because I lived close enough to work to walk there.

I loved Wellington, it's a fantastic city - big enough to have stuff to do and see and a bit of a cultural scene, but small enough to be friendly and easy to get around, and the harbour and mountains around are stunning. It's an easy place to relax and chill out. I found Auckland less relaxing and more big-cityish, and also more sprawling, and Christchurch was pretty, quiet, weirdly fake-English, and seemed to be a good place for families. A lot of smaller towns were in amazing locations but a long way from anywhere, although the domestic airline industry is thriving and is the best place to get between cities quickly. The most pleasant places to live probably depend on what someone wants to do with themselves, and what they enjoy doing outside work, but personally I think Wellington is the best of all worlds. Smile Of course there are many completely amazing places to visit in the great outdoors.

The education system is pretty good, although there are the usual caveats that there are more problems in areas of deprivation, and schools in affluent areas make up for the fact they get less in government funding by charging parents "fees" for stuff. NZ has some excellent universities too.

I'm sure the Kiwis won't mind me saying that it's not all perfect though. Internet access I found slow and expensive (this was in 2007-2009), the aforementioned energy issues drove me nuts, the driving is often appalling (tailgating is rife), there are underlying social issues such as chronic underachievement by Maori and Pasifika boys at school which nobody has really tackled, and apart from flying, public transport is pretty dreadful. But nowhere's perfect. I could list a number of things that irritate me as much about London.

Storm clouds


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Sep 18 2013, 10:40pm

Post #3 of 24 (184 views)
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Itís hard to generalise about any country because of the variations within it. [In reply to] Can't Post

I can say that Auckland is the most expensive place to live, primarily because of house prices. They are rising throughout the country (have they ever stopped doing so since 2001?) but in Auckland the average house price has risen 11% in the last year with some areas rising 30%. What you can buy for $500,000 in suburbs outside the central city look very rough compared to what that money can get you in other cities.

Adding to the costs: Home insurance has recently jumped to eye-watering levels as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes and the massive hit that insurance companies took.

Something to consider is that while many small places are pretty cheap to live in, those places can have limited employment opportunities Ė so Ďcheapí isnít cheap if you havenít got an income. Parts of the South Islandís West Coast depend heavily on the coal-mining industry so something like the Pike River Mine explosion is not only a personal tragedy for the families of the men killed, but also a big blow to the local economy.

Eledhwen has mentioned the great distances between many cities, which have resulted in those cities developing distinct identities as they canít rely on a big nearby city to provide cultural or sports facilities. If New Plymouth or Nelson, for instance, want access to an indoor multi-stage performance theatre or a summer entertainment festival, they have to find a way to provide it themselves. Where you would want to live depends on the type of lifestyle youíre interested in and which town/city has that as its strength.

I have travelled a bit in NZ and personally I prefer my hometown of New Plymouth as itís a small city right on the coast with a mountain behind it, with a strong economy (dairy and oil/gas), a creative arts/culture sector and fantastic urban parks and walkways. However youíd never be bored in Wellington or Auckland with everything there is to do in those two cities, and Napier could be interesting for a slower pace and ready access to incredible vineyards. The lower South Island has the most jaw-dropping landscapes that Iíd never tire looking at (plus possibly the best vineyards in the country), but Iíd feel land-locked living in Queenstown or nearby towns Ė I need the coast at my feet.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Sep 18 2013, 10:42pm

Post #4 of 24 (190 views)
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I think you've been very fair. [In reply to] Can't Post

We have a number of issues that we haven't made much headway on, such as child abuse and youth suicide, despite the effort going into addressing them.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Starling
Half-elven


Sep 19 2013, 7:54am

Post #5 of 24 (174 views)
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All the people I know who have moved here [In reply to] Can't Post

from other countries say the same thing about our housing: It's terrible! Cold? Put some more clothes on mate. Damp? Open the windows. Crazy
I'm not very good at talking about what it's like to live here, because I have never lived anywhere else, so I don't have anything to compare it to.

I had a bit of a dig around, and landed on this site, which I thought you might find interesting. It's stories from a range of people who have moved there from other countries, so there's no touristy spin. I read a few of them, and I think there might be some information in there that would go towards answering some of your questions. They talk about the different places they have settled, the cost of living, work, culture, and what they like and don't like about their new home.

Of course every country wants to present its best face to the world, and we are not different here. But we do have some eye-wateringly shocking statistics for child abuse and child deaths, and for suicide. There are many people in NZ living in very poor conditions, and in very difficult economic circumstances. I see this every day in the school I teach in.
Plus all that 'clean green' stuff is not exactly what it seems. It looks nice in the posters, and it's most definitely the real thing, but for every lovely vista there is a polluted lake or river that you don't get to see.

All of this sounds horribly negative! But I love living here, and I love my city, even though it has been bashed beyond all recognition by natural disasters over the last few years.


(This post was edited by Starling on Sep 19 2013, 7:57am)


StarGodziller
Bree


Sep 20 2013, 12:58am

Post #6 of 24 (145 views)
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I actually [In reply to] Can't Post

Really want to visit and eventually move to New Zealand myself. Once I've made some money I plan on relocating there, though obviously I'm gonna visit several times first. I live in Massachusetts and I've never really been abroad, I've just been to Canada. New Zealand will probably be my first trip abroad.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Sep 20 2013, 4:28am

Post #7 of 24 (130 views)
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If you want to live in NZ... [In reply to] Can't Post

...you need permission. They aren't encouraging immigration, and visiting requires a visa (although they're easy to get). Te Papa Museum has an interactive station where you can respond to questions to see if you can get a residency visa, which we spent some time with. Although there were a lot of questions about age, health, family net worth, investment, etc., the bottom line was you need to have a job before you come.

Here are the official rules.

That said, it looks like a great place to live, although expensive (even more expensive than Hawaii, where I live now).








Auxerre
Bree


Sep 20 2013, 6:34pm

Post #8 of 24 (112 views)
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I agree, to an extent [In reply to] Can't Post

It's hard to do much better than NP, because it has such a marvelous combination of factors that one just doesn't find very often. It's defintely not a rural backwater, yet it's small enough to feel very friendly and safe. Being able to have your feet in the Tasman while looking up at snow on the mountain is an amazing experience. There are lots of outdoor activities, ranging from gentle (Coastal Path) to probably as extreme as one might want (Paritutu - although it's turned tragic in my mind now).

I could live in the Central Otago valley and be quite content (and those ARE the best vineyards in the country!!). The coastal area just out from Dunedin is incredibly beautiful. here's a good bit of farm land out on that peninsula, where there are acres of pasture abutting right up to the sea, with a spectacular and small private beach every few hundred metres or so. In my mind, that's where my dream home is. :)

Wellington is terrific, and if one can live downtown, close enough to walk to everything, that would be a very nice lifestyle.

If Ro sees this thread, hopefully she can post and give you a perspective that you may find very helpful. Ro is an American, and a number of years ago, she married and moved to the Christchurch area, and has lived there ever since, raising three kids there.

Hope you're doing well, D!!! :)


(This post was edited by Auxerre on Sep 20 2013, 6:35pm)


Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 20 2013, 6:56pm

Post #9 of 24 (100 views)
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The thing about the housing ... [In reply to] Can't Post

is that quite a lot of the issues are easily fixed. Better insulation and double glazing would go a very long way towards making houses more comfortable and keeping down energy bills. A few people said to me "yeah, but our house is old" to which I say "piffle!" There are plenty of houses in the UK older than NZ itself which have things like double glazing and central heating. Even my room in my second year at college, an attic room in an 18th-century building, was warmer in winter than my Wellington flat.

Storm clouds


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 20 2013, 11:16pm

Post #10 of 24 (88 views)
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Hey, girl - nice to see you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Been too long Smile


Starling
Half-elven


Sep 21 2013, 1:24am

Post #11 of 24 (85 views)
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I well remember a house I lived in in the 90's, [In reply to] Can't Post

which regularly had ice on the insides of the windows in winter. It was normal to wear a coat, hat, scarf and gloves inside.

I have lived in old, cold houses my whole life, up until the place I am in now. When I first moved in here, I felt like I was living in a hotel!

When people are renting, they don't have much say in how well insulated the place is, and the landlord really doesn't have to do anything to improve it if they don't want to. Even people on reasonable incomes struggle to afford the huge bills that come with keeping their homes to WHO heating standards.

I don't know anything about central heating. I don't really even know what it is, to be honest. Blush


Cirashala
Grey Havens


Sep 21 2013, 4:10am

Post #12 of 24 (77 views)
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renting [In reply to] Can't Post

I am sure it is costly, but are renters allowed to install double glazed (we call it double paned in the US) windows and better insulation in their apartments/flats (I think they are the same thing- multifamily rented dwelling?)

So they can rent and still be warm enough?

Race is meaningless. We all bleed red-no matter who or what we are. What matters is the heart. For each race has those with good hearts and those with bad hearts. You have a good heart. You do not deserve to die.


Cirashala
Grey Havens


Sep 21 2013, 4:43am

Post #13 of 24 (77 views)
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A very interesting discovery [In reply to] Can't Post

One of the people on that site you mentioned actually lived in a town 20 miles west of here, and I graduated high school (14-18 year olds attend high school here) in one of the metropolitan cities of that city (immediately next to but still considered different city).

So I know the cost of living there, and that helps give me better perspective than, say, someone from the UK or South Africa.

My husband is taking courses for his master's degree in mental health counseling, and has a bachelor's degree in psychology. Is there a decent need for those there, if you know? Are job prospects for them good?

I know websites can be biased, but it seems that a clinical psychologist (which would be a doctorate degree here) is on the skilled migrant list....and my husband plans on pursuing that after his master's is done and he is established in a counseling job.

Whatever we end up doing, there is absolutely NO WAY we would even consider moving across the world without a job in place first and foremost.....

Compared to the rest of the country, our cost of living is very low. Federal (meaning country) minimum wage is $7.25 per hour with a typical 40 hour workweek considered full time. Our rents at $650-$700 per month for a 2 bedroom 1,000 square foot apartment (I believe you call them flats if I am not mistaken- multifamily dwellings?) in an ok area here might work in a pinch on a minimum wage income- providing you can walk to work (something that is extremely rare here- my husband works 10 miles away and that is considered close), do not need a car for the reason mentioned above-our public transportation is city busses that are terribly unreliable, and are only one person with no children who doesn't care if they wear outdated second hand clothing from a charity store and have no other amenities-like internet, phone, etc). Basically a minimum wage in my area covers rent, utilities (water/sewer/garbage/electricity, etc), and food for one person.

However, in the vast majority of the US, especially in the big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Washington D.C., etc, the minimum wage BEFORE taxes, let alone take home pay, is only HALF or 2/3 of the rent alone! In NYC, someone working minimum wage full time (and most of those jobs are part time, and most people in the US work in such jobs), might be incredibly lucky to get a terrible studio apartment with faulty plumbing and electricity in an extremely high crime area, and that is WITH a roommate (I think you call them flatmates)! And if they only eat something like ramen noodles (you can get a pack of a dozen servings for a few dollars). It is terrible.

Some states have higher minimum wage- Washington state (where the lady from Spokane is from) has $9.25 per hour, but their gasoline, food, etc costs more than here. Our milk costs about $2.78 per gallon, our gasoline costs $3.51 per gallon (less than yours by far, but then again remember what I mentioned above- our cities are more sprawled out, and my husband's job is considered CLOSE to home at 10 miles away, so we spend $200 per month on gas alone for his car and mine so I can take my daughter to her preschool 15 miles away 3 times a week), 5 pounds of apples is $7.00, etc. And that is before the 6% sales tax. Our area is CHEAP compared to the rest of the US.

I know your cost of living might be higher, but would a car be necessary if someone could walk/bicycle to work? My husband is incredibly lucky- he is a retail manager, and brings home the equivalent of $15.00 per hour. He works for a great company, but his hours are lousy- he could open at 8 am one day, and close til 10 pm the next. And his wage in retail is extremely good-most retail managers are lucky to make $9 per hour. But, his job has medical benefits, and we have two small children. And he cannot use his bachelor's of psychology in his field- he is required to have a master's degree to practice as a counselor. So he works here until his degree is finished, and takes his classes online one at a time after work. He works 42.5 hours every week, and 48 hours per week during the holiday season from the 4th weekend in November until December 25.


Sorry for the ramble, but I am just comparing some of our countries things to yours....

Race is meaningless. We all bleed red-no matter who or what we are. What matters is the heart. For each race has those with good hearts and those with bad hearts. You have a good heart. You do not deserve to die.


Starling
Half-elven


Sep 21 2013, 4:46am

Post #14 of 24 (83 views)
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Do you mean at their own expense? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know of anyone who has done that. I'm not sure that anyone would want to spend their own money on someone else's property, especially when there is no guarantee of how long you will be living there - you can't take your double glazing and insulation with you!


Cirashala
Grey Havens


Sep 21 2013, 4:57am

Post #15 of 24 (70 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

I had meant that.

Race is meaningless. We all bleed red-no matter who or what we are. What matters is the heart. For each race has those with good hearts and those with bad hearts. You have a good heart. You do not deserve to die.


Starling
Half-elven


Sep 21 2013, 5:05am

Post #16 of 24 (71 views)
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All of those expense comparisons [In reply to] Can't Post

are not something I can really get my head around. I have my fingers crossed that Roheryn (she was mentioned in another reply in this thread) might turn up and contribute, as she will be able to understand the dollar comparisons. Cooo-eee, Ro, are your ears burning? Laugh

There are a couple of things worth considering in terms of work. One would be whether your husband's qualifications are recognised here. I am pretty sure they would be, but there are a lot doctors driving taxis in New Zealand, so you would want to be sure. Also, you may or may not be aware that medical insurance etc does not come with employment here. If you want medical insurance you fund it yourself.

As far as transport goes, if you wanted to be able to walk or cycle to work, it would really be dependent on where you lived. In the main centres, the quality and availablity of public transport varies, and the cities vary in terms of their cycle-friendliness. To be able to walk to work in a bigger centre you would need to live centrally, therefore you would be going for the more expensive and scarce accommodation. Lots of ifs and buts, of course, because it would really depend on where you lived, and where your work was.

We certainly need lots of clinical psychologists and counsellors here in Christchurch - we will be providing employment for them for many years to come I'm sure.


Cirashala
Grey Havens


Sep 23 2013, 1:18am

Post #17 of 24 (52 views)
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why the need [In reply to] Can't Post

for the counsellors and clinical psychologists?

Ro or other Americans that have become Kiwis would indeed be helpful, but if it helps you I can try to convert USD to NZD and give you the new amounts for things Smile

Minimum Wage (this is before taxes-different than take home pay, and at minimum wage the tax rate is 10% approximately, as best as I can guess, though I do think it is going up)

USD-$7.25-$9.25 (depending on where you live-here it is $7.25 per hour)
NZD conv- $8.68-$11.08

My husband makes a VERY good wage as a retail store manager (he is an assistant manager at a sporting goods store while he finishes his master's degree online) and it is about $15 per hour ($17.96 NZD)

And he has a 4 year bachelor's degree in Psychology, but here he cannot do much of anything with it-he needs a master's of Psychology or Mental Health Counseling minimum to just be a counsellor (he is currently taking one course at a time online for it) or a Psy. D (Doctorate of Psychology) to be a Clinical Psychologist.

Average rent (per month) where I live for 2 bedroom apt (and most apartments will include water/sewer/garbage and you just have to pay electricity)

USD-$650-$750
NZD-$778.24-$897.82

Average monthly rent in Los Angeles, California within 10 miles (I think its 2.33 km/mile)(one of the large cities I mentioned for same size apartment/flat)-lowest rent I found online:

USD-$1,695
NZD-$2,029.80

Cost of a gallon of gasoline (which equals about 3.78 L):

USD-$3.51
NZD-$4.20

Cost of a gallon of milk:

USD-$2.78
NZD-$3.33

Cost of 24 softball sized oranges (about 10cm in diameter or so) at my local bulk store:

USD-$14.00
NZD-$16.76

Cost of going to the theater at a discount theater (this is what I paid in ticket price to see AUJ 20 times in regular 2D showing)

USD-$8.00
NZD-$9.58

Keep in mind also that here in the US we do not have very good/reliable public transportation, mostly just city busses in my area and most areas, and so people often have to drive 10 miles (23.3 km) one way to work and back 5 days a week-at least my husband does, and his job is considered close. My daughter's pre-kindergarten Christian school is 15 miles away one way and I have to drive her there 3 times a week. So we both have to completely fill up our gas tanks in our two cars every two weeks when my husband gets paid, so it costs about $100 (or at least that's what I have budgeted) every two weeks, or about $200 per month, which is in NZD $119.70 every two weeks.

My husband cannot ride the bus to work, nor can I take my daughter to school via bus, because the system is very primitive and unreliable.

Housing prices are dropping like a rock- we bought our house for $162,400 three years ago ($194,392.80) and now it is only worth $140,140 ($167,747.68). It is about 130 square meters, 3 bedroom 2 bath, and it is on .25 acre yard.


I hope this answers your questions regarding figures, since Ro has been mysteriously absent from the forums of late....hope she's ok.....I heard about those big quakes you guys had Unimpressed

Race is meaningless. We all bleed red-no matter who or what we are. What matters is the heart. For each race has those with good hearts and those with bad hearts. You have a good heart. You do not deserve to die.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Sep 23 2013, 1:46am

Post #18 of 24 (51 views)
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Hello! [In reply to] Can't Post

How neat that you piped up for this discussion! :)

I loved my visit to Dunedin a few years back: A beautiful city in a stunning location. I'd have no problems visiting you if you lived there. :D

BTW last month was the first anniversary of the Paritutu tragedy.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


(This post was edited by Ataahua on Sep 23 2013, 1:57am)


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Sep 23 2013, 1:51am

Post #19 of 24 (46 views)
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The results of the 2010/11 earthquakes. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Why the need for the counsellors and clinical psychologists?



Thousands of aftershocks, interminable wrestling with EQC and home insurers, seeing their central city eaten away by rubble-removal machines, ridiculously high home rental and purchase prices, the effect all of that is having on people's personal relationships, and the like.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Cirashala
Grey Havens


Sep 23 2013, 2:15am

Post #20 of 24 (41 views)
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Wow [In reply to] Can't Post

I can definitely see why all that stress is creating a need for counsellors and psychologists!

My husband's passion and goal is to do mainly marriage and family counselling (it is strange to type that with two l's-here we call it counseling). Oftentimes within family relationships/dynamics, it is common for even external causes (stress, etc) and internal causes (mental illnesses) to cause or exacerbate tensions within the family.

I also found it a bit different from my country that children attend college so young- here we have ages 5-18 in grade school. It is kindergarten-12th grade, and one graduates with a high school diploma- something that will get a person a job at McDonald's or as an entry level worker in a store or grocery store.

Even people with a 2 year degree from college (done after high school) have a hard time getting a good job. You can become a Registered Nurse with a "2" year associate's degree (I put that 2 in quotes because by the time prerequisite courses are done, people have already spent 2 years in college to get enough points to apply and be admitted to their nursing program, then it takes another 2 years for the actual nursing courses), but even that will get you a job in a nursing home for the elderly and not much else.

The 4 year bachelor's degree is what most people end up getting if they want to get a decent job. My husband has a 4 year degree in Psychology, but within that particular field he is lucky if he were to get a part time job at $10 per hour (NZD $11.95 per hour) doing "grunt" work-meaning teaching mentally ill adults and children life skills within their home. It's not bad, but it is low wage and dreadfully unreliable, because if your client is ill, or in jail (that happened to a coworker/colleague of his), etc they don't get their hours, then they don't get paid.

He has to get a Master's degree at the least to become a counsellor, and if he wished to become a Clinical Psychologist here, he would have to get a doctorate in Psychology, or a Psy. D (similar to Ph.D, but for psychology) in order to practice as an actual psychologist.

How are things living there? Do you know based on my figures what the cost of living would be approx?

Race is meaningless. We all bleed red-no matter who or what we are. What matters is the heart. For each race has those with good hearts and those with bad hearts. You have a good heart. You do not deserve to die.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Sep 23 2013, 2:56am

Post #21 of 24 (37 views)
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I honestly don't know, sorry Cirashala. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not a good person to ask about anything to do with numbers, especially when it comes to comparisons between countries with the added difficulty of currency conversion. That's where a US immigrant such as Roheryn or NZStrider would be invaluable, given they've lived in both the US and NZ.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Cirashala
Grey Havens


Sep 23 2013, 3:19am

Post #22 of 24 (35 views)
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then [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope that one of them pops on here one of these days Smile I can honestly say that I don't recall NZStrider ever posting on here, and Ro has been absent from the boards for quite a while it seems....

Thanks for the info though-all of you. I really appreciate it! Laugh

I have a good feeling based on what I have found that should we move to NZ our cost of living will go up significantly for a family of 4 and two small children, but then again should we move pretty much anywhere but here it would....even in my own country, sadly. As I mentioned above, we live in one of the

It's not like I do not like where I live-I love it. But after reading so much about NZ, and finding out the high need of counselors and psychologists there, it almost makes my heart tug toward that direction Unsure

I had debated missions back and forth for a long time. I am not Mormon, so it's not like missions is "required", but have gone back and forth with it for years. I sadly never got the chance to go on a missions trip as a kid to Mexico or anything-my parents couldn't afford it, though I desperately wanted to go. My husband had planned on, once he finished this degree, to take online study and become a part time minister as well at some point.

I was curious, and saw a job opening on the North Island (cannot remember where exactly) for a Christian counseling/ministry position, and my eyes about popped out of my head and I went "really?!" Smile. It had NEVER occurred to me that one can use counseling/psychology as an opportunity to be a missionary! It had never occurred to my husband either....

Your country is full of surprises Smile

Race is meaningless. We all bleed red-no matter who or what we are. What matters is the heart. For each race has those with good hearts and those with bad hearts. You have a good heart. You do not deserve to die.


Roheryn
Grey Havens

Sep 23 2013, 3:21am

Post #23 of 24 (37 views)
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Okay, my ears were burning! [In reply to] Can't Post

As Auxerre mentioned, I'm an ex-pat American living near Christchurch now. I have limited experience with the rest of NZ, but I think I can offer some perspective that might be helpful.

General thoughts: NZ had a very green image. In large part, it's not well-deserved. NZ is (in places) in good shape environmentally simply because there aren't enough people here to fill it up and wreak total havoc. In some places, though, environmental issues are quite serious, and though I see a lot of lip-service paid to solving the problems, I don't see the problems heading towards being solved. For example, in Christchurch (ChCh for short) the air pollution was horrible during the winters when I first moved here, from people burning wood (wood stoves and fireplaces) for heat, as many houses have only those wood stoves or fireplaces as a source of heat. There was some effort being made to combat this when I moved here, but it wasn't enough, and it took the earthquakes knocking down almost every chimney in ChCh to finally make an improvement in air quality. Degredation of freshwater habitats for endangered native species is also a very serious problem, exacerbated by the conversion of so many areas to dairying farms. Cows generally spell the end of freshwater habitats that can support native fishes, but there is very little done to combat this. One of the most endangered fishes in the country (the Canterbury mudfish) has no official protection whatsoever, and if you wanted to catch them and eat them, or backfill one of their few remaining habitats, no one could stop you.

As Eledhwen so aptly pointed out, houses here are cold. Most Kiwis seem to believe NZ is actually tropical (it's not), and houses are built accordingly. Central heating is unheard-of. Our own house (modern, by standards here) is well-built for the Mojave desert and does a great job of keeping the sun out -- which is helpful maybe two weeks a year, and much less welcome the other 50 weeks. Heating with wood is very common. Electricity is very expensive, and heating with electricity is generally considered a bit frivolous. Most places don't have gas supplies for heating houses, so that's not an option -- it's either electricity or wood. And because insulation up until about 20 years ago was pretty much not installed (and even newer houses often have insulation well below American standards), all houses, but especially old ones, tend to be much much colder than Americans are used to. A comfortable indoor temperature is considered to be around 62 degrees F in the winter. Air conditioning? Hardly ever needed in this part of NZ, but if you do need it you get to open a window. Windows never have screens either, and most Kiwis love to have open windows when possible. This means any bugs that want to come in are free to do so.

Cost of living is very high, especially given average incomes. Comparing prices here to prices in the US using current exchange rates is helpful but not quite helpful enough, because that exchange rate can fluctuate quite a bit in a short time, while salaries and expenses here and there stay the same. I think it's more helpful to think about average incomes, and what that can buy. Without going to look it up, I think the average income for someone employed full-time is around $40,000 per year, give or take a bit, before taxes, which on that income would be 21%. (Lowest tax bracket is I think 11%, middle bracket is 21%, and highest --for incomes over $80,000, I think? -- is 39%, if I remember right).

So, with that in mind (this is all in NZ dollars): gas is currently $2.21 per litre so about $8.40/gallon. Mr. Ro commutes into town every day, so we spend about $120/week on gas, and that's only if I don't go anywhere, and we don't go anywhere on the weekends. Best price on milk is $1.67/litre if you buy 2-3 litres, so that works out to $6.34 a gallon. Apples tend to run around $2.99/kilogram, so $1.36/lb. We shop carefully and try to buy only meat that's on sale for $10.99/kg ($5.00/lb) or less, but that takes careful shopping. Good steaks run $25 - $30/kg ($11.40 - $13.60/lb), and we never buy those! The cheapest butter on sale is $3.99/500 grams -- it's roughly equivalent to the US standard packs of 4 sticks of butter (and it just comes in one large rectangle -- no easy-to-use sticks here!). Rents here in ChCh are out of sight, mostly because the earthquakes so massively decreased available housing. I think average rents for a very modest 3-bedroom house in the suburbs (not central city, where there's hardly anything left) are around $450 per week (rental prices are always given in weekly figures, and most rents would be paid fortnightly -- every two weeks -- not monthly). And by modest I mean small, with a postage-stamp yard, generally cold, and quite likely damp too. Quite possibly with no installed form of heating. Average house prices for buying a house have soared since the earthquakes, and almost no one just starting out on the property market can afford one any more. For example, Mr Ro bought his small (maybe around 800 square feet??) apartment (yes, here people actually buy apartments) for around $120,000 about 14 years ago, just outside the edge of the central city on the banks of the Avon River and within easy walking distance of everything in the city. A very desirable location. *If* that building were still habitable, that apartment today would probably sell for around four times that. And you can bet that incomes have not quadrupled since then. A couple looking for a modest 3-bedroom house (say, 1200 square feet, not particularly well heated or insulated, on a lot maybe only three times as big as the house) could expect to pay upwards of $325,000. A new, modern 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom home (still on a very small lot) in a new subdivision will likely go for around $500,000 or a bit more. Rural properties are hard to find (at least around here) on anything less than 10 acres, and the land is expensive. 10 bare rural acres (within long commuting distance of ChCh) with perimeter fencing and not much else typically sell for $225,000 - $250,000. And then you still have to build a house.

So, does that help for some cost comparisons? Basically, it's expensive. Incomes here are modest, and many families struggle to find adequate housing (which Americans would find totally sub-standard because of the heating problems) and to make ends meet. Food is expensive -- especially considering that NZ is a farming country, and you'd think dairy and meat products would be cheap!

Getting residency here is challenging, even if you're married to a NZ citizen. If you have a job offer, it's doable, but with the exception of some professions I think there's a bias towards hiring only Kiwis, which makes job-hunting a bit more of a challenge for someone who's not from these parts.

I could go on, but this is turning into a novel already! Hope that helps, Cirashala. I do think it's a lovely country despite some of my above observations, and I wish we had more of a chance to travel and see more of it!


Cirashala
Grey Havens


Sep 23 2013, 3:47am

Post #24 of 24 (34 views)
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Thanks, that helps [In reply to] Can't Post

The environmental issues sound pretty serious. I know what smog is like- I lived in So. Cali for 4 years as a child, but now I live in northern Idaho, and the air pollution, despite woodburning stoves also being fairly common in winter as an addition/replacement for central heat here. Despite that, it isn't bad.

Funny you should mention the Mojave-where I lived in Cali was Hemet/San Jacinto area, and I remember being chilled one winter because our chocolate lab puppy (never get one ever) decided she liked getting "high" off chewing the heating wires. We put chicken wire in to stop her-it didn't. Now, where I live, in 40 degrees after the winter we are out in shorts and t-shirts as our recently arrived Californians are still in parkas Wink I actually prefer cool and cannot stand the hot summer-90-100 is far too warm for me Frown

62 would be pretty cool, but I think I could survive that with warm jammies and sweaters and sweatpants. I am not opposed to wearing more if need be. In fact, even during the summer I have 3 blankets (quilts and fleece) on my bed even with the air conditioner running, because I can't sleep without them.

The bugs might bug me (no pun intended) but I am not horribly opposed to opening windows-just not at night. Do you guys have mosquitos and mosquito netting? Or is it even needed?

I wonder what the average counselor/psychologist makes, because that is my husband's specialty-he has a bachelor's in psychology and is current working on online classes for his master's of mental health counseling. As for me, I am interested in medicine-namely ob/gyn, or at the very least nursing/midwifery, though I don't plan on re-entering school until my children are in school themselves, since they do not allow me sufficient time to study right now at 17 months and 4 years.

Gas and milk seems spendy. Apples are about the same, if not a tiny bit less (you would think they would be less, given we live next to Washington, which is famous for apples).

I don't like to spend a lot on meat either, so won't buy over 5.00/lb. I use large bricks of butter from Costco anyway.

The housing issues sound an awful lot like Southern California right now. We have a lot of Californians moving up here, since if they were lucky and bought their houses down there before the prices went so high, they would sell and buy a house on 10 acres outright. I would think that if we lived in So. Cali, we would probably end up in a 3 hour commute one way situation for my husband as well...which is partly why I am glad we don't live down there (but also see my heat comment above) Sounds like housing would definitely be the most extreme cost for us....

You would think that dairy and meat were, but was I right in reading that they are exported?

I would imagine being a stay at home parent won't be an option should we end up going down there. The job I spotted (the ministry/counseling one) offered housing as part of the compensation package, and that is most likely what we would end up needing to look for, at least at first.

I can relate to the job challenge-my mom didn't speak Spanish, and couldn't get a job in So cali when I was little, and so stayed home with us until we were in school full time (and then she only got one when we moved to Colorado) The bias there against those who couldn't speak Spanish has only gotten worse, from what I have heard from family living down there.

I am glad and thankful for your insights-they were particularly helpful! And thanks for taking the time to respond to my inquiries, even if you have been very quiet about being on here of late Smile

The boards need you and your humor, Ro- some of the threads have been getting a bit stuffy lately....though there are a few good threads still out there.


Race is meaningless. We all bleed red-no matter who or what we are. What matters is the heart. For each race has those with good hearts and those with bad hearts. You have a good heart. You do not deserve to die.

 
 

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