Cindy, Ruan and Ruvan – Their First 18 Months in New Zealand

Articles > Cindy, Ruan and Ruvan – Their First 18 Months in New Zealand

We are now enjoying our second winter in New Zealand. Even though we lived in Pretoria, where winters are cold, we weren’t prepared for the very cold weather in Christchurch during the winter. However, we now know what to expect this year, so we’re better prepared. That said, we love New Zealand and are extremely happy here. It’s the best decision we’ve ever made. We do not want to go back to South Africa!
That said, it did take us around 12 months to finally call New Zealand home. It took us a while to get used to the Kiwi culture and how things are done in New Zealand but now, we really totally comfortable and call this country home.

Cindy and I both feel that the education system in New Zealand is superior to that of South Africa mainly because there are only 12 to 14 children in each class, so kids get lots of one-on-one attention which obviously means they progress faster. Ruvan’s teacher emails us every day giving us an update on how his day has been and how he’s progressing in each subject. We also get weekly newsletters from the school telling us what the school is doing in general and what Ruvan will be working on during the coming week or weeks.

Ruvan’s English is great, and he’s become quite a chatterbox. He’s grown a lot in many respects. His communication skills and confidence have grown enormously to the point that he strikes up conversations with people in the local supermarket or shop and chatters nineteen to the dozen.

The healthcare system is excellent. I (Ruan) had a fall a few months after arriving here and had tests and an MRI scan and everything was covered by the government, it didn’t cost us a cent. Ruhan went to the dentist this week and the appointment and treatment was also free. Such a pleasure after paying so much for medical and dental care in South Africa.

We started our life in New Zealand by staying with friends for the first three months we were here. We then had to start looking for somewhere to rent. It was a bit of a
rollercoaster as many of the landlords wouldn’t allow us rent as we had no New Zealand references and we were on work visas and not permanent residents or citizens, but that’s the same in any country you live in.

We finally found a property through a friend who knew the landlord of the property that we’re now renting. We were lucky because the rent is lower than it should be, and the house is fully furnished. The landlord also allowed us to buy the house contents, so we now own everything in the house from the beds down to the teaspoons.

I (Ruan) am a qualified motor mechanic and have just completed my Warrant of Fitness
Inspector qualification. I’m extremely happy with the employer I’m working for. He’s got four branches and he treats his staff as family. He firmly believes that if you respect your employees, they will return it.

I (Cindy) am what is called a General Maintenance Worker and do everything from cleaning to smoke alarm testing for a property services company. As we are both working, Ruvan goes to aftercare for 3 hours every day. The cost is $90 a week which is very affordable when you’re earning New Zealand dollars. Ruvan enjoys it as they do lots of fun activities.

Lifestyle and Security
We feel the lifestyle in New Zealand is much more relaxed than in South Africa. We are certainly in a much better position financially than we were in South Africa and, of course, security isn’t an issue here. We have no burglar bars on our property, and we live on a main road but are totally comfortable with sleeping with our windows open at night. We are so relaxed now that we’ve forgotten to lock our front door a few times. We also leave Ruvan’s trampoline in the front garden which, by the way, has no fencing and we can leave shoes, soccer balls and toys outside and no one touches them. It makes life feel comfortable and relaxed.

Another example of feeling safe we’d like to share is when we went on a camping trip. We decided to go for a long walk and Cindy left her cell phone behind on a camping chair. It was in exactly the same place when we returned. We both agreed that if we’d been in South Africa, we would have locked everything in the boot of the car before going on our walk and kept all our valuables with us. This just shows you how relaxed we have become in New Zealand and with good cause.

As we said at the beginning of this article, we love it here and there’s no way we are going back to South Africa to live.