Kerri and Kyle – 2 Years Later

Articles > Kerri and Kyle - 2 Years Later

It’s over two years since we arrived in New Zealand with our 3 year old son and 13 year old daughter. We were really lucky in that it took us under three months with IML before we left South Africa for New Zealand. We both found jobs really quickly and had no problem renting a house and buying a car. Our kids settled into their new schools and now sound more like Kiwis than Saffas!

Kids and Education

I’m still amazed at how quickly the kids fitted into the New Zealand lifestyle and their schools. I knew my son would be fine as he’s so young but I was a little worried about my 13 year old daughter, however, she also embraced her new life and was as determined as we were to enjoy everything New Zealand has to offer. She’s turning 16 this year and our little one is now 6.

My daughter has just gone into Year 11 and has chosen all her courses for her final school years and hopes to train as a paediatrician after leaving school. There are so many opportunities for kids here and the standard of education is high at every level. My little one wants to be a policeman and loves everything to do with the emergency services. Every year Wellington holds an Emergency Expo and my son absolutely loves watching all the demonstrations and is determined to join the police.

We know many South Africans stress about schools in New Zealand. Will their South African child fit it? Will he or she be welcomed? Will it be more difficult being Afrikaans as everything is in English? Please don’t stress. The teachers here are absolutely amazing. They are so patient and so kind. They are also extremely observant and will immediately notice if your child isn’t happy or is struggling with a subject and take your child aside and given him/her more attention. With classes of between 20 and 25 pupils, it’s obviously much easier for teachers to give pupils the help they need. When they do spot an issue, the teachers will also call the parents and invite them to the school to discuss how best to solve the problem.

Outdoor Activities

We love hiking and we’ve completed so many hiking trails in our area. The majority of the trails are kid-friendly and all of them are safe, even for little ones. They are the most beautiful trails we’ve ever seen.

We also spend a lot of time at playgrounds. There are playgrounds all over New Zealand and, a lot of them have water parks which are free. One of the parks in Wellington has so much to do that the kids can spend hours there. You can have a picnic or use one of the braais and spend a whole day with family and friends.

Kyle loves to fish and has bought a boat and goes fishing over the weekend when he has time. There are so many activities to experience in New Zealand that we haven’t had time to explore yet but we most definitely will over the coming years. The one thing we both miss is game reserves and game drives. We were definitely spoilt in South Africa with so many

great parks on our doorstep but there’re are many activities to enjoy in New Zealand which can replace them.

Like all countries, the only thing that can put a dampener on outdoor activities is the weather. We come from Port Elizabeth and live in Wellington so we find the weather is similar, especially when it comes to the wind. You can have four seasons in one day here but you soon get used to it. The one thing you have to be aware of is the strength of the sun; it’s a lot stronger than in South Africa and you and your kids can burn very quickly even when it’s not a hot, sunny day.

Making Friends in New Zealand

We’ve made some good friends here through our work and various other places. Everyone is very welcoming and friendly. Kyle still enjoys his job and has been promoted to site foreman.

We’ve also tried to help other South Africans who are coming to New Zealand. We know how lucky we were being able to find somewhere to rent before we came and to get a car just after we arrived but other families aren’t so lucky. A couple and their three children who also came from Port Elizabeth arrived in NZ a year ago and we invited them to stay with us until they found their feet and we became good friends.

One final piece of advice – once you get on the plane and leave South Africa, leave Rand behind and only think in New Zealand dollars.