We were quite nervous to move to North Canterbury. I was born in Auckland, grew up in Whangarei and then moved back to Auckland when I was 23. My husband and I have established our careers and raised our three kids in Auckland, so this was a huge move for us, and we built up a bit of fear around it. But now that we’re here, we wouldn’t go back.
For our family it’s been a great move in every sense: schooling, employment, house buying and life goals – everything. It’s always been a big thing for my husband Arama and I to fulfil our goal of owning our own home. We were trying to buy our first house in Auckland and although we got to the approval stage, we couldn’t really afford what we wanted up there. Here in North Canterbury we realised we could get so much more of what we want in a home. Going to the open homes and seeing what we can get for our budget puts a big smile on our faces.
The kids’ schooling was something that was really important to us when we looked at moving, too. We have a 15-year-old, a 12-year-old and a nine-year-old so we researched all the local options before we came. All three kids are so in love with their schools here! As much as they’ve done really well in Auckland, I feel they’re getting even more down here than ever before. They learn different things here – they’re growing vegetables and learning how to cook them, they go on amazing school camps and they are learning so much more te reo and Maori culture. The difference in learning activities in the schools compared to Auckland is very noticeable.
We’re a big sports family; between the five of us we play netball, touch, league, volleyball, rugby, waka ama and basketball. It was really easy to get all of us into sports teams here. The community is really supportive. Arama went down to just watch some of the local league games and got invited by other families to come and join the club – we certainly never got that up north! I was worried we were going to have nothing to do here, but I was so wrong. There are so many events in North Canterbury for families and couples. We’ve already been to an amazing matariki festival, firework displays, parades, concerts… Everything we need is right here.
"If anyone was thinking about making the move to North Canterbury, I’d tell them ‘just do it’! Just give it a shot because any fear and doubt you may have just disappears once you’re here. You will not regret it."
I work at Waimakariri District Council where I’m Administration Assistant in the Utilities and Roading Department. It’s a really busy role but I am learning so much on the job and I feel really encouraged and supported to grow, professionally. The Council is also really supportive of family life and finding that balance with work and families. I haven’t yet missed anything that my kids have had at school since I started working here. They also encourage families to join social and team events, which is really nice. I honestly haven’t felt support or happiness like this in any other workplace.
My husband had about five job interviews before we moved down, and he chose a role that he absolutely loves. For some reason we both thought that we wouldn’t make as much money if we moved out of Auckland, but in actual fact we are both on higher salaries than we were up there. That was a real surprise. We are also both enjoying a 10–15-minute commute to work.
If anyone was thinking about making the move to North Canterbury, I’d tell them ‘just do it’! Just give it a shot because any fear and doubt you may have just disappears once you’re here. You will not regret it.