Name Paul Skinner
Paul Skinner and his wife, Kim Pears, a health and safety professional, and their daughters Holly, 12, and Eve, 10, have just made the move to New Zealand after attending the Opportunities New Zealand Expo in London last year. “We’d always wanted to visit New Zealand. Everything we’d read or seen highlighted the fantastic environment, so when we began to talk about what we would really like to do with our lives and to think about living and working in another country, New Zealand was top of the list,” Paul says.They read, watched and searched the Web to find out as much as they could and visited the Expo in London last year. “We came away believing that a move was a real possibility if we really wanted it. As well as a bag full of useful information and contacts, I was told about the opportunities in Rotorua and soon afterwards I was contacted directly by a prospective employer.
From Preston, Lancashire
Duration In transit
Occupation Team Leader, Resource Consents, Rotorua District Council
Interests Swimming, surfing, windsurfing, snow skiing, cycling, tramping, motorcycling
”However at that point they decided that they should visit to see the country and experience a bit of what life might be like before making such a commitment. “We spent a month travelling around to try to see as much as we could and to talk to people and potential employers.” The visit just confirmed what they had expected and they returned to the United Kingdom determined to move their family to New Zealand. “We were struck not just by the environment but by how open and friendly everyone we met was.”
“We found out a lot from the visit, particularly some things that would not be the same as in the United Kingdom - the amount of annual leave and details of working conditions for example, but it all helped us to reach a considered decision.”
Paul says they chose Rotorua because of all the places they visited in New Zealand it was their first choice overall as a place to start afresh.“We were fascinated by the volcanic activity - steam and bubbling mud in the park - and liked the ‘feel’ of the town with a good balance of visitors and residents - plenty of activities and places to eat - and the hospitality we received was exceptional. We were particularly impressed by the lakes and landscape just outside the town and the opportunities for a wide variety of recreational ctivities.”
“We found out that Rotorua held some high-class sports events - triathlon and mountain biking, for example, as well as offering musical and theatrical performances and Maori culture. We liked its location and that the coast, mountains and other towns are accessible from there.“
Paul says they are looking forward to a new lifestyle, but also all the challenges of playing a part in a different culture and community and hopefully contribute something to preserve and enhance the things that have attracted them in the fi rst place. They are excited about the space, the great environment – stunning landscape, clean streets (really noticeable compared to a lot of British towns), uncongested roads and plenty of opportunities for recreation, from surfing to skiing. “We are hoping for a bit more of a relaxed lifestyle.
They can’t see too many negatives but Paul thinks they may miss the history and variety of different cultures that are on their doorstep in Europe and which they perhaps take for granted. He says the wages are lower, but it seemed that is balanced out by the generally lower cost of living and particularly that property doesn’t eat up so much income. The immigration and visa application process was daunting at fi rst, but mostly it’s just a case of gathering paperwork to accompany the application.
“The bigger hurdle for us has been getting the house ready to sell, throwing out years of accumulated junk while, at the same time, visiting all the people and places we want to see before we go. I think we underestimated the amount of time it takes to do all that, as well as lead our normal life and cope with unexpected events all happening at the same time.”
He says they are looking forward to being able to enjoy the beach - swimming, surfing, windsurfing; mountains - skiing, and in between - cycling, tramping and motorcycling. All of which Paul says are a lot more diffi cult to do in the United Kingdom.