A better place for bringing up their children saw Stephen Pinder and his ‘Kiwi’ wife move to New Zealand late last year. Stephen’s wife is from Rotorua so they initially established themselves here, although because Stephen is in the banking world, they did think they would ultimately have to settle in one of the main cities – either Auckland or Wellington. But Stephen says they prefer Rotorua and so have bought a house here. “We liked it here so we decided to stay,” he says.
The Pinder’s have two children aged six and eight and they find Rotorua much less crowded with a more relaxed environment to bring them up in.
“There is a better quality of life – the pace is better.” But Stephen says the day-to-day costs of living, like food shopping, are expensive but the other side is that housing is cheap compared to the United Kingdom. He says there is more to do here and it is much less stressful with less people around. Since being in New Zealand Stephen and his family have got involved in lots of outdoor activities including cricket, rugby, mountain biking, horse riding and walking – and they have even bought a boat. “We probably wouldn’t have done these things in the United Kingdom as it’s very expensive to ride horses or go boating, and tramping is miles away because of the population density.
”Stephen says his kids are doing really well in the education system here. In fact, he says, they were behind where they should have been in reading and writing when they came to New Zealand. Although he does wonder whether maybe too much time is spent on physical education.
For Stephen the biggest challenges have been the lack of choice in regard to products you can buy and the inconvenience of not being able to buy anything you want, at any time of day and night. He says this means you need to plan a bit more. And people’s choices are much more limited here. Another interesting issue has been “getting used to the fact that we don’t actually live in a war zone here, although sometimes it seems like it because more negative information gets into the news here than would have in the United Kingdom. You don’t read about all the deaths and accidents in the news there, which happens in New Zealand because of the small population.”
His biggest gripe however is about the standard of television in New Zealand – “the TV is rubbish – I miss the BBC”. But he says this is outweighed by the lifestyle and the opportunities to do things at the weekend. “I would defi nitely recommend Rotorua as a place to live. It is often underrated – even by many New Zealanders.”