For an obvious reason, the Napier Family from Birmingham in the UK, felt drawn to the Hawkes Bay region when contemplating their move to New Zealand. They were keen to explore the town on the East Coast with the same name as theirs and so included it on the itinerary of their initial exploratory visit in 2006. In the end, however, the Napiers – Chris, Rose and their daughters Emma and Chloe – decided that they’d like to settle in the Wellington area where they have lived ever since.
“We were lucky”, Chris says. “We met up with the staff of the Migration Bureau during a seminar in Manchester and we received lots of great advice about the best approach for obtaining our residence visas and for finding employment in our preferred area.” “Although we loved the relaxed atmosphere of Napier and the beauty of the Hawkes Bay area, we felt that Wellington would offer us more employment opportunities and a wider range of facilities, such as schools.”
Chris works in IT and Rose is a registered nurse, and both of them have commented that they were pleased how easy it had been to find good, rewarding jobs in locations which mean that they only have 15 to 20 minutes commuting time in the mornings and evenings. “We certainly don’t miss the endless traffic queues and rainy days associated with travelling to work in the Midlands. And the girls have a short bus trip to school and have made lots of friends in our new neighbourhood.”
Living near Wellington, the family has the best of both worlds, with easy access to the theatres, cinemas, restaurants, art galleries, museums and shops of the city; while at the same time being able to escape quickly to wonderful scenery and outdoor pursuits in the surrounding area. Emma and Chloe both love the beaches around Wellington, as well as the chance to go for a weekend’s skiing at Mount Ruapehu in June or July.
“We definitely live more active lives here”, says Chris. “Back in the UK, the weather often rules out many outdoor activities, so more spare time is spent indoors. Here it’s so easy to pop over to the hills nearby for some walking, or to take a day trip across the Cooks Strait to the stunning Marlborough Sounds. We certainly feel we made the right choice and wish we’d done it years ago.”