Stuart and Pauline Belcher and their young son, Finley arrived in New Zealand during the winter of 2003. "Quite a shock as we arrived after 30 degrees in London to an overnight frost of -3 degrees", says Stuart. This was a move that they had all been looking forward to as they knew that New Zealand was able to offer them a lifestyle which would have not been so achievable in the UK.
Pauline Belcher had lived and worked in Australia before meeting Stuart and had visited the North Island of New Zealand for a holiday - and loved it. So, when they married and started their family and decided to leave the UK, New Zealand was first choice for their new home.
They applied under the General Skills category which has now been replaced by the Skilled Migrant Category and found that in order to meet the number of points required, a job offer was required.
As Stuart had not been to New Zealand before they decided that it would be best if he came for a visit with the intention of looking for a job and also to see if felt the same way about the country as Pauline. They had already decided that they would prefer to live in the South Island as they wanted to settle away from the larger cities and so Stuart initially headed to Dunedin. After Dunedin, he travelled to Christchurch and immediately decided that this was going to be where they would settle. He was offered a job as an Engineer with Carlton Taylor Industries and this meant that they now had enough points to apply for permanent residency.
As his new company wanted Stuart to start work as soon as possible the decision was made to book flights in July and although the visas had not been received, Stuart and Pauline had been advised that their application would be successful. However, it was not until two days before their flight that Stuart was able to collect their visas and passports, a tense time!
"We initially chose to live in Rolleston which is a few km outside of Christchurch because we were able to buy the lifestyle house of dreams which also had a large plot of land", says Stuart. However, after a year in Rolleston they have decided to move in to Christchurch City itself and have just bought a beautiful house in Mount Pleasant which has amazing views of the sea and mountains.
"We have been able to do so much with Finley as the outdoor life here is exceptional. Our lifestyle has improved so much and we look forward to a very happy life in New Zealand" says Stuart. Pauline is also now in the enviable position of being able to stay at home and look after Finley, something which she would not have been able to do in the UK.
Stuart adds, "Life is looking extremely good and we are so glad we made the move especially as now we have great news that Pauline is expecting. Leaving friends and family was difficult especially with Pauline's parents not being particularly happy with the thought of us being over here on our own. I can remember my father in law saying to me before we left, what has NZ got to offer you, and do you have to go! We could not believe his words when just two days after he arrived in Christchurch he said he understood why we chose to live in New Zealand, in fact they are planning to build a house and hopefully move over permanently. Contact between family and friends has increased so we dont feel as if we are that far away. It is so much easier to keep in touch and we often send photos via email to keep my Mum and Dad up to date with Finleys latest antics".