My friend worked here for a year and talked about how amazing New Zealand was. I moved here three months later.

Natasha

Although it was hard leaving my family in the UK, I came here for a better way of life, including more of a work life balance. The weather and scenery were big drawcards

too and I’ve been able to enjoy so many outdoor activities I wouldn’t be able to in Cheshire.  

I did consider other areas of New Zealand, but my career is really important to me and it seemed Auckland had the most opportunities.  

 

 

In good company 

I decided to find a job after I arrived, as I didn’t know much about the companies over here or what to expect. I

Natasha at work

initially worked for a recruitment agency, which made it easier to make contacts, and I’m now HR Divisional Manager at Fulton Hogan Ltd. It’s one of New Zealand’s largest construction and infrastructure companies, operating across road, rail, ports, water, energy and resourcing, so I could see there was a lot of room for progression. And it’s one of the country’s biggest industries, so it’s exciting to be a part of that. You can see projects and developments springing up everywhere you go. 

The best thing about the company though has to be the people. Having moved here without knowing anyone, things like moving house or buying a car were difficult. Within my first week, I had a group of people I could lean on for support. The management team from one of the branches helped me find and move furniture, others signed me up to their sports teams – one even came out in the night to change a tyre for me when I got a puncture!  

Embracing the Kiwi lifestyle 

Natasha surfing

Life here is so different from the UK – what people do in their spare time, the workplace culture, the views, the greenery, and the sunshine! 

I live in St Heliers, a seaside suburb about 15 minutes from the city centre, so it’s an easy walk to my local beach and the little cafes by the water, and it’s close to work.  

The number of beautiful beaches everywhere surprised me – you’re in the bustling city centre then within 10 minutes you’re at these amazing beaches and it’s like you’re on holiday. One of my favourite places in Auckland is Waiheke Island – getting the ferry over to drink wine in gorgeous vineyards surrounded by beautiful views is definitely my scene. 

I love surfing and camping, I’ve recently gotten into fishing, and I really enjoy dinner and drinks in the waterfront precincts like the Viaduct Harbour – there’s such a great vibe, especially in summer. I go to lots of events too, like the Auckland Diwali Festival and the Auckland Lantern Festival (celebrating Chinese New Year), concerts, and of course you can’t beat an All Blacks game at Eden Park. 

I’ve travelled a lot within New Zealand now – white water rafting in Rotorua, glow worms at Waitomo Caves and wonderful (but windy) Wellington. My absolute favourite is Kaikoura, where I saw a blue whale. From Auckland, it’s really easy to get away for the weekend to places like the Coromandel too. 

I also play heaps of sports here – Gaelic football, camogie, touch rugby, badminton and indoor netball, which really helped me make friends. 

Setting up and settling in 

I found the visa application itself very easy. It can take a little while, but in terms of the application process and cost, it’s really good. I didn’t prepare anything from home, I literally just arrived with my backpack. I stayed in an Airbnb for a month or so, which I booked from the UK, then found a property through TradeMe once I’d arrived and secured work.  

I did have a bit of an issue opening a bank account without a permanent address. I’d recommend joining some of the community Facebook groups – I’m a member of ‘Brits in Auckland’ and ‘Irish in Auckland’ and everyone’s happy to help and give advice.  

I must admit I did find the move really tough at first – I didn’t know anyone in New Zealand, I’d never lived away from home before, and I was leaving behind really close family and friends. 

But I joined some sports teams and now I have some amazing life-long friends, which really helped. The majority of them are English or Irish, so they understand it’s hard being away from home and we all support each other. They really are like a second family. 

The unexpected arrival of COVID-19 

When COVID-19 hit, it was pretty scary seeing what was happening around the world, but ‘lockdown’ in New Zealand was surprisingly OK.  

My work was really busy, so everyone had to chip in with tasks outside their usual roles. I got involved in payroll, and I even had reception calls diverted to my phone, so I was dealing with anything from customers ordering bitumen to members of the public reporting road repair works. I think my company did a great job handling it and supporting everyone, especially as we’d never really worked from home before. 

People were checking in on me every day, and I did a lot more Zoom calls with my family in the UK too. And we were allowed to walk around our neighbourhood (socially distanced of course!), so I felt lucky being able to walk just down the road to the beach.  

The last word 

I’ve been here three and a half years now, and I’m so glad I made the move. My advice to others considering it: just do it. It seems like a huge decision and a lot of effort, but it really isn’t. People are so helpful over here you’ll always find what you need. 

Natasha Holloway moved to Auckland from Cheshire in the United Kingdom in 2017. She is Human Resources Divisional Manager at Fulton Hogan Ltd.  

Like the rest of the world, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is adjusting to life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Our borders currently remain closed to anyone other than a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, those travelling from quarantine-free travel zones, or those granted a special exemption. Please visit our COVID-19 update for visitors and Aucklanders for the latest information.

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