For the last two or more years I feel like I’ve been in a holding pattern. Too busy saving money to go out and enjoy myself (too much) and too close to leaving the country to want to commit myself to any bands or outside activities that I’d only have to leave when we finally move to NZ.
Every time I tell an Australian or migrant living here that I’m moving back to NZ – the question is always ‘why’. Even when I tell other kiwis this when I’m back there – the question is also ‘why’.
Other than the obvious reasons of my family all lives there, we own a house there and quite frankly, I love it there. I also feel like I’ve given this country a pretty damn good go and I’ve enjoyed my 12 plus years here to date but the time is simply right. I could go into a vast array of reasons around lifestyle, general attitudes of people and lack of infrastructure for a bulging population that’s still increasing rapidly but I won’t. I could wax lyrical about being tired of the sheep jokes and ‘friendly jibes’ I still get despite having always been pretty much void of any descriptive accent, but I won’t.
No – for me, along with all those reasons, a large and driving factor for me is the fact that Kiwis are leaving NZ in droves. According to a survey done last month one in eight New Zealanders were considering leaving the country on a long term basis. Now I understand there are plenty of legitimate reasons to up-root yourself and leave a country but there are so many better reasons to stay that I feel it’s my time to go back and be a positive example to those jaded kiwis.
Yes – the economy isn’t the strongest in the world but then again, neither is the US, yet you wouldn’t hear of a single red-blooded American up and leaving their home country simply because the grass is perceptibly greener elsewhere. (Except for my wife, of course.)
We truly don’t know how good we’ve got it in NZ – yes, there are people that are struggling, but the health and welfare systems are still very stable and aren’t run by private capitalists – yet – that is.
Sure the welfare payments over here is higher than it is there but here’s news to any Kiwis moving after 2001 – you can’t go on the welfare for a full two years after landing on these fine shores – the same as immigrants from almost all other western countries around the world.
“At least there’s work there” you might say – don’t be so sure, Australian recruitment agencies have it down to a fine art of messing you around and making you wait right up until you’re about to pack you bags and return home before generously offering you that crappy job you applied for six month previously… if they call at all that is.
“Finding a house will be easy”…. yeah right – if you’re lucky enough to be able to get out of work to actually attend an ‘Open for inspection’ (I wouldn’t bother going to one unless you had the job already sorted either) then you’ll have the priviledge of queuing up with 30 other people most of whom already have their pre-filled in rental applications complete with references (yes, you need those too). There’s generally a race to ‘inspect’ it and then a scramble to grease up the land-agent. Even if you are the first to submit your glowing application (working professionals, both employed, no kids, no pets etc etc) you’ll more than likely still get pipped at the post by the owners neighbours sisters nephew who needed somewhere to stay, or someone that offered above the asking rental amount, illegal of course, but done all the time.
OK – I honestly could go on, and I might some other time, but for now – I can’t wait to purchase my one way ticket to little old Welly town. More cafe’s than you can shake a stick at and nearly everything in walking distance, yes please! –
I do remember getting caught in traffic back there, once, for about 35 minutes, that sure beats sitting on the M1 on a Friday where it literally takes you 45 minutes to travel less than 5kms. The short drive over the hill to Makara beach or inland to the beautiful rolling hills of Martinborough and the Wairarapa. Bring on the 50kph ‘breezes’ and the horizontal walking position are a small price to pay to be back in the city I love.
Sooner or later I believe most Kiwis will come home and those that don’t – are welcome to stay away and leave the pristine beauty that is Aotearoa to those of us who appreciate it.
New Zealanders need to be more positive about the country they call home – the only people that can improve it are the ones that live in it and I intend to be one of those people again.
Farewell Australia, I’ll miss you – occasionally – I’ll visit often and thanks for the last decade or so, it’s taught me lots.