Yasir and Sadia Saleem and their children Alizeh and Shahwaiz made a monumental move from Dubai to New Plymouth in 2017, and found the whole process to have been like a dream.

“We were very much settled in UAE but being outdoors was just impossible due to the weather, and accessing quality education and health was really expensive,” Yasir says.

“To give our kids a feel of a greener country, with quality of life and the chance of a better future, we looked closely at Australia and Canada before deciding to immigrate to New Zealand.”

As a structural engineer and keen cricket fan, Saleem first starting investigating jobs amidst the rebuild of Christchurch, before a job opportunity with Calibre Consulting in Taranaki put the region on his radar.

“I had to put New Plymouth into Google, and came away with a perception of a small rural town with few people and not much going on. Fortunately, that perception has proven to be very wrong,” he says.

“Moving to New Plymouth has been such a great experience. Mount Taranaki offers a sense of calm over the region, and the land and sea seem alive with opportunities.”

“The weather is great - you get cold in winter and still have really nice summers. I’m loving it, and I can spend much more time with the kids, going to beach or the park, or finding new picnic spots.”

Yasir has also found the time to take up cricket again, playing with a local community team and finding some of the form he had a few years back.

“You cannot ask for more or better. New Plymouth has got everything a family wants, from schools to hospitals, playgrounds to natural parks, hiking tracks to a great coastal walkway, nice long beaches, and all the sports facilities a family could need.”

“The best thing is that I can be with my family more than ever and I have a lot more time for my kids now. All the recreational activities are just 10 minutes reach and for picnics there is a never ending selection of beautiful places.

“It was really easy to feel part of the community. Everyone has been so welcoming and nice that we haven’t felt like aliens at any point, people are very friendly and helpful.” 
 
“Immigrating to New Zealand was fairly easy and nice as long you had all the information needed for the process. The application process is very well explained on the immigration website and internet forums, and we were awarded residency under Skilled Immigrant Visa well ahead of making the move.”

“While the process seemed expensive at the time, having gone through the process now it seems a very good deal compared to what is awarded at the end to you and your family!”

Yasir managed to keep the costs down by doing much of the work himself, rather than using an agent, spreading the process over a couple of years.

“The most stressful part of the process was leaving a settled job and moving your family to the other side of the world, without knowing anyone there or having a job in hand!”

The one downside is that we’re now much further away from my home country of Pakistan.

The family settled in a central spot handy to the CBD, kindergarten, parks, the beach and work, a perfect location to get used to the city while they’re looking for a home to buy.

“We’ve found a two bedroom, fully renovated unit that is very quiet and peaceful, a complete contrast to the 16th floor apartment we were in previously. It’s so nice to be surrounded by nature rather than other buildings.”

Yasir’s commute is a leafy 10-minute walk or 5-minute drive, a far cry from the hour spent getting to work in Dubai.
“The street we’re in is a cul-de-sac that leads to one of the walkways right into the city center, and sits alongside a beautiful stream with ducks for the kids to play with and feed.”

In fact, the ducks have become part of the family.

“When we moved in a pair of ducks from the Huatoki Stream would to come to our home every day and we would feed them with bread. One day they arrived with 12 ducklings, which we started feeding them as well.”

“Now these ducks have grown up completely and my kids and wife see them as family members and every day they are at the door for food. It’s really cute and nice as my kids love them as a pet and are very happy to see them grown up!”

“Coming to Taranaki is a move that just has to be made. It’s a very nice region with the world’s best facilities on its doorstep. If I’d known what it was like I would have come straight to Taranaki much sooner!”