When the Cummings family visited New Plymouth for a week in September 2008, they were able to check out the city, its schools, houses and jobs first-hand. And while this research was valuable, it wasn’t until they got home again that they decided to swap sides.
While out on their research trip, dad Doug made the most of his naval experience and joined local project management and engineering services firm Transfield Worley for a day’s work experience.
The Royal Navy would appear to be a great teacher - a permanent job offer soon followed which proved too good an opportunity to turn down, and the family – Doug, mum Laura, daughters Sarah and Joanne, twin boys Stuart and Gareth and dog Ruby – made the move in January 2009 and have been loving their new lifestyle since.
“Kiwis come across as being very laid back with a great outdoors attitude, and we felt it was like the UK used to be when we were growing up,” says Laura.
“We felt New Zealand would be a great place for our own kids to grow up, and we chose New Plymouth because it offered good engineering job prospects for Doug – it’s New Zealand’s oil and gas region – and is a real lifestyle city.”
“We looked up New Plymouth in the internet, and the website (www.taranaki.info) showed snow on Mount Taranaki, the coastal walkway, Pukekura Park and surfing Tasman Sea.”
“There’s everything here! We’ve become the family we dreamed of being.”
And the family is making the most of the outdoors in Taranaki.
“We do things together all the time now. Children here are encouraged to explore the world and find their own limits through sports and outdoor activities. There’s no ‘wrapping them up in cotton wool’. There’s always so much to do and new experiences to try and opportunities to do more things. “
“The schools are fabulous and children can grow up being children.”
“We do miss our family and friends, but our being here has provided a great excuse for a few members of our family out to visit us over the last two years which has been wonderful. We also miss Bisto gravy granules and Quavers,” Laura admits.
It was leaving their families that proved the most stressful part of the whole shift, with the highs associated with a new life and new experiences having to be balanced with the lows of saying goodbye.
Making the move was easier than the family expected, though a lot more time consuming. Help was provided by Doug’s new employers, but it still cost around £10,000 for the family of six and their dog.
As Doug’s new employer is an accredited employer with New Zealand Immigration, the Working Visa under the Talent Scheme was fast-tracked, and progress could be followed online.
”Applying for residency was a thorough and lengthy process, but pretty straightforward. You just have to provide the information asked for as quickly as you can,” says Laura.
“It was a really exciting time and happened very quickly – we had about 3 months to pack up one life and organize a whole new one.”
After renting for a few months the Cummings bought their own home, and have since upgraded to a larger house. The family is looking forward to gaining citizenship too “we’re here to stay, and we want to keep enjoying our work and family life.”
“We live in a typical suburban area, with an open rugby park on the corner and the region’s main rugby stadium across the road. It’s going to be great for the 2011 Rugby World Cup!
“The shops are about a two minute walk away, Doug rides his bike to work every day, and the town centre and coast are only a few minutes away. Everyone is really friendly and very sociable. The day we moved in we were invited over to join in with a family BBQ!”
When offering advice for anyone else looking to move to New Zealand, the Cummings are unequivocal.
“Come to New Zealand! Just be sure to research thoroughly. New Zealand is truly awesome, and we still pinch ourselves that we actually live here!
Coincidently the family left the UK the same day their Wanted Down Under episode aired on TV – luckily they were able to watch it from the departure lounge.