New Zealand: summary of our 1st year

devils staircaseIt’s been exactly a year today since I landed in this fair isle. And what a roller coaster it’s been.

Here are our highlights and lowlights, and our first year in summary. 


  • Beautiful scenery close by, mountains, ski slopes Fiords and beaches and more. Queenstown for example!
  • Space! In abundance!!
  • Wonderfully friendly people
  • So many new outdoor and sporting opportunities easily accessible – rowing, tramping, track cycling…
  • Getting our own Kiwi home
  • Getting all our stuff back, aka our shipping container!
  • Taking part in the New Zealand Masters Games and collecting 6 medals, 5 silver one gold!


  • Going it alone in a new country while I waited for Mark to get here.
  • Mum’s death, and I didn’t get there in time.
  • Having to learn a new job – one I had no real idea about before arriving. (Twice).
  • Being far far away from friends and feeling alone, while I built up a new network of friends from scratch.


  • Not leaving to return to England immediately that mum told me about her cancer, I would have been there for her when she needed me had I done that.

We we don’t have any real regrets. Sure, it’s been a very hard 12 months. But we made it through. I asked dad did he want me to move back. He said no, moving to NZ was the best thing I did, and the right thing. That statement means a lot to me. I am glad he came over and now can appreciate why we did it.

Here is our year in summary:

Arrival, alone. New town and knew no one. Lots to sort out and get to grips with on top of starting the new job the day after I landed. I wouldn’t advise you try that! Throw myself into all sorting clubs I can find including track cycling at the velodrome!the nightmare that is Novopay, failing to pay me for almost two months.

House sale in UK delayed. Still no hubby. Long road trip to Dunedin this month to collect the residency visa – now they will give hubby his passport back and he can plan his departure from the UK too. Finally the house is packed and posted at the end of May.

Hubby arrives at long last. By now I’ve had to sort a car, and a house all by myself, plus connect amenities. Work friends lend me a house full of furniture till ours arrives, very kind. Mark works hard for 3 weeks applying for EVERYTHING. Finally finds a job at the end of June but it’s not brill. Never mind, it’s a job. Get a call from UK: mum has been diagnosed with cancer. It goes from operable to terminal in ten days. She died before I could get back to the UK, despite me being on the very next flight home.

Spent in the UK sorting and attending mums funeral. While I’m gone Mark attends the local ex pats Christmas dinner – well, July is mid winter! Just after I get back, our container arrived.

We start the house hunt by attending open homes locally need to stop lining the pockets of the landlord real soon, as the lending laws are due to change and we won’t get a mortgage after that.

We put an offer in on a house. We can’t move in as we are tied to a tenancy agreement but it’s real exciting – soon we will have OUR still in OUR house!

We move into our house at last. It’s beginning to feel like home. My work is still proving difficult so I start looking for a new job.

We begin to learn the new flowers and plants and birds springing up all over out garden! Spring is here. My sister has her twin girls. Sad I can’t be there for her.

Our first summer Christmas. Weird!

Dad comes over for a holiday. Really really cool. He loved New Zealand. I start a new job, another huge learning curve.

A running friend and his wife from England comes over to visit as part of a holiday tour of South Island. I take part in the Masters Games and collect 5 silvers and one gold medal in rowing / track cycling.

Socialising and sight seeing. We try to continue to discover and see more of our new beautiful land, a lot I discover through my weekend bike rides! Met a famous photographer – Ans westra – weird story – search the blog

Author: Melanie

I am a massage therapist and part time athlete, blogging life thru a disability lens. On wheels, with flipper and occasionally on feet.