Building a new life & a new city
The Canterbury earthquakes brought Martin Ryan and his family from Ireland to Christchurch. Like hundreds of others, Martin answered the call for workers to rebuild the city.
My name is Martin Ryan and I come from Ireland - County Kildare - and we've come to New Zealand. We're nearly here now two years, and we have come, and settled here in Red Cliffs, in Christchurch.
Well, we first thought about coming to New Zealand, I suppose partly the downturn in the construction industry back home in Ireland, at home in Ireland on a lot of the constructional job websites, and that there was a number of companies from New Zealand actually advertising and looking for people and staff in order to come to New Zealand.
I applied for a particular job that they were advertising, and within a couple of days I got a notification that they were interested in doing an interview. Canstaff themselves actually came to Ireland, and held a number of different interviews with people there in Dublin.
Within a couple of days, I was actually made a job offer.
The move to New Zealand for us was, I suppose, probably one of the most stressful and emotional things we've ever had to do ... but at the same time, there was something exciting about the whole thing. It was a new challenge for us. We were looking at it as a whole new start for us personally, you know - as a family.
We got on the internet, we'd organised accommodation - temporary accommodation - for when we'd arrived. Within a week I think of us arriving, our two girls were doing - playing snow angels in the snow in the middle of June, which was kind of, yeah, that was a bit strange - you know, coming from the Northern Hemisphere.
By working in New Zealand for me, there seems to be a great acceptance here in New Zealand of people coming in, because it's looked upon as – you know, we're here to work.
Lifestyle-wise … they're completely worlds apart. The availability of housing in terms of rental and rental cost, is a huge factor at the moment … in relation to living and working here in Christchurch - but we have outdoor swimming pools for the kids, the playgrounds, toilet facilities, safe areas of play, green areas within the city. You drive two kilometres down the road, and you can go rock climbing. You drive an hour and a half outside the city, you can go skiing in winter.
In general, things here in New Zealand - I will have to say honestly - are a little bit more expensive than back home, however, in saying all that, you do have the ability to earn a pretty good salary here, and you're certainly not taxed to the level that we are back home.
Here now two years … we still feel it's probably the best thing that we've done - the kids have actually just settled here; you know it's just unbelievable. Our eldest now being in school and our youngest now in Kindy.
Our hope, is that we will eventually have our residency, and that'll lead to us going on to get our citizenship, and, yeah - we might even retire one day.