Family focus

Migrant stories

Jobs and career opportunities were what initially attracted this Italian family to move to Wellington, but it was a focus on family life that really sealed the deal.

Fabio Caratori Tontini and Silvia Canessa first considered moving to New Zealand when Fabio was invited to Wellington to interview for a Marine Geophysicist vacancy with GNS Science.

After only five days in New Zealand the couple were very impressed and liked what they saw - Wellington and the Hutt Valley had won their hearts.

The main reason for the shift to the other side of the world was Fabio’s job, but a noticeable focus on family life in New Zealand was what really sealed the deal. Six months later Fabio and Silvia, along with their two sons, arrived in New Zealand.

Knowing she would not have work when the family arrived, Silvia researched the cost of living in New Zealand before they made the move.  “In Italy - a family of four - you need a couple of salaries just to reach the end of the month, pay the cost of the mortgage and so on”. It was not until the family had been in New Zealand a few weeks that they felt reassured that things were cheaper and they could live on Fabio’s salary. 

The sale of their small apartment in Italy bought them a house with a Kiwi section (with room for a climbing frame and trampoline) in the Hutt hills overlooking Wellington harbour. Providing the family with a view they say they'll never get bored of.

The day after arriving in New Zealand, Silvia went to Settlement Support for advice about preschool education. She couldn’t believe the advice was free. They also helped her rewrite her CV (New Zealand style), and shortly after Silvia secured herself a job a few kilometres from home in Lower Hutt.

Being used to European banking systems, Fabio says that among his biggest fears about the shift was experiencing weeks of delays and frustration with setting up accounts. But it didn’t happen and he was able to open an account and apply for an IRD number within a matter of minutes. Something he found to be really impressive.

After moving from Italy, the boys quickly settled, becoming Kiwi kids with Kiwi accents. “We were pretty happy changing for the children. Not only for the lifestyle but also so the boys would grow up speaking English as well as Italian”.

Thanks to a number of factors, the life they are making for themselves and their sons in Wellington has Silvia and Fabio convinced that Wellington was a good move for the whole family. “We have made the right choice”. 

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