It's time to explore


Moving from South Africa has given Jacques and Aldine - and their two little dogs - the change to enjoy simple pleasures, such as a good walk outside.

It's time to explore (3:52)

There's a dog park, there's a dog park, I mean, come on. We don't have that in South Africa.

I'm an Electrical Protection Technician at Connetics.

We came to New Zealand for a better lifestyle, not for ourselves, particularly. But even for our future children that we might have some and some security.

Got engaged to Aldine, we got married.

Our future is hopefully some children one day, but we didn't want that in South Africa particularly.

Living in Rolleston has been remarkably safe.

It has been amazing.

We've been loving it.

Leave for work at about 7:00 and get to work at 7:15, get my stuff ready for the day.

Protection Technician involves protecting gear in substations, like transformers, CTs, meters, the lines that feed normal households, so that if something happens, we minimise the fault or the damage, and still keep people's electricity connected. 

I love working outside. Especially because most of the time we travel to different kinds of substations. You get to see a lot of the scenery, it's really beautiful to see open fields or the mountains. It's full of snow all the time I look. 

We went up to the mountains the other day with some friends just to go actually see snow for the first time in my life. Because you'd see pictures and be like, "Oh that's snow, it's probably cold." 

When you get there, you just want to make some snowballs and then throw somebody with it. 

I'll tell you one thing: it's not as soft as it looks; it's real hard. 

[Aldine now speaks]

Living in Rolleston, I think it's a great community to start of with. 

Yeah, we didn't really know which area we wanted to live when we started. When we checked out this area, it immediately was what I wanted. It's safe and I saw women walking with babies all on their own. You know, just going for a nice jog and a walk and so forth, and that's something I always wanted to do. 

You know, I don't want to be dependent on him to go walk outside. That's how we used to live in South Africa.

The thing that sold me on this area was the dog park because the first area that we fit in actually has a dog park. 

We have to dogs, Gin and Vanilla.

[Jaques now speaks]

We brought them with, from South Africa to New Zealand. It's fairly pricey. Don't regret it at all; we love them with everything. 

[Aldine speaks]

Vanilla used to sit on the bottom when you walked one metre with her, then she didn't want to walk anymore because she didn't really know it. And now she's running all over the place and you can't really stop her. 

That's what I want for my kids; I want them to be able to get on a scooter by themselves. 

I accidentally fell into a post as a mathematics teacher in South Africa and absolutely loved it. So now, for the six months, I'm doing relief teaching. 

So while I'm waiting for the paperwork to come through from South Africa. 

So I'm waiting for that paperwork. I'm starting with interviews next week, from friends they've lined up interviews for me full-time positions for a math teacher for next year. 

Hardest thing about living in New Zealand: The fact that you don't see your family and friends. 

You'd still get those bad days where you're like, "what was I thinking?"

You just need to sit back and ask yourself why you're doing this and that you're doing it for yourself and not to overthink everything and if this is something that you want to do, you need to get on a plane and do it. 

Because if you wait too long, you'll look back in 50 years and say you wish you did it. If I had to immigrate to New Zealand again, I would do it again, and again and again. 

That's it. 

Jacques and Aldine moved from South Africa to Christchurch in early 2018, and their dogs Chino and Vanilla really noticed the difference.

Aldine did not feel safe walking their dogs without Jacques in South Africa, so she did not take them out very often. Now, she takes them to a nearby dog park almost every day.

But the process of bringing the dogs over was time-consuming and expensive, says Jacques. "And here, we didn't know it was a big problem to rent a house where they allow dogs. Not many landlords let you have dogs in their house," he adds.

Starting new lives in a foreign country was difficult at first, but he and Aldine always supported each other. 

Working in New Zealand

Jacques works as an electrical protection technician at Connetics, an electrical distribution contracting company. He is part of the team that looks after technology at sub-stations (stations that are part of an electricity network). 

"Getting a visa was pretty straightforward for me because my employer is an accredited employer. Going through them and obtaining a Talent Accredited Employer Work Visa basically means that after two years, I can qualify for residency," he says. 

It was more complex to register as an electrical engineer with the Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB). "If you want to emigrate to New Zealand, I would say get as much of your registration in order with the EWRB as you can, before you come over," Jacques adds. 

Aldine worked as a mathematics teacher in South Africa and is doing relief (temporary) teaching while waiting for paperwork to arrive from South Africa. She already has interviews lined up for a full-time teaching job next year. 

When she is not working, Aldine enjoys going to kickboxing-themed fitness programme called 9Round, or simply taking the dogs for a walk around their Rolleston neighbourhood. 

Benefits of living in New Zealand

Safety and security are very important to the pair, who are now married and plan to start a family soon. Aldine says in South Africa, burglars would break into her family home 7-8 times a year. 

It is safe here. I see women walking with babies on their own, just going for a jog or a walk. That is something I always wanted to do.

"I would not raise my children in an environment like that. I want them to be able to get on a scooter by themselves and go to school, and not need their mum watching them the whole time.

On weekends, Jacques and Aldine enjoy going for walks, or to free events around the city. During winter, they drove up to Arthur's Pass to see snow for the first time. 

"That was really something. I grabbed a handful of snow and made a little ball and threw it at my friend. I will tell you one thing, it is not as soft as it looks!" laughs Jacques. 

They have noticed some differences between their adopted home and South Africa: buying a house is "about 4-5 times more expensive" here, and the speed limit is slower.

"But the scenery is remarkable, so we don't mind driving 50 kilometres an hour in some places. Everywhere you drive, there are mountains to see," he adds.

Even though a decision to emigrate might result in pressure to stay from family and friends, says Aldine, it is important to be true to your own dreams.

Aldine's advice is, "if this is something you want to do, then you need to get on the plane and do it, because if you wait too long then you will never do it."

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