It's time to explore

Video
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

 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. 

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.

Aldine

"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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