New life in Christchurch


Rene Quinones came to Christchurch to work as a painter in the rebuild. His family have now joined him to begin their new life together.

New life in Christchurch (3:03)

Hi, I am Rene Quinones. I am originally from the Philippines … and I am presently working part of the rebuild and living in Christchurch …

When I first came into the country,  I was on a working visa, working for Buildtech. And after six months in Christchurch I applied for my residency.

It took us 6 months, I think, for the waiting, and the result was positive.

When I first started I worked with fellow migrant workers, I was thinking it will be that easy,  but sometimes their accent will be hard for me to understand.

Like for example,  when a friend of mine one day he said, "Catch a ladder". So I was thinking, how am I going to catch a ladder?  Now later on I asked him, "Sorry mate, what did you say? Can you please say it slowly?", "Catch you later". "Ah, Okay … I was thinking you wanted me to catch the ladder.

And then the other thing is the weather, the temperature … that's also a struggle for me

… when it's really cold outside, especially when the job is outside.   So what I did is, when I arrived in here,  I head for this cheaper stores, they sell used clothing but they're still good
after I receive my first wages  I buy all the clothes that I'll be needing for the work, especially the long ones.

Consider also being away from the family.  Food - it's not actually a problem because same in Philippines … we do vegetables as well - we have the same, we have the same flavourings because there are a lot of Asian supermarkets in here. It's just that the prices … in the Philippines, the cabbage, you can buy cabbage for maybe 20 cents per kilogram or even less - but in here … you can buy it, three to four dollars per kilo.

When I'm not working I normally stay at home, with my wife, Skyping with the children because ... it's nonsense going out somewhere else, enjoying myself alone or even with my wife without the children. At the same time we're saving money,

When my children will be here, my plan is just like a Kiwis' does, going camping. I actually have sorted places to go fishing.  So maybe we'll do that later on when the children arrives...

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