After spending hours on the M25 getting to and from work in London, Simon finds it amusing that Kiwi’s think 20 minutes is a long commute.
My name is Simon Shaw, I’m from the UK, Bedfordshire in the UK. Uhm, I emigrated here three and a half years ago with my family. I currently work for Hawkins Construction, in the Canterbury Recovery Project.
At the moment my job is, description is a quantity surveyor. The role is exactly the same as a quantity surveyor in the UK. Companies are slightly different, something I’ve learned in the time I’ve lived here is that a company tends to be a little bit more social, may be a little bit more family based. So I find that companies aren’t quite as large as back home, but they’re certainly more, I think they’re more, there’s a friendlier atmosphere.
We came over six months before we permanently emigrated and, I found that I went back with five job offers and the tricky thing in a way was to try and pick which one to kinda go with, I think if you’re the sort of person that’s willing to give things a go, get stuck in and work hard, then it shouldn’t be too hard to find a job. I didn’t, I certainly didn’t find it [hard to get a job].
Part of the reason we decided to emigrate, because I used to spend hours every week on the M25, trying to battle congestion and I used to leave at five in the morning to get, to try and get round the M25, from the M1 round to the south of London. I used to sit for hours on a motorway. People think it’s a long commute if you drive more than 15-20 minutes here, which anybody at home will know is crazy really, because most people get stuck in traffic jams for a lot longer than that!
Basically as a family, our interests are, we love sport. All the children play sport. My son plays for Canterbury, one of the provinces, for soccer. My middle daughter likes to go horse riding, so she has great opportunities to train and ride horses.
My wife and I both think that schools here try and produce a more well rounded child here. It’s, it, education is important, just as it is back home, but we’ve things like music and sport and they really embrace, that side of it as well.
One of the reasons we as a family like it in New Zealand is, it’s just the access to, it’s the lifestyle, quality of life and the children, they don’t go on a computer game to try skiing, or play on a Wii or an Xbox to try skiing or tennis or football, they actually go and do the sport.
And, ah, in terms of getting out and seeing the scenery - I can’t think you know, we’ve only, we’ve only touched on a fraction of the scenery and travelled here since we’ve lived here. And, I can’t believe - it’s breathtaking.
And, the people are friendly. To be honest with you, we almost thought something was up – why were these people so friendly to us when we first arrived? And it’s just the people’s nature. It’s just the sort of kiwi way and I think you get your guard up, coming from the UK and you think someone is being overly nice to you, but here it’s just the way people are.
When I came over for interviews I managed to get tickets for and England vs All Blacks game, and my son was immediately converted to the All Blacks and, they won’t support England anymore. They’re completely committed to the All Blacks and the Kiwis, as much as I am, to be honest with you, now.
We emigrated here before the, before all the earthquakes. Unfortunately the house we were renting at the time was damaged in the earthquake so we had to move to another area. One of my Kiwi friends that I used to work with, um, the day after the earthquake was helping me in, in move stuff out from my [place] and he had his own problems but he was still willing to come and help me move out of our old rental into the new one. And, you know, I can’t thank them enough for how much support and help they’ve given us since we’ve immigrated.
I always wondered what if, we hadn’t tried it? If we hadn’t come? Would we have always wondered what it would’ve been like? And so at least, you know, I’m glad that we did. And I think, that in a way, if you’ve got that nagging thought in the back of your head, of trying it: give it a go, come and see what it’s all about, and, I think you’ll really appreciate that you did.