Last week I received this email.
“Hi. I am thinking of moving to New Zealand with my family but I am concerned that as we are moving from the UK, my eldest son (who is 12) will be bored. Could you give me any advice?”
Righteo then. Let’s see what I can do.
I have two kids, a boy age 18 (note to oneself, must stop calling him a kid) and a daughter who is 15.
We have been living in New Zealand for almost eleven years. We emigrated from the UK for a better way of life.
We found it.
(You can listen to our podcast on kids in New Zealand while you read!)
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Living in New Zealand
There are pros and cons of living in New Zealand, though right now I can’t think of any other place in the world I’d rather be.
If I can work on getting the kiwis to master a Devonshire Cream Tea I’ll probably never leave.
I started to type my reply email to the person above but then I thought about all the other people who might also be visiting New Zealand with the intention of moving here. And so, rather than wrack my old and fading memory about what my kids did ten years ago, I interviewed my son and we made you a short podcast episode.
It is part of the Living in New Zealand series.
Growing up in New Zealand. What Will The Kids Do?
First, let me say that my experience of raising a family in New Zealand will probably vary to those who live in major cities such as Wellington or Auckland.
We live in Taranaki. It is a moderately sized city on the West Coast of the North Island.
It is beautiful and it is gorgeous but as I say – it isn’t major. The population is approx 76.000
I now like to introduce myself as a kiwi country bumpink.
Experiencing a Childhood In New Zealand
If I had to describe my kids New Zealand childhood in one word it would be freedom.
Sorry if that sounds a little cliche; but it’s true.
Good Old Fashioned Kiwi Freedom
We made our move to New Zealand ten years ago.
My kids were both homeschooled, which meant that after a couple of hours of sticking to a homeschool schedule, their days were spent doing pretty much whatever they liked.
We live in the country so they had free rein of the farm tracks, fields and streams that surround our house.
They went from being two British lah de dahs to two kiwi country hooligans.
From the age of eight to twelve, my children’s days consisted of donning themselves in camouflage, grabbing bows and arrows or their dad’s rake handle, and playing imaginary games with a bunch of stuffed animals.
These games mostly always ended in mud and water and usually a teddie’s funeral.
Freedom. freedom to play and to be kids.
If you are familiar with any New Zealand slang you will know the saying ‘she’ll be alright’.
That statement (which basically means ‘everything will be perfectly okay missus’ in New Zealand language) is used as a retort to just about any concern.
Concerns that an overprotective British mother might voice when her son jumps off a bridge from a two-lane highway.
Little concerns like that.
She’ll be alright. He’s all good.
Swimming, sport, water, getting wet.
Many places within New Zealand have quick access to a beach and kiwi kids taking advantage of this.
While the best time to visit New Zealand to experience our warm waters is in the summer months (Dec-March), if you make the move to live in New Zealand permanently you’ll notice that, regardless of the weather, there are always kiwi kids out there in the ocean surfing and bodyboarding.
Which leads me to water safety. Something that New Zealand kids are taught from a very young age.
Being part of a surf lifesaving club is extremely popular in New Zealand. There are more than eighty Surf Life-saving clubs around the country, so you are bound to find one close to where you choose to live.
If your kids love the water and saving people then make sure you sign them up.
My kids never did it.
They were too busy killing teddies out in the wop wops.
29 Activities Your Kids Can Do When they Move To New Zealand
Feel free to take the list below and show it to your children when they ask what there is to do in New Zealand.
Please note: Because I don’t want to wreck your chances of convincing your kids to move to New Zealand, I have decided NOT to include teddy slaying on this list.
- Swim in the sea
- Go to the park
- Hang out with friends at the mall or at Starbucks
- Catch eels in the rivers
- Bathe in some of the most beautiful New Zealand free hot pools
- Go fishing
- Join a surf life-saving club
- Attend a drama club
- Join an orchestra
- Visit the amazing free museums that are around the country
- Play on rope swings
- Go to the library
- Go to the skatepark
- Join an amateur dramatics society
- Go to the local pools
- Try white water rafting
- Go snow skiing
- Bungee jumping
- Go snowboarding
- Join a kayak club
- Get a yearly membership the New Zealand Film Society and watch art house films at discounted prices
- Join a sailing club
- Become fit and climb a dormant volcano with your family
- Go mountain biking
- Play sport. And I mean ANY kind of sport. The Kiwis are mad for sport.
- Join a tramping club
- Go surfing
- Jump off anything high into deep water
- Make tyre swings
- Go dam dropping
- Take after school classes at an art Museum
- Become a youth volunteer for kids in need
- Scramble biking (or any motorsport!)
- Search for glowworms in dark, wet shady areas
- Join a band
- Write a song and enter it into Smokefree Rockfest
Would You Like To Be Friends?
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Bringing Kids To New Zealand Travel Podcast
(What happens on this New Zealand podcast stays on this New Zealand podcast)
In this week’s podcast episode we found out:
What major difference did an 8-year-old child from England notice as a child growing up in New Zealand
What popular past times do kiwi kids participate in?
As a teenager, does my son still think New Zealand is a good place to grow up?
Take a glimpse into an activity that (even I) had no idea he did…
Listen to us chat about what a childhood in New Zealand looks like on our travel podcast episode here!
Next, you could read…
Right Now Page (check out what we are doing right now!)
Did You Enjoy Our Travel Podcast On Raising Kids in New Zealand?
We’d love to know what you think about this week’s show and if there is anything you would like to know further so that we can include it in our question time next week.
If you know of someone who is thinking of moving to New Zealand with kids then please, share this podcast with them!