Speaker by Various Artists

Read Post

Speaker: ReEntry

44 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

  • Gordon Dryden,

    In hosting a recent series of radio programs on New Zealand's future, I found one of the most interesting interviews was Gavin Lennox. After several high-paying years in the IT industry (top-level jobs included with IBM and Lotus), he is now back in New Zealand. Apart from the lifestyle, one of his renewed pleasures is the standard of education he has found here for his primary and high-school family. Also interesting to find how his own schooling at Auckland Selwyn College fitted him for those high-qualified jobs overseas. Daniel and others can listen to a podcast of the complete interview (now commercial-free) at www.thelearningweb.net by clicking on the "radio interviews" line on that site's home page. His is the first interview listed under Thursday, January 1.

    Those Kiwis currently living abroad, with young families, and considering a "return home", may also find the interview with Nick Billowes, on Wednesday, December 31, of interest. It summarises the way in which clusters of New Zealand schools, especially primary schools, are leading the world in using interactive digital technology as the catalyst to rethink schooling for the 21st century.

    Gordon Dryden

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Brenda Leeuwenberg,

    I returned to NZ from Europe almost exactly 2 years ago. In my case it wasn't really my choice to do so and even 2 years on I'm still homesick and at home.

    I think it depends a lot on where you've got to in your travels, where your head is at about where you want to be. I had moved on from NZ and was happy to have it as a place to visit family and a convenient passport. So for me I feel like I've stepped backwards and time has stopped.

    I think NZ's hype is a thin veneer - sure it's beautiful, but it's also violent, racist, technologically retarded, poor and in many aspects bordering on 3rd world. Takes a lot of beauty to get past those things if they're in your face every day!

    I recommend getting a job you enjoy, keeping busy, and if you're a city person - live in the city.

    Best of luck :)

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    my husband and i have now been home from the UK for three years. my main observations are a) how peculiar it is to feel homesick for somewhere that isn't your home i.e. london (where we lived for four years), b) how surprised we were about how long it took us to stop feeling homesick for london and wishing we were still there and c) how glad we are to now be living in new zealand with a young family, good jobs and our extended family around us.

    we enjoyed our time in europe, very much, but the life we missed there wouldn't have been the same once we started having children. we wouldn't have had the same income or the same social life. when i first became pregnant, for us, it was time to come home.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I think NZ's hype is a thin veneer - sure it's beautiful, but it's also violent, racist, technologically retarded, poor and in many aspects bordering on 3rd world.

    You clearly didn't live in the American south when you were overseas. :)

    I think it does take quite some time to adjust to everything being slower, less frantic, less crowded, there's less choice... that feeling that you're not in the centre of things, that you're on the edge. Accepting that stuff is probably key to being happy when you come home (or, in my husband's case, key to being happy in a completely new place).

    I often find all the talkback-style bitching about NZ... bemusing (is that a word?). But I am a scenery slut, so I'll forgive a few annoying things just to see that view of Piha as you come around the corner at the top of the cliff...

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    But I am a scenery slut, so I'll forgive a few annoying things just to see that view of Piha as you come around the corner at the top of the cliff...

    Hey babe, wanna come up and see my surf break?

    In moving on, Stephen has only Irish Catholic imagery with which to express his new-found freedom

    This is one of those thoughts that's going to hang round and bug me all day, I can tell. Thanks.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4371 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I actually find it wierd that it's seen as an important goal of public policy to attract "Kiwis" "home".

    If people feel that another country offers them what they want in terms of variety of work, cheap drugs, wider range of fellow perverts, warm beer or a range of lethal fauna, then why shouldn't they live there?

    Equally, if people from overseas are keen on impressive mountains, swimming in freezing water, being two steps removed from an entire capital city, dance parties in the bush, rural poverty or low-level gang warfare, then they might want to move here.

    Shouldn't the government just be trying to improve life for those of us who choose to live here? If they do that, and we still lose people, it won't make things majorly worse for those that remain. (Although there is an environmental argument that we shouldn't hog such a big and well watered island for so few people, I suppose).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4480 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Also interesting to find how his own schooling at Auckland Selwyn College fitted him for those high-qualified jobs overseas.

    Well he won't get that for his kids, now that the Nats have taken the place over with the aim of turning it into a pale simalcrum of Hogwarts, after the fashion of all the other high-decile schools.

    Is there anywhere left in the NZ state sector where kids can get a progressive education any more?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4480 posts Report Reply

  • Leopold,

    So , "Silence exile cunning" isn't going to be your bag?

    Since Jan 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

  • Brenda Leeuwenberg,

    You clearly didn't live in the American south when you were overseas. :)

    Ah, I never said there weren't other bad places - just that those aspects of NZ are never really touted overseas, or remembered when you're a homesick expat.

    I actually find it wierd that it's seen as an important goal of public policy to attract "Kiwis" "home".

    If people feel that another country offers them what they want in terms of variety of work, cheap drugs, wider range of fellow perverts, warm beer or a range of lethal fauna, then why shouldn't they live there?

    Equally, if people from overseas are keen on impressive mountains, swimming in freezing water, being two steps removed from an entire capital city, dance parties in the bush, rural poverty or low-level gang warfare, then they might want to move here.

    Shouldn't the government just be trying to improve life for those of us who choose to live here? If they do that, and we still lose people, it won't make things majorly worse for those that remain.

    I completely agree.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    I intend to return permanently to NZ in a few years.

    Mind you, I've been saying that for at least the past 4 years. But it's still true. I do not consider my current residence as "home" in any sense. I'm not part of any local social circles unconnected to my job (not even expat social circles; I've been to the embassy about 5 times in the past decade, that's about it). Which kind of sucks since I no longer have any social contact in NZ either outside immediate family. Indeed I no longer have a "home town" as such; all my family have moved elsewhere in the intervening years. That has muffled the call back somewhat, but has not silenced it.

    At the same time, I am fully aware, and more than a little ashamed, that I am not giving Japan as much of a chance as it deserves. The language barrier remains impenetrable for me, partly because of the lack of social contact; partly because I struggle in most social situations anyway and learn languages far more effectively through written media, and Japanese is rather unforgiving on that approach -- but, in the end, mostly because of that underlying feeling of separation, which saps any motivation to learn.

    I am weary of this strange half-life; but it is made more bearable by the hope that I can someday hop on a plane and end it. And yet... I say "hope" rather than "knowledge" here because I also fear I may have forgotten how to reconnect.

    Uh. That was bleaker than I intended.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 925 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    When I came back from five years in London, with the love of my life and a baby, I anticipated that there would be great work to do, and little or no money for doing it -- which is exactly how it turned out.

    One advantage of coming back from a major metropolis is that for a few months you're working at big-city speed and you can get a hell of a lot done. It worked for me.

    On return, you'll feel locked out of the trivial local gossip, and that people aren't as interested as they should be in the things you've been doing out in the world. (I now always try and make a point of letting the recently-returned talk about where they've been.)

    But the funny thing was that I had much more freedom to be me in the little village at home than I'd had in London. There, I was often struggling to fit a frame dictated by people I didn't really understand. Here, we just started publishing a cool magazine -- and I started a little radio commentary called Hard News that is entering its 18th year as a brand.

    In London, that might have taken the kind of driving ambition I'd seen in the kids who came in from the home counties to London. Here, I just did it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman,

    how surprised we were about how long it took us to stop feeling homesick for london and wishing we were still there

    I have a very interesting experience when I return to New Zealand after a long stay overseas. (I've done two years in Japan and two stays in India of one and two years.) When I first arrive back, I find it very hard to recall the places where I have just been living. It is some time before those places return to me.

    Then after several years of being home, the Proustian memory of the places I have visited, brought on by such things as the smell of incense on a summer's evening, can be overwhelming and bring on heart-breaking nostalgia.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 132 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Hey babe, wanna come up and see my surf break?

    That beats etchings any day!

    those aspects of NZ are never really touted overseas

    Heh. 'Come to New Zealand, it's technologically retarded!' I'm not hugely surprised by that.

    We're going to have to disagree on this concept of 'bad places', particularly in westernised countries, where we can all rely to a greater or lesser extent on things like potable water, social stability, electricity, and democratic processes. I don't think New Zealand is 'bad' (nor, actually, do I think the American south is 'bad' - it just has more extreme versions of the problems you noted here, but without the awesome views. Cheaper shoes and more fun pop culture, though), so... I don't know. I'm a Pollyanna. I actively like Auckland, which clearly proves my judgement is poor to all the Wellingtonians. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    We did 7 years in the UK (Cambridge, not London), and quite frankly the main reason we moved back was having kids. We saw other friends of ours from Wellington move to the UK, hate it, do the obligatory brief tour of duty so they could say they'd done the OE and didn't look provincial, and then move home as fast as they could. These people were never going to stick overseas. We made a lot of friends over there, enjoyed our time, and would probably still be there. But having kids realigned our priorities; suddenly, being closer to the whanau was a big thing, as was them not growing up talking funny. Hence, move back to NZ. I've seen this echoed in a lot of my other friends, who tend to move back to NZ either just before or just after having kids. Quite frankly, the economic conditions didn't matter at all - I assumed I'd be able to get some kind of a job in short order, which turned out to be true. So I think I'm with Helen Clarke on the actual reason that a lot of expats move home.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Brenda Leeuwenberg,

    I guess there's a certain amount of spoiled brat attitude in what I say - it's not like it's hell on earth in NZ. It's just not what I'm craving for right now.

    From a life of regular work trips to Paris, Stockholm, Berlin - holidays to almost limitless European destinations within an hours flight - double glazing - a richness of culture and language ... currently if I'm really lucky I get to fly to Auckland for work.

    I do indeed sound like a spoiled brat :) But everyone is looking for different things in life I guess!

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I think part of what brings NZers home is that we have a strong national identity which doesn't get broken overseas very much. I had a partner move to live with me in NZ from California, and the only thing she missed was the weather and her family.

    Yet Kiwis overseas miss dozens of things about New Zealand. We attach labels to them like vegemite, toffee cops, decent coffee, pohutakawa in bloom, swimming at a favourite beach etc, but what we're missing is the wholeness of the place. The casual lifestyle, the environment, the people, family, the way it feels. All the things we grew up with that are very strongly ingrained.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6217 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I missed the NZ light - how clear and bright everything looks, for miles and miles. I felt as though I was always looking through soft focus when I was in the northern hemisphere.

    holidays to almost limitless European destinations within an hours flight ... a richness of culture and language ...

    Well, of course - a lot of people want that stuff. If I had unlimited funds, and time, and no family commitments, I'd be flitting from city to city around the world, looking at wonderful things. It's just... I had to prioritise some things over other things, so the European destinations have to happen in giant lumps several years apart, instead of every other weekend, and in the meantime, I have NZ scenery-sluttery to keep me warm.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Wilson,

    I'll be very interested to read your blog posts. Personally, I moved to LA to go to grad school and my attitude towards moving home gradually shifted from "as soon as I'm done with school" to "after I work here for a couple of years" to "no comment".

    I'll admit it's partly the money, which is much better here for someone in engineering. But it's also the opportunity: California is a (if not the) center of R&D in all things technology, and in NZ I just wouldn't be able to work at the same level. And of course now that I've been away 9 years I have a partner (of 4 years) who's family are in Texas... so California just becomes that much more sticky.

    The idea of emigrating to the US from NZ still feels wrong to me, but in practice I'm not homesick that often. Strangely it's always when I'm in the supermarket. I'll occasionally go looking for everyday NZ foods and not be able to find them and not be able to find anyone who knows what I'm talking about... then I'll feel like a stranger in a strange land. (Go to an American supermarket and try to buy sponge cake or custard powder or baked beans in tomato sauce...)

    California, USA • Since Nov 2006 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    But I am a scenery slut, so I'll forgive a few annoying things just to see that view of Piha as you come around the corner at the top of the cliff...

    I might be a lifestyle slut. Where by lifestyle I mean not so much what my money can buy but the treatment I'm likely to get from total strangers, the human dimension of things, and yes, sure, the kind of scenery I am treated to on my average day. It took quite a short amount of time - three, four years? - for these things to become deeply ingrained. And whenever I come back from the home country, I'll be darned if I don't get a strong feeling that this is where I like to be. 'Happy to be back' is the only way I could possibly describe it.

    I actively like Auckland, which clearly proves my judgement is poor to all the Wellingtonians. :)

    Not to me - I'm still of the opinion that Auckland doesn't exist.

    There are going to be more of these posts, right? Even though I didn't quite get the point about prevaricating.
    (urban as it may be - there's a spot in Farnham street Wellington wehre I can see the harbour and Island bay at the same time - beat that)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7390 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    ops - the last bit in the brackets was meant to be a footnote to the word "scenery".

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7390 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    After seven years away (the last five in the US) I arrived home on Sept 10, 2001. The next day I lost a good friend.

    I came home because I was rootless. I was an illegal alien and the States didn't feel like home at all. By that stage, NZ was also somewhat distant in my longings but my money, and options, were limited.

    For a while, being back felt like I had failed at something. The pay was worse, the ski mountains had no trees on them, the locals all seemed to be navel-gazing and the culture seemed fractured and hastily constructed (in comparison to Europe I hasten to add, not the US). In the States I felt I could explore the landscape for the rest of my life and barely scratch the surface. Here I felt like I could see it all in a matter of weeks.

    Over time I realised that what we have here is unique, if still in its formative years. People's hearts are open, even if at times their minds seem cloistered and their eyes blinkered. Travelling tears open our minds and makes us hungry for continual transformation. Coming home can feel like a straightjacket. Sometimes I still feel that way.

    But mostly I love this place, these people and the view from this distant oasis.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I've been overseas for about 15 of my 50 years (Singapore as a child, Australia, UK and now almost 5 years in South East Asia as an adult) and clearly, as my post total on this blog is evidence, I'm neither want or am able to let go.

    I miss mostly the people, and the comfy, intelligent conversation that I slip into when I'm home, oh, and of course, too, the vistas...Piha, just to increase the chorus, is one of those things I get misty-eyed over.

    I don't miss Vegemite or Marmite and find decent coffee ain't that hard to find anywhere now, outside the USA where it remains a mystery.

    But for that, I don't miss the parochialism, nor do I miss the distance which prevents me from doing the thing I love most, travelling (and, luckily, getting paid for it...I'm writing this from Doha, on the way to Dubai, he says gloatingly).

    Nor the aggressive and in your face violence, physical or verbal, that NZers seem to think is acceptable.

    Will I come back to NZ? Perhaps, but right now it's rather unlikely. But I'll never let it go.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Willmott,

    I will read this blog with interest. Ending the 'prevarication' was probably the biggest and hardest decisions I have ever made, but I don't regret it a bit. I was away for 8 years and returned three years ago - some 15 years after RB, but this still struck a chord:

    I anticipated that there would be great work to do, and little or no money for doing it -- which is exactly how it turned out.

    There are various things that make the work 'great' (or at least 'good'), compared to working overseas. Being able to make a difference (smaller pond) and 'giving back' would be high on the list.

    In a non-professional sense, the lifestyle is obviously great; socially, I miss certain people, but they are so spread out that it would be impossible not to. I sometimes struggle to relate to NZers who have not traveled much, or are boastful of travel, or who view the OE as some kind of status symbol. So I probably have a kind of dismissive view as someone who has been lucky enough to have 'been there, done that'.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yes, Daniel is going to be writing a series of these posts.

    And at the risk of firing all my guns at once ...

    I had what I now realise is the classic New Zealander experience of getting to Europe, loving it, but feeling the urge to go back (sometime) and help with the culture. It was three years later that I returned, and it wasn't the actual reason we came back, but it gave coming back a sense of purpose.

    It turned out that various of my cultural heroes -- Rex Fairburn, for example -- heard the same call.

    I was never going to cross paths with Fairburn, but it now feels like a loss that I'd lived in the same town as Keith Sinclair and never heard him speak.

    But even on return, it took me a while to grasp it. Straight off the plane, I could walk into The Listener and Kevin Ireland (with us still, I hasten to add) and Robin Dudding were there on the subs' bench, and my mate's grand-dad was Allen Curnow. That's quite something in comparison to living in a place where the canon was beyond reach.

    In a way, of course, it was an advantage to discover the canon myself, rather than being bashed over the head with it at university ...

    But anyway: one of my measures for myself is whether I'm contributing to the culture. Like I said, purpose.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I sometimes struggle to relate to NZers who have not traveled much, or are boastful of travel, or who view the OE as some kind of status symbol.

    I suspect it will be one of my life's regrets that I missed the OE. I became a father before I finished at university, and now I'm very tied down here in Dunedin. I like to travel, but it only gets to happen now in short occasional spurts.

    That being said, I probably learnt as much as a parent, just different things.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6217 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.