My Name is Kirsty, I’m a GP from the UK and came over to New Zealand in July 2021.
The process to come to NZ took me about 6 months. The easiest part of the process was finding a job. The most challenging part of the process was coordinating visa applications.
My first impressions of NZ were the beautiful scenery and friendly people. The best parts of NZ are the fresh air, the kid natured people who live here, the culture, and the freedom to explore the great outdoors. I miss my family the most.
My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is have a good amount of money behind you - emigration is expensive!
After we survived 2 weeks in MIQ, we visited the Waitomo caves which was a massive hit with the kids and a great way to introduce them to some of the NZ culture too. We then headed up to the Coromandel and were wowed by the beautiful beaches and scenery. We had a lot of fun on hot water beach and enjoyed an overnight tramp up to the Pinnacles where we stayed in a DOC hut. We also visited Hobbiton to satisfy my husband's love of Peter Jackson's movies. We then did a few days skiing which the kids totally LOVED! After a few lessons they were skiing down the slopes unaided while we sat in the cafe watching them drinking hot chocolates!
We have had a fantastic weekend cycling around the vineyards in Martinborough and exploring Te Papa and the waterfront here in Wellington. We have booked a trip to Rotorua for a long weekend and plan to visit Kapiti Island in the next few weeks too.
The kids had 2 weeks online schooling during lockdown and are now happily settled into their new school. They easily made friends and have embraced the much more relaxed schooling system here. I'm still getting my head around all the differences between the system here and the UK but happy kids make for happy parents! Our youngest recently started in pre-school too and seems settled so far.
I love the beauty of Wellington and it's friendly people. I love all the fantastic places to eat and the subtle quirks like the green man silhouettes on the traffic lights doing different things depending on where you are in Wellington - he does the haka outside Te Papa, she is Carman Rupe on Cuba Street, she is Kate Sheppard by the Parliament and is a war hero by the war museum. I love being able to walk into town from our house and hearing all the birds from the botanical gardens and Zealandia flying overhead.
Are there any major differences between your current role in NZ and your previous role in UK -yes many. The billing system takes a bit of getting used to. The different medications available here and the different funding for those different options. Many more people here have private healthcare and that takes some navigating as a GP. Are there any similarities that have helped you orientate/transition easily? Generally see the same presentations. Is there anything specifically done differently in NZ that has interested you and the way you practice your profession? Lots more practical stuff done in GP-land compared to in the UK. For example, removing melanomas in practice, liquid nitrogen, minor surgery - the funding for this has been taken away from UK GP's so not done there.