The first step in my family’s move to New Zealand was to secure a job offer in order to qualify for a residency visa. I became aware of Accent Health Recruitment at a NZ Expo and made contact with them to help me to find a job as a midwife in either Christchurch or Dunedin.
I had an initial interview with Kristin in London and she was able to use her local contacts in Christchurch to arrange a telephone interview with the Charge Midwife Managers at Christchurch Women’s Hospital. It was strange being interviewed when I was sitting in my kitchen in the UK at ten o clock at night but I was successful and a verbal offer was made that night!
This process was extremely well coordinated by Accent Health Recruitment and the extra email and telephone contact from them gave me confidence and support at what was probably the most tentative part of the emigration journey.
Once the job offer was confirmed in February 2010 I spent several months completing the required immigration and professional paperwork and again Accent Health Recruitment were supportive and encouraging through this time. Our permanent residency visas were granted in July 2010, ready in good time for our planned departure date in mid-August 2010. Although the permanent residency visa was more complicated and expensive to apply for we now do not have to go through this process again to convert a work permit to a residence permit in the future.
We arrived in Christchurch just three weeks before the September 2010 earthquake and I started work two days after the quake. From that first day I was welcomed and valued as a member of the team and found amazing support from my new colleagues and friends, particularly impressive, considering that many midwives had suffered damage to homes at this time. The working environment was very busy due to earthquake damage to primary birthing units but I was properly orientated, given required training and excellent support in the clinical area. Just five months later I was promoted and am still well supported and enjoying my role at Christchurch Women’s Hospital.
In February 2011 we found ourselves at the epicentre of the devastating earthquake that has decimated Christchurch. Our rental house was very badly damaged and we were without power and water for over ten days. Our local community rallied together to provide every person with whatever they needed at this time and we have profound respect for the fortitude and strength of our friends, neighbours and everyone in our community. Even though the rebuilding of Christchurch will take some years we are enjoying much improved quality of life compared to the UK. The children have an amazing school with individualised learning goals for each child and my husband has a great job with the local professional rugby team (a dream come true for a Welshman!). We started to build our own family home, a project that was unaffordable in the UK and are looking forward to a long and happy life here in Christchurch New Zealand.