Category Archives: New Zealand

Come on over (we need people).

Many Kiwi’s are surprised that it was so easy for us to get 1 year work permits here in NZ.

They’re used to heaps of people coming over from other commonwealth countries, but the US doesn’t really fall under that category anymore. Even Bostonians, with their ‘pahk’ and ‘cahr’ , clearly can’t pass for the true Brits.

More importantly, many of them have tried to get work permits in the US, and failed. Funny that. Apparently this is not an equal exchange.

But now, we start to see the true welcoming nature of the Kiwis. Our visas have no where near expired and they’re already trying to get us to extend our stay. For all of you that are rooting for us to return to the states at some point, be forewarned, you’re competing with all of Immigration NZ :

Happy New Year Mekayla

As someone who has visited New Zealand on a Working Holiday visa you’ll know about our long, lazy summer days, with sailing and cycling after work and weekends at the bach.

Creating memories to treasure. And share with your friends and family.

Which is why I am writing to you now.

First, as someone who entered New Zealand on a Work Holiday visa you may be thinking about your future options. You have many, including staying here in New Zealand and applying for a work visa as a skilled migrant.

In fact, this is a great time to consider staying because with our current low unemployment, we’re looking for professional qualifications and experience. If this is of interest to you, my advice is to complete an Expression of Interest application by clicking here, or alternatively complete a registration on If you do the latter, we’ll then send you a series of emails about life in New Zealand that will also include visa information and job links tailored to your age and experience.

Second, if you have colleagues you think would enjoy working and living in Aotearoa, why not excite their interest by sharing the attached video with them? It’s a recent one from Tourism New Zealand, and reflects the passion we have for life. You can also refer your friends to by clicking here.

As one of the youngest nations in the world, New Zealand has much to offer. For work. For travel. For life.

If you are keen to stay and/or return to Aotearoa, why cherish your memories when you can continue the journey?


Victoria Forrest
Immigration New Zealand

NZ’s Biggest Sports Bar

I managed to watch my first Patriots game of the season! Of course, it was also the first post-season game. For some reason they don’t show much Patriots football in New Zealand. I was a little worried that my watching might ruin this rather excellent streak they’ve been on. Fortunately it turns out that I do not possess that kind of power. At least not yet…

From what I understand, this little streak has been big news back in the States. I also understand that most of the country rather dislikes New England at the moment. Seeing as how I don’t want to anger my growing national audience, I will now cease mentioning of the Patriots (at least until after their Super Bowl win).

I dragged Mekayla to downtown Christchurch to watch the game in “New Zealand’s biggest sports bar”: The Holy Grail. It actually is quite big. Of course the biggest bar felt quite empty and cavernous with only a dozen or so football fans in it.

I think the bar was originally designed for more popular events and would always be so packed that everyone would have to stand. This is the only explanation I can think of for only having ten chairs anywhere close to the bar. It does have stadium bleacher seats though from which you can watch the lo-def broadcast on the “biggest screen in NZ”. (NZ likes their HD TVs, but unfortunately doesn’t broadcast anything in HD.) And when there is no crowd stadium seating is actually quite luxurious. Kinda like lounging around in the good seats at a Roman coliseum I imagine.

Anyway, a fun time was had by all. Hope everyone is enjoying the post season.

Work Work Work

For some reason, we keep getting questions about work. I don’t really understand, since we think that work is a much less interesting topic than all the adventures we’re having, but I suppose it’s time to satisfy the masses and answer some of the questions:

Yes we’ve been working.

No, we don’t think it’s as fun to tell work stories as it is to make you jealous of all the beautiful places we get to visit in our time off.

No we’re not shearing sheep or picking kiwi fruit (although I did consider getting a job as a bread maker at an organic bakery, mmm bread!).

Boring as you may think it is, we’ve actually gotten jobs more or less in our fields. I’m working at an insurance company and Greg’s designing websites.

Didn’t you know that’s what our specialties really are?

Greg gets to sit at home all day, messing around on the computer, and I get to go into a big traditional insurance company and help them learn how to do User Centered Design. Very similar to the type of work I was doing at IDEO, except that working with a team of people that’s familiar with the process, I’m working with a bunch of people who have never done this type of work before.

Turns out you have to spend money in order to make money. I don’t think they would have been too happy if I had showed up in the faded shirt I’ve been wearing hiking for the last 5 months. Especially since all the software programmers wear ties and shiny black shoes to work. Ah well, I guess I can save the hiking shirt for casual Fridays 😉 .

Time for me to go learn some more insurance terminology!

Circling the South Island with My Parents

Well, somehow we all survived it. My parents have been visiting us for the past two weeks and we took them for a whirlwind tour of the South Island. A few times along the way I was not entirely sure how we would all survive the trip, but by the end we had found a balance and gotten into a steady traveling rhythm.

Since our Australia map has had an astonishing 230 views I thought I would make a new map to show this journey. All told we put an additional two thousand kilometer on the car and I took 1398 pictures. I think there were at least a hundred times that my parents collectively said “Wow!” at the incredible scenery we saw along the way.

For instance, they were both excited to get rather close to the Fox Glacier (it is impossible to capture with a picture just how big it really is).

Here they are on the way back from a rather long hike we took them on up the Pororira River valley.

Marveling at Mt. Cook:

We even got my Mother to cross a foot bridge that swung fifty feet above the churning melt-water coming from Mueller Glacier.

Occasionally we found ourselves out walking on beaches:

Or tasting a wee bit of wine outside of Queenstown:

Or just wandering through fields of flowers:

Hope everyone has been having a good start to the new year.

My parents made me promise to try and go through all of our pictures and get them uploaded to our website. I just went through and counted, and actually there are fewer than I had feared: 3841 from Australia and 3728 from New Zealand. I was sure I had broken the 10K barrier by now.

So sometime in the near future I’ll try and cut that down to just the good ones. Somehow I don’t think anyone wants to wade through all 424 pictures we took on our whale watch in Australia.

Toasty the Sandman

Toasty the Sandman
Was a jolly happy soul
With a fern-like pipe and a carrot nose
And two eyes made out of broccoli (florets)

Toasty the Sandman
Is a fairytale they say
He was made of sand
In a distant land
And he came to life one day

There must have been some magic
In that old dead gull they found
For when they stuck a feather on his head
He began to tramp around

Toasty the Sandman
Was alive as he could be
And the children say
He could laugh and play
Just the same as you and me

Toasty the Sandman
Knew the sun was hot that day
So we hit the beach
With a wine glass each
To celebrate Christmas Day

Up to the mountains
A walking stick in his hand
Tramping here and there all around the hills
Saying catch me if you can

Thumpety thump thump
Thumpety thump thump
Look at Toasty leap
Thumpety thump thump
Thumpety thump thump
Over the hills of SHEEP!

Happy (End of) Channukah

Nothing reminds you that you’re Down Under more than celebrating The Festival of Lights in the middle of the summer. We’re not even getting sunset until 9 o’clock, much less the first three stars. And when you’re lighting candles that late, it becomes particularly necessary to have ones that will only last an hour or two.

But where do you find Channukah candles in the lovely Christian city of Christchurch? Unfortunately, the one local synagogue never called me back. Luckily, there’s a listing for candles in the yellow pages. Unluckily, it led us to a warehouse.

“Do you sell to the public?”

We were greeted by a stare and a hesitation.

“Not normally, but what are you looking for?”

Hurrah for New Zealand, the land of small towns and friendly people. The lady sold us two boxes of excellent non-Channukah, Channukah candles. That only left us with the question of where to find a menorah.
Luckily, there’s construction on our road. This means that there’s a nice pile of rocks a few houses down. No one noticed us pillage the pile in the twilight hours. That, a bit of fossicking at the beach, and some colored wax from the birthday candles I bought just in case we couldn’t find Channukah candles, and we had a menorah!

Off the road again

There is a very important announcement which requires us to break our silence: we have flatmates! And flat-cats! And flat-wireless internet access (but Mekayla thinks this is less important).

We have been very distracted by the South Island these past weeks, and keep wandering away from Christchurch to go exploring in the mountains and discover locations to go for some multiday backpacking in the future.

We went for a real Kiwi style tramp this past weekend. We didn’t have to ford a river, but we did stay in a hut. We fell asleep to the bleating of sheep and the scurrying of mice. Next time we need to do more than one night.

The hut system in New Zealand is extensive. People wander through the wilderness for days, and spend their nights warming up and drying out in the huts. You have to have some place to dry out when your trek requires you to ford multiple rivers each day. The one we stayed in was a three room stone house built in 1919. Not too much had changed in it since it was built. Except that the old black and white photos of the place looked much cozier.

On the road again

Well, we have taken quite a hiatus from posting recently. Seems like every time I started to write a post the news would change before I got around to actually posting it. Today we are leaving Rotorua and heading for Christchurch. So let’s briefly recap how we got to this point before something changes again:

  • Arrived at Rotorua
  • Journeyed briefly to Wellington and started worrying it might not provide enough access to the South Island.
  • I shaved!
  • Bought a car and tallied our expenses for the journey so far (camping is cheap!).
  • Met up with friends in Otane and traveled around the East Cape
  • Debated living in Wellington vs Christchurch
  • House sat and looked after a cat while the Red Sox won the World Series.
  • Explored thermally active Rotorua
  • Started looking for jobs in Christchurch
  • Mekayla presented some work to another design firm (networking!).
  • Now we are leaving for Christchurch

We will be on the road again for a couple of days: camping, ferrying the car to the South Island, and exploring some of the Southern Alps. Then we have to find some jobs and some place to live for a few months.

It is amazing how fast a month can go by. Rotorua has provided us with some great downtime. There are still a bunch of things we would love to have time to do here, but there is so much more that needs to be explored.

So in the spirit of all great summary posts let me leave you with some pictures.

These guys were pretty impressive.

I had gotten a little scruffy looking in Australia, and then I got impatient with it when I arrived here, and it had to be removed.

How have I not posted any pictures of sheep yet? It is lambing season.

Hopefully it won’t be another month before our next post. Talk to ya all soon.

New Arrivals in New Zealand

We have landed and settled down for a stay in Rotorua with some great friends of Mekayla’s Mom and Robert. We haven’t explored much yet, but the land is all volcanic and green. There has been a fair amount of rain in the 24 hours we have been here, but some of the clouds we’ve been seeing have been from the geysers and hot mud pools from around the area.

The posts today bring us up to date on most of where we have been. We’d still like to write a few more posts on Australian accents and some of the characters we’ve met, but it might be better to slow our pace so we don’t overwhelm our readers.