Eeny, meeny, miny, moe
This story actually begins in Australia 🙂
It was back in August 2013. We had just arrived back from our trip to Estonia and were planning to live and work in Sydney for a month or two before a year long trip to New Zealand. We had been offered to stay in the famous Bondi Beach with my good friend Sven who had even helped me to find some short term work. So everything was looking great and we were excited about our Sydney experience.
After my first day of back-breaking yakka as a gardener, I decided that this kinda work was not for me. There are things I can do but weeding someone’s flower garden and mowing the lawn like Jim’s Moving isn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I had done plenty of hard work in the past but for me, it’s more about working smarter not harder.
On that evening me and Marion had a bit of a chat whether we wanna stay in Sydney or just take off to New Zealand right away. Long story short we decided not to stay in Sydney. We then did some “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” to figure out which island in New Zealand, we are going to fly to. Our decision landed on the north island in the city of Auckland.
Because this was our first time in Sydney we didn’t take off right away but decided to stay for week and wander in this beautiful city. Anyway….. you can soon read more about our adventures in Sydney in an upcoming post but for now, lets fly to Auckland.
Settling in New Zealand
Land of the long white cloud, Aotearoa …what?? Let’s stick with New Zealand – I wonder what happened with Old Zealand :D. Did they go extinct like Moa Birds because of over hunted by Māori people or simply because human cannibalism was quite popular in the older days down these regions as well?
Jokes aside the Māori name Aotearoa describes it perfectly as most of the time you’ll see long white clouds in the sky 🙂 As you can see on the following image this country is full of surprises and breath taking views.
You’d think that Auckland should be the capital of New Zealand as it is the largest city in the country. Capital of the cloud country is actually Wellington. I think they were facing a similar dilemma like Australians with their capital. Which should be either Melbourne or Sydney but somehow ended up in the middle of
Anyway lets get back to our first week in Auckland – accommodation, work and potentially some wheels? Sounds easy! If New Zealand is anything like Australia then it should be smooth enough for Estralians to settle in. Reality kicked in after visiting some employment offices and realizing that everything is not as it seems 🙂 First of all, we hadn’t applied for our Inland Revenue number. None of the employment offices would even consider helping us without it. No panic…. well, maybe a little bit of panic, but I decided to keep a straight face and stay optimistic as I have throughout my entire life.
There is always a way!
As we where unsuccessful in finding work and accommodation in Auckland I stated looking at other options. I knew that down on the south island in Christchurch lives one of my friend Mikk. (We used to work together in Albany, Western Australia back in 2011.) After a brief conversation with Mikk we found out that Christchurch had had a huge earthquake in 2011 that destroyed most of the city. This unfortunate event was a blessing in disguise for us. As the city needed to be rebuilt, there was plenty of work for everyone. (In 2020 the rebuild is still in progress).
After explaining the situation to Marion we decided to have a bit of a look around in Auckland for another couple of days and then fly down to Christchurch. The first place we visited in Auckland was the Sky City Tower. As it says on SkyCIty website: “The Sky Tower has stood tall at 328 meters as an icon of Auckland’s sky line. It’s an exciting hub of adrenaline activities, has superb dining and breath-taking views.
I mean it’s no Burj Khalifa (which I have been many years ago) but the views from up there are great and it’s lot less crowded. Admissions are $32 NZD for an Adult (June 2020). As we got up there we noticed people leaping off the top of it with ropes. This looked super cool 🙂
We had heaps more adventures in Auckland but unfortunately we lost quite a lot of pictures and videos in 2014. (I picked up a ransomware on to my external hard drive while fixing a friends computer. As they say:”No good deed goes unpunished”.)
City of gardens here we come
Our time in Auckland was great but it was time to get back to hustling and making some money. Welcome to Canterbury, Christchurch, this city easily wins the heart of visitors with its reputation as New Zealand’s Garden City.
The first week we spent in our good friend’s Mikk place. He said that we could crash at his place until we found our own place. We started searching accommodation through Trademe which is a useful site for almost anything and everything. A bit like Gumtree in Australia. With less then a week we found a two bedroom place in Perth Street, Richmon. The place was pretty old but had all the furniture and was close to city. The price was quite reasonable as well – 330 p/w + utilities.
Looking for work
Accommodation sorted it was time to find a job. This only took 4 days for me. After a bit of research in Trademe and handing out resumes into local employment offices I got a call from AWF that they have found a job for me as a graffiti remover. I didn’t have the slightest idea how to remove a graffiti and painting wasn’t my strongest suits either. My resume pointed out that back in Port Hedland I had done interior painting. (Helped out a mate over a weekend as he needed a 3 bedroom house painted in 3 days.)
A week later, Marion got some work through a recruitment firm in the hospitality industry. She was working in different events like New Zealand Cup and Show Week, Food and Wine Festival, prime minister dinner party, weddings, fashion shows, etc. Although it was interesting at the beginning, after a while, she got exhausted from working with different people every day and started looking for a more steady job. She then found a job at The Town Ball. That was a pretty cool place – a big blowup Rugby Ball in the middle of Christchurch City. This Giant Inflatable Rugby Ball was initially designed to gain huge exposure for New Zealand internationally as the host of the Rugby World Cup 2011.
So, within our first week in Christchurch we had secure:
We were both in high spirits as everything was going great. I mean in my eyes there was no other way this situation was going to pan out anyway 😀
The company I started working for was Transpacific and they held the Christchurch City Council contracts. This branch was dealing with the removal of Liquefaction and Graffiti removals. They paired me up with a bloke who had been working there for a few years. This job seemed super easy.
You drive around in a work Ute or Truck which has a pressure washer, water tank, and box that holds all the paint & chemicals set up at the back. The jobs would come through on our blackberries and all you had to do is accept the job, go to the site, take the before and after photo…boom done. After about a week I got me own vehicle to drive around and look for graffiti.
Most of the time there wasn’t enough work coming through which meant all you do is drive around the city and look for work. Luckily one of my most favorite things to do is driving around exploring. 🙂 So this was perfect because I got the best areas of the city to manage and clean – South side of the city plus Sumner & Lyttelton, Governors Bay & Diamond Harbor.
Of course, I did the trip to the mountains at least 2 times a week just to make sure there isn’t any graffiti in my favorite spots 😀 😀
My new hobby – Paragliding
For my 25th birthday, Marion gifted me a paragliding experience. It wasn’t just a tandem flight but a one day intro course where I was taught how to fly solo. This is something that resembled the parachute jump and would give me the adrenaline rush at the same time. After I had completed the intro course and done my first three solo jumps, I was hooked.
For over the next month I kept collecting money to make the down payment for a PG2 full paragliding license program. (PS! Parapro is by far the best paragliding school compared to the others in the area.) Once the payment was done I couldn’t wait to get back up to the sky.
Every day I kept calling Steve (the owner) to see if the wind conditions are right for flying. All I could talk about was paragliding. The feeling of flying with a para-glider is hard to explain but if I’d have to make a comparison it would be like explaining to a blind person what it feels like to see. As I have lost a lot of my footage from our time in New Zealand( back in 2014), I have attached a great video by Kyle Olsen (ex. Para Pro Student) of all the same spots I had a chance to fly.
Anyway this is just a short story about our first few months in Auckland and Christchurch. Since 2014 we have traveled back to New Zealand four times and revisited Christchurch on every single trip. It is such a beautiful country and there is still so much in here that we haven’t seen…but we are working on it 🙂