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South African says she couldn’t be happier in New Zealand

Celeste Botes emigrated from Johannesburg, South Africa to Nelson. She is one of 711 international migrants the region has gained in the past year according to the latest statistics released by the Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA). Over the last three years there has been an increase of 1381 migrants to the region.

South African Says She Couldn’T Be Happier In New Zealand

"I lived a very good life in South Africa but it's just going one way," Botes said. "Had South Africa been fabulous like it used to be, I wouldn't have immigrated anyway - I would have just kept coming on holiday like I used to,” she told Stuff and Nelson Mail.

From June 2015 to June 2016 there were 1671 international arrivals to the region and 960 departures, the number of international migrants moving to Nelson has increased for the fifth year in a row. More than 70 per cent of those are living in Nelson and 28 per cent are in Tasman.

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Botes, who is retired, moved to Stoke to be with her family and said she couldn't move back to South Africa.

Although her lifestyle has improved Botes says Nelson is more expensive than Johannesburg.

"It [Johannesburg] was a lot cheaper, Nelson is very expensive. If I have a cappuccino here it's $5, in South Africa it would be $2 so there's that huge difference in everything."

NRDA chief executive Mark Rawson said in the same article that international immigration to Nelson was a positive thing.
"In a destination such as this, international migration is a critical feature. We have twice as much as the national average which is a significant jump. It is a pretty important component."

He told the writers of the online publication that "attractive skills" were being brought to the local economy. Many migrants were setting up and getting into businesses which meant more employment opportunities for residents he added.
ANZ New Zealand chief economist Cameron Bagrie said in theory more people moving to a local economy was a good thing, but in practice it was a little different.

Bagrie said New Zealand was begging for more skilled tradesmen and women.

"We're crying out for builders, carpenters all these sort of people and they're well down the list of the type of people that are coming in."

The most common jobs migrants were coming to in New Zealand were chefs, registered nurses and cafe/restaurant managers.

According to Statistics New Zealand 1033 migrants live in Nelson and 638 in Tasman.

He said migrants were moving to places like Mapua, Brightwater but also right through to St Arnaud and the Motueka Valley.

Speaking to Stuff Bargie said the move to Nelson was probably motivated through the fact that the city “is a really nice place to live.”

In response Nelson’s mayor, Rachel Reese, said Nelson was the third most ethnically diverse city in New Zealand per head of population which she credited to the open and welcoming culture.

"We pride ourselves on our diversity. The varied and rich cultures here are a part of what makes Nelson an interesting and exciting place to live."

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NRDA KEY INDICATORS

GDP Growth 2.5 per cent in year to March 2015 (less than the 3.6 per cent nationally)
MEDIAN WEEKLY INCOME NZ$ 596 (96 per cent of national incomes)

NCEA Level 2 82.8 per cent in 2014 (higher than 81.2 percent nationally)

HOME AFFORDABILITY Regional index level is 20.7 per cent of income (24.7 per cent nationally)

FOOD EXPORTS Down 7 per cent from Port Nelson in year to June 2015 (largely due to fruit decline)

RETAIL SALES $1.51 billion in year to December 2015, up 3.7 per cent (4.6 per cent growth nationally)

TOURISM GUEST NIGHTS 1.4 million in year to May 2016, up 7.4 per cent (5.3 per cent nationally)

BUILDING CONSENTS 524 new homes in year to March 2016, up 21.2 per cent by value ($201.7m) compared to national value growth of 14 per cent.

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