Can you help me find a place to live?

More
9 years 3 months ago #34631 by lookingtosettle
Hi everyone, nice to meet you!

We are new immigrants who have lived here for about a year (mostly in Auckland while we waited for our residence to be approved) and now we are out looking for a place to start our own organic lifestyle farm with the goal to be as self sustainable as possible - feeding ourselves, etc.

We are playing with a blank canvas here in the fact that we work online and are not dependent on any job or location so can go anywhere.

We are a family of 5 with 3 young kids (all under 5 years old).

Now here comes the real question - where should we look for land? This is the hardest part for us - wanting to know where to "settle down" and start looking to purchase a lot (we wish to build our own house if possible).

We have never lived in a very small town before but suspect that anything smaller than 50,000 population would be too small for us. After talking with a lot of people we have been recommended a few places:

1. Nelson/Hawkes Bay area
2. Tauranga
3. Nelson
4. Wellington

We were afraid that perhaps Nelson may be too small to keep us entertained but having not been there yet we have left it in the "places to visit" to see how we like it.

I should mention that we enjoyed Auckland and suspect we would like being outside any bigger city (like Wellington) as well, but ideally we want to have a bit more of a rural lifestyle with the kids so a balance between small town and bigger city would probably work best.

As we begin to plan our road trip and continue our research - do you guys have any thoughts? We are looking for places that are friendly to foreigners, offer a great lifestyle/cost balance, is good to raise the kids in, and will have enough diversity in stuff to do that we won't be bored.

Thanks in advance!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #455851 by Mich
Hi there - welcome, and nice to meet you too.

Well you've sure asked a question to which there will be many opinions and options available to you! :-) A few questions to help narrow down suggestions:

If your main business is online, then that might limit your options as there are rural areas that don't yet have broadband, or if they do, it's still pretty slow - even in areas outside a major city like Wellington, the area I live in.

As you'll have gathered, we're also in the middle of a severe drought, so that could also limit your options as you'd need somewhere that is as summer-safe as possible if you're going to be largely self-sufficient and grow your own food/meat. Perhaps this is a good time to look at areas that are least affected at the moment as a guide.

Cost and size of land? What did you have in mind? Areas around the major cities (specially Auckland) can be real pricey - not only in purchase price, but also rates and transport if you still want to enjoy some form of city life and events.

You've mentioned Wellington as one of your options. Wellington has a lot to recommend it (despite our current water shortage...) - an excellent centre for arts and culture, and although it's a city, it has the feeling of a town as so many people know each other. There are also rural communities within easy commuting distance, such as Kapiti and Wairarapa (not to mention those just outside the Wellington area such as the Hutt Valley, Pauatahanui, Ohariu etc. I'm a South-Islander by birth and that's where my heart is, but Wellington is my choice of city here in the North Island.

Are you looking for a plot of land to build, or are you interested in an existing property? How big were you thinking? What did you want to grow on it? Animals? Have you lived rurally before? That's not a barrier as many of us had little or no experience before we moved onto our own patch, but if you've had previous experience, it will help you make informed choices about your land and what you can do with it.

Look forward to hearing about your trip around the country and where you finally choose - not to mention your adventures once you get there.

Cheers, Mich.

Good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help someone up. Anon.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #455854 by ashajade
Hi Lookingtosettle,

We are also looking to become self-sufficient in food and energy, much in the same way you are. After many years of research and property hunting we've decided on settling in Northland, up near Kerikeri.

The main reasons for this include; the sub-tropical climate which means growing conditions are excellent for varied food production; the natural beauty of the region (granted most of NZ is stunning); the ability to do many outdoor pursuits (hiking native forests, many beaches close by, camping, boating etc); there is also an abundance of Maori culture and people in Northland which is great ; and finally the availability of land and the reasonable price.

I suggest you seriously consider Whangarei as an option, it a small city with everything you could need and is still within reasonable distance to Auckland, should you ever need to go there.

There seems to be quite a number of people living more sustainably, growing food, using alternative energies etc. in Northland - so, the more the better! :)

Have fun on the road trip!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #455866 by kindajojo
just a question ....why do you need a place with more than 50,000 people to be entertained.
If you are looking at a LSB remember that they do take up a significant amount of time, generally non LSB people are not interested in worm counts, compost or what gave birth when (and associated gory details) and those people that are interested are busy on their own properties.
Most LSB are a "bit our of town" - you dont want to be travelling into town every five minutes.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #455895 by lookingtosettle
Hi guys and thanks for your replies it is greatly appreciated.

It is a good point you brought up the issue of broadband connectivity - 100% it would be needed and it will be on the checklist when it comes to location - as will - power access. As much as I would love to live off the grid and will be moving towards that goal, its important to make sure I have the income side of things taken care of in the mean time.

We did envision having some livestock (sheep, goats, cows, pigs, chickens, etc) so yes the issue of the drought is a big one. Our goal was to setup the property in a permaculture way to help mitigate the water issues but for sure finding a place where water is not going to be a big issue is one of the other top priorities when looking for the land. How do you guys track these things - if I look online it seems the majority of the North Island is in drought?

Regarding cost, we are willing to pay more for a better piece of land (better soils, location, etc) but within reason. We see no point in paying through the nose solely based on location. When looking just outside Auckland initially (Kumeu area) - that is what I would consider too pricey for what you get. For size, that is largely dependent on the amount of livestock we do and we are still working on that (trying to decide if its worth going the extra step and turning this lifestyle farm into a side business or just keep it within the family - probably a separate post). I would imagine enough to at the very minimum feed a family of 5 a varied diet with surplus to spare.

We have not lived in the country before and are new to this - although we are learning quickly and working on the education part right now. We want to buy the land bare if possible and build up from scratch, but are open to working with what is available on the market.

Being surrounded by like minded people is surely a bonus, in fact a huge one when we begin our search. We will add Whangarei to the list so I want to thank you for that recommendation. Wellington is also a biggy for us to check out as so many people have recommended it as a great place to live.

As for wanting to live outside a bigger city, the 50k population number was pretty much taken from our travels around Napier (where we are staying now). We feel it is a good sized city to offer the kind of life we are looking for. We want to give our kids the skills and lifestyle of living in the country but retain a bit of connection (if and when needed) to the city. As we will be homeschooling our kids, having access to the resources in the city will also help us in their education so that is another attraction of places like Wellington for example where they have a lot of things going on.

Another area that recently came on my radar was in and around Hamilton (Te Awamutu, Cambridge, Morrinsville, Raglan) - seems there are a lot of families there as well as like minded people. If you guys know anything about it, do let me know.

The overall goal is to find a perfect blend of family/country/city life while focusing on being able to grow as much diversity as possible (lots of sunshine, rain, and good temperatures), while at the same time being able to have a land size large enough to meet our needs without breaking the bank and with luck doing so near other organic growers so we don't have to worry about sprays coming onto the property - etc.

For sure, we will be happy to keep you guys posted on our travels and where we end up. Its a big step for us and a huge change in our lives that we have been looking forward to for many years.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #455918 by Mich

lookingtosettle;457065 wrote: The overall goal is to find a perfect blend of family/country/city life while focusing on being able to grow as much diversity as possible (lots of sunshine, rain, and good temperatures), while at the same time being able to have a land size large enough to meet our needs without breaking the bank and with luck doing so near other organic growers so we don't have to worry about sprays coming onto the property - etc.QUOTE]

And THAT is a goal shared by many, I think, Lookingtosettle :D . My own opinion is that if you can get a good percentage of those points, you'll be doing very well. Even with the most 'perfect' properties, there will be times when you'll wonder why on earth you ever decided on this lifestyle. [}:)] :D

One thing that helped us was having a checklist of essentials that we absolutely had to have, and another of nice-to-haves. If you haven't seen it already, there's a thread on this site about what makes the perfect lifestyle block. Makes a very good read and an excellent place to start your checklist.

I can sense how excited you are about this new life, and I wish you and your family all the very best in your search.

Cheers, Mich.


Good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help someone up. Anon.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #456085 by LongRidge
The very first thing to ensure is that both of you want the hard work and isolation of living in the country, and both have the same idea about animal care and boys toys. If the man wants to have a place to have lots of big and noisy machinery on, and guns to shoot, and the woman wants lots of assistance with animal care and birthing, then you are setting yourself up for a divorce.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #456110 by lookingtosettle
The main driver behind our decision is to be a little more "Anti-Fragile".

I'm unsure as to what other factors drive everyone to the LSB lifestyle but for us it is a hedge against the SHTF future we are likely to have. To say we have a pressing sense of urgency is an understatement and there is always that balance between "rushing" and "procrastination" while we try to learn as much as possible to avoid making mistakes.

All this against a backstop of governments declaring "bank holidays" and seizing cash from bank accounts for the "greater good" (aka - Cyprus this weekend).

Hard work? Sure. If you are doing something like this for fun, yes, the amount of hard work and expenses can start taking its toll on you. If you are doing this because you have an overall big picture view that this is how we will all likely be living in the not to distant future, then you relish the hard work and effort involved in learning these skills as fast as humanly possible.

That is where I find myself and my family is well on board.

I don't want to sound like a raving survivalist, but I can certainly see where they are coming from :-) Better safe than sorry right?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #456117 by Hawkspur
If possible, try to at least take a holiday or housesit in an area before you decide to settle. It won't be a perfect way to judge, but it will help.

Internet connection-wise, have a look at the Broadband rollout map here .

Zoom in on an area you wish to check out, and then turn on the broadband layers. You will see that some relatively out-of-the-way spots have, or are getting broadband, because they have a school.
Type in an address, and you will find out whether it is getting broadband, when, and how fast.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #456128 by lookingtosettle

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #456248 by Rata

lookingtosettle;457301 wrote:

I'm unsure as to what other factors drive everyone to the LSB lifestyle but for us it is a hedge against the SHTF future we are likely to have. To say we have a pressing sense of urgency is an understatement and there is always that balance between "rushing" and "procrastination" while we try to learn as much as possible to avoid making mistakes.

Can I suggest the surrounds of Dunedin as a reasonably priced possibility with a medium sized but buzzing city? Plenty of like-minded people here for you. You did mention sunshine above, but we do have as much as the north, just a few degrees cooler :D . So no citrus, but berries aplenty, tomatoes either in the glasshouse or ripening about now, but beautiful greens and root veges.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #456277 by lookingtosettle
Hi Rata, actually Dunedin was on out list but we dismissed it for just that reason - according to stats it is quite cloudy in that part of NZ - how does this affect your growing ability for your gardens? What about using things like solar panels?

Also it has very low rainfalls (about 750mm/year) - does this negatively affect you?

The other reason was simply it seemed a tad too cool for us in winter, but if given the choice I would personally rather be too cool than too hot.

How far out of town are you guys and do you see the large student population there as a positive or negative?

Also, what about droughts in that area? Any issues?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #456341 by Rata

lookingtosettle;457478 wrote: Hi Rata, actually Dunedin was on out list but we dismissed it for just that reason - according to stats it is quite cloudy in that part of NZ - how does this affect your growing ability for your gardens? What about using things like solar panels?

We do have runs of cloudy weather, but I don't think that's different from a lot of other places in NZ. It's more the lower sun and the cooler temperatures that affect growing, but as I said before, that's swings and roundabouts.

I know quite a few people who are off grid, and though they have various things like windmills and pelton wheels, they say solar is the way to go here. With a woodfire and wetback backup
:D

Also it has very low rainfalls (about 750mm/year) - does this negatively affect you?

We are lucky enough to be on town water, despite being on a tiny lsb, and many other lsbs are the same. We're on the south edge of North Otago which is the more drought prone than Dunedin city, but haven't had serious problems in the four years we've been here. Our village's water supply comes from a mountain fed river, so is pretty reliable. I think if you planned with adequate storage you would be fine.

The other reason was simply it seemed a tad too cool for us in winter, but if given the choice I would personally rather be too cool than too hot.

Ditto! I'm wilting at 25 degrees, though it often gets above that in summer. It can be cold in winter - either cutting southerlies or drizzle, or up to 5 or 6 degrees of frost, but Dunedities are very skilled at choosing the right microclimates and building for the sun. Spring can be cool sometimes too but usually pick up about christmas.

How far out of town are you guys and do you see the large student population there as a positive or negative?

We are just over half an hours drive from town, but are still lucky enough to be inside the city boundary, which means we have a smashing wee library and access to all the Dunedin Library stock, as well as other benefits like rubbish collection.

As well, there is a public bus that runs between Dunedin and Palmerston 3 times a day, so we only have to take the car into town about once a fortnight.


Love the students! Though also enjoy the peace and quiet over summer while they are away. The university has heaps of interesting talks and lectures open to the public, and means that some very interesting people live here. Many into sustainable living as well.


Also, what about droughts in that area? Any issues?

Well, we didn't suffer the latest one! And floods are rarely a problem either.

I think you have to visit a place to get the feel of it, so if you want to add us to your road trip, PM me, and I'd be glad to give you some pointers.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #456411 by lookingtosettle
Thank you very much for this information Rata, I think it will be worth a look. No matter how much negative stuff I read about ChCh I feel the trip would not be complete without at least passing down that way to see for myself what the area is like. There is a lot to like about that part of NZ - although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about the earthquakes - even though rationally I keep telling myself its a risk in other areas as well. One things for sure, if they can deal with the earthquakes, the people living there can deal with anything. Talk about resilience!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
9 years 3 months ago #456426 by belinda_h
If earthquakes make you nervous, then New Zealand isn't the place for you - seriously, the country is one big fault line and there are noticeable quakes in one place or another every day or two. You get used to them pretty quick. Quakes of the magnitude of Chch are pretty rare, but a risk anywhere you go. Napier had a huge one, Wellington and Wairarapa have had crackers in the past, Inangahua, Edgecumbe - its a fairly comprehensive list - heck there was even a couple in Auckland a couple of days ago, although volcanoes are probably more of a risk in that area. Welcome to the Shaky Isles!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.243 seconds