Spenceley Family Wanted Down Under Revisited


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Spenceley Family

An updated look at families previously featured on Wanted Down Under. Two years after their trial week in New Zealand, where do the Spenceleys call home?


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If you held a lifelong dream to return to the country

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you were born in,

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how would you convince your husband to follow you?

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Especially if moving would mean losing the close family bonds

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he has at home?

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In 2014, Gentle Spenceley

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was hoping to persuade husband, Phil, to uproot

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their life in the UK and move to New Zealand.

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Today we'll find out how and where they are now.

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Gentle Spenceley was desperate to live in New Zealand.

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I feel like it's more of a home to me than England.

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But husband Phil didn't share the dream.

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'There's just something that's not quite'

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joining all the dots in my head.

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A week down under enabled Phil to confront practical concerns...

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-It's not really achievable at the moment.

-..and emotional fears.

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'You do feel a sense of responsibility

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'towards your parents.'

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Two years on, are the family in the UK or down under?

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It's always difficult to say 100% where your future lies.

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Boasting some of the most spectacular scenery on earth

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and a relaxed way of life,

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New Zealand has been popular with British families

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seeking a new home since the 19th century.

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Around 9,000 families emigrate there every year,

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seeking their dream lifestyle in a country the same size as the UK but

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with a fraction of the population.

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Gentle Spenceley left New Zealand with her parents

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when she was only six months old

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and she'd felt cheated out of a life down under ever since.

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In 2014 she faced just one week to encourage Phil

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to give up everything they knew in the UK

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for a new life on the other side of the world.

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The family's journey began with a marathon 24-hour flight from London

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to Auckland via Singapore.

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A trip that is often tricky with a young child in tow.

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Harrison did sleep a bit. So...

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Our big concern was that distance with the 20-month-old.

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And he was really good.

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With Harrison well-behaved,

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Phil had had plenty of time in the air to do some thinking.

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Trying to imagine parents and things doing that journey,

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in a confined space for 24 hours,

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-you kind of think it's going to be quite hard for them.

-Yeah.

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Gentle was delighted to be back in the country that held her heart.

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'Feels a bit unreal to be here.'

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We've got to get down to business

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'and make some decisions.'

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The coming week would be crucial in helping Phil decide if he could find

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the courage to make the move down under.

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Back in the UK, the Spenceleys

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were living in the pretty village of Worminghall in Buckinghamshire

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with son, Harrison, who was then one.

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The family had a comfortable life in the countryside but Gentle was

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convinced things could be even better in New Zealand,

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the country where she was born.

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I feel like it would've been great to have grown up there and when my

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parents had me they came back to England

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and they stopped travelling,

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so I feel like I missed out a bit of what they got.

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Husband Phil was aware of Gentle's dream.

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It's something that I've known right from when we first met.

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When we first met she was saving up to go travelling in New Zealand.

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After meeting Phil, Gentle spent a gap year in New Zealand

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which had fuelled her longing to return there for good.

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'I very much felt like I belonged there and I could quite easily fit

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'into that way of life.'

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She came back and she said that she really wanted to one day live out

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-there and make a go of it.

-Dinner's ready.

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With Phil in the middle of his studies,

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it wasn't the right time to make the move.

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But on tying the knot a few years later,

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Gentle hoped a honeymoon in the country

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would persuade her new husband it was where they should set up home.

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I was hoping to take him out there and show him how amazing it was

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and it didn't really work like that.

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Three weeks down under failed to convince Phil.

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I was really disappointed and I came back

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from the holiday feeling

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a bit deflated about it.

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I just tried to focus on what we had in England

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and just think that right, OK, one day maybe, one day.

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Gentle's dreams were crushed and rather than moving

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to the other side of the world,

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the couple moved into the English countryside.

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Harrison's birth in 2012 put thoughts of New Zealand

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on the back burner for Gentle,

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but a year later it was Phil who didn't feel quite at home.

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'I don't know why, there's just something

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'that I've never felt'

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100% settled.

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Seizing the moment, Gentle believed it was time for Phil

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to reconsider New Zealand as somewhere they could call home.

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The main reason I want to go out to New Zealand

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is just to enjoy the Kiwi way of life and for Harrison

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to experience that as well.

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I think he will really thrive out there.

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But even though Phil wasn't sold on where the family lived,

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moving to the other side of the world seemed too big a leap.

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If the decision was down to Gentle she'd say,

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"Yeah, let's just sell up and go out there anyway and live life,

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"what's the worst that can happen?"

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I can't in my head imagine how we could just sell up

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-and move out there.

-Come on, then.

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Phil feared a move could rob his family

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of the financial stability they had in the UK.

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And about the effects emigrating would have on his parents.

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'The idea of taking their only grandson'

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away from them, that's going to be really difficult,

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leaving them behind.

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Gentle understood breaking the bond Harrison

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had with her extended family would be hard, too.

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My mum and dad are really close to Harrison.

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'They love him very much and I think it would break their heart,'

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I think, if we did take him so far away.

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But she was prepared to pay the emotional cost of moving

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and feared the consequences if Phil couldn't be persuaded.

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I would worry that I'd feel resentful.

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I feel like it's more of a home to me, necessarily, than England.

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There is some pressure on me.

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I don't want to be the person to say no, to ruin her dream.

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Gentle knew their trial week would be her last chance to persuade Phil

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to overcome his fears and make her dream come true.

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For their trial week down under,

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the Spenceleys stayed in a two bedroom house in Titirangi,

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a small suburb west of Auckland.

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And straightaway, Gentle felt at home.

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-Wow!

-Oh, wow!

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Look at this, Harrison.

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-What a view.

-Look at that view.

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Look at the kitchen!

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You're not going to complain about doing washing up.

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There's a swimming pool.

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-Big puddle.

-PARENTS:

-It's a big puddle, yeah.

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-Everyone liked what they saw.

-The house is amazing.

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It's beautiful. The views are spectacular.

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Gentle was excited about the next few days.

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It would be really amazing if we could come out here

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and give it a go.

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But Phil was feeling anxious.

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What I'm most nervous about is the fact that this next week could

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completely change our lives.

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There's just so many questions unanswered, so many unknowns.

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And...so much riding on it.

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In the UK, the Spenceleys lived in a modern three-bedroom house

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in Buckinghamshire.

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And they'd worked hard to put their stamp on it.

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So we put everything new in, floors painted throughout.

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-Double glazing.

-Kitchen, bathroom.

-New kitchen, bathroom.

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It took a little while to get done but we're, yeah,

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we're happy with it.

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So what kind of property in New Zealand would make it worth

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giving up a house they'd made a home?

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My dream home would be at least three bedrooms.

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I'd really like to have a kitchen-diner.

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To be able to cook and socialise would be lovely.

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I'd probably like a separate living area as well as...

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I wouldn't like everything open-plan.

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Phil and Gentle had around £300,000 for a home in New Zealand.

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To see what their money could buy, we showed them three properties,

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two based on budget and a third based on the dream home.

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Only after they'd seen each one did they find out its value.

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Harrison was looked after by a childminder

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while the couple started their search in Titirangi.

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A thriving centre filled with cafes, markets and galleries,

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the area offered Gentle the village life she was used to.

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And just eight miles from Auckland city centre

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meant a convenient commute for Phil.

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But would this modern three-bedroom house be enough to persuade

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him to make the move?

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-Wow!

-UNCLEAR SPEECH

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-Nice.

-Really nice, I like the open-plan kitchen.

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This just feels like it's one big room.

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Hmm, Gentle would have a hard job getting her husband excited.

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-Bathroom.

-Oh, it's a nice size.

-Yeah.

-Got a walk-in shower

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and a bath. Nice. That's an interesting bath, isn't it?

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-It is.

-Doesn't look very comfortable.

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-It's a bit odd.

-But it's nice and stylish.

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-Gentle was determined to look for the positive.

-This is nice.

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This must be the master bedroom. Or, I suppose, like a guest.

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-It's probably the master bedroom.

-Yeah. En-suite.

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Yeah. I really like the little seating area as well.

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Probably use it as storage with the amount of stuff we've got.

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What's down here? Hidden little room. Funny door.

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You could make it into a little like annexe sort of thing

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for someone staying.

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I don't think it's big enough for that.

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The hidden room might not be large enough for guests,

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but was the garden a perfect fit for the family?

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-There isn't a huge amount you could really do.

-No.

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Phil wasn't impressed.

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But this is nice, it's nice to be able to eat your dinner outside.

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It's quite private, really.

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Gentle was definitely more sold than Phil.

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But with £300,000 to spend, would the price change his mind?

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So, how much do you think it's worth?

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I reckon it's at the top end of our budget, so maybe £300,000?

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First house, I'm going to be a bit more conservative, maybe 275?

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It was time to find out.

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-I was pretty close.

-You were pretty close.

-So 297,320.

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Obviously, it would have been better if you were right.

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I was probably looking for maybe a little bit more sparkle or a little

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bit more something to pull me in.

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The house was on budget, but Phil wasn't budging.

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The second property would need to deliver much more to keep Gentle's

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dream on track. Next stop, the rural village of Swanson,

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a small community just a ten-minute drive from the beach.

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With a wide range of outdoor activities nearby,

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the area should have appealed to Gentle's sense of adventure,

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but would the house win Phil over?

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-It's a bungalow.

-Yes.

-One level.

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Fibreboard again.

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Hopefully inside would prove impressive.

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-This is nice and big.

-Yes, that's a good size, isn't it?

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It was all good.

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It's quite big, actually.

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-Yeah, bigger than it looked like it was going to be.

-Wow.

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-You've got plenty of space.

-Yes.

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There's a utility room. That's really handy.

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Yes, keep that all separate.

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They were in agreement, but not for long.

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I think it needs maybe a bit more work than the last one did.

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Not much, it's just cosmetic.

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I don't know whether I agree with that,

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but I think the kitchen possibly doesn't suit quite

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the way you'd want it to work.

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You haven't got so much of that open space.

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That suits me slightly better.

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It looked like Gentle was willing to compromise on open-plan living

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and four good-sized bedrooms gave her even more to smile about.

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-Master bedroom.

-This must be the master bedroom.

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It's got en suite.

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-But no storage.

-It's got a walk-in wardrobe as well.

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-Wow.

-That's why there's no storage.

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Oh, look. Light bulb mirror.

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Like being in a theatre.

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Hopefully there wouldn't be any drama when the couple headed out

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to the garden. Did it have the space Phil was looking for?

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This is really cute, isn't it?

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You've got all the trees and things and, obviously, the cicadas, really.

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The beetles. Yeah, they make a lot of noise. I really like that noise.

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But I'm not sure even a soundtrack from the beetles was cutting it with

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Phil. And with £300,000 to spend, was the house within reach?

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So what do you think about the price?

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It's really hard. I reckon about...

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285,000.

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I think you're probably right, I think it's probably in that, 285.

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285, yeah.

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Time to turn the card and find out.

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-OK. That's more.

-£310,000.

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It's a bit more, but then you are getting a lot more.

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That's really as much as we would like to go to, isn't it?

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Yes, you would probably have to spend a bit

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to get it in the way that we would want it to be.

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If Phil could secure a well-paid job, £10,000 wasn't a deal-breaker,

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but the property was still far from the couple's perfect house.

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Next, Gentle and Phil headed to what should be their dream home,

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situated in the exclusive suburb of West Harbour.

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Close to the marina and with good primary schools and local amenities

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nearby, this modern four-bedroom family home

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should have been a perfect fit.

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OK.

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Yes, oh, wow.

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-This is really nice, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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Straight through to outside.

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-Nice entertaining area.

-Nice big barbie.

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That's a really nice swimming pool, isn't it?

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Would this be the house to encourage Phil to take the plunge?

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This is the sort of thing that I was thinking of

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when we were looking at properties.

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I think the kitchen's all right.

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It's not really what we'd want, but the space is nice, isn't it?

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-And we've got enough storage.

-Yes.

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And, yes, I really like the way you can just watch TV.

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But then Gentle started spotting flaws.

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Bathroom. Walk-in shower.

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It's not quite to our taste, but it is nice enough.

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It is more than enough.

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Hopefully the spacious master bedroom

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would be to both their taste.

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-Oh, wow.

-En-suite.

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-Walk-in wardrobe.

-Oh, walk-in wardrobe, nice.

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-Plenty of space.

-This will be all mine.

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It's nice being able to come out of the bedroom onto this bit again.

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Phil's enthusiasm was definitely a step in the right direction,

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but would everything change when he discovered how much the house cost?

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It's got to be £450,000 upwards.

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I think probably about the same.

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£440,000.

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I think that's reasonable for the house, I think it's...

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Because the area is really nice.

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Really nice area.

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But it's not really achievable at the moment.

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Gentle and Phil's property search had been a real eye-opener.

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Despite being affordable, property one lacked the wow factor for Phil.

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The second was more in line with the layout Phil favoured,

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but not quite to Gentle's taste.

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But the third house had appealed to both,

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even if achieving it

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meant adding £140,000 to their budget.

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So when it came to property,

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had Phil and Gentle seen enough to be sold on New Zealand?

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New Zealand.

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Undecided.

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I think that it's not that much different

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from what you can get in England.

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But that last house kind of swayed it for me a bit,

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-just because...

-Yeah, I thought it would.

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..it shows the potential of what we could get in the future.

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To get the sort of house I'd really like is going to be quite difficult

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back home, whereas over here it doesn't seem such a big step up.

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The reality of what they could afford in Auckland

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had dented Gentle's enthusiasm,

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but the dream home had persuaded Phil New Zealand could be

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an option for their family's future,

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providing they could find well-paid jobs.

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In the UK, Phil was earning around £80,000

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as a senior software developer.

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And he was concerned about finding a similar job

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in New Zealand.

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'The ideal role for me would be'

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to get something that I do that means

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I can incorporate one of my hobbies.

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'I spend a bit of time with music technology.

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'It's something that is challenging for me as well,'

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I do like a bit of a technical challenge.

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A stay-at-home mum,

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Gentle was ready to return to her career as a veterinary nurse.

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I wouldn't want to do full-time

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necessarily, because I think I would miss looking after Harrison.

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But it would be good to get that sense of independence

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and also to get to know people out there.

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Exploring work opportunities in New Zealand was vital for Phil.

0:17:310:17:36

We've got a good life back home, so we don't want to impact that

0:17:360:17:39

and make ourselves worse off coming here.

0:17:390:17:42

-Hey, you must be Phil.

-Hi, yes.

0:17:420:17:43

Phil wanted to combine work with his passion for music,

0:17:430:17:46

so we'd arranged for him to visit a music software company

0:17:460:17:49

to meet senior developer Young Lee.

0:17:490:17:52

Based on my skills and experience, do you think I would be able to work

0:17:520:17:55

for a music software development company?

0:17:550:17:57

Music software development is very, very specific.

0:17:570:18:01

So if you're willing to kind of learn from the beginning,

0:18:010:18:03

then you could kind of look at one of the entry jobs.

0:18:030:18:05

Starting a new career in music software

0:18:050:18:07

meant a junior job and a smaller salary.

0:18:070:18:10

In New Zealand, graduates out of uni

0:18:100:18:13

get about 50 to 60,000 New Zealand dollars.

0:18:130:18:16

Intermediate people get about 80,000.

0:18:160:18:20

And senior developers usually get between 90 and 110,000.

0:18:200:18:26

That was about £30,000 if Phil started at the bottom,

0:18:260:18:30

less than half what he earned in the UK,

0:18:300:18:32

meaning Gentle would definitely need

0:18:320:18:34

to return to veterinary nursing in New Zealand.

0:18:340:18:38

We'd arranged for her to meet Doctor Gary Cousins at a small clinic

0:18:380:18:41

in Henderson Valley.

0:18:410:18:42

Hello.

0:18:420:18:43

-Hi, Gentle.

-I'm Gentle.

0:18:430:18:44

-Nice to meet you.

-Thank you.

0:18:440:18:46

Hello, Kelly.

0:18:460:18:47

That's a good response.

0:18:470:18:49

Gentle was ready to talk business.

0:18:490:18:51

Is there a high demand for nurses over here,

0:18:510:18:53

or is it quite difficult to get a job?

0:18:530:18:56

It's actually quite a sought-after job,

0:18:560:19:00

as the jobs come up and disappear very quickly

0:19:000:19:02

and sometimes it's who you know.

0:19:020:19:04

But putting your face in front of people and dropping off CVs

0:19:040:19:08

is well worthwhile.

0:19:080:19:09

Finding a job could take some work, but would the salary prove worth it?

0:19:090:19:14

How much would you be likely to earn part-time?

0:19:140:19:16

Well, it works on an hourly rate of about 15,

0:19:160:19:19

in New Zealand, an hour.

0:19:190:19:20

It was less than she would earn in the UK,

0:19:200:19:23

but not by enough to put her off.

0:19:230:19:25

Just depends on, you know, cost of living and childcare and stuff.

0:19:250:19:29

Childcare costs would prove key.

0:19:290:19:32

Meanwhile, Phil had hung up his headphones to discuss other software

0:19:320:19:36

options with recruitment specialist Cara Smith.

0:19:360:19:39

Is there much in the way of opportunities at the moment?

0:19:390:19:42

Definitely. You would probably be happy to know that senior software

0:19:420:19:45

developers are quite in demand

0:19:450:19:47

and one of the hardest to find skill sets.

0:19:470:19:49

Providing financial stability for his family was one of Phil's biggest

0:19:490:19:53

concerns. So the ability to earn a good salary was essential.

0:19:530:19:57

So we would typically see a salary range of between,

0:19:570:20:00

for a senior software developer,

0:20:000:20:02

between 90,000 and 110,000 New Zealand dollars

0:20:020:20:05

per annum as a base salary.

0:20:050:20:07

-OK.

-We are certainly seeing pressure on the salaries upwards,

0:20:070:20:10

because they have to keep hold of their talent.

0:20:100:20:12

OK, so there's a potential for things to go up a bit in the future.

0:20:120:20:15

Potential.

0:20:150:20:17

It was a positive outcome for Phil, so how did their day impact

0:20:170:20:21

on the choice between work in the UK and New Zealand?

0:20:210:20:25

-New Zealand.

-UK.

0:20:310:20:33

I felt like I had to vote for England in a practical sense,

0:20:330:20:36

because there is more demand for nurses out there,

0:20:360:20:39

they get paid more out there,

0:20:390:20:40

but it doesn't mean I would rather work in England than New Zealand.

0:20:400:20:43

And I voted New Zealand, because the market is really good

0:20:430:20:46

over here at the moment and, so, there's a lot of demand

0:20:460:20:50

for somebody with my skills.

0:20:500:20:52

Their week back in New Zealand

0:20:570:20:58

had delivered Gentle several surprises

0:20:580:21:01

and it looked like Phil was the one favouring a move.

0:21:010:21:04

But would a day exploring the Kiwi lifestyle remind Gentle

0:21:040:21:07

of why she'd always dreamt of moving home?

0:21:070:21:10

Oh, what's up here?

0:21:100:21:12

Making the most of the mild climate,

0:21:120:21:14

the family indulged their love of the countryside

0:21:140:21:17

with a trip to the Arataki Visitor Centre.

0:21:170:21:20

With over 16,000 hectares of native rainforest

0:21:200:21:23

and coastline, it didn't take long for the Kiwi countryside

0:21:230:21:27

-to work some magic.

-Yellow.

0:21:270:21:29

-Good boy.

-Yellow.

0:21:290:21:31

-Really nice up here.

-Yes, it's got a number of different walks,

0:21:310:21:34

'so depending on how much time you've got,

0:21:340:21:36

'you can do different things.'

0:21:360:21:38

But stopping to reflect on what New Zealand offered

0:21:380:21:41

also saw doubts raised.

0:21:410:21:43

I'm feeling maybe a little bit of pressure as well after I've

0:21:430:21:45

slept on things, because the jobs didn't go quite so well for you

0:21:450:21:48

yesterday as it did go for me.

0:21:480:21:51

I know, and I feel really bad that your dream job,

0:21:510:21:54

you might not be able to afford to be able to take

0:21:540:21:58

because I can't earn as much as I need to, so...

0:21:580:22:01

Gentle and Phil's return to New Zealand had shown the country

0:22:010:22:04

may not be everything Gentle hoped for, but Phil had seen some upsides.

0:22:040:22:09

It's lovely to spend time with the family.

0:22:090:22:11

Everybody's dream would be to not

0:22:110:22:13

have to work and be able to come out here

0:22:130:22:15

and live that lifestyle all the time.

0:22:150:22:18

It was a good sentiment to end the day on,

0:22:180:22:20

so when it came to choosing between their lifestyle in the UK

0:22:200:22:23

and New Zealand, how did the couple vote?

0:22:230:22:26

-New Zealand.

-New Zealand.

0:22:320:22:35

Wow, we got something the same!

0:22:350:22:36

Sort of being in the rainforest like that,

0:22:360:22:39

it's not quite the sort of thing you get back home.

0:22:390:22:42

CHEERING

0:22:420:22:44

Gentle's dream to return to the country where she was born

0:22:490:22:51

was back on track.

0:22:510:22:53

But she knew if she couldn't prove to Phil the move

0:22:530:22:55

was financially feasible, they wouldn't be going anywhere.

0:22:550:22:59

The couple estimated they could get £300,000 for their property in the

0:22:590:23:03

UK, so we sent round two estate agents to see if they were right.

0:23:030:23:07

-ESTATE AGENT:

-Sitting, dining room, decorated very nicely.

0:23:090:23:12

-ESTATE AGENT:

-Brilliant size kitchen,

0:23:140:23:15

looks like it's been recently fitted.

0:23:150:23:17

Good size master bedroom.

0:23:170:23:19

Love the walk-in shower. His and hers sinks.

0:23:190:23:22

Really, really nice room. Fantastic size rear garden there.

0:23:220:23:25

It's a lot nicer in summer.

0:23:250:23:27

In the current market,

0:23:270:23:29

I would value this property at £275,000.

0:23:290:23:33

For a quick sale, I would value it at £270,000.

0:23:330:23:37

In the current market,

0:23:370:23:38

I would value this property at £275,000.

0:23:380:23:42

And for a quick sale, I would put it on the market at £250,000.

0:23:420:23:46

Based on those valuations, I think we would sort of struggle a bit,

0:23:460:23:51

-wouldn't we?

-We wouldn't want to sell for that price.

0:23:510:23:54

-No.

-Not for the effort we've put into the house.

0:23:540:23:57

We would be at a loss.

0:23:570:23:59

It was less than expected, so not the best start for Phil.

0:23:590:24:03

To help see how finances would stack up down under,

0:24:030:24:06

we had prepared a cost of living comparison,

0:24:060:24:09

starting with the weekly shop.

0:24:090:24:11

OK. A quick flick down, most things are a bit more expensive over here.

0:24:110:24:15

Whole milk is a big jump up.

0:24:150:24:17

That's nearly three times the price.

0:24:170:24:20

It looked like food was generally more expensive.

0:24:200:24:23

£38.45 a week worse off here in New Zealand.

0:24:230:24:27

Next, they moved on to the bigger monthly outgoings,

0:24:270:24:30

basing their mortgage repayments on the first property they'd viewed.

0:24:300:24:35

The mortgage is almost the same as it is back home.

0:24:350:24:39

I thought it would be more, yes.

0:24:390:24:40

Electricity is £50 cheaper over here.

0:24:400:24:43

-That's good.

-Childcare.

-Childcare.

0:24:430:24:45

That's a cost that, obviously, we haven't got in the UK.

0:24:450:24:48

But it's £312 for the month for childcare.

0:24:480:24:53

The couple added up how their overall outgoings in New Zealand

0:24:530:24:56

would compare to what they spend in the UK.

0:24:560:24:59

Total outgoings in New Zealand, £3,081.

0:24:590:25:04

£279 a month better off.

0:25:040:25:07

Yes, that's good, isn't it?

0:25:070:25:09

It's just really surprising.

0:25:090:25:11

Gentle was delighted to see they would spend less each month

0:25:110:25:14

down under, but how would their potential salaries

0:25:140:25:17

affect the figures?

0:25:170:25:18

Based on the other jobs that I might be able to get for up to 110,000,

0:25:180:25:25

that works out at £260 a month better off here in New Zealand.

0:25:250:25:30

-That's with you working and Harrison in childcare.

-OK.

0:25:300:25:33

Across a year, that would be just over £3,000 a year better off.

0:25:330:25:37

-Yeah.

-So that might cover a flight home.

0:25:370:25:41

They would stay in the black every month,

0:25:410:25:43

so how do their findings play out when it came to choosing between

0:25:430:25:46

finances in the UK or New Zealand?

0:25:460:25:49

-New Zealand.

-Undecided.

0:25:550:25:57

We're £3,000 a year better off over here...

0:25:570:26:01

-Yes.

-..but that would be with you working...

-Yeah.

0:26:010:26:03

and I can't work out in my head

0:26:030:26:05

whether it's the right thing for you to go and work

0:26:050:26:09

and only be that much better off.

0:26:090:26:11

I don't know, I just feel...

0:26:110:26:13

I can understand that, but I want to go back to work anyway.

0:26:130:26:17

Phil's indecision was a blow for Gentle,

0:26:220:26:25

and a sign he could be losing faith in his wife's belief that they would

0:26:250:26:28

have a better life down under.

0:26:280:26:30

And concerned about the effect a move would have on his parents,

0:26:300:26:33

Phil's biggest hurdle was still to come.

0:26:330:26:36

While Harrison took a nap,

0:26:360:26:38

the couple watched messages from friends and family back in the UK.

0:26:380:26:41

-Hi, guys.

-BOTH:

-Hi, Gentle, hi, Harrison, hi, Phil.

0:26:430:26:46

I hope you've had a great week.

0:26:460:26:48

They are a lovely little family.

0:26:480:26:49

Gentle and Phil will do everything for Harrison.

0:26:490:26:52

She's very daring.

0:26:520:26:55

She likes to get into the action.

0:26:550:26:57

She's really lovely.

0:26:570:26:59

Well, we love him very much,

0:26:590:27:01

he's a kind, loving person.

0:27:010:27:03

And he tries to help us when he can.

0:27:030:27:06

I was ill and he helped me.

0:27:060:27:07

-He came home.

-He took a year off uni to come home...

0:27:070:27:09

-And helped me.

-..and look after her.

0:27:090:27:11

Harrison is gorgeous, he's just adorable.

0:27:120:27:15

He's very attached to us, for some reason or other.

0:27:150:27:19

I think I'd really miss you

0:27:190:27:21

and I would like you to stay,

0:27:210:27:23

but I think you should go

0:27:230:27:24

and do what you want to do.

0:27:240:27:26

-So, go to New Zealand.

-Go to New Zealand.

0:27:260:27:30

Obviously, quite sad at the thought they might really do it.

0:27:300:27:34

We'd both be pleased for them,

0:27:340:27:36

but be upset for ourselves.

0:27:360:27:38

-I'm going to cry.

-Don't do that.

0:27:390:27:43

We don't want them to go.

0:27:430:27:44

But if they've got to go, they must.

0:27:460:27:50

And whatever they decide,

0:27:500:27:52

we are 100% behind them.

0:27:520:27:55

Oh.

0:28:000:28:01

You going to New Zealand will leave a big hole in my heart,

0:28:050:28:08

but I know whatever decision you make, it will be the right decision.

0:28:080:28:13

Don't really consider us, just get on with it.

0:28:140:28:17

We will miss you.

0:28:170:28:19

We will miss you so much.

0:28:190:28:22

See you when you get back, my love.

0:28:220:28:24

Bye. Love you all.

0:28:240:28:27

-Oh, are you all right?

-Yes.

0:28:270:28:30

It's hard to see my parents getting upset like that.

0:28:300:28:35

It's a difficult move, difficult decision to make.

0:28:350:28:38

It's just so far away, isn't it?

0:28:380:28:40

You do feel a sense of responsibility towards your parents.

0:28:400:28:43

They've looked after you, your life, and when they start to get older,

0:28:430:28:46

you want to be there to help them out.

0:28:460:28:49

Seeing his parents so upset was an emotional blow for Phil,

0:28:520:28:56

who now faced an impossible decision.

0:28:560:28:59

Choosing to make his wife's long-held Kiwi dream come true

0:28:590:29:02

would mean devastating his family back home.

0:29:020:29:05

For as long as she could remember,

0:29:070:29:09

Gentle had wanted to return to the country she left as a baby.

0:29:090:29:13

But the week down under had shown New Zealand

0:29:130:29:15

wouldn't necessarily deliver everything she'd been hoping for.

0:29:150:29:19

Coming out here and finding some answers to questions

0:29:190:29:21

has left me a little bit confused, which I didn't expect.

0:29:210:29:24

And while the financial risks of a move had lessened for Phil,

0:29:240:29:28

the emotional costs were still weighing on his mind.

0:29:280:29:31

Maybe I'm starting to think

0:29:310:29:33

a bit more about the emotional side

0:29:330:29:34

and what it would be like leaving people behind.

0:29:340:29:37

With their final decision approaching,

0:29:370:29:39

Gentle knew how much was at stake.

0:29:390:29:41

It's one of the biggest decisions we've ever had to make as a family,

0:29:410:29:44

so it's a very big deal.

0:29:440:29:46

And either way we vote, it will change the course of our life.

0:29:460:29:51

After decades of dreaming,

0:29:510:29:53

it was time to see if Gentle would follow her heart,

0:29:530:29:56

and if Phil had been persuaded to uproot from his family at home.

0:29:560:30:00

-New Zealand.

-New Zealand.

0:30:090:30:11

-I didn't know right up until right then.

-I know what you mean.

0:30:110:30:14

It was kind of uncertain,

0:30:140:30:15

but when I think about the potential out here

0:30:150:30:19

and the potential for Harrison,

0:30:190:30:20

I think, yeah, let's give it a go.

0:30:200:30:22

Excited and a bit nervous

0:30:220:30:24

and just keen to see where we go from here, really.

0:30:240:30:28

With most of his practical concerns put to bed,

0:30:370:30:40

Phil was reconciled to taking Harrison away

0:30:400:30:42

from his grandparents in the UK in order to green-light

0:30:420:30:46

Gentle's lifelong dream of moving back to the country

0:30:460:30:49

where she was born.

0:30:490:30:51

So, time to find out - did they or didn't they actually make the move?

0:30:510:30:57

It's April 2016 and Phil, Gentle

0:30:570:31:00

and Harrison are currently living in...

0:31:000:31:03

New Zealand.

0:31:030:31:05

Their trial week was the catalyst for the life

0:31:050:31:07

they've now got on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula,

0:31:070:31:10

just 15 miles north of Auckland.

0:31:100:31:13

It really helped Phil work out the nitty-gritty of moving over here

0:31:130:31:18

and decide that, actually, it was possible.

0:31:180:31:20

Gave me confidence about job opportunities

0:31:200:31:23

and that we could actually come out here and make a go of it.

0:31:230:31:26

On returning to the UK, the couple had busied themselves

0:31:280:31:31

with the logistics of making the move.

0:31:310:31:33

Once we'd made the decision, that was it.

0:31:330:31:35

We got home and we started putting things into...plans into action.

0:31:350:31:39

-High five. Good job.

-LAUGHTER

0:31:390:31:42

It was then a bit of a whirlwind trying to sell the house,

0:31:420:31:46

get the visas, all that sort of practical stuff that we had to do.

0:31:460:31:51

All in all, it was probably about six months

0:31:510:31:54

and we had everything sorted and that was it, ready to go.

0:31:540:32:00

HARRISON WAILS

0:32:000:32:01

Fortunately, the news they were moving

0:32:010:32:03

to the other side of the world wasn't too much of a shock

0:32:030:32:07

for their loved ones back in the UK.

0:32:070:32:09

Our family and friends had already guessed, really,

0:32:090:32:11

that we were going to come over and they had already

0:32:110:32:13

kind of come to terms with it.

0:32:130:32:14

'They were sad we were going,

0:32:140:32:16

'but then at the same time they were happy for us.'

0:32:160:32:19

Before setting off on their new adventure,

0:32:190:32:21

the family said goodbye to life in the English countryside

0:32:210:32:25

with a knees-up in their local village hall.

0:32:250:32:27

All our friends came, all our family,

0:32:270:32:30

everyone who could make it and it was really cool.

0:32:300:32:33

Everyone was crying their eyes out and being silly,

0:32:330:32:36

but it was really good fun,

0:32:360:32:38

it was a lovely way to say goodbye to everyone.

0:32:380:32:40

And everyone was calling Gentle the ice queen,

0:32:400:32:42

-because they were trying to make her cry.

-I didn't cry.

0:32:420:32:45

I was very sad inside, but I just didn't cry.

0:32:450:32:48

She's the ice queen.

0:32:480:32:50

The Spenceleys arrived to start their new lives in New Zealand

0:32:520:32:55

in October 2014.

0:32:550:32:58

And perhaps surprisingly,

0:32:580:32:59

it was Gentle who found their first weeks back hardest to deal with.

0:32:590:33:03

It's getting over the jet lag to start with

0:33:030:33:06

and then when you start getting over the jet lag,

0:33:060:33:08

then the reality kicks in.

0:33:080:33:10

It felt very isolating to start with.

0:33:100:33:14

We had ourselves as a little family, but, yeah,

0:33:140:33:17

definitely was hard for the first few weeks.

0:33:170:33:20

Sometimes you really did question why you moved over here.

0:33:200:33:24

OK, let's do the buttons first.

0:33:240:33:26

-Are you eating that?

-Yeah.

0:33:260:33:27

-You're supposed to put it on the gingerbread man.

-Yeah.

0:33:270:33:31

And she knew Harrison was unsettled too.

0:33:310:33:33

Right, do you want to do some glitter?

0:33:330:33:35

We were busy getting on with stuff, so I think, for him,

0:33:350:33:37

it probably wasn't the best of times when we first moved over here.

0:33:370:33:42

OK, that's a very glittery gingerbread man.

0:33:420:33:44

-What do you think?

-That looks great.

-THEY LAUGH

0:33:440:33:48

But despite his initial reservations about emigrating,

0:33:570:34:00

Phil took to his new surroundings straightaway.

0:34:000:34:03

I've definitely found the move easier than I thought it would be.

0:34:030:34:07

'It's all been very positive,'

0:34:070:34:09

a little bit scarily so, but...

0:34:090:34:11

Helping Phil make the transition was the fact

0:34:130:34:15

he'd been able to keep the job he did in the UK

0:34:150:34:18

and move it with him down under.

0:34:180:34:20

Previously worried about work and finances,

0:34:200:34:23

it was the perfect scenario.

0:34:230:34:24

'It definitely made things easier when we moved over as well,'

0:34:240:34:27

it kind of took some of the pressure off.

0:34:270:34:29

We could just focus on getting a house, getting a car

0:34:290:34:33

and we knew we were secure for a certain amount of time,

0:34:330:34:36

because Phil had his job in England.

0:34:360:34:39

So it was really, really a blessing to be able to do that.

0:34:390:34:43

Their biggest concern was finding a new home,

0:34:430:34:47

but even that turned out easier than anticipated.

0:34:470:34:50

We looked into getting a rental place.

0:34:500:34:53

And then we realised that actually we could get a mortgage

0:34:530:34:57

from the bank, which was really surprising,

0:34:570:34:59

because we thought being first timers over here,

0:34:590:35:02

it would take a while.

0:35:020:35:03

I think the conversation went sort of along the lines of they said,

0:35:030:35:06

"I assume you're going to want a mortgage."

0:35:060:35:09

I said, "I assumed I wouldn't be able to get one."

0:35:090:35:11

And they said, "Why?"

0:35:110:35:14

And it didn't take very long,

0:35:140:35:17

it was sort of a half an hour meeting or something

0:35:170:35:20

and we had an approval in place.

0:35:200:35:22

The couple purchased and moved into this new-build

0:35:230:35:26

just before Christmas 2014.

0:35:260:35:28

We've got a really nice house, and it's lovely where we live.

0:35:370:35:40

This is the lounge. It's a separate room to hide away in at night,

0:35:450:35:50

so you can shut the doors.

0:35:500:35:51

And it's something I've always wanted to have,

0:35:510:35:53

a bit of a separate living area,

0:35:530:35:55

rather than just having everything open-plan.

0:35:550:35:57

Yes, so it's nice and snug in the evening.

0:35:570:36:00

It's got four bedrooms, it's got an en-suite,

0:36:000:36:04

it's got a separate lounge, big double garage.

0:36:040:36:07

So in that sense, it's everything we described that we wanted.

0:36:070:36:11

This is the pantry,

0:36:180:36:19

which is nice, cos I can shut it off with the doors,

0:36:190:36:22

so all the mess can disappear.

0:36:220:36:24

But otherwise, it's really nice to have another space

0:36:240:36:26

to prepare tea and toast.

0:36:260:36:28

But there's one thing the house doesn't have.

0:36:280:36:31

We kind of need to put some air con in in summer, cos it gets so hot.

0:36:310:36:34

It's been designed to retain heat and it really does that very well.

0:36:340:36:40

This is the boat.

0:36:400:36:42

And that's a tractor.

0:36:420:36:44

And that's a dinosaur.

0:36:440:36:46

And that's a dump.

0:36:460:36:49

A few weeks after moving in,

0:36:490:36:51

the family were finally reunited with their belongings from the UK,

0:36:510:36:55

an event that signalled

0:36:550:36:56

the start of happier times for Harrison.

0:36:560:36:59

Should I push this one along?

0:36:590:37:00

-Yeah, Mummy.

-Toot toot!

0:37:000:37:02

As soon as he got his toys, he felt settled enough.

0:37:020:37:04

What are we going to do?

0:37:040:37:07

We started making friends, he started making friends.

0:37:070:37:09

And then he felt really settled.

0:37:090:37:12

Shortly afterwards,

0:37:180:37:20

Gentle gave up being a stay-at-home mum

0:37:200:37:22

to return to her career

0:37:220:37:23

as a veterinary nurse,

0:37:230:37:25

having found it easier than expected to find a position.

0:37:250:37:28

Hello. 'I saw the job advertised in the paper'

0:37:280:37:30

and thought, "That's down the road, it's part-time,

0:37:300:37:33

"that sounds perfect."

0:37:330:37:35

'So I went in and went for an interview,

0:37:350:37:36

'literally, the day after I handed my CV in.

0:37:360:37:39

And they pretty much offered me the job straightaway

0:37:390:37:42

and I thought, "Wow, can't turn that down, cos it's just perfect."

0:37:420:37:47

The reality hasn't disappointed.

0:37:470:37:50

CHATTER

0:37:500:37:52

'So I really enjoy my job,

0:37:520:37:53

'because the people I work with are lovely.'

0:37:530:37:55

And I do perfect hours, it's 9-3, three days a week,

0:37:550:37:58

so I get to pick up and take Harrison to preschool.

0:37:580:38:01

Going back to work has helped Gentle feel more settled, too.

0:38:030:38:06

It felt like, you know, this was it,

0:38:090:38:11

this was my life and I lived here now.

0:38:110:38:13

Meanwhile, Phil is continuing to enjoy working remotely

0:38:190:38:23

for his employers back in the UK.

0:38:230:38:25

'I work four days a week for them, Tuesday to Friday.'

0:38:250:38:28

I tend to do calls of an evening to either report on progress

0:38:280:38:33

or just make sure that it keeps things ticking along.

0:38:330:38:36

I've been surprised at the level of communication I've had

0:38:360:38:39

with people in the UK still,

0:38:390:38:41

so I do keep in contact with a lot of members of the team.

0:38:410:38:45

'That helps keep me in the loop.'

0:38:450:38:46

And despite working at opposite ends of the world to his colleagues,

0:38:460:38:49

he has no plans to move on.

0:38:490:38:51

I see it being

0:38:510:38:52

a long-term relationship, so long as my employers

0:38:520:38:56

continue to be happy with the work that I put out.

0:38:560:38:59

Having achieved a perfect work-life balance,

0:38:590:39:03

Phil and Gentle have had plenty of time to host family and friends

0:39:030:39:07

from the UK throughout the past 18 months.

0:39:070:39:10

Both of our parents have visited us.

0:39:100:39:12

My parents have been over twice so far

0:39:120:39:14

and they're coming out again in February.

0:39:140:39:16

We're really lucky in that sense.

0:39:160:39:18

For Phil in particular, the opportunity to show his folks

0:39:180:39:21

the lifestyle they'd left England for was really important.

0:39:210:39:26

They definitely saw and appreciated why we had made the move.

0:39:260:39:29

I think if they were maybe ten years younger,

0:39:290:39:31

I think they'd probably try and think about coming out here

0:39:310:39:34

six months of the year and being in the UK six months of the year,

0:39:340:39:37

chasing summer.

0:39:370:39:39

CHATTER

0:39:390:39:41

In the absence of friends and family from home,

0:39:430:39:45

the Spenceleys have also forged plenty of new friendships

0:39:450:39:49

and admit their personal lives are busier than ever.

0:39:490:39:52

I probably do quite a lot more socialising here

0:39:520:39:55

than I did back in the UK.

0:39:550:39:56

But, yeah, we've got a good group of friends now.

0:39:560:40:00

I think the biggest part of our life over here is socialising.

0:40:000:40:03

We seem to do a lot of it, cos we're basically

0:40:030:40:05

relying on our friends as our family, almost.

0:40:050:40:08

A lot of them are in the same situation

0:40:100:40:12

where they haven't got their family around here,

0:40:120:40:14

so we enjoy our time together.

0:40:140:40:17

And even when it's just the three of them,

0:40:210:40:23

they are making the most of the country's outdoor lifestyle.

0:40:230:40:26

'I feel that we get a lot of really good family time together.'

0:40:260:40:30

'We are enjoying the walks, we are enjoying exploring'

0:40:300:40:33

new areas. But quite often we will just go to the park,

0:40:330:40:37

'like, a regional park. It's got, like, green space and a beach.

0:40:370:40:40

'And in the summer when it's nice and warm,'

0:40:400:40:42

we go for swims in the sea.

0:40:420:40:44

We've also got a swimming pool down the road,

0:40:440:40:47

so we will do that as well.

0:40:470:40:48

The way of life over here is definitely very good.

0:40:480:40:53

'And I think the weather is a big factor of that.

0:40:530:40:55

'Just able to do a lot more.'

0:40:550:40:57

But they've also discovered a tiny negative to all that sunshine.

0:40:570:41:01

There's a downside to having nice weather is the sunscreen,

0:41:010:41:04

but at the same time,

0:41:040:41:06

it's something I'm prepared to deal with!

0:41:060:41:08

It's not the worst thing in the world to be complaining about.

0:41:090:41:12

-No, exactly.

-First world problems.

0:41:120:41:14

It's fair to say establishing the life Gentle had dreamt of

0:41:150:41:18

in New Zealand has been pretty plain sailing.

0:41:180:41:22

I'm really happy we made the move out here.

0:41:220:41:25

I'm really enjoying life out here at the moment.

0:41:250:41:28

'I think we are very lucky to have what we have over here,

0:41:280:41:31

'so at the moment, I feel really happy and settled.'

0:41:310:41:34

'I don't think I've ever felt anything that said

0:41:340:41:38

'this was not right decision.'

0:41:380:41:40

I said I didn't

0:41:400:41:41

feel quite so settled in the house we were in in the UK.

0:41:410:41:44

I feel a lot more settled over here.

0:41:440:41:46

-And there.

-There's one.

-There's one.

0:41:460:41:49

'We really kind of landed on our feet here.'

0:41:490:41:51

-That's an even bigger one.

-Whoa.

0:41:510:41:53

And Harrison's made himself at home too.

0:41:530:41:55

'Very occasionally, like the other day, he said,

0:41:550:41:58

'"I want to go back to England to live with my nanny and gramps,

0:41:580:42:01

'"meaning grandma and grandad."

0:42:010:42:04

'That made us really sad, but then the next day'

0:42:040:42:07

we were doing something super fun, he was like,

0:42:070:42:10

"I love living here. I don't want to live in England!"

0:42:100:42:12

So for him, it's each day as it comes.

0:42:120:42:15

Now, 18 months into their new lives,

0:42:170:42:20

the Spenceleys will soon be visiting the UK for a wedding,

0:42:200:42:23

but it doesn't sound like the family will be giving up

0:42:230:42:26

on New Zealand any time soon.

0:42:260:42:28

-It's really nice here, isn't it?

-I saw a stingray!

0:42:280:42:31

It's always difficult to say 100% where your future lies,

0:42:310:42:34

but I kind of think I feel very settled here.

0:42:340:42:37

'Our lives have turned out really well...'

0:42:390:42:42

by fluke. It's just...we've been really lucky.

0:42:420:42:46

It's everything that we expected and more, so we're really happy.

0:42:500:42:53

With everything falling into place,

0:42:590:43:01

Gentle's New Zealand dream really has become the reality for her,

0:43:010:43:06

Phil and Harrison.

0:43:060:43:08

And it looks like the whole family have made the country their home.

0:43:080:43:12

We wish them all continued health and happiness down under.

0:43:120:43:16

In 2014, Gentle Spenceley was desperate to convince husband Phil to uproot their life in the UK and move to New Zealand - the country where she was born. Having moved to the UK when she was just six months old, Gentle had spent a lifetime longing to return down under. When the couple chose the country as their honeymoon destination, she hoped it would sell itself to Phil as somewhere they could start married life. But three weeks down under failed to win him over.

When they became parents to Harrison in 2012, Gentle had put her dream of emigrating on the back burner. However, when Phil revealed he didn't feel settled in the English countryside soon after, she seized the opportunity to make him reconsider moving to the other side of the world.

A trial week in Auckland was Gentle's last shot at persuading Phil to cast aside his practical and emotional concerns in order to follow her dream - and her efforts finally paid off. Now, two years on, have the family made the leap and moved down under or are they still at home in the UK?