David McGuinness was desperate for a better future but couldn't agree with his wife Jeanette on where that might be. He wanted Australia, she didn't.
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The McGuinness family were desperate for a better future.
If we can't afford to make ends meet,
what kind of upbringing is that going to be for the children?
But could they agree on what it is?
My mind's made up, I want to go to Australia.
This, to me, this is the dream.
Especially when mum was far from convinced.
It's just too small. Just wouldn't buy this one.
-So it's a no, then?
-It's definitely a no.
So the question is, where are the McGuinness family now?
The UK or down under?
Australia's famous laid-back way of life, sunny climate and almost
30,000 miles of coastline have made it the chosen destination for Brits
moving abroad, but life down under doesn't always
give you the kind of paradise you imagine.
David McGuinness had talked about moving to Australia with his wife
Jeanette since their first date,
but could he convince her to uproot their young family from their
tight-knit Liverpool home?
That was the decision facing them in 2011.
Now, six years later, we will find out where the family landed.
After 24 hours and having crossed three continents,
the McGuinnesses landed in Brisbane,
and the sheer distance from home had dawned on Jeanette.
When I seen, you know, when you look on the in-flight map,
you're watching that, and you see how many countries you
actually fly over and you realise to yourself how far away it is then.
The family home was in Liverpool.
They were 36-year-old David, his wife, Jeanette, who was 31,
and their children, Gabrielle, aged four, and two-year-old Sean.
18 years ago before he met Jeanette, David went on a holiday to Sydney,
and he was convinced his family's future lay on the other side of the world.
Even though I only went on a holiday,
I got a good feeling from the country.
However, Jeanette was reluctant to move anywhere.
I love Liverpool, it's where I was brought up.
I get homesick even when we go away for the weekend.
I phone up to see what's happening at home.
It wasn't just a holiday fantasy driving David to uproot his family.
His carpentry business had been badly hit in the recession.
Two or three years ago, I was flying, I had lads working for me,
I was earning, I was on a good wage.
Now, the last year and a half, two years, all my prices have
gone down a third. I've still got the same bills,
in fact I've got bigger bills now than I did two years ago.
It's just no lifestyle for the children to bring them up in.
If we can't afford to make ends meet,
what kind of upbringing is that going to be for the children?
On top of this, they were both worried about increasing UK crime rates,
particularly in their area where they'd both lived since childhood.
It's getting worse. When we were younger, there was drugs
and everything around, but they have guns now and stuff.
I don't want my kids going to areas where they could potentially mix
with that type of people.
With the employment situation in this country now,
we're not going to be able to afford a better area than where we live.
Both David and Jeanette were born and raised in Liverpool.
They both had lots of family living close by and Jeanette was
particularly close to her mum.
She's with her mum every single day, I'd say.
They do everything together.
David, I don't think he's realised how hard it is going to be
for me, not being able to see me mum and dad.
For David, the move held no fears.
My mind's made up, I want to go to Australia, in fact, I'd go tomorrow.
I'm there already.
With so much at stake, Jeanette was torn about the decision.
The main reason to go is to give the children the best life we can possibly give them.
And I don't know whether that life is in Australia or here,
surrounded by the family.
It's just hard decision for me to make, very hard.
I don't know which is best.
Their quest started in the city of Gold Coast,
in the east of Australia, close to Brisbane.
Gold Coast offered all the benefits of city life with plenty of sandy
beaches for families to enjoy the Australian lifestyle.
And with a thriving business community,
there were good opportunities for both David and Jeanette.
However, property prices here were among the highest in Australia.
Their base for the week was this three-bedroom house
close to the city and beaches. But did it impress?
Wow! Look where you're staying.
It's nice, it's lovely and clean.
It's all one level, isn't it?
Jeanette sounded like she was being a bit polite.
Perhaps the rest of the house got her excited.
-What's in there?
-A purple one.
-Is that the only toilet?
-I don't know.
It wasn't going well. Maybe the outside space could win her over.
Oh! It's got a swimming pool. I don't think it's in use, though.
-Yeah, I know.
Come on, then. Wow, this is nice, isn't it?
And there's the barbecue.
Watch these... I don't like those steps.
-One, two, three.
-Got holes in.
Isn't that a nice pool?
Would you like a swimming pool, Gabrielle, in your own house?
It would be nice, wouldn't it?
The swimming pool got everyone's vote, however,
it wasn't just the steps that had Jeanette worried.
Could be too many spiders hiding underneath.
That's what she doesn't like.
I'm petrified of spiders, so...
Especially ones that can kill you.
In my garden, I haven't really got any plants,
because I don't like spiders, and plants house spiders.
I couldn't come out here.
David had just one week to convince Jeanette that their future lay there.
Spiders or not.
Back in 2011,
the McGuinness family lived in a four-bedroom detached house in the
Waltham area of Liverpool.
They had spent time and money turning their house into a family home.
They'd wanted somewhere that would fulfil all their needs
within a budget of £200,000 in Australia.
I'm looking for the type of house that I've got.
Detached, three bedrooms at least, a nice garden
so that the kids can run around.
And in a nice, safe, secure area.
My dream house, ideally, if we could afford it, in Australia,
would be a two-storey house with four bedrooms,
front and back garden.
Enclosed back garden.
With a playroom downstairs.
We gave the McGuinnesses a taste of the property market on the Gold Coast.
We showed them three houses based on what they wanted from their ideal
home, what they could afford, and the real price of property down under.
After showing them what was on offer, we revealed what each house cost.
First stop was Biggera Waters,
just five miles north from the centre of the Gold Coast.
This quiet neighbourhood was popular with families.
Property one was a three-bedroom town house set in a residential complex.
This meant access to a shared swimming pool and tennis courts.
But did the resort-style setting appeal?
It seems safe enough. I saw neighbourhood watch signs as I came
in which makes me think, is there a lot of crime around here?
I don't know.
But did the inside impress more?
-It's too small.
It reminds me of like a compact flat.
It reminds me of holiday accommodation.
I don't think Jeanette meant a dream holiday.
Garden's big enough.
It's a shared garden.
So you've got no private area in the back.
Was David's Australian dream falling at the first hurdle?
-Like it, then?
-It's just too small.
The upstairs was the last chance to win her over.
It's nice, it's nice.
Do you think you could fit a double bed in here?
Nice size, can you fit a double bed in here?
Yeah, and you'd fit a double bed in this one as well.
It was beginning to sound more positive but the layout had them puzzled.
Someone's got a bad architect here, two doors.
That's what it's for.
You close the bedroom door...
-And it's en-suite.
-..and it's an en-suite!
Someone else can get in from the side anyway.
The upstairs had given them a laugh but had it convinced them?
Wouldn't leave our house in the UK to come to this house.
No, if this house was in the UK, I definitely wouldn't buy it.
It's just too small for a family of four, especially with all their toys.
So the McGuinnesses were both underwhelmed by the size and garden
of this house but did the price make a difference?
Let's have a look.
Same as our house was in the UK.
It does worry us a bit, as to whether we could make a life out
here, the lifestyle that we want.
We definitely want a bigger house.
-And we're not going to get it.
-I'll have two jobs.
I don't know.
That was a huge blow.
If they weren't impressed by the properties they could afford,
David's dream of moving was in trouble.
They set out to visit property number two,
which David hoped would make a better case for living in Australia.
Property two was situated in the Nerang area,
a popular neighbourhood close to the countryside and not too far away
from those all-important beaches.
This house offered all the peace and quiet that they wanted, but did they like it?
-Nicer than the last one.
-Yeah, it is, it's bigger.
I think the views are fantastic.
I could see me sitting here.
Don't jump on the beds.
This is a nice bed, en-suite.
That's a bonus, isn't it?
It was a good start, but Jeanette had already spotted a downside.
I don't like the kitchen.
-Why don't you like the kitchen?
-It's very basic.
Obviously you'd have to put in a new kitchen in it if you bought this house.
-Would you block it off?
-No, because then it feels too cramped in here.
But then I could take this wall off, would be a lot bigger kitchen.
I don't know whether, it's just the layout, I don't know what it is,
I just can't put me finger on it.
Well, is it because it's separate, you need this blocking off?
-I wouldn't buy this house.
Why wouldn't you buy this house? It's better than the last one.
David was trying really hard to convince Jeanette.
But with so many Australian homes being open plan,
this layout was a big problem.
I need somewhere with outdoor space,
so the kids can run their energies off.
I don't particularly want a pool, because if you wanted to go swimming,
you can always go out to a swimming pool.
You don't need a pool but you do need a bit of outdoor space for them
to run round in.
If the garden was to be mainly for the children,
what did Gabrielle make of it?
Oh, dear. That was a no, then.
It was time to find out the price.
The good-sized rooms and view seemed to have won Jeanette over
but the garden changed all that.
Did the price convince them, or was it out of reach?
You can get a lot of house back in the UK for 217.
-With a garden.
-That's what you're paying in Australia.
It's over our budget, though.
This is all we can afford and it's even over our budget.
I'm not really surprised, because I had done a lot of research
on the housing market in Australia, before we come over.
So I do know things are expensive.
It's well over what our house is worth.
This house was a disappointment.
It didn't have the garden space Jeanette craved for the children.
And even if they liked the house, it was over their budget.
Everything now hung on the final property.
Tweed Heads was 16 miles south of Gold Coast,
close to some of the country's best beaches for surfing
and it was a good place to live the Australian lifestyle.
The third house was a five bedroom home.
Sean and Gabrielle were left with a childminder, so David and Jeanette
could have a good look around the house themselves.
-Bit dark, isn't it?
-It's dark but it's nice.
-It's cosy, yeah.
-It's the nicest kitchen.
-Yeah, it is.
That's nice, and you could fit a table and chairs there.
-This is bigger.
That is lovely views, isn't it?
It was a promising start and there were still the garden and
swimming pool to check out.
Nice decking area, barbecue, lovely views.
Dive into the pool.
It was going well, and then Jeanette spotted some major problems.
It's just not child friendly whatsoever.
Couldn't even consider buying a house like this,
-it's just not child friendly at all.
-Not very well built.
God, that's awful.
He is insured.
And there was still the downstairs to explore.
Well, how do you get down to that bit?
Under all those trees?
I'll stay up here.
I'm not going down because there'll be loads of spiders.
-Look at all the spiders everywhere.
-I'm going in.
They're in the house. Here you are, there's more rooms downstairs.
-But you've got to go to them down an outdoor stairs?
Just watch out for the spiders.
Do you know what? I don't even want to see it.
Look, they're everywhere!
This is lovely. This could be another little living area or a bedroom.
David, put it back! Get lost, get away from me now.
Get away from me.
David's joking around didn't help to change her mind.
This house would've given them all the room they needed, however,
the state of the downstairs had Jeannette wanting out.
This would be like my Bushtucker Trial, staying in this house.
-Shall we stay for the night?
-I love it. I want to buy it.
-I could live here with the lads.
-You know what?
I couldn't even say that I could do this house up and live in it
because I just couldn't.
-So this is a no then?
-It's definitely a no.
Come on, let's get out of here.
Argh! Something's just touched me.
After another promising start, the house hadn't gone down well
with Jeannette, but could the price have turned things around,
if it had been within their budget?
Go on, let's see how much it is.
Let's see how much we're spending.
So we're definitely not moving to Australia then,
cos we can't afford nothing.
We can't afford anything...
But there's other houses.
You've seen some on the internet.
It seemed house prices had really blown away Jeannette's hopes for a dream home.
You know, when we first got here and everyone was dead friendly,
I was thinking, I like it here, and I was actually going more
for Australia, then this has just totally put me right off.
It really has. It's totally put me off.
Every house is going to be different, we've only seen a couple of houses.
You had to admire David's determined approach,
but it hadn't convinced Jeannette.
Although property one was well within budget,
it's just hadn't been big enough for their needs.
The second house had room outside but the rather odd garden
didn't offer Jeannette the outdoor space she wanted.
And while the third property seemed perfect on paper,
it was a definite no from Jeannette.
So had Australian homes won them over or did they vote to stay in the UK?
Compared to the houses in the UK and what you can get over there,
for the same price, my vote goes to...
And my vote goes to...
David remained upbeat but even he had to admit that the house
they wanted may be out of reach for their budget.
It only depends on whether we can earn more money out here,
put our budget up, to afford a better property.
If we couldn't earn more money, and that's our budget, full stop,
that was the three houses we've seen today,
we wouldn't be able to bring the kids up in them.
So it's all based on what we could earn.
Jeannette's disappointment with Australian homes seemed to put
the brakes on the move,
so potential job opportunities have become even more important.
Back in Liverpool, David had his own business as a carpenter and joiner
and Jeannette worked part-time in payroll.
The economic collapse of 2008 meant there was a shortage of building
work in the UK, and his business had been pushed to the brink.
It's the job that I love, I do love it.
I wish I was in constant work.
But there isn't the work to cover what I want to do in the UK.
Hopefully it will be in Australia.
We had arranged for him to spend a day working on a Gold Coast building site.
Everything hung on his ability to get work.
The object for me is to get loads of work,
hopefully there's plenty of it about.
This is supposed to be one of the biggest builders.
Hopefully I'll get a couple of contacts while I'm here.
This was David's chance to show what he was made of,
and they threw him straight in at the deep end.
I'll get you to hold the level, mate.
Brilliant, thank you. We don't use levels in the UK, we guess...
Oh, do you? Fair enough.
It seemed like Liverpool and Australia banter was a natural fit.
Back in the UK, Jeannette had earned just over £13,000 a year working
part-time in the payroll office.
After a disappointing house hunt, her job prospects could have made
all the difference to their lifestyle.
So we sent her to a recruitment agency where she had one very important question.
Is there work available?
Yes, there is, particularly if you want to temp first,
and I think with the skills that you've got,
and particularly having a degree, I don't see that you'd have
an issue getting work.
I'd sign you up, that's for sure.
-That's positive, then.
-Yes, it is.
That had been a promising start for Jeanette.
And back on the building site,
David got the lowdown from the site manager.
-Is there plenty of work?
-Plenty of work, mate.
The Gold Coast is a little bit quiet at the moment,
but in the region in general, there is...
Within driving distance, there's plenty of work, mate. Yeah.
That was exactly what David wanted to hear.
But what about the most important question?
What is the salary for a carpenter and joiner in Australia?
Mate, depending on the site that you're on,
and also depending on the hours that you'd be doing,
you could be earning, as a starting point,
anywhere between 85,000 to potentially 100 grand.
Australian dollars, obviously.
That was £60,000 starting salary.
Far more than David had earned in recent years.
And what about Jeanette's pay?
I think that you would be very happy.
I would say minimum you would be looking at would be about 45,000 upwards.
And it can be well upwards from that.
£30,000 was much better than Jeanette had been earning in the UK,
but was it enough to make her reconsider moving?
The fact that there's employment available is fantastic.
That means that I could come out here and afford the lifestyle
I wanted, really, so it is fantastic news.
That was quite a turnaround for Jeanette.
But which way did they vote?
My experience today was very positive and I'm going to vote...
With regards to employment here in Australia,
my vote goes to...
It had been an informative day for the couple.
When the family met back up at the house, Jeanette was quick to
point out one big difference their combined salaries could make.
Obviously, we wouldn't have to live in any of the houses we've seen yesterday.
So that's a bonus.
David believed Australia would be a better place to raise a family,
but Jeanette was yet to be convinced.
So he took the family to meet Pam, a distant relative,
who lived in the countryside outside Brisbane.
He'd hoped local knowledge would help seal the deal.
I'm David. This is Sean.
-Hello, Sean. How are you?
-Nice to meet you.
I tell you what, I can see the Carney in you.
-You can see the Carney in me?
-I thought I was a McGuinness.
-I can see the similarity, that's for sure.
-This is Jeanette.
-Hello, Jeanette. How are you?
They were joined for lunch by Pam's friend, Liz,
and Jeanette didn't waste any time beating around the bush.
Can I just ask you about crime rates?
What is crime like around here?
I mean, not coming from here, I need to know about what...
I mean, I could come here and move to a really bad area and not know...
-..whether it's a nice area.
I wouldn't say we've got a crime problem.
We can sleep at night windows wide open.
Yeah, but you wouldn't leave a window open in this country anyway,
because of the spiders.
Jokes aside, it was reassuring for Jeanette to hear about
local crime rates, and then it was her turn to be put on the spot.
So do you think, after being here,
that you would like to come and live in Australia?
I'm not... I'm just not sure at all.
It's just the thought of leaving family and friends.
Yes, I can appreciate that.
Is that more important?
Is coming to Australia and having an outdoor lifestyle more important for
the children? Or is being at home with family more important?
I've got to weigh that up.
However, this taste of country life had had a big effect on David.
I think today's probably been one of the best days so far.
This, to me... This is the dream.
But he had to convince Jeanette,
otherwise David's plan for his family would remain a dream.
To get a taste of what Australia had on offer,
the McGuinnesses went to the Ekka in Brisbane.
It was a huge agricultural show that went on for ten days.
Not the sort of thing they'd experienced before.
Wow. Look at all these animals, kids!
Here we go. Isn't this fantastic?
Gabrielle loved it.
But Sean wasn't so sure.
Sean looks a bit scared,
but I think the kids are enjoying themselves.
-Look at this white one. He likes you.
Got to get used to it, hasn't he?
We've never done anything like this before.
We normally go and see animals, but they're all behind fences,
they're never allowed to mingle in with them like this.
So they're having a ball, they're loving this.
Brilliant experience for them.
And it wasn't just the show that had impressed them for what Australia had on offer.
There's parks on every corner.
There's play areas, swings and slides, fantastic for the children.
Jeanette's realising that there is plenty for the young children to do,
so she's coming round to the idea.
I knew my plan would work!
But had David been getting ahead of himself?
It seemed like a great day out,
but there was one thing still weighing on Jeanette's mind.
It would be different living here full-time than just seeing it for the week.
There's plus sides and downsides to all of it.
I've got a lot of thinking to do.
After the day out, which way did they vote on lifestyle?
UK or Australia?
We've had a lovely day out here today.
The children have had a ball feeding the animals
-and we're going to vote...
-Go on, vote.
One, two, three.
Australia. I say same.
Three Australia, one undecided.
-I think it's...
If you get the nice weather in the UK,
you can have a nice family day out as well as you can here, so...
So even after a taste of the Australian lifestyle,
Jeanette was still not won over.
Jeanette and David bought their house for £155,000 and had put in
£20,000 fixing it up.
Would they get back all the money they'd spent?
We sent around two estate agents to get its sale and rental value at the time.
-There's our house.
Cute kid! Doesn't know him!
I like the fireplace. Nice and modern.
I think whoever lives here's got an eye for taste and colour.
I picked that fireplace.
Really nicely presented.
Good quality kitchen.
-There you go.
He said, "Good quality kitchen."
-I picked that.
-Your real oak kitchen.
-That's your bedroom.
It's a nice, warm, welcoming room for any child.
I think it's an ideal environment for a child to grow up in.
Obviously, it's never going to be this clean when there's a child in it.
Well, I've had a look at the property now, it's a nice property.
To sell the property in the current market,
I would value the property at 130-135.
That's more than what I expected.
To achieve maximum rental income, I would value the property,
for rental purposes, at 595 per calendar month.
In the current market, we'd be looking at placing it on the market
at around about £150,000, say 149,950,
with a view to achieving between 140-145,000.
For the rental market,
it should achieve somewhere between £675-725 per calendar month.
-I'm going with him.
-Going with him!
I know we paid 155, but I thought the market had depreciated that much.
I'm surprised for the better, yeah.
Based on that evaluation,
the McGuinnesses have decided they would rent their house out,
if they were to move.
However, this was only part of their financial considerations.
So we've prepared a breakdown of their living costs
in Australia versus the UK.
£372 for petrol here, £190 car insurance.
I thought the fuel was supposed to be cheaper over here?
That's a big difference.
OK. Let's do the earnings, then.
So, here you are, total combined earnings...
Do you see the difference between them two?
Ingoings and outgoings.
Difference between that one...
It's about the same.
-Yeah. You're actually 20 quid...
It's £20 difference between our monthly bills at home
and the salaries we can earn. It's just the same.
-Do you know...
-£20 better off in Australia?
£20 better off in Australia.
There you are. Let's move to Australia.
£20 better off might not have seemed that much,
but was it enough to make a difference,
if it meant a whole new lifestyle for the McGuinnesses?
House prices are a lot more expensive.
Work, wages, seems as though you can get a lot more.
We are going to vote for...
-That's a shock.
-Because I know I can earn more out here.
Because of more opportunities, yeah.
I could earn more money out here.
We had prepared some messages from family and friends in the UK.
Jeanette and David decided they would watch it on their own
and let the children play outside.
Are you ready?
Hello, Jeanette and David and Gabrielle and Sean.
Missing you! Hoping you're having a good time in Australia.
I couldn't fault David.
He looks after his family, he's a good family man,
he only wants what's best for his children.
I'm not sure how they'd settle in to the Australian way of life.
David, I think, would settle in a lot easier than Jeanette.
She's very homely.
David's decision will be based on Jeanette because he loves Jeanette
so much, so I know for a fact David wants to go, but if Jeanette really,
truly doesn't want to go, then David will back Jeanette up.
My wife is very caring and she loves the bones of the grandchildren,
as all grandmothers do.
She's had a lot to do with the grandchildren.
Because of all this, it's too upsetting for my wife
to speak about it.
Oh, I love them kids.
Just the thought of...
..not seeing them every week, just taking them out,
spending time with them.
It's going to be so hard.
I am going to miss them so much,
but I am behind what decisions they make.
We want to say that if you decide that you're going to make your new
life in Australia, then we will always be there for you and we will
always be behind you, but also, we would...
..terribly miss you all if you go, and we'll miss seeing Gabrielle
and Sean growing up and being there at the special times.
If that's what you decide to do, then we'll be there for you.
But our heart says we'd rather you were here with us.
That's upsetting. When people are saying they're going to miss the
children growing up and stuff.
Jeanette got upset at seeing her mum and dad walking away from
the airport when we were coming to Australia.
If she was getting upset at that, imagine her getting upset if she's
leaving them for a couple of years.
It's just loads of factors you've got to consider.
As their trial week in Australia came to an end,
it had thrown up a lot to think about.
House prices had come as a shock and Jeanette's phobias had become an issue.
However, both salary and job prospects were what they wanted to hear.
After a week of highs and lows,
the family's future rested on a knife edge.
This would be the biggest decision me and Jeanette would make,
coming to the other side of the world, leaving everything that we know.
Before we came to Australia,
I was 100% sure that Australia was the perfect life for us.
During the week, I've had my ups and downs,
but I think the goods have outweighed the bads.
You only get one life.
I have not got a clue how I'm going to vote because there's plusses and minuses to all of it.
So I really do not know.
That's the main thing, it's money and opportunities out here,
and family back home and no opportunities.
It was time to decide.
Had David done enough to convince Jeanette their future lay in Australia?
After spending the last week in Australia and looking at lifestyle,
employment opportunities, and Australian life in general,
we're going to vote...
I have come to a conclusion that there is more opportunities here
than there is back in the UK.
I will miss family and friends, but I'll give it a go, see.
Doesn't mean forever.
Because I love you so much, babe.
The prospect of moving halfway around the world,
leaving loved ones behind, was daunting.
But with the promise of better opportunities down under,
even Jeanette voted Australia.
So, six years later,
it's time to find out if the family are living at home or abroad.
It's 2017 and the McGuinnesses are living in New Zealand.
But how did they end up nearly 1,500 miles from Brisbane?
I loved the trial week.
When we got back to the UK, we were still buzzing
and all we were still talking about was emigrating.
So when he got me onside, he won me over, he was more for going for it.
We decided, as a family, we were going to try and emigrate.
David had always dreamt of emigrating to Australia and now with
Jeanette on board, it seemed inevitable.
As soon as we got back from Australia, it was just all
job-hunting, looking at visa applications, sending CVs,
just everything we had to do.
David even completed a IELTS test which is a requirement to get in to Australia.
However, problems arose with the terms of David's visa.
He would be obliged to travel across Australia for work.
When we looked into going to Australia,
his work wasn't guaranteed in the same area,
so we could move to Australia, but he would
eventually get sent all over Australia to do the job.
I was thinking, if I landed there, I wouldn't be at home,
so Jeanette wouldn't be happy at being in a different country
with just her and the kids.
I had to find somewhere where the work was in the one area.
Not willing to give up the dream of their chosen lifestyle,
Jeanette and David explored other options.
We went to a lot of expos, we nearly signed up to go to Canada,
and then New Zealand popped up.
However, suddenly, David's career threw up a big stumbling block.
I took on a new contract.
I ended up working for a shop-fitting firm and all my work was away.
First, we decided to just forget about it,
we just plodded along and worked with life.
David was working away.
I was with the children on my own all the time.
David and Jeanette's dream of a new life abroad was slipping through their fingers.
He was working away for three weeks, coming home for two days,
so me and the kids were only seeing him for two days.
How many birthdays did you miss?
Sean was six.
Out of those six years, I missed three of his birthdays through work.
Back in Liverpool, he missed some of our birthdays and
he used to work months and stuff away from us in different countries
and different cities.
After four years of David working away from home,
Jeanette had had enough and she took the bull by the horns herself.
And then, eventually, I got sick of it and phoned up and got him
a job interview for New Zealand.
You were in London, I think.
I said to him, "I've had enough and you're going for a job
"interview for New Zealand."
So it just went from there, didn't it?
-So it was...
"The job's yours."
After the earthquake of 2011, there was a huge demand for
experienced construction workers in Christchurch, New Zealand.
They were screaming for... Screaming out for carpenters,
which is my trade, and I could be home every night.
Jeanette took charge of the visa application process.
Once we got the job offer, we got an agent, a visa agent,
which was quite straightforward.
It cost a lot of money, but it's quite straightforward.
They tell you what to do. It is stressful getting all the paperwork
together and everything else, but when you look back at it, you think,
"It's not really that hard."
And four years after their trip to the Gold Coast,
suddenly things started moving rapidly.
By the time our visa had been passed,
new employers were getting a bit anxious about how long it was taking
him to get out and so we had to book our flights in ten days.
We had a ten-day window.
I was working up until probably the day,
two days before packing up for moving.
I don't remember you packing anything.
No. I'm just saying that.
On the flight, I was crying all the way here, to be honest.
All the way.
Just not knowing what you're going to.
Not knowing anybody on the other side.
Wondering whether I'd done the right thing, the children, feeling so...
It was horrible watching my dad walk away from the airport,
not knowing when I was going to see him again.
You meet a lot of people who are in the same boat and it's those people
that get you through because everyone has their ups and downs
and everyone goes through bouts of homesickness,
so you help each other through it.
You get through it. It's good.
The biggest drive behind David and Jeanette's move was to provide the
best quality of life for their children, Sean and Gabrielle.
My big worry was the children and whether they're going to fit in,
whether they'd be happy here, and it just didn't bother them at all.
Straight into school, loved it, loved...
They still love the school now.
This is perfect for the children to grow up.
The kids are always out playing out in the street, on their bikes,
on their scooters. Never see them.
They've just got so many friends here that there's always
kids knocking at the door, wanting to play out with them.
It's just... It's a lovely lifestyle for them.
I never let them play out at home.
Gabrielle, she was a bit unsettled until I had that turn around and
started saying how much I love it here and she's just totally settled in.
I like the way it's really sunny, so we can always, like,
play out with our friends, and we've made a lot of friends.
Best thing about living here is seeing the kids happy.
Sean plays football four times a week.
It's literally on our doorstep where he plays football.
The school's on our doorstep, a five-minute walk.
The high school's five minutes another way.
My job's five minutes one-way.
It's just... It's so nice having everything here in
this small community and everybody knows everyone.
It's a lovely little community feel.
Seeing the kids so happy and all the friends they've got,
seeing what kind of upbringing you can get here,
it's fantastic for them.
Every single night, I put them to bed, I kiss them goodnight,
I see them doing the sport, I know where the school is,
where the classroom is.
I don't go to the school to pick them up
and the teacher go, "Are you the uncle?"
They actually know I'm their dad.
Yeah, I'm happy that they brought me to New Zealand because we can just,
like, play around all day and our school is really good.
The McGuinnesses had travelled on a 12-month resident visa.
Once we got here and realised how fast the first 12 months went,
we thought, we only have to do another 12 months,
we'll get permanent residency which will change our children's
future forever and that's what we decided to do.
The family have rented several properties all in the Rolleston area
of Christchurch over the last two years.
As soon as we got here, we rented a small rental property, three bedrooms.
Then after six months, we moved again into this house that we are in now.
This has felt like home. We've been here a year and a half.
But they're selling this house and because we haven't sold our house in
the UK, we're not in a position to buy a property, but hopefully,
once this next year's up, we will have money in the bank,
we can look around and see what we want to buy, what we can afford.
So are they happy with the move, two years in?
Back in the UK, I was always chasing money.
Money was the main goal.
Here, you realise, and I think the Kiwis make you realise,
-there's more to life.
-We're always out walking which we never used to,
on bike rides, never used to do that.
Different. Going to the beach all the time.
It's so much of a different lifestyle here than what we had back home in the UK.
Being able to have our own little independence,
so you can go and play golf and I can go for walks,
just having that lifestyle where we can actually live
rather than just exist, which is what we were doing back home.
I don't think Jeanette would call it home until she owns her own house.
As soon as we have our own property, you can put pictures on the wall,
you can have your pets, and the kids,
that's when Jeanette will call it home.
Liverpool's my home. It will always be my home.
I will never say I will stay in New Zealand forever either.
One day I will go back home,
but I don't think I'll go back home while the kids are growing up.
I want to bring the kids up here and then see what happens from there.
Two years in, have we made the right move?
In my eyes, 100%, yeah.
I'm happy that we made the move.
-Say, "Thank you, David."
It was my idea.
-You didn't do any of it.
-Yeah, but it was my idea.
And do they have any advice for other couples in a similar situation?
Anyone who's wanting to come out here,
it's a lot easier than what you think it is,
and don't be worrying about the kids,
don't put obstacles where there are none,
because I found that's what I'd done for a long time.
It is a lot easier. You can always go back.
It's just as easy to go back as it is to come here.
Why not give it a go? Why not try it?
Advice we'd give to people who are doing the move or thinking of doing
the move is, don't come.
I don't want any more people here.
I'm quite happy with the four million people.
Just stay in the UK.
I don't want it to be overcrowded.
I love my life the way it is.
David had held a torch for a life down under for over 20 years,
but it was homebody Jeanette who finally made the move happen.
And although things didn't work out quite as planned,
they're now over the moon with the life they've built.
We wish them all the best for the future.
David McGuinness had talked about moving to Australia with his wife Jeanette since their very first date. But could he convince her to uproot their young family from their tight-knit Liverpool home? That was the major decision facing them in 2011.
The family lived in Waltham in Liverpool. At the time David was 36, Jeanette was 31 and the children were daughter Gabrielle, who was four, and two-year-old son Sean. Eighteen years ago David had been on holiday to Sydney and he had fallen in love with the city. Now a husband and dad of two he was convinced their future would be so much better on the other side of the world.
But wife Jeanette was reluctant to move anywhere - she was a true Scouser through and through. Any move would take her away from her big Liverpudlian family - and especially her beloved mum. But with David's carpentry business hitting hard times during the recession, even she knew emigrating might bring them a better standard of life.
But while Jeanette was torn, David had made up his mind. He was determined they should go - and now was the perfect time. There seemed to be little chance for any give either way from either of them. So as the McGuinness family sampled a trial week in Gold Coast on the east coast of Australia, it seemed that everything was at stake. The dilemma - better opportunities down under versus leaving loved ones behind - it was going to be a difficult decision for the couple to make.
So six years later it's time to find out just where the McGuinness family is.