Families sample Australian life. Sharon Cole lives with her two teenage sons in Yorkshire and wants to try out life in Auckland for a week.
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Welcome to Wanted Down Under, the show that catapults a British family
right across to the other side of the world to help them make the biggest decision of their life,
whether to stay in the UK or to move to New Zealand.
Sharon Cole separated from her husband Richard six years ago
and wants a new life for herself and her boys.
It's about a house that we shared and I think in one way,
it would be really good for me to do something completely different.
She's tempted by a fresh start Down Under.
Everybody is enjoying just living, and I want to have that as well.
But older son Oliver and brother Alex aren't so sure.
If she wants to move on, she wants to drag us with her.
It's to be our decision as well if she's got to move.
Sharon's concerned about taking the boys so far away from their father Richard.
They're the most important people in my life and their happiness matters to me more than anything.
It's a long way to go when you're leaving loved ones behind.
People are the most important thing.
It's the people that make a place a home.
The Coles have a long week ahead of them.
-Will they vote to stay in the UK or go where they're wanted Down Under?
With its magnificent landscape, warmer climate and small population of just over four million,
New Zealand is many people's idea of the perfect place to get away from it all.
And every year, around 87,000 people emigrate in search of that better life.
But for all these families, how hard is the decision?
And do they find what they're looking for?
We've given another British family the opportunity
to spend a week Down Under, to see if it's all they dreamt it would be.
After that, they'll have to make a decision, one way or the other -
whether to stay in the UK or to move to New Zealand.
Sharon Cole lives with her two sons,
17-year-old Oliver and 14-year-old Alex, in Shipley, Yorkshire.
Sharon is considering leaving it all behind.
She's been separated from Richard, her husband and father of her sons, for six years.
She dreams of a new life in New Zealand.
This house, in many ways, has a lot of sad memories for me because of Richard leaving and everything.
And it's about a house that we shared, and I think in one way,
it'll be good for me to do something completely different.
Sharon works in a hospice as a palliative care social worker,
providing emotional and practical support to terminally ill patients and their families.
Making the move Down Under would be difficult enough,
so doing the same type of job might just provide the stability that she needs.
I want to stay in palliative care, I want to do this probably until I retire.
It's rewarding because of the very nature of the work.
It's the kind of job where you get close to people. You can really feel as if you're making a difference.
If I couldn't find a similar job, that would probably be a reason not to go.
I always thought of living abroad and I always thought,
you know, where would I like to be?
And everything I've heard about New Zealand, it sounds like it's a lot of the things that I love about England,
like the scenery, and it's the same size.
I just think it may be that it's got more open spaces, a better quality of life.
I like the fact that people spend more time outdoors.
Fitness-mad Oliver can see the benefits of a more outdoor life in New Zealand.
It's got less people, and it's less crowded. It's a better area, I think.
It's easier to get jobs there because there's more
space for that kind of thing.
But Sharon is the real driving force behind uprooting them all.
The boys can see just how important it is to her.
I don't think it's just about moving house, it's just everything
in our whole life has been in the same place.
She just wants to have a new adventure somewhere else.
She just needs to start again and needs a new, happy lifestyle.
She wants a break from memories of this life.
When we're on holiday, she forgets everything but when she comes back
to it, it's like, "Oh, I remember all this," and horrible bad memories creep up on her.
I want her to have a new beginning, even if I'm not included in it.
I want her to be happy.
Shipley has been home to the boys all their lives. Sharon's concerned about taking them away
from their father and their friends. Will it be the right decision for them?
My main concern is the boys,
because they're the most important people in my life and their happiness matters to me more than anything.
And I'm frightened that I would do this for me and perhaps,
you know, they would get there and think, "What's happened?
"There's nobody around that we know, nothing is familiar any more, Dad's a long way away,"
and I'm frightened that I might be wrecking their lives, I suppose,
that maybe I'll destabilise them in some way, because their security is really important.
It's a really tough choice for Sharon.
We're sending the Coles to the vibrant city of Auckland,
situated on the northeast coast of New Zealand's North Island.
Auckland is known as New Zealand's city of sails,
as it has more yachts per person than any other city in the world.
It boasts only one million people, and it's New Zealand's largest city.
There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy its unspoilt landscape as well as its metropolitan lifestyle.
With the Coles' possible budget of £185,000, they should be able
to find a suitable property if they shop around.
We've found three possible lifestyles for our family, each one
offering a brand new way of life for them to try on their budget.
But which one will be the most suitable?
Auckland City has a plentiful choice of homes, from high-rise apartments
to old-style villas.
But property prices in the centre have boomed in recent years
and the Coles would have to make do with less space than they have in the UK.
This three-bed property is on the market for over £350,000,
too much for the Coles, but they could look to the nearby suburbs.
Here, the houses are more affordable and they'd still be close to the cosmopolitan lifestyle.
It would only be a 20-minute commute to the city's hospices.
So, very different from their life in the UK.
But what about the second option?
A home by the sea would offer them
a more laid-back lifestyle, as Auckland's coastline epitomises
the calm and beauty that people come here for.
But prices can be expensive, with this four-bed open-plan property
going for over double the Coles' budget.
Sharon's commute to work would take a little longer with this option,
but Oliver and Alex would have watersport activities right on their doorstep.
That looks very inviting.
But what about the third option?
Properties are a lot better value in the country and provide
the tranquillity and beautiful landscapes that Sharon longs for.
Homes in the Bush area of Titirangi
are full of character, like this four-bed luxury open-plan house.
With a village centre boasting vibrant cafes, good amenities and
a theatre, this should be just the place for arts lover Sharon.
Her commute to work would take just half an hour.
There are also good transport links for Oliver and Alex to get to the city centre.
Three very different options there, all of them life-changing. So, where did we decide to send the Coles?
With the promise of a good mix of country living, more affordable houses, and a short commute
to the city, we decided that the Bush area in Titirangi would be the best option for the Coles.
We lined up a potential job for Sharon...
-This is really good. Nice and spacious.
-..and a selection of housing options...
Every room was big and there are all these views.
It's just brilliant.
..and threw them into the deep end of New Zealand life.
But they have a tough week ahead of them as they try to make the biggest decision of their lives.
I just realised how special the people
in my life are and how much they mean to me.
The Coles are finally making their trip Down Under.
The journey from Shipley to Auckland is over 12,000 miles across three continents.
None of them have ever been this far before but even
after a gruelling 30-hour journey, Sharon is still raring to go.
I'm looking forward to seeing how people work here and how it compares to what we do at home.
I'm excited to see everything.
I'm not sure the boys are quite as enthused as Sharon.
I'm tired, hungry.
Looking forward to sleeping.
No time for rest yet. The Coles are straight off to check out their accommodation for the week.
They'll be staying in the pretty Bush area of Titirangi in west Auckland.
The house is an open-plan three-bedroom home
with plenty of space for the family to roam around.
But first, Sharon's got to get the car in.
Woah. What are you doing?
Is this how you come in?
This will be great(!)
She finally makes it and is still smiling as she's off to check out the garden.
Oh, my goodness, just look at that view, Oliver.
I just can't believe it's got this in the back garden.
-This is amazing.
-Let's hope the inside is just as good.
Oh, I love this room.
Just look at the view.
I mean, this is just amazing. Wherever you look, you see the sea.
I would just be in heaven living here. I love it.
This room... This room has a guitar in it.
Have you seen this room?
All the rooms are so light!
Woah! Have you seen the bath?
Oh, my goodness, that's tiny.
That's not a bath, that's a shower.
And Oliver has sorted out his mum's sleeping arrangements.
Your mattress is ready.
-Alex has spotted something else to whet his appetite.
-A hot tub.
This is luxury, isn't it? I think this is now my favourite room.
So, after the excitement of the house, how is Sharon feeling?
When you're actually here, it all seems possible and you think, "Fantastic, I just want to be here."
But will nerves about the week ahead get the better of her?
I often get scared about things but I think if I'm scared, I still have to do it.
Make things happen. That's the way I live my life. But at the same time, I think, "What am I doing?
"What am I letting myself in for?"
It looks like Sharon's up for the challenges ahead.
But after the initial excitement of arriving, how are the boys really feeling?
I prefer being in Britain just based on what I've seen so far, really.
It's more in my comfort zone.
I know where everything is, it's just easier.
I can imagine coming here on holiday,
and spending a few days here but I couldn't imagine living here yet.
If I went to New Zealand, as well as getting a job and everything,
I'd have to learn the lifestyle they have. It would be overwhelming
to go through all of that.
The boys seem to have formed a strong first impression.
Does this mean Sharon has her work cut out to convince them about a possible move?
Back in the UK, the Coles live in a three-bed semi-detached house in Shipley.
It's just big enough for the three of them and ideally, they'd like a bigger third bedroom for Alex.
Their home is situated on the Yorkshire Moors which Sharon loves,
but she's ready for a change of scenery.
In New Zealand, they'd be looking for a three-bedroomed house full
of character set in the countryside but near to amenities.
Sharon wants to be mortgage-free, and she has a budget of £185,000.
So, can they afford it all? Or will they need to stretch their budget?
Property one is a three-bedroomed detached house in Titirangi village.
On the market for £173,000, it's easily within Sharon's budget.
But will the inside be to their tastes?
It's been decorated by its owners with a definite retro style.
Before they get inside, Sharon's already putting
estate agent Cheryl through her paces about the exterior cladding.
Now, as you can see, the exterior is made of weatherboard.
What's weatherboard? Is that made of wood?
It's wood, weatherboard is wood. So, it's weatherproof?
It is weatherproof. A typical material for build in Kiwi.
So, does it need repainting every year?
-Every year, or every couple of years, it will need a coat of paint.
-Is it like a garden shed?
It's a lot more hard-wearing than your garden shed!
Finally, we're in.
What will Sharon think of the decor?
After all, she said she wanted character.
It's got the old Fifties style furniture, as well.
It has. It's really in keeping with the era of the property.
Is that an open fire?
It's a wood burner which is very typical, again, of Kiwi properties.
-That would be nice if it was cleaned up.
-You've also got polished timber floors as well.
I like the floors and I like the fireplace.
Obviously, the decor isn't my taste at all. But I can see that it suits the house.
I don't think the wooden floorboards are going to sell it.
Let's see if the bedrooms are more to Sharon's taste.
So, this is one of the large double bedrooms.
As you can see, you look straight through the window, you have the bush.
There's not anything from 2010 in here, is there?
It is just out of date, really, isn't it?
There is not much room for a wardrobe in here, if you had a double bed.
There's room at this end as well for a wardrobe, if you want to put a wardrobe in.
That might be a bit of a stretch for Sharon.
What about Alex's bedroom?
It's got a wardrobe but is there enough room for a bed?
You could get a single bed, possibly a double bed in here.
I don't think you could get a double in.
-If you had a double bed in here, you would have to take that out.
-Yes, you would.
Still, it's bigger than Alexander's current room.
Alex doesn't seem too impressed.
I think it is time to see what the outside has to offer.
This is nice, I like the open aspects.
Good to see them is something that Sharon likes and perhaps Oliver
will be taken by the outdoor sleeping arrangements, too.
-Do you want to try out the hammock, then?
-Don't fall out.
-Get in carefully.
-I'll just get in, Mum.
Shall I help you? No?
There you go. Are you in?
How do you think that would be? Yeah?
Yeah, I'll get back to you.
They hardly seemed bowled over by property one, but until Sharon sits down
and does her sums, she might not be able to afford to be so picky.
For now, let's see what their verdict is.
I think the inside is quirky and interesting, even though it is not furnished in my style.
Could you see yourself living here?
-I would still have a small room if we moved here.
Everything is a bit, just small.
That seems to be an all-round no, then. But Alex has a final thought.
You could probably think of living here if you insulated that a bit more and just made that my room.
-Yeah, and just put my bed and all my stuff.
We could turn it into a granny flat.
No, not a granny flat, I mean a studio.
No, all right. A teenager's pad.
-How would that be?
-It's not a granny flat.
Actually, it is not much smaller than the house, is it, really?
Let's hope property two not only brings them into the 21st century,
but can give that that larger bedroom for Alex.
It's off to Laingholm, 15 minutes' drive away, to a three-bedroomed house on a good sized plot of land.
It's currently on the market for £190,000.
Welcome to 22 Weston Road.
This is bigger.
It feels more spacious. Do they have a dishwasher?
No, there's no dishwashers.
Well, you've got two. Over there.
They're standing close to the dishwasher.
Well, the boys didn't seem too impressed by that idea
and Sharon's noticed that property two is low-lying and set in a valley with a stream running through it.
She has a few questions for the estate agent Edwina.
Is there any flooding in this area?
We have actually got flooding down the bottom of Sandy's Parade.
There does appear to be quite a bit of flooding.
So, would this house be at risk?
I'd say, with the stream down here, you'd need to be mindful of that.
That doesn't sound like good news at all.
It's straight out onto the balcony to see where the potential flooding might be.
As I said before, there's a stream that runs down here.
All the rain that we've had, you can see it has certainly
risen so that is something you need to be careful about.
I must say, the risk of flooding is a bit of a concern.
But I mean it's absolutely beautiful.
The garden is well watered but will the rest of the property be enough to convince Sharon and the boys?
-So, this is one of the bedrooms?
-It is, this is the main room.
-It has its own en-suite.
-Well, a good start on the bedrooms. But will they all be as big?
Let's have a look in here.
-This is used as a study now?
-How many bedrooms does the property have?
-It's three bedrooms.
-Does this include this one?
-Mm, it does.
-It is slightly on the tinier side.
Another cupboard for poor Alex - or maybe he could have Oliver's room.
-Oh, this is a better size.
-It certainly is.
It's a pity we can't get three bedrooms with two...
-The other two bedrooms this size.
I'm not sure it's everything they're looking for.
What do they make of it?
I really like the setting. I think it is gorgeous.
I like the size of the house.
Even though the third bedroom is small,
it has a much more spacious feel.
But if there was any kind of flooding risk, I wouldn't buy it.
Oliver doesn't seem so bothered,
and he's got more important things on his mind.
I don't think it would be a big deal because the other house would probably get it before us,
so we'd have some warning.
I like the house. It's a lot more spaced out. Make a great party house, wouldn't it?
Well, a hit with Oliver, then. But Alex might need some more convincing,
and he's got a concern about the decor.
It would have to change a lot before I liked it.
Just all that blue...
-It's just a bit...
The risk of flooding and another small bedroom for Alex means this house isn't a winner,
but we've got something up our sleeve that might just fit the bill.
Property three is higher up and nearer to Titirangi village.
It's a three-bedroom upside-down house,
where the bedrooms are downstairs and the living space upstairs.
It's slightly over budget at £217,000,
but with a negotiable price, it might be worth it.
They meet up with estate agent Glen and it's straight upstairs to the living room.
And Sharon sees something she likes straightaway.
It's a beautiful view. This is about as noisy as Laingholm ever gets.
This must be a nice spot to sit.
-Yeah, that's a gin and tonic corner.
Sharon's got a great view, but the big question hangs on Alex's bedroom.
Will it be big enough for a bed and Alex?
Which wall is six feet long?
So, a single bed would go down this way.
It would fit there, would it? How wide is it from here to the end?
Without a tape measure, I couldn't tell you.
-Would it be long enough to fit a single bed?
-No, Mum, it'd probably fit just there.
-I would think it would go that way.
-That's what I think - that's the longest wall.
I'd be happy with that room. It's just brilliant.
That's fantastic news.
Alex doesn't mind having the box room.
Let's see if the other rooms can suit Sharon's close inspection,
and unusually, they're downstairs.
This bed - how would this work for you?
It's OK but I'd prefer my windows lower down.
-I think, cos I like...
-For the light, or...?
No, just because if you're actually sitting on the bed,
you can see above you but you can't see at eye level.
-It's OK as a second bedroom.
Let's hope the master bedroom can bring a smile to Sharon's face.
Oh, now, this is better.
-Now, this is good.
You see, I can see outside now, which is what I was meaning.
-So, a good-sized master, loads of wardrobe space.
We might actually have a winner here,
but Oliver doesn't quite know what to make of the upside-down aspect.
I just don't know what to say.
I'm baffled, cos I've never seen a house like this before.
So, I don't know what to say.
Well, Sharon likes the views and Alex loved the small room,
so does this mean we're in business?
It's time to see what they really think of property three.
It's just, like...so...good.
-You were quite excited when we walked up the drive.
He wanted to buy it before we'd even come inside. Didn't you?
You said, "It's awesome. Buy it, Mum, and I'll come to New Zealand now."
Which is... Which is encouraging,
because if we find the house that's right for all of us, you know...
Oliver and Alex clearly have different tastes,
but they both seem to have found their ideal home,
although I'm not quite sure Sharon's been convinced.
So, time to vote on property.
I like the fact that all the houses in New Zealand are individual,
and that they're all in lovely settings.
I'm worried about the fact that they're not as solidly made as English houses.
Comparing them to British homes, British homes have smaller spaces.
In New Zealand, they're all different and they all have fantastic views.
I'm going to pick...
I'm going to vote, right now, with...
This is potentially really bad news.
Sharon's the driving force behind making the move to New Zealand
and she's already got misgivings about how life here would be.
Let's hope this isn't the shape of things to come.
There's a lot at stake to making the move to New Zealand.
Not only would Sharon be taking the boys away from their father,
she'd also be moving away from all that she's ever known.
So, after the disappointment of Kiwi property,
it's really important that she feels confident
that New Zealand CAN offer them all a better lifestyle.
They've come to the Hibiscus Coast to spend some time as a family.
They're going to experience an outdoor thermal spa,
something they wouldn't be able to do back in Shipley.
Straightaway, the boys are putting their mum to the test -
whether she'd really be willing to take the plunge Down Under.
I feel like I'm going to the gallows!
No, you're not pushing me!
You're not pushing me.
We're here to give you our support.
I can do without a challenge like this.
Come on, Sharon! If you're not able to attempt a water slide,
can you really be ready to make the move Down Under?
-Alex is a real gentleman, and kindly shows Sharon that it's not that scary.
-Oh, my Lord.
But I'm not sure she's entirely convinced.
It's called Bob's Mistake for a reason.
It means that you find out too late that you shouldn't have done it. Oh, my God.
Oh, my Lord.
HE CHUCKLES It's not funny!
It isn't funny, Oliver!
She's a good sport...
but she's not exactly doing it of her own will.
Go on, then, Oliver. Show your mum how it's really done.
Water slides are not my favourite thing.
They scare me to death, but I'm glad I've done it.
I feel proud of myself.
It's all about new challenges, New Zealand.
Can we go on some more now?
Perhaps I could just go for a swim now!
Sharon's proven she can do it.
Now, it's time for something a little more relaxing.
But the boys are still looking for action,
and they've found the Black Hole.
I don't think Sharon would have enjoyed that one.
It's been a fun afternoon and Sharon was able to relax, too.
So, what did the boys enjoy?
-Watching my mum scream.
-Yeah, pushing her down the slides!
Coming away with them is great,
cos I think it helps us to get closer because we do things together and they have fun.
I like to see them giggling and laughing and making them happy,
which is why I put myself through these torturous water slides.
The lifestyle here is just completely different to England.
People's way of looking at life is different.
enjoying just living.
And I want to have that as well.
But Oliver knows that there's more to this trip than just fun for his mum.
She needs a new start, she needs a new beginning, she needs a new life.
She wants... She wants, you know, a new family life.
Er, my parents have split up and...
after that, everything she knew or wanted just kind of split.
She's just got me and Alex and the family's a bit more separated than it was.
I don't think she could stand living that far away from us.
When my dad left, she hasn't got a partner to be with, so she's trying to hold on to us even more.
She's trying to hold on to the people closest to her,
because she thinks she'll lose them in some way.
I do feel I need to move on emotionally, yeah.
And maybe that is one of the reasons that maybe it would be great for me,
because when I'm somewhere like this,
I feel I actually don't think about the past.
I just... I'm experiencing everything for the first time,
and it makes you feel really alive.
When I was younger and not in love with anyone, this is how I used to feel.
I used to live for now, you know,
and I want that feeling back again.
It's really tough for Sharon to decide whether to move Down Under,
but time spent with her boys in New Zealand fills her with optimism.
So, how will they vote on lifestyle?
There's lots of fresh air, people are outdoors and smiling.
I think we're all agreed...
At home in Yorkshire, Sharon works three days a week in a hospice.
She earns £13,000 as a palliative-care social worker,
and provides patients and their families with emotional and practical support.
I'm just ringing to see how things are going.
'In palliative care, I think I've found my niche.'
I love it. I love the job. I love...
I think I do it well and that gives me a lot of satisfaction.
If I couldn't find a similar job,
that would probably be a reason not to go, for me,
because if I was doing a different job, I think I'd be going backwards,
whereas right now, I think I'm in the right place, in terms of career.
Work has kept Sharon going since her break-up with Richard,
and although she loves it, she needs a change.
I may not have moved away from Yorkshire but I have travelled extensively,
and every time I go away, I feel fully alive in a way that I don't when I'm at home.
At home, everything's much the same and it carries on.
You know, every day is the same as the one before,
and although there are things that I do that I love to do,
like going to literature festivals and travelling and visiting people,
the day-to-day is the same.
I'm just getting older.
But when I go away, I'm just me,
and I just feel like, er...
that life is more full of possibilities.
For Sharon to really make that break
and start a new life for herself and her boys, she'll need a good job.
She's off to the Mercy Hospice in Auckland.
There are only 250 palliative-care social workers in the UK.
In New Zealand, there are potentially fewer.
So, it might not be easy to find a job.
Meeting the head of the Family Support Team, Tim Hurley,
and social worker Marie, is going to be crucial for Sharon.
And she's straight down to business.
For me, I want to find out whether you think
-there might be possibilities about getting a post as a social worker here.
Social work in hospices is quite new here in New Zealand.
And my colleague who's been with the hospice here five years,
she was one of the first social workers to be involved, er, employed by a hospice.
But now, it's really a growth area
and I am the second social worker in this hospice,
and hospices all through Auckland and the rest of the country are getting social workers.
-That sounds like really good news.
-Yes, it is.
So, it is a real growth industry,
in terms of people seeing what contribution social workers can make.
Well, it seems there could be quite a lot on offer in terms of work in Sharon's field.
How much would they earn?
It's roundabout 55,000,
er, and that perhaps might vary a little,
depending on the organisation.
The district health boards may pay a little more than what hospices pay.
-That's fair enough.
-How does that compare to the UK?
-It sounds very similar.
Well, that's great news. Sharon can feel more assured about work.
Meanwhile, Oliver is spending the day with Auckland's coastguards.
He's being put to the test.
Oliver is just starting out in the world of work,
and is desperate to join the emergency services.
Auckland is home to New Zealand's largest port.
The coastguards there are one of the busiest, most exciting emergency service units in the country.
They have 18 full-time employees and 1,000 volunteers working for them.
And on a busy day, they can have up to 42 call-outs.
Oliver wouldn't be able to do this in Shipley,
so if he is looking for an adventurous career, this could be right up his street.
First, he's got to learn his left from his right.
Starboard, port, bow, stern.
-Stern. I'm going to get that mixed up, I know.
So, has Oliver got that?
It's time for his life-saving skills to be put to the test.
Don't take your eyes off him.
He's behind the boat.
Just in front of the boat, further to the right side.
There you go.
Give him a cuddle, make sure he's all right.
That was fun.
Sounds really dramatic if that was a real human being.
Just zooming past them, you know,
but, er, yeah, it looked like a good job to do, really, I think.
There's a lot of action involved, really.
Maybe Oliver's found something to convince him to make the move Down Under.
But there's one more test - it's his turn at the helm.
See you, buddy.
One o'clock. Coming right up on you.
-I want to get it on the right side, though, don't I?
Starboard side. That's this side.
He's got the buoy in sight, but he needs to be careful.
-Oh, I'm about to run him over.
-Where's it gone?
I think you killed him.
Oh, here it is.
Well done. We didn't have to call the helicopter after all.
So, what do our experts make of Oliver's first day at sea?
-For his first attempt, it was pretty good, actually.
-You've never driven a boat?
-That's pretty good, yeah.
That was fun. Can we do that again?
Back across town, Sharon's tour around the hospice is going well.
This is our chapel. Come in and have a look.
And there seem to be plenty of similarities between work in New Zealand and work in the UK.
It is a nice space, and, er,
often, people just wander in here and just have a bit of quiet time.
We've had a couple of weddings here.
-Yeah, we've had them in our chapel.
-Yes, yeah. Come on...
'Meeting Sharon, I think she's got a lovely warm personality.'
I think she would fit in well to the kind of people who work here.
'And I think that she could provide some experience and some leadership'
in areas we've thought perhaps we'd like to do but are not yet doing.
So, I think she'd be a great asset
to any hospice environment where she works, yeah.
I'll just show you in here.
This is one of our, er, small family rooms,
-where people just come and sit or spend time.
-Oh, this is nice.
'This hospice could be anywhere.'
It's the people that make the work enjoyable, as much as the job itself.
And they seem to be the same all round the world.
It was really interesting to talk to Tim and Marie,
and to find out that they do so many things the same way we do in England,
and that, you know, their approach to their work is the same,
their holistic philosophy's the same,
and what's really encouraging is that they're looking for social workers in the Auckland area.
Coastguard radio, coastguard radio, this is Eddie Marr, double six, double six,
Trillian Rescue, alpha. Copy.
It's been a successful day for Sharon.
And as the coastguards return to base, Oliver wants to know more.
Is it just work experience you start off to get into this sort of thing?
No matter what unit you go to, if you just sign up and want to be a volunteer,
we pretty much put you through as much training as we possibly can,
which gets you right through from a newbie,
right to our operational crew.
So, Oliver seems inspired,
but it's time for Sharon to make her vote on work.
This is a really difficult one for me because I work with a lovely bunch of people in the UK.
Er, I love them to bits and it would be a wrench to leave them,
but today I felt energised and excited, so I'm going to vote for...
Moving to New Zealand involves massive financial, as well as emotional, decisions.
The Coles need to take into account the cost of living in Auckland,
as well as what they'd make on their UK home.
The Coles' house is a three-bedroom property,
which Sharon bought with husband Richard when the boys were little.
She now owns it outright and hopes it's worth £185,000.
We sent in two estate agents to give her their valuations.
Fairly typical sort of size, for a semi-detached of this era.
Really nice room, very light, got some of the original stained glass.
Some people might feel that they would like to make it more contemporary,
even knock through to the kitchen.
The size of the kitchen, obviously, doesn't really fit with modern living.
Some people would choose to knock through, now,
and make that really nice - one big dining kitchen.
So, let's see what's out here.
Oh, gosh, the porch is a mess.
We have what was originally a sun room.
However, it is being used at the moment as a general storage space.
So, I would have to say that,
in order to really sell this as a feature,
it would need to be emptied.
Ah, this is a small room.
This will put off some potential buyers. Yeah, bit of a stumbling block here, really.
It could be an office, though.
Mm, a complete mismatch.
A boy's room with a girl's wallpaper.
-I'm sure I remember this paper.
I think we had some of this in our house in Bradford in the early '80s.
No, it wasn't.
It was 1991 when I first put that paper in the old house.
This is a better room - nice size.
Nice views out of the window. I think that certainly is a nice feature.
It's nice to see that they have re-done the bathroom.
And it's got all the right features. Bath, good-sized shower cubicle with a rain head, fully tiled.
Yes, very nice. This is a good selling feature.
I'm glad she likes the bathroom - I chose that.
You've got a house here which is really going to appeal to families.
So, families will look at it, decide, perhaps, to change it rather.
The property does require some decorative improvement in places,
and also, the third bedroom is very, very small.
I think that might put off some buyers.
If the vendor wants a quick sale, I'd say you're probably more likely
to have to put it on at 160, 165, and probably have to come down
from that too because people are expecting you to allow for the work that needs doing to modernise it.
For a quick sale, I would suggest £160,000.
At that level, I do feel there will be a good level of interest.
It's dropped a lot then.
I thought it was worth more than that.
I expected that it would probably be about 185 at least.
But I don't understand what needs modernising.
I've done the bathroom, the kitchen, I've put in a fireplace in the living room,
I've done loads to it, really.
So I'm really surprised that she thinks it needs work.
Well, Sharon wasn't too pleased with that but she can still be mortgage free.
It will depend whether they can afford to live off her salary.
So, we've prepared a comparison of Sharon's UK and New Zealand expenses
to see if she can afford a life Down Under.
Oh, my goodness!
At first glance, this is really worrying - to see that my food bill would double.
Let me see. Goodness me, organic chicken,
£12.35 in New Zealand and only £7.32 in England.
The organic steak is twice as expensive in New Zealand.
Apples are about £1 a week more.
Carrots, twice as much, almost.
This is a massive difference.
I'm just staggered.
Not a great start.
How will other expenses fair?
New Zealand. This is good news - gas and electric is about half the price it is in England, which is great.
And council tax is less.
Petrol is a lot cheaper.
So, maybe, actually, it might balance out.
But there are some hidden costs.
Adults pay up to £25 per GP visit.
Right. And Alexander will cost £19 a visit.
We'll just have to stay healthy, and keep eating the organic food,
and we won't need to go to the GP!
Gym membership would cost me £64 a month instead of £45.
I'd be able to walk a lot more here, wouldn't I?
I just have to do my exercise outside and swim in my friends' pools instead of in the gym.
Sharon would earn a higher salary in New Zealand but would it be enough to make the move affordable?
Without the gym membership, it's going to cost me an extra £54 a month.
So I suppose you've got to offset one against the other, really,
and work out what you're willing to compromise on.
For me, I wouldn't compromise on my food.
Maybe I could work a couple of extra hours a month to make that difference up.
£54 a month isn't too big a difference, really.
So, how will Sharon vote on the cost of living?
Taking into account that food is far more expensive here,
which is a big shock, but gas and electric is cheaper
and I won't need to go to the gym,
I will vote for...
Back in the UK, Sharon's friends are a huge part of her life.
And since the separation from Richard,
they've played an even bigger role, supporting her emotionally through some tough times.
Thinking about making the move Down Under and leaving them behind won't be an easy decision.
So, we've arranged for Sharon to meet up with local social group
in the Auckland suburb of Devonport.
-Hello, Sharon, I'm Liz.
-And this is Andre, Heather, Kerry, Bob, Paul, Gwyneth.
-Hello. Hi, everyone.
Without a partner by your side, it can be daunting meeting a group of new people.
But Sharon's made a connection with Gwyneth, and it even turns out that she's visited Sharon's home town.
-I did a big tour over there.
-Where did you go?
Oh, Bradford! I live in Bradford!
It's a small world.
I loved it there. I loved the countryside.
-If you ever come to England, you can stay with me.
-Well, I'd love to.
-Right, what are we going to have?
Well, I wonder what the fish of the day will be?
Would you like to go and find out, Kerry?
-I've nominated him!
Across town, the boys are happily chilling out.
They seem pleased that Mum is making new friends, but they're not sure what to make of everything.
Yeah, Mum's making friends, yeah, that's a good sign.
Erm, obviously, she's got to have good relationships here, to get to know people.
It's a big part of life.
It's the main part of life, really.
When she gets back, she'll have all these things that she'll knows
she's leaving behind because that's kind of gone from her mind this week.
All she's done is she's got baffled by what's here,
and completely forgotten about what the consequences of coming here are going to be.
I don't like, really, being taken out of my comfort zone because
I know everything in England and I know where everything is.
Now I'm here and I've spent almost a week here,
it's a lot more than I expected.
completely either at the moment.
If she wants to move on, she wants to drag us with her.
it's got to be our decision as well if she's got to move.
Erm, so that's going to make things twice as hard as well.
The boys really aren't convinced, and unless Sharon can feel
they'll be happy to make the move, will she really be able to do it?
But for now, Sharon is enjoying time with her new friends
and is even opening up to them about her feelings on making the move.
Sometimes it's a really scary idea, the thought of travelling such a long way from home.
And the only way to find out is actually to come here and to get to know people.
And I think people are the same wherever you are.
-If you've got good friends, that feels like home, doesn't it?
-That's exactly it.
Most of our parents did the same journey as you're talking about.
-So, people feel an affinity with England, don't they?
And that makes you feel it would be a place where you felt comfortable.
-What does that mean?
Whanau is Maori for family.
Oh, the Maori! You call them Mouldy?!
-You gotta speak the lingo!
-Why do you call them Mouldy?
Oh, the Maori!
That's the correct pronunciation.
It's wonderful. It opens up your world when you meet new people.
And I think it's good if you can find even one person that you can get along with
because you realise that wherever you are, there are people that you can meet and become friends with.
And that makes all the difference because wherever your friends are is where home is, for me.
But how will Sharon vote?
Friends are really important to me. I have wonderful friends in England.
But friends are friends wherever you are
and the people here are lovely, so I'm going to vote for...
The Coles have really embraced their week in Auckland.
But how will they respond to hearing messages from friends and family?
-ALL: Hi, Sharon.
-ALL: Hi, Alex.
She's very kind, she's very caring.
She's a fabulous mother, and she's a great friend.
I can't speak more highly of her because she's coped with everything.
She really has. The things that she's been through in her life.
She's unbelievable, really.
It's untrue. I just love her to bits.
She's constantly cheerful and lifts the mood if you're feeling down.
That's really important in our line of work.
Alex is probably the craziest guy I've ever met. And the awesomest.
He's really nice, and he's kind, and he's funny.
A great friend.
Epic, to use one of his words.
I suppose it's somebody being there. It's Sharon's loyalty for me.
I would miss, I don't know, the buzz from physically being in the same room as Sharon.
Yeah, it will be very hard to adjust, it'll be hard to not have her here.
And the fact that she's going so far away is going to be odd.
She's a really, really good pal. I'll miss her desperately.
I would really miss him. It wouldn't be the same without him.
We'd have one less friend and all our other friends would be really upset as well.
Um, I would not want her to go, I'll be honest.
But that's purely being selfish.
I like things to stay as they are and I'd like Sharon to stay here, to be honest.
The time's probably right for her.
She's had quite a lot of sadness in her life, these past few years.
And I think she's now perhaps getting to a point where she can turn her life around.
She's a real go-getting girl.
If there's something that she chooses to do, she will go ahead and do it.
I think she's had things in her life and I think she deserves
this chance for her and her boys, if it's the right thing for her.
We're all missing you here.
-It's not the same without you.
-Please come back soon.
I do hope that you're having a good time. I always want you to have a good time.
But I am being selfish and I want you to come back to me.
I hope it's an adventure for you but one you'd like to return from.
Just know that I love you and I'm going to miss you. Bye, Sharon.
Whatever you want to do, darling, we'll back you up.
You don't have to feel you're on your own if you get stuck or anything. We're always here.
Er, but I can't imagine that you ever would need any help because
you're so competent, and you just get on with life,
and everything will work out fine for you.
I'll miss you if you do. Bye.
I just realised how special the people in my life are...
..and how much they mean to me.
And it's, it's...
wonderful to hear that they think the same about me.
I'm thinking that...
I want to be in two places!
I want to be here for the boys, I think it would be really good for them.
I just hope that if we do come here, that I can afford to go back as much as possible,
and keep those relationships going
because the bonds are really strong now.
And, you know...
..it's relationships that matter to me more than anything.
The thought of taking the boys away from their father continues to haunt Sharon.
I can't be everything to them.
I want to be, I'd love to be but they need a father as well as a mother.
I've always believed that both parents are equally important
and especially for boys, I'd think, "Have I taken away something really important in their lives?"
So, it's such a big decision.
But I know that if we do it, we've got to do it in the next two years
because otherwise, they'll be doing things over in the UK,
and it won't be possible for us all to get a visa and come here.
So, it's a real dilemma, it really is.
Alex's doubts have been rekindled after seeing his friends.
Like, watching that, I don't really want to go as much.
Like, I'd rather just stay in England because of all my friends and everything.
But yet, this week, you've really loved it.
I know but I don't really want to leave England.
What about you, Oliver?
I'd be fine coming here.
I think you can see a lot of positives for you, can't you?
Yeah. Missing Dad probably wouldn't bother me too much.
Cos he's left me at too early an age for me to really care, so...
But he still cares about you.
Leaving friends and family behind is always going to be the hardest part,
and Oliver's reaction about his dad doesn't come as a surprise to Sharon, but it cuts the deepest.
When Oliver's dad left, when he was 11, Oliver was traumatised,
Oliver was really distressed for a long, long time.
And I think Oliver really tried everything he could to persuade his father to come back
and to be there for him, and he felt he wasn't. So...
He feels like his dad's not there for him, so...
he's not really... He wants to give this strong, tough exterior
that says he doesn't care, but I know deep down he does.
And he's looking... He's looking for what he's lost.
That's why he thinks if he comes here and makes some good friends,
maybe he'll find what he's missing from his dad.
And do you think that? What do you think?
I think maybe he would.
It's also a question of what Sharon feels she needs at this stage in her life, too.
It's almost like I'm stuck in the past.
The house is the same house that I've always lived in throughout my married life,
so it's full of memories, sad memories, really, more than happy ones.
And it's taken me a long time to come to terms with what happened.
He was the love of my life and for a long time, I hoped he would come back.
As time has gone on, I've realised that's not going to happen.
I feel braver and stronger.
I've changed in the last few years and now,
I think I've reached a stage where I have to look to the future
and think, maybe this is what's right for all of us now.
For Alex, though, he feels he has more to leave behind
and it's almost impossible for Sharon to know what's best for them all.
It would be really hard if one wants to go and one wants to stay.
And I don't think they're quite ready to be independent. That will be a really tough one.
It's the end of their week-long experiment in New Zealand.
It's been full of new experiences and they've had the opportunity to
spend quality time together as a family.
Sharon's had the chance to discover
that New Zealand could provide her with a new beginning.
It's time for the final vote.
Will Oliver and Alex give the answer Sharon is hoping for?
I know two of us have voted for New Zealand and Alexander, you voted for the UK,
but we're going to go home and talk about it some more,
look at what courses are here for Alexander when he goes to university
and I think when that time comes, it will be right for us all.
A split decision.
The Coles have had a great time in Auckland
and love what the country has to offer
in terms of lifestyle and job prospects.
Perhaps Alex will change his mind.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Series in which British families, keen to trade in the British weather for the down-under lifestyle, are given the chance to sample what life would be like if they moved to the other side of the world.
Sharon Cole lives with her two teenage sons in Yorkshire. She's separated from their father, and wants to find a new life in New Zealand, leaving sad memories behind. She and her boys try out life in Auckland for a week. They get a glimpse of an optimistic future, but crossing the world to get away from the past isn't that easy.