British families sample life down under. Nathalie and Roy Parker-Smeeth and their two young children from Lancashire find out if a move to New Zealand will improve their lifestyle.
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Moving to the other side of the world is a huge decision,
made even tougher if you're leaving loved ones behind.
The Parker-Smeeth family are desperate for a better life in New Zealand.
We'd like to move, just to get away from the daily rat-race.
You know, you work to pay your bills here and we're hoping to work to live a lifestyle.
-And happiness might be just within their grasp.
-This is it, this is family time, isn't it?
This is what we wanted for the family,
to be able to play and be children.
With so much to leave behind, it's going to be torturous.
You know, it's a long way to go, so yeah, it's more than likely
that when we do say our goodbyes, that it will be the final goodbye.
Situated in the South Pacific, New Zealand is almost the same
size as the British Isles, but has a population of just 4.3 million.
That's 15 times less than the UK.
The resulting open spaces and calmer pace of life make New Zealand
an attractive proposition for those in search of a better life.
Meet the Parker-Smeeth family.
26 year-old mum, Natalie,
her husband, Roy, 35,
Jenson, who's four, and Isla, who's two.
They live in the town of Nelson in Lancashire.
It's Natalie's home town.
Roy and Natalie both have to work full-time to pay the bills.
Roy works long hours as an HGV driver.
Natalie works as a graphic designer as well as doing the childcare and running the family home.
The usual rat-race to me begins at 4 o'clock in the morning.
I get up for work and I'm out till at least three or four in the afternoon,
where you usually go out, run about.
I do the school run, take the children to nursery, school,
then on to the office, work at the office.
Pick Jenson up, pick Isla up, pay the bills in between, come home.
-That's all we seem to do, don't we?
They're desperately hoping that a new life in New Zealand will be better for the whole family.
We'd like to move, just to get away from the daily rat-race.
You know, you work to pay your bills here and we're hoping to work to live out there, and live a lifestyle.
-And spend a bit more...
-..that we can't afford to do here.
-Spend a bit more family time as well.
-Good driving, Jenson.
The desire for a brighter future for their children is driving their plans for the move.
Roy and Natalie want to be able to spend more quality time with the kids.
The plan is when we actually get to New Zealand, hopefully we'll be able to get out and do more,
play football, play rugby maybe, and take the kids out, you know, not be stuck in the house. That's the hope.
-Hiya, are you all right?
How are you doing?
Working full-time means they rely on the support of Natalie's
close family, but they might not have to give all this up.
After visiting New Zealand, Natalie's parents are also thinking of making the move. But if the
Parker Smeeths do move down under, with mum and dad following on later,
Natalie would still be leaving a lot behind.
Her younger sister is also her best friend.
They see each other four times a week and being apart will be very hard.
'We're incredibly close.
'I would miss her so much.'
If Leona wasn't there, it would be like a part of us is missing.
Natalie's grandfather is also a big part of her world.
She's struggling with the thought of leaving him behind.
I try not to talk to him about it, because
I think Granddad's also in a little bit of denial.
Obviously, it's a long journey to get to New Zealand and I don't know if he'd be well enough to go.
You know, it's a long way to go.
So, yeah, it's more than likely
that when we do say our goodbyes, that it will be the final goodbye.
I can't bear to think about it.
With so much to lose by moving Down Under, New Zealand will have to be very special to make up for it.
We do have a lot to leave behind.
But it's potentially
for a better future for our children and for a better lifestyle for us.
We need to do this. We need to try it, to satisfy our own curiosity.
So Natalie and Roy are
looking for a new outdoor life and more space in New Zealand.
But work opportunities for Natalie as a graphic designer could be few and far between.
They're going to have to be very careful exactly where they choose to settle.
New Zealand has two main islands, North and South.
They could sample Christchurch.
The city's renowned for its schools, so the children's education would be catered for.
It's also famed for its parks and open spaces which would provide
the outdoor lifestyle they want, but with a population of 350,000,
Christchurch might seem too large compared to the Parker-Smeeths' small home town.
Another option might be Wellington.
With a similar population to Christchurch, it's the capital city of New Zealand.
There are plenty of graphic design agencies on offer for Natalie to find work, but house prices are
higher than Christchurch and this may be an issue on the family's limited property budget.
Auckland is New Zealand's largest city.
It's a busy cosmopolitan hub, so there would be plenty of work,
but its size and speed of life may be daunting for the family, and it's not cheap.
Three good options for the Parker-Smeeths there.
Which one is going to give them the best chance to experience what New Zealand has to offer?
We decided that Christchurch would be most suitable for their trial week.
It's large enough for good work prospects for Natalie and Roy,
offers property they could afford and it has a relaxed pace of life.
Will they agree on property?
I could see myself living in an area like this. But not in this house.
I'm the complete opposite, then.
Finding a job may not be that straightforward.
We spent a lot of time here on readability.
If anyone gave me something like that, I'd throw it back in their face.
There'll be tears before their final decision, to stay in the UK or move Down Under?
Our vote goes to...
The journey to New Zealand takes the Parker-Smeeth family a phenomenal 32 hours.
How are they feeling after that epic journey?
The flight was difficult. I've never been on a flight as long as that in my life.
But it's worth it to get here in the end.
I'm looking forward to the week ahead.
I loved the games, I loved the TV programmes.
Looks like Jenson found the flight a bit easier!
And, finally, they're off to their temporary home for the week.
The house is in the suburb of Kashmir which overlooks the city.
It has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a swimming pool.
There are plenty of balcony areas to enjoy the great views.
Worth over £450,000, this rented property is not somewhere they could
afford to buy, but it will be a good base from which to help them make their life-changing decision.
Look at this.
-I think they like what they see.
With a little TV and a little balcony.
Wow, this is fantastic.
So while the children settle down in front of the TV, mum and dad take in that great view.
Gobsmacked, absolutely. It is, it's stunning.
It's absolutely stunning.
They're smitten but it's not a realistic option for now.
This house has got to be completely out of our price range.
But it's definitely something to work for, isn't it? You're always thinking of something like...
Probably not as big as this, but
it's definitely something that you could look forward to.
-Yeah, it's lovely.
Back home in the UK, the Parker-Smeeths live in this
new build estate in Lancashire in a three bedroomed semi-detached house.
They bought it for £130,000
in the winter of 2004, and it's on the market for just over £150,000.
The Parker-Smeeths want more space for their growing family
than they currently have back home.
Assuming that they were to get the price they want from
the sale of their house in the UK,
Christchurch offers plenty of areas that would suit their needs.
Living in the city can be expensive.
This house in the suburb of Kashmir has stunning views but it's worth £1 million.
However, there are cheaper suburbs in the city
and Natalie and Roy would only have a short commute to work.
If they wanted more space, however, a larger house in the country might be better for them.
Rural West Ayrton is a 45-minute drive from central Christchurch.
It would be a longer commute for Natalie but there are properties like this four-bedroomed house.
Valued at £255,000, it also benefits from being in a decent school zone,
so the children would have good education options when older.
If the Parker-Smeeths want coastal life, then the seaside suburb of Sumner could be for them.
This artists' bungalow with park-like grounds would be an ideal spot for Natalie to be creative.
At £230,000, it's over the Parker-Smeeths' budget but cheaper homes are available in the area.
However, school options in this suburb aren't as good as those in the city.
Christchurch has some fantastic areas to live in.
But, on Natalie and Roy's limited budget, they're going to have to buy wisely.
To find a home within their price range and without a long commute
to work, they're going to look at the more affordable city suburbs.
The first house they're going to see is just 20 minutes from
the city centre, so it's good for Natalie's possible commute.
This bungalow has three bedrooms and one bathroom, so enough space for all the family.
It's on the market for just over 140,000, so within their budget,
if their home in the UK fetches what they hope.
Oh, this is nice.
-They liked the entrance, but which room is up first?
-This is a little bedroom, this could be Isla's room, couldn't it? Do you like it?
-May I have some sweeties?
-It's definitely a good start, isn't it?
-May I have some sweeties?
-Jenson seems impressed, and
-that's Isla's room out of the way, but what about the grown-ups?
-Oh, this is a nice big room, isn't it?
I could see ourselves in this room.
-I think the only thing that's probably missing is the en-suite?
If they are used to an en-suite, a bathroom could be key to a move.
I think it needs changing a bit.
It definitely needs separate shower and bath somewhere.
Their limited budget means updating the bathroom will be tough.
Oh, I like this space.
Oh, this is nice, this is lovely.
-I do like this.
-I don't like the colour.
So there's two rooms that need doing.
With that amount of work, this house is sounding unaffordable.
There is a bit of a... A couple of nails might be needed down there.
-It is creaky, isn't it?
-That could mean more repairs.
This is a nice little living area.
But our living room goes on to the dining room and it's got the kitchen at the side and they've only got that
small table there for dining, so it's kind of missing a dining area.
This house is proving to be a real letdown,
but there is an added extra to this property and could mean they'd have a bedroom each for Jenson and Isla.
-It's like a little lad's pad.
-This is nice, this, another little...
Converted the summer house, haven't they?
I don't know how warm it would be, though.
It's big enough, plenty of room.
Again, plenty of light.
I like it. I think it looks nice.
Obviously, a little modernisation on the windows again.
Well, yeah, they'd need proper re-fitting, those.
Natalie is not impressed, but Roy likes what he's seen.
With all they could be leaving behind in the UK, finding the right family home will be key.
It's about what I expected to get for our budget.
-Yeah. It's a good start, this.
-Could you see us living here?
I could see me living in a house like that, it's just getting use to the area, the surrounding area.
I could see myself living in an area like this, but not in this house.
-The complete opposite, then?
-They can't agree on what was wrong, but it's certainly not for them.
Is their New Zealand dream coming apart already?
The second property's on the market for nearly £150,000,
a little bit more expensive than the first one.
This house has three bedrooms and one bathroom with a garage and a workshop.
Located on a quiet cul-de-sac with access to good schools, this one needs to make a better impression.
-Straight into the living room.
-This is lovely.
-A really nice space.
-We found rocking chairs.
Jenson and Isla like it so far, although chairs aren't the first thing Natalie wants to see.
I would prefer not to have the front door opening straight into the living room
-but it's not a big thing, is it?
-It's not a big thing, no.
Being more expensive, they can't afford to make any changes to this house
so the kitchen has to need less work than the first property.
-Oh, this is nice.
-That's really nice.
-Nice colours, as well.
It opens up into a dining area which is more suited to us, isn't it?
-That's more like it but will Natalie need convincing on the bedrooms?
-The windows are big enough.
It's just a little bit dull, isn't it?
But we can sort that out with decoration.
That's not good. The master bedroom will have to be an improvement.
Oh, this is a nice room.
-This is much better, isn't it? Definitely.
-It's much brighter.
That's much better news on the parents' room
but there's a nasty surprise when it comes to the third bedroom.
It looks like it's being used as an office at the moment and not like a single bedroom.
I'm not 100% sure on the idea of the back door there.
You're like using the bedroom here to go straight out, aren't you?
Yeah, there's no other access to the garden.
It's a bit of a downer because it's actually a nice house,
overall, isn't it?
The office that leads to the garden would need to be a bedroom for the Parker-Smeeths.
It's a real blow and that might knock this house off the list.
I think just the layout lets itself down. The third bedroom's the only access to the garden.
It definitely needs a separate back door or else I couldn't call that back bedroom a third bedroom.
And that costs money they don't have.
To be honest, I didn't really like the front door opening straight into the living room either.
-Imagine when it is raining, on a carpet.
So, yeah, I'm a bit disappointed with the house because it looks lovely
from the outside and it's lovely at the back.
It's just internal, it's not suitable for us, is it?
No, it seems to have let itself down there.
It looks like that property really didn't match up to their expectations for their new home.
It all rests on the last one now.
House number three is a four-bedroomed, two-bathroomed
double garage property with a decent-sized back yard.
It falls within a top school zone so it's good for the children's prospects.
The extra space and good catchment area is reflected in its guide price
of £175,000 so would be a huge push for them financially.
Let's hope it appeals to them more than the first two.
Oh, it's a little bit darker in here, in't it, than it looks out in the hall?
This house benefits from having four proper bedrooms and gives them the extra space they're after.
Oh, what's in this room, Jenson and Isla? Oh, this is a nice room.
This is much better.
No, we're not getting the stuff out.
What you've got there, is two decent sized rooms here and you've got
a massive room here, haven't you? So you could also have people stopping.
You could you make this into...
I would probably have this as a guest room and the two smaller rooms as the children's bedrooms.
-Yeah, that's what I would do.
-With family being so important to Natalie,
a room for loved ones to stay during visits might be a deciding factor.
Oh, this is Mummy and Daddy's room.
-And you've got a TV!
-Oh, wow, yeah!
-You've got a TV.
-That looks great, doesn't it?
-Lovely, isn't it? A lovely big open front, also at the back.
-I really like it.
Could Natalie be coming round to the idea of living in New Zealand?
-This is a nice kitchen.
-Yeah, well nice.
Yeah, I love the little country kitchen look.
You have a lovely view as well of the garden.
You can watch the kids whilst cooking.
Things are really looking up.
-Everything is covered here, isn't it?
-You've got the dining area from the kitchen.
-And then into the living room.
-Look at that for an open space.
You could spend a long time in here, couldn't you?
You could see the kids growing up here, couldn't you?
Yeah, I think there's enough space in this house.
-This is definitely the most impressive house that we've seen today.
I know it's more money.
But you can tell the difference - you are getting more for your money.
-But it's definitely worth it. It's worth that little extra, isn't it?
We've finally got a winner but it would be a real struggle financially to afford a house like this.
They're going to need to have a serious rethink about what sort of property they'd be able to afford.
The first property didn't really sway them.
The area or house was the problem, depending on who you spoke to.
Number two was a huge letdown.
Bedroom three was a route to the garden.
The last house was their favourite. They could really see themselves moving in.
Unfortunately, it was out of their budget right now but if they get a really good price for
their UK home and increase their salaries in New Zealand, it might be within reach.
Based on the properties we've seen today, our vote goes to...
Roy and Natalie have been swayed by that last property.
But, if they're going to be able to afford it, they'll both need to find good jobs.
Their New Zealand dream rests on their work prospects.
At home, Roy and Natalie both work full time.
Roy works as an HGV driver while Natalie has set up her own graphic design business.
Having built up the company, it's not something that will be easy for her to give up.
Letting go completely would be quite difficult because I've
worked quite hard to get going and keep it afloat, really.
But if that's something that I have to do to bring an income in for my family, then so be it.
You have to work in New Zealand for two years before you can run your own business.
So it's going to be vital for her to find someone who'll employ her.
The family can only move to New Zealand if Natalie
gets a job offer because she is the main visa applicant.
Because I'm so happy in my job at home, I love doing what I do and running my own business,
so to leave that for something that wouldn't be 100% fulfilling, it just seems quite pointless, really.
So it is important for me to find the right job.
It'll also need to pay well to fund the life they want to lead.
I couldn't take a drop in salary anyway because
at the minute, at home, I just bring in enough to keep us going.
Natalie arrives at a graphic design company. She needs to grasp this opportunity and impress the boss.
-Natalie, is it?
-OK, welcome to New Zealand.
-Natalie's spending the day at a graphic design company.
She needs to grasp this opportunity and impress the boss.
Mr Derham wastes no time in checking out Natalie's design skills.
Now one of the tasks we're going to give you today is a large format print.
What you're going to do is to mock-up a photographic display
that has three square photographs on the wide panel.
This is Natalie's chance to prove herself.
While she gets started on her task, Roy is on the outskirts of
Christchurch with his own work plans.
Having dropped the children off at the nursery, he's meeting up with Angus, a local HGV driver.
-G'day, I'm Angus.
-Hi, Angus, I'm Roy.
-I hear you're a truck driver in the UK.
-I am, yes.
-I'm heading for the port, do you want to come for a ride?
-I'd like, to, yes.
-Get that on, mate.
As New Zealand has a large export industry a lot of the HGV works goes through the port.
Roy needs to do some serious research into what he could expect from working in New Zealand.
So what's making you think of coming to New Zealand, Roy?
First of all, I've heard really good things about the educational system
and also the cost of living seems to be a little bit lower.
So I think we'd be able to scrape together and hopefully afford a bit of a better life.
And Roy has some questions of his own.
So, Angus, over in New Zealand in this part of Christchurch,
what is the availability like for job opportunities?
I think there's always plenty of truck driving jobs here, Roy.
What type of pay would you be looking at starting at?
The average truck driver in New Zealand is probably getting 45,000 to 55,000 a year,
doing an average 40 or 50 hours a week.
That's the same salary as home but for fewer hours. Good news for Roy.
Back at the design agency, Natalie has completed her assignment for the day.
She's used to working for herself at home but in New Zealand,
she would need to get used to answering to a boss.
Yeah, that's come out pretty well, hasn't it?
Why did you choose this picture in the middle?
I just thought it was a lovely picture with the detail of the feathers and everything
and also for the continuity of the green in the backgrounds with the vibrant colours.
Yeah, it goes pretty well together, doesn't it?
I think she'll be quite pleased with that.
Natalie has other work to hand.
I've brought some other examples of work that I've done to show you.
The first, this was a book that we produced when we were at university.
And it was a book that was based on the greatest graphic designers in the industry.
Let's see if you can find me.
Whilst Natalie looks for her work, Roy has arrived at Christchurch's port.
It's the trade gateway to the South Island of New Zealand.
Getting well-paid jobs they enjoy will
be essential for Roy and Natalie, if they're going to make a move.
-It decides what lifestyle they could live.
Angus needs to get on with his journey, so Roy says goodbye.
Thanks very much, Angus, I've really enjoyed today, thank you.
No worries, Roy. All the best and we hope to see you back here again some time.
What does Roy make of what he's seen?
Originally, I thought the pay were going to be a little bit
less but it's actually worked out to be around the same price as what I'm getting paid in the UK.
It's good to know that there's always jobs available in this area
so looking for work doesn't seem to be too bad.
How's he feeling about New Zealand in general?
The whole experience so far has been fantastic.
The only thing I'm scared of, really, is not getting Natalie on board with me.
I think she had a bit more expectation of what she could get for her money in the housing market.
So if Natalie hasn't been won over by New Zealand, it's crucial that this day at work goes really well.
So this is your page.
It's quite interesting because we spend a lot of time here on readability
-and if anyone gave me something like that, I would throw it back in their face.
Because you can't read the capitals. Terrible.
It's a competitive industry and Natalie would need to be sure that moving to New Zealand and uprooting
the family is a viable option.
-What's the availability for jobs like in the area?
-I think it's pretty tight at the moment.
We've just come through a recession.
Some people have got laid off
so they are looking to get back into it again.
So I think it's quite tight here in Christchurch.
So at your company here, how much could I expect to earn?
-The range of salaries for the visual designers is probably between 30,000 and 37,000 a year.
At the end of a testing day, Natalie has found out that her salary
could start as low as £14,000.
That's £6,000 less than she earns back home.
That could put an end to all their plans.
The salary was a little bit lower than what I was expecting.
So, for that aspect it worried me a little bit.
How will this affect their move?
It was planned or discussed between us that Roy would probably stay home
and look after Isla whilst Jenson was at school for the first couple of months until we got established
and got ourselves on our feet and then he would look for a job.
But obviously if I'm not earning as much money as we'd hoped, then he's going to get a job
straight away and it's going to be incredibly stressful.
Natalie's lower salary is a massive setback
but thankfully, getting work for Roy shouldn't be too much of a problem.
But how will this affect the vote?
Does she see herself working here in New Zealand?
Or will it be back home?
Based on my day at work today in New Zealand, my vote goes to...
UK. Not just because I love my job at home and I work for myself and I
can work around the school hours and I am my own boss but because I can earn a better income.
-So that's why I've chosen the UK.
-That's a real blow.
It looks like Roy and Natalie's experiences of New Zealand are heading in opposite directions.
So, their trial work days were a great contrast.
The dream life of living in New Zealand is slipping away from Natalie.
With her potentially low salary and the high cost of properties,
can they actually afford to make the move at all?
It's time for a reality check.
Roy and Natalie bought this house in her home town of Nelson in Lancashire for £130,000 in 2004.
It's been on the market for two years, valued at £157,000.
We couldn't afford to put any deposit down on the house.
We had to get a 100% mortgage.
At that time it was a great idea.
Everyone was advising us - you are going to make money, you never lose money on a house.
The recession kicked in.
The house prices fell through the floor.
So my worry is, when we actually do sell the house, do we have any equity to take out with us?
We sent a couple of estate agents round to revalue the property in the current market.
It's a well-presented property. There's a modern gas fire there
and contemporary decorations and carpets.
It's a fully-fitted kitchen with a range of wall and base units, nice and contemporary again.
This is a well-proportioned living room.
It's very well presented. A lovely fireplace. A great family room.
It is a well-enclosed garden, ideal to keep the family safe.
It's west-facing, also very private.
This is the master bedroom, there is an en suite shower room and also fitted furniture.
-My favourite room.
-This is the third bedroom.
It's quite small.
I think you'd probably struggle to get a bed in here.
The property was put on the market at the peak of the market in 2007.
Where, you know, prices were a lot higher.
In today's market, the way things are going at the moment,
I would say the value is in the region of about £120,000.
If they wanted a quick sale, my advice would be to sell
anywhere between £100,000 and £110,000.
-For a quick sale.
At best, their house was valued at £120,000.
That's £10,000 below what they paid for it.
-We're going to be well skint when we come, aren't we?
So, the value of their home came as no surprise.
It seems they won't be making any money to help fund the plans they have for New Zealand.
It's time to see if the numbers add up.
We've prepared some figures that compare their cost of living back home
to what they might expect in New Zealand.
Let's have a look.
The first thing - can they afford a house?
So, our home costs. Mortgage at home?
OK, we start off with £600 on that side.
So, buying a 350 grand home,
-the mortgage payments are roughly £844 a month.
-That's quite high, isn't it?
New Zealand, home loan.
You must be a permanent resident of New Zealand to borrow 200,000 on a home loan with no deposit.
So we're looking at rent for the first few years.
With no deposit, buying a house is out of the question.
OK, so the rates are about £68 a month for a three to four bedroomed house.
But you don't have to pay the rates if you're renting. Nursery fees.
OK, so you're looking at £525 a month here in the UK.
A massive difference here in Christchurch, it's 300.
That's good. Let's have a look at the shopping costs.
Cheese is cheaper.
We eat a lot of cheese, don't we?
Chicken, that's less expensive.
If you look at the meat products, most of them are cheaper.
Every single penny counts for Roy and Natalie now.
They'll have to really scrutinise all their outgoings.
We're actually £162.75...
-..better off in New Zealand.
They don't just have to worry about everyday costs.
The emotional wrench of leaving friends and family back home has major financial implications, too.
It's going to cost about £4,500 to get us all home from here.
So, yeah, working it out, reasonably, it is going to be about every three to four years.
As she already finds it hard to contemplate leaving her sister
and granddad behind, this gives Natalie a huge dilemma.
I don't know where my priorities would lie, whether to save up for
a deposit on a house or whether to save up to go home.
I think I'd be more swayed towards saving up to going home.
If they spend their money on Natalie's flights, they might never
get on the property ladder, but they could have a solution at hand.
It'd really help us if Mum and Dad were here as well at the same time
and then maybe the costs of moving would be shared,
i.e. the containers, shipping all our things over, that would be a shared cost,
and maybe getting a house big enough
for all of us to stay in and share the rental costs as well.
It's been a mixed day for Roy and Natalie.
Renting a house is the only option right now but New Zealand would be a cheaper lifestyle overall.
How do the finances affect their vote?
Based on the cost of living in New Zealand, our vote goes to...
I think we'll be able to live a better way of life out here.
I think we'll have a little bit more spare money
which will enable us to enjoy our time more with the children.
Even though the financial news wasn't good for the Parker Smeeths,
they seem to have convinced themselves they can afford it.
The move to new Zealand has always been about more than just money for the Parker Smeeths.
What's driving Roy and Natalie on is the thought of a better lifestyle for their children.
But will they actually find it?
The family are off to the seaside to see what life their children could enjoy in New Zealand.
This is the sort of outdoor life they long for -
something they never get to do in their hectic lives in Lancashire.
-Oh, look! He's riding on a parachute!
Look at that.
I know. It's great, that!
This is it. This is family time, isn't it?
This is what we wanted for family time.
This is what you want, family time. A nice beach like this.
Somewhere for the children to play. Just to be able to just play.
And be children.
Oh, look at that!
This brief respite from the pressures of their trial week gives them a moment to reflect.
If we move to New Zealand...
we could come to the seaside all the time - would you like that?
-Nearly every day.
-At weekends, for sure.
But will they really have more time in New Zealand to enjoy the outdoor life?
Turning this fantasy into reality is weighing on Natalie's mind.
It's quite a big decision for us.
Not just for our future, but for the children's future,
and because it involves them,
it has to be the right choice. Is it really worth it?
Will we just be swapping one set of circumstances for another, with a bit nicer weather?
So, I'm not sure just yet. Is it worth it? I don't know.
A move to New Zealand is a massive decision.
Moving from the beach to the park, it seems Roy and Natalie could be
going in totally different directions.
It's growing on me now as the week has gone on.
Actually going to the beach with the kids
and letting them enjoy themselves, it has been fantastic.
I had quite high expectations about New Zealand.
I thought that it was going to be kind of all-singing, all-dancing and it was
going to absolutely blow me away, but from what we've seen so far, it's just been very much like home.
Really, I suppose, hasn't it?
Well, yeah, it has a little bit, but I'm not sure yet.
There hasn't been anything extraordinary just yet, but maybe that's because
we haven't had a chance to fully explore the country, I suppose,
and see everything that's on offer.
-We're very limited to what we can do in a week.
So, so far, it hasn't wowed me.
So, it looks like there is a split in the camp,
with Roy more won over by New Zealand than Natalie.
Where will they decide is the best place to bring up the family?
After spending a little bit of time in New Zealand
and experiencing the lifestyle, our vote goes to New Zealand.
Natalie's time in New Zealand has left her with more questions than answers.
Her work experience didn't go as she'd hoped and, having looked at the financial figures,
they know the move will be costly.
However, Roy has remained positive throughout.
But perhaps the toughest test could be leaving behind friends and family.
It could shatter their plans.
We've recorded a series of messages from friends and family.
-Hi, Natalie and Roy, Jenson and Isla.
-Hi, Roy, Natalie, Jenson and Isla.
-Hi, Roy and Natalie.
You're so easy to talk to that I'd miss having someone to lean on.
I do lean on him quite a lot.
Jenson is amazing. Jenson is just so polite, so well behaved.
He's like the model child. It's actually scary how perfect he is.
They are the centre of our universe.
They are really good.
They bring so much pleasure and they are so loving.
Isla is so naughty, but that makes her so endearing.
Superb lass. Yes, great lass.
And I'm fortunate that she's my granddaughter.
The biggest thing I will miss
is the best thing that she's ever given me
and that's my niece and nephew - I'll just miss then so much.
I've seen our daughters grow up.
I then have seen my granddaughters grow up
and we were both hoping to see Jenson and Isla grow up.
But, of course, at some point there's a cut-off, isn't there?
It's very hard for Natalie to leave her granddad.
Because they are very, very close.
I think it's difficult for her, because I've been such a big part
in her children's lives that, for her to think about
her not being a part - oh, I'm getting upset -
her not being a part of my children's life,
is quite... I think she will really, really struggle with that.
He probably doesn't realise that I think the world of him
and I'll miss him loads.
And I don't think he realises that I think he's my closest brother.
I thinks he just thinks I'm just miles away and I don't think much of him.
My life would be a little bit empty without her.
A little bit emptier.
Because ultimately, she's my sister, but also she's my best friend.
And I think, growing up, you don't think that, but when you get older, you realise
the only person you can really trust in your life is your sister.
But if she moves, she's got to do it for her...
At the end of the day, you have to follow your dream and you just have to go for your own life.
And yes, Mum and Dad will want to follow, obviously, but if it's not meant it to be,
you still have to go for it, because you only get one chance.
Don't forget that Uncle Ian and Auntie Leona love you very much
and that we'll come and see you as soon as we can.
I'll miss you loads when you're gone,
and hopefully, we won't lose touch completely and we will still see each other as regularly as we can.
..come into your life...
..and quickly go. Some people stay a while
and leave footprints
on your heart. And you will never, ever be the same again.
I knew he'd drop something in like that, Granddad.
-We've always been close to everyone that we are with, haven't we?
But you just don't realise how much people mean to you, I suppose.
My little sister is like my best friend.
We have a really special bond and I see her all the time.
I probably see her four to five times a week out of seven.
And I'll miss her so much.
I will miss her so much.
It's kind of pulled at my heart strings there.
It's going to be quite difficult, actually.
That was incredibly emotional for Natalie and Roy.
Has it proved a step too far, and ended any dreams of moving to New Zealand?
I think the decision now is going to be really difficult for Natalie.
Because she's now seen the effects of what her sister and also her grandfather feel,
and leaving them behind is going to be a very difficult choice to finally make.
At the moment, it all seems up in the air.
And not quite definite.
Realising that we may not be able to get home for another three, maybe five years,
it's kind of put a little dampener on the experience, really.
The Parker Smeeths have reached the end of a rollercoaster week.
-They started off by seeing a house that felt like home.
You could see the kids growing up here, couldn't you?
But after looking at their finances, that dream home was out of reach.
And flights back to see those closest to them would be few and far between.
Their experiences of work were opposites.
Whilst Roy enjoyed his, Natalie discovered the harsh reality that she would earn a lot less.
My vote goes to UK.
A taste of New Zealand life showed what the family could do together.
-This is family time, isn't it?
-This is what we wanted for the family time.
This is what you want, family time.
But for Natalie, the anguish over the move has been caused by leaving her sister and granddad.
Now, a move to New Zealand is in real doubt.
But it's time for them to make the crucial decision.
Will the pull of family back home be too great for Natalie and Roy?
Or will they see beyond the inevitable financial difficulties and vote for New Zealand?
We've done a lot and we've seen a lot,
and we've decided that our final vote goes to...
It's been an emotional week for the Parker Smeeths.
Their financial situation will make the move to New Zealand very hard
but Natalie and Roy are determined
to brave it for the sake of their children and the benefits a new life will bring them.
I will get back to the UK as much as I can to see my granddad and my sister,
but if that means it's every three, five years, then so be it,
that's what it has to be.
The Parker Smeeths are coming to New Zealand!
Join us next time when we find out what happens
when another British family decides whether they are wanted Down Under.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
The series in which British families are given the chance to sample what life would be like if they moved to the other side of the world.
Nathalie and Roy Parker-Smeeth and their two young children from Lancashire are desperate for a better quality of life. They both work long hours and think that the New Zealand lifestyle will be better for the whole family. Will their week down under convince them it's really worth moving to the other side of the world?