TWO bundles weighing roughly the same amount have dominated my life in recent months.
Eva Poppy Taylor came into the world on November 10 – first child, weighing an impossibly cute 5lbs and 13 ounces, or 2.65kg for you metric Kiwis.
That’s only slightly heavier than the other bundle – the large folder containing the stack of essential documents needed to apply for New Zealand residency.
Taken together, they show I represent the changing demographics of Queenstown Lakes District as shown in 2013’s census.
I say ‘I’, but ‘I’ is now of course ‘we’; family Taylor, the Taylors, I am now the Taylors. The Taylors are one of almost 1000 new families in the district – representing a 42 per cent increase since NZ last had a stocktake in 2006.
And we’re Brits at that – part of the third of the population who are foreigners and 15 per cent from Europe. Not sure about Eva though. Is she British or Kiwi? She was born in Invercargill’s Southland Hospital after an arduous five hours.
But unfortunately she doesn’t automatically get a NZ passport. We’ll have to add her to our residency application once we get her a British passport – a passport which will cost $1400. The residency application itself is more expensive, about $3000, and nearly as taxing as the labour. I’ve had about the same input into both, not much.
Mrs Taylor has compiled the birth certificates, passports, police certificates, evidence of relationship (no, a marriage certificate is not enough), medicals, photographs, rental agreements, old mortgage contracts, banking statements, job contracts and offer letters, etc. All originals, no copies allowed. But then she is on holiday for a year, or maternity leave as she calls it.
So why commit to a future here in Queenstown? Why go through the rigmarole and expense of applying to stay here, not to mention leaving behind extended family and friends in the UK who you will see at most once a year after a 36-hour flight?
Of course everyone who lives here already knows the answer to this question – quality of life in a strikingly beautiful, positive, upbeat, safe, healthy, outdoors-orientated and friendly place.
Most people come for a holiday, a working holiday or while travelling and decide this is pretty much as good as it gets.
It’s a great place to live and raise a family, that’s why it’s boomed more than a quarter in seven years. Here’s to a family-friendly 2014.