Family enjoy Nelson's culture

Last updated 13:00 04/12/2013

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Quality of life is the reason Scots couple Caroline and Allan Smith now live in Nelson.

The 2013 census shows one in five people in Nelson was born overseas, with nearly half of those from the United Kingdom.

Mrs Smith is from the Isle of Skye, born and brought up in Kyle of Lochalsh, and Mr Smith is from Torridon in the northwest Highlands.

She was a vet nurse who used to work 60 hours a week, and he was an electrician who also worked diving for scallops in sea so cold he sometimes had to crack the ice.

"In the UK you live to work, here work to live. That was the drawcard," said Mrs Smith.

Mrs Smith first ventured downunder on a six-month exchange to Australia and came to New Zealand to visit distant cousins in 1999.

She returned here with husband Allan in 2004.

"When we went back to Scotland we were like, ‘we would really love to move here'. We didn't want to wish in 10 years we should have made the move."

So they shifted in 2006 to Geraldine, then Mr Smith worked for Fonterra at Clandeboye.

They first visited Nelson during a howling gale, and loved it.

Now Mr Smith works as a plant operator for Fonterra at Brightwater and Mrs Smith has started her own company as a relocation specialist, putting their own experience to good use.

They found they could not rent a property without being here in person and had to come up from South Canterbury taking time off work to do so.

"I would have paid somebody to do that. Then I thought, I can do that."

Her business is aimed at people moving from elsewhere in New Zealand as well as from overseas.

The things they like about Nelson are "good schooling, clean and beautifully maintained play areas for children, it's safe and it's a small city".

"There's a lot more happening here culturally, there's a lot more events. The council here seems active," said Mr Smith.

Mrs Smith says, "There's something happening all the time, the arts festival, the film festival, last weekend the Santa Parade - we're at something every week."

The only things they miss are family, friends - and Tescos.

Now with son Jamie, 3, they are happy in their Stoke home with a panoramic view over the region.

Mr Smith has just joined the Stoke Volunteer Fire Brigade and recommends to newcomers: "Join the fire brigade, it's a great way to meet people."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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