We came to NZ for a better life

Last updated 14:00 24/05/2013
SAFER HERE: Maruschke Barnard and her family love living in New Zealand.

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My family emigrated to New Zealand seven years ago and we made it our home.

We moved to New Zealand for safety reasons, you don't see half of what is really going on in South Africa.

After we were robbed while in our home my dad decided then and there that it was the best decision to leave, he didn't want to raise his children in that hostile and dangerous environment anymore. 

It was very stressful and hard at the beginning, we sold everything in South Africa and moved to New Zealand for a better life.

It was tough getting all the visas sorted here, we never knew how hard it was going to be, but when we got them we could start our new lives.

New Zealand seemed like a strange place and it was really sad leaving everything behind. All our friends, all our family and everything we knew and loved.

Making friends was really hard for me. I was 15 and going to school I had a lot of racism coming towards me because I was from South Africa. Everyone thought that it was still the same as it was when apartheid was going on and everyone blamed me.

I also had questions and comments like "isn't it dangerous with the lions around you?" and "but you're white you can't be from South Africa".

When I finished school it became easier. I was just finding my feet and discovering what New Zealand was all about and I fell in love with New Zealand. Just the thought of going back made me want to cry. Lucky we never had to.

I got married here and started my own little family. I wouldn't want to go back ever and I won't change anything.

I found the people here a lot different to South Africans. South Africans are all about class, I'm rich and you're poor so we don't mix, but we didn't find that here, which I love.

I still find it hard finding friends because I am quite shy and I find New Zealanders very outgoing. It was very strange to see the schools allowing makeup, jewellery, long hair on boys, etc. We weren't allowed anything like that in South Africa, although one thing I did notice was the children here don't have any respect for their teachers or parents.

New Zealand is the best place for us and we are absolutely loving it here.

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