Irish family enjoys life in new, friendly home

16:00, Jan 04 2013
The Mullin family
NEW HOME: The Mullin family moved to Christchurch from Ireland for the rebuild. John, left, Jenette, Matthew, Sarah, who is visiting from Australia, and Robert.

The Mullin family - John, Jenette and sons Robert and Matthew - moved to Christchurch from Ireland after John was recruited for the rebuild. They share their experiences of life in the earthquake-hit city.

How long have you been in Christchurch?

We arrived on June 7, so we are here just over six months.

What was the appeal of coming to Christchurch?

We applied for visas for Canada and New Zealand, but we chose Christchurch because we felt it offered a better family life and culture fit for us.

What type of working are you doing here? What had you been working as in your home country?


John is employed as a carpenter [first with Canstaff and now with Calder Stewart]. He worked as a carpenter at home in Ireland but due to the economic downturn, work in the construction industry became difficult to find. Jenette is employed as a payroll and accounts-payable administrator with Armourguard and worked as a self-employed bookkeeper back in Ireland.

Did you make arrangements to come here yourself, or use a recruitment company?

We came here with the help of Canstaff after applying through an advertisement they placed on a national vacancy website.

Were you concerned about possible earthquakes?

We were not deterred by possible earthquakes as we felt that this was a new and exciting opportunity for us to make a fresh start.

Have you come alone or with family?

We have three children and arrived here with our two sons, who attend Riccarton High School. Our daughter has recently arrived on a visit from Perth for the Christmas period.

Where in Christchurch are you living, and in what type of accommodation?

When we first arrived Canstaff were very helpful and had already organised a furnished apartment for us, where we lived until two months ago, when we relocated to the Riccarton area to a three-bedroom townhouse with a small garden.

How have you been treated in Christchurch?

We have been treated well in Christchurch since arriving. People have been very helpful and informative on where to shop for bargains, good schools, sports clubs and activities. Our sons have settled in well at Riccarton High and we find the teaching staff very hands-on, and the school facilities are fantastic.

Have you found Christchurch locals welcoming, friendly and helpful to overseas workers generally?

Yes. We've found the locals very approachable and friendly and haven't encountered any negativity.

What do you do for entertainment in Christchurch?

We like to socialise but don't go out very often.

We tend to go as a family unit and would like to try the diverse multicultural range of menus available in Christchurch over the summer. John enjoys jogging around Hagley Park a few times a week and our sons are members of Canterbury Rowing Club.

How long do you expect to be here? Are you considering living here permanently?

We are currently on a one-year visa, but as John has been offered a permanent role with Calder Stewart we hope to extend our stay here.

The Press