The New Zealand scoping trip

Thanks to everybody who contributed career advice during this trip.

We’re planning to leave Brisbane. I’m sick of the six-month sub-tropical summers, and Rosie wants to try living outside her home town.

Thing is, I’m really enjoying my work here. It has all of the good stuff - remuneration, good people, interesting challenges, noble objectives, and opportunities to grow (I’ve recently started as second-in-command for my team).

So we’re compromising on a 12-18 month timeline for the move.

We just completed a two-week visit to scope out whether Christchurch or Wellington are suitable for both of us. Here’s what I learned.

The LinkedIn post

I posted this to LinkedIn and Twitter, and received a great response.

Hi, I’m a geek (infosec/dev) in Brisbane considering a move to Wellington or Christchurch in late 2020, visiting this week and next. Would love to buy a coffee/etc for anyone who can clue me in about the local scene!

It took a few days to really take effect, but then my inbox filled up. People are so lovely and so helpful. And I’m very grateful to everyone who took time out of their day to give some tips to a stranger - thank you all!

Rewriting the post

The feedback was awesome, but here’s what I’d do next time:

Make the timeline more memorable

A lot of people, when we met up, didn’t realise the timeline was 12-18 months. It was more common to assume that we were moving soon and I was looking for work immediately.

Give more notice and consider business days

Because I made the post after arriving in Auckland, I only gave the Christchurch community a couple of days to respond and Wellington a week.

Especially bad is that even if you’re in town for four more days, if two of them are weekends, then they’re pretty useless.

Attach a CV or suggest it

Very few people had looked at my work history. If you’re doing a favour for someone you don’t know by meeting up, then it seems reasonable not to spend even more time doing research beforehand. That said, this was a surprise, and I wonder if they could have been interested if I’d presented the information differently.

My CV is linked from my profile and from the front page of my website. Most of the same information is also on my profile directly. Next time, I’d try attaching it to the post directly.

Explain why I’m leaving

Just a sentence like “love the job, fed up with the climate”.

City comparisons

We visited during the middle of winter to give us a chance to see the worst of the weather.


Not an option. It’s my home town, but it’s big, congested, horrifically expensive, and the good jobs are deep in a concrete jungle. We visited briefly to see my family but not to consider it.


Chilly, shaky, and kind of sparse. But the surrounding countryside is gorgeous and it doesn’t take far to get out of the urban centre.

The new Tūranga library is fantastic, too.

Almost our first stop was the Quake City museum. Very good and it gave us a good foundation for understanding the events of 2010-2011. A little bit spooky but not enough to drive us away.

Nobody had high expectations of the local job market, though. The overall impression was that it’s very possible to make a good living, often with contract work, but you can’t just shake a tree and choose the ripest job to fall.


Pretty windy! Downtown is relatively small and the public transport seems to be good. The hill suburbs around Churton Park are very pleasant, too.

Jobs-wise, it’s probably the best option. The cybersecurity community seems to be small and tight-knit but with plenty of work to go around.

Australia vs New Zealand

Australia is a wealthy country, but its social policies, environmental policies and local governance aren’t the greatest. Brisbane is also guilty of massive urban sprawl.

New Zealand is gorgeous, funny, kind, and small. But the cost of living is similar (or higher in Auckland), and wages are almost uniformly lower.

So NZ is a lifestyle move, and Australia is a career move.

Where will we end up?