by Alex Richards
In 2007 Alex Richards moved his young family from rural Worcestershire in the United Kingdom to Darfield, a small township about 30 km West of Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand. Having never visited New Zealand prior to the move, the learning curve was steep and the experiences came thick and fast as Alex and his family threw themselves into everything their new home had to offer. ‘New Zealand Calling’ is the story that emerged over the first five years of Alex’s new life. Often hilarious, always heartfelt, his easy reading accounts of the initial move, settling a family into a new country, hunting and fishing expeditions and his social observations of a country that doesn’t appear in the numerous tourist guides will leave you feeling as though you were along for the ride. Despite their optimism, what they couldn’t have expected were the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 that first shook Darfield and then devastated Christchurch. Would the â??Shaky Isles’ prove too much, or had their dreams come true after all? ‘A must read for anybody thinking of emigrating to New Zealand’ (David Price 2012), ‘New Zealand Calling’ is as varied in its stories as the wonderful people of New Zealand and the extraordinary country they inhabit but, more than anything, it’s a ‘bloody good read’ (‘Pat’ of chapter 25). Most people have dreamed of living abroad. Many have thought of New Zealand as the perfect location. Would your dreams have come true if you’d taken the plunge? At last it’s possible to get a taste of what really awaits a family moving to Aotearoa.
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