Opinion: There’s no place like home – why I moved back to Christchurch and why I love the Garden City

Kim J. Clark

This collection will profile the folks who make Christchurch tick, give a voice to the region’s various communities and discussion how the metropolis can ideal accommodate its growing number of citizens though inspecting the problems facing the town. Movie / NZ Herald


Anna Leask is a senior reporter for the Herald specialising in criminal offense and justice. and host of NZME’s A Minute In Crime podcast.

In 2008 she moved from Christchurch and was based mostly in the Auckland newsroom for virtually 12 several years.

But in 2020 it was time to go dwelling – back to the Mainland, back again to her Super Town.

Leask shares currently what determined her to shift and why it was one particular of the best conclusions of her lifetime.

They say there is certainly no location like home.

So, when my editor asked me if I would be interested in relocating from Auckland to Christchurch in mid-2020 it only took me an hour to make my choice.

Born and lifted in Canterbury, I’d been dwelling and functioning in Auckland for nearly 12 years.

Until that working day I imagined I cherished the major metropolis.

I beloved my condominium in Ponsonby, my social lifetime, and dwelling in the heaving and humid metropolis that is the City of Sails.

But the minute the give of relocating was manufactured I virtually instantly realized it was time to shift home.

Moving home has meant being closer to my lifelong friends and their growing families. Photo / Anna Leask
Going property has meant becoming nearer to my lifelong friends and their escalating people. Picture / Anna Leask

My spouse and children are all dependent in and all around Christchurch such as at the time a young niece and a second just one on the way.

I’d felt I was lacking out on becoming part of their life and was stunned at how significantly that gnawed at me.

The gnawing only greater immediately after the 2019 terror attack and the initially countrywide Covid-19 lockdown, which ended up both situations that reiterated the significance of my loved ones.

Equally of all those matters also unsettled me, in that I realized I preferred and wanted to make a modify in my lifestyle – but had no concept what that would look like

I really said to my flatmate the night before the relocation was offered that “a thing requirements to improve but I never know what and I feel I need to expend some severe time doing work out what I want and what my long run appears to be like”.

My to start with believed when the offer you arrived the subsequent working day was about what I would overlook out on with my several close friends in Auckland.

Moving home has meant more quality time with the family including my precious Nana, who turned 98 in June. Photo / Matthew Leask
Shifting property has meant a lot more excellent time with the loved ones which include my cherished Nana, who turned 98 in June. Photograph / Matthew Leask

Lunches, dinners, occasions, following-get the job done drinks, weekend outings and outings.

But right after the lockdown life had seriously transformed in that area and progressively we weren’t truly accomplishing all those matters anyway.

We had been much extra inclined to catch up in excess of supper at household and that was one thing continue to effortlessly attained of a weekend with a sneaky low-priced Jetstar flight.

And as my brother claimed when I named him for suggestions: “you cannot continue to be there just for the social life, all I listen to is blah, blah, blah – FOMO (dread of lacking out)”.

He also pointed out how I would normally managed Auckland was hardly ever long-lasting for me, that I usually said I might occur dwelling and now was the likelihood to do it even though keeping the job I beloved and with negligible upheaval.

He was so ideal. But never explain to him that.

Being more present and available to family has been a huge positive and I love spending time with them without worrying about rushing away for flights and watching the clock. Photo / Anna Leask
Getting much more current and obtainable to loved ones has been a huge beneficial and I adore paying time with them without stressing about speeding absent for flights and viewing the clock. Photograph / Anna Leask

On the lockdown entrance, at the time, it was this kind of an unsure time.

Kiwis simply weren’t confident how quite a few we would have to endure how several additional instances we would be sent home to hold out out another wave of the dreaded virus, no matter if it would only be Auckland plunged again into household detention.

When I experienced it good through the to start with lockdown, I dreaded obtaining to do it once again.

Moving house appeared to be a practical go throughout the board.

And at the time I agreed to make the shift south, I could truly feel the bodyweight of that unsettledness lifting each individual working day.

Though I realized I would skip my close friends – a whole lot – I also understood the transfer was heading to be really good.

Within just two months of moving residence, I had purchased my initially property – some thing I in no way could have performed in Auckland on my possess.

In Auckland, I was forking out $370 a week for my fifty percent of the rent in a two-bed room condominium in Ponsonby.

It was a fantastic area and I was blessed to have amazing flatmates in the four a long time I lived there and charming personal landlords.

But now I pay out just $20 extra than that a 7 days to a house loan – for an total home alternatively than just my 50 % of an exorbitant but current market-fair hire, and I do not need any housemates to make finishes meet up with.

To say I am now dwelling the aspiration in regard of my dwelling arrangements is an understatement.

Buying a house was not something I could have dreamed of in Auckland but in Christchurch it became reality really quickly. Photo / Anna Leask
Buying a house was not something I could have dreamed of in Auckland but in Christchurch it became truth definitely speedily. Image / Anna Leask

The expense of residing in Auckland, in normal, was steep.

I was having to pay upward of $100 a thirty day period on transportation to and from get the job done – bus fares, parking and Ubers.

Now I can generate to operate each working day and shell out absolutely nothing for parking.

Thankfully our workplace is outside the house the central metropolis but even if we were based mostly in the famed Four Avenues you can find free of charge parking with a 5 or 10-minute walk from most workplace spaces.

And if I needed to bus – public transport in Christchurch is super quick and ridiculously low-priced comparatively.

Currently being shut to relatives has been a large modify, specifically currently being capable to attend birthdays, events, Christmases and the like without the need of owning to frantically organise flights and airport pickups and racing all around like crazy to catch up with all people in a limited time.

Mum and Dad marked their 40th wedding day anniversary just months following I moved house and I was able to assist them organise their celebration I can now have sleepovers with my nieces or choose them to the library or just get in touch with in for supper on a whim I can go and visit my 98-yr-outdated grandmother and childhood greatest mate any time I want without the need of obtaining to strategy it months in progress and spend hundreds of pounds.

Being home for family occasions like my parents' 40th wedding anniversary has been amazing. Photo / Anna Leask
Getting residence for family members occasions like my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary has been amazing. Photograph / Anna Leask

All of these items sound so banal but when you are living in an additional metropolis it can be these points you truly miss and lament not becoming capable to take part in.

Exterior Covid constraints, I’ve been capable to get to Auckland regularly to see my mates and even though it seems cheesy it’s genuine that our catch-ups are fewer frequent in particular person but much additional rewarding as we do not get any time for granted.

I might even say my closest friendships in Auckland have come to be even more powerful with the distance.

I do overlook our old haunts – the favourite restaurants and pubs the waterfront for walks, the beaches, the vibe and vibrancy of Auckland – Christchurch has just as a great deal going for it.

And, with the money I am preserving on the price tag of residing in basic, I can also get overseas to see the Aussie mates extra generally than I could afford to pay for in Auckland.

Living near family means being a bigger part of their daily lives, particularly my gorgeous little nieces. Photo / Anna Leask
Dwelling close to family members means becoming a greater part of their day-to-day lives, particularly my attractive minimal nieces. Image / Anna Leask

There is no a lot more living fork out-to-pay back and I have been equipped to, for the initial time in my adult life, make savings and not anxiety about the expense of living.

As the metropolis rebuilds following the 2011 quake there are extra excellent bars, eating places and facilities opening each individual month and we’re not quick of areas to go and items to do.

And of class, we boast the very best rugby team in all of the land which is a big reward and I’m surely looking ahead to that 14th Crusaders title in 2023…

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson performs a break dance to celebrate winning the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific Final last month. Photo / NZH
Crusaders mentor Scott Robertson performs a break dance to celebrate winning the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific Closing final month. Photo / NZH

It really is fair to say I have absolutely no regrets about the transfer.

It was the finest detail I could have finished at that juncture in my lifetime exactly where points were being starting off to truly feel a little bit caught, a little bit stagnant.

I generally speculate what would have happened if I’d stayed in Auckland – would I have taken off overseas hunting for a new route, would I have altered professions.

I consider all I actually required was to arrive property.

I sense significantly additional settled, I come to feel better off inside of myself and am definitely much better off and substantially far more secure fiscally.

Interestingly my other 50 % and our mutual buddy have also moved again in the past 5 yrs – from the two larger towns in New Zealand and overseas – and we all concur that our lives are far better, calmer, richer on numerous degrees and additional satisfying staying back on the Mainland, again the place our roots are, back again exactly where everything is just so common and effortless.

Daily life is fantastic listed here in Christchurch and it is only going to get greater as the town grows and develops.

I can not hold out to see how Christchurch and Canterbury adjustments and moves forward in the coming many years – and am genuinely enthusiastic to be part of our Tremendous City.

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