Well, I love both!
( Gumboots = wellies)
I came back to live in Cumbria from New Zealand in June 2017, with my husband and our black and white Kiwi cat, Poppy, after nearly 9 years living in the South island of New Zealand.
Christchurch, the biggest city in the South Island, was our home for the first few years, and then in 2012, after our house had to be demolished after the earthquakes, we moved to Ohoka, a village in the country, half an hour north of Christchurch. I worked in the city and lived on a 5 1/2 acre lifestyle block, so heels and my Red Band gumboots were my world.
Living in New Zealand had been a bit of a dream of mine since I was little. Dad got an offer of a 2 year contract to work in Auckland with his company, and so mum and dad took my sister and I when I was 2 and my sister was 4. Two years later we came back to England and settled back into life in England. I’d never been back. All those family slide shows intrigued me and enticed me back there, as did quite a few ‘Wanted Down Under’ episodes!
Hubby and I had always wanted to experience life in a different country together and so we made our way from Cumbria to Christchurch in October 2008 with our 2 cats, mum and daughter, Lady and Daisy, We had quite a few adventures, so many wonderful experiences and quite a few unexpected ones. Lady and Daisy both lived to the grand old age of 17 and loved their lazy afternoons on the deck and hunting mice. They were pretty good at both of those things.
When I was made a Kiwi, a citizen of New Zealand, I started to think about what that meant and Heels and Gumboots started from there. I’m seeing the UK with fresh eyes now, and I’m very happy that I came back home.
Me with my NZ Citizenship certificate
Citizenship Ceremony – it’s The Mayor, me and hubby
So, 7 days ago I became a New Zealand citizen and lots of people have said to me since, ‘You’re a Kiwi now!’ Funny thing is, I’m not sure what that means yet as I feel very English. Well I did spend 40 years there so I guess that’s not surprising! I’m always hearing ‘How very English!’ and ‘You’re SO English!’ and comments like that from Kiwi friends and colleagues, and am still figuring out if that’s a compliment or if it’s more of a ‘I can’t believe you’re such a stereoptype’ kind of comment. I wish I could see myself from their point of view and then I think I’d probably get it.
My other half and I had talked about citizenship on and off for the last 3 years, 5 years after we became permanent residents, as the law states that you can apply to become a citizen 5 years after gaining permanent residence. Something kicked in on October 29th 2013, 5 years to the day we landed in Christchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand, when we realised we could apply. The good thing is you can have dual citizenship and not give up your British passport to gain a New Zealand one.
Who knew that the first person to recite their affirmation at the citizenship ceremony would literally cry as she read her affirmation to Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth of New Zealand? (It wasn’t me but I welled up a bit as I heard her voice wobble and a sniffle). Queen Elizabeth of New Zealand – I’d never thought of her like that before. She’s the Queen of England, isn’t she? Afternoon tea was served but cucumber sandwiches were noticably absent, disappointingly! We did have tea though but there was a rather ugly off-white saucer to plonk your teabag on when you’d finished dunking. No teapot – oh no! I did appreciate the little sandwiches and sweet slices though – all very cute and bitsize and deliciously thoughtful.