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Immigration stories

Since the AJI was established in August 2001, the organisation has fielded 1000 serious enquiries from some 31 countries. To date a total of 169 new families have arrived.

Some of their stories:

A Seamless transition

Ireland and New Zealand are often compared to each other. For civil engineer Maire Lenihan, the similar language, climate and culture made for an easy transition after she arrived here in April 2013.

Lenihan knew what to expect after backpacking around the country a decade ago. However, after leaving Ireland four years ago to seek new work opportunities, she first went to Sydney, Australia.

"l spent a bit of time there travelling and looking for work, and it just wasn't really me," Maire says.

A former colleague from Ireland was working for Watercare in Auckland. He contacted Maire on Linkedln, sent Maire's CV to Watercare's management, and after two days she had a Skype interview.

The job was a great opportunity: being a project manager in the wastewater transmission team, which delivers new infrastructure (physical systems) to process 400 million litres of wastewater every day for Auckland's growing population.

Things quickly fell into place. Maire flew into Auckland on a working holiday visa. "l was really lucky to have my job secured, so that was a huge stress off my shoulders."

As a skilled migrant, Maire applied for and received her resident's visa within a few months. "It meant I was able to really settle."

She'd already felt more at home here than in Australia. "The weather was a lot more agreeable to my Irish skin, and I felt a lot of similarities with New Zealanders," she says.

"l was very lucky as well when I arrived, I found a really nice flat in Mt Eden, and met some really great people."

Maire quickly fell in love with Auckland's many volcanic cones, the urban beaches and Mt Eden's leafy surroundings.

"lt's a really great place to live, lots of good cafes and nice bars," she explains. "l was living quite close to Eden Park, so that was really exciting when there was rugby and cricket games.

Gordon, Zee, Jess and Tash

Yesterday we were in New Zealand two years! Today we received our permanent residence visa's. It is only starting to sink in now. While our passports were being processed I looked out the window and wondered..... I was in wonder.

Our debt of gratitude needs to be involved in some giving. I would like to to start taking my kids to visit some of our elderly brethren at Shalom Court, to any who would welcome visits from a fellow Jewish family with small(ish) kids.

Thank you for your support, especially in the early days. You steered set us to the right path, more than once, and helped choose the best of the two forks that made the path longer.

Have a good Shabbos,

With gratitude to you and AJI,

And wishing you the best of everything, always.

Dr Evgeny Bogomolny

In Evgeny’s own words: "I am on my third day in beautiful Auckland city enjoying its hospitality and charming landscapes. I arrived here from Israel in order to make research in the field of biomedical physics. My knowledge of New Zealand was relatively blurred but thanks to Stan he filled up quickly and effectively the gaps in information even before my arrival. Only this it is worth for high appreciations but his warmness and charisma made feel at home in this
distant land."

Evgeny’s immediate past professional background was the Department of Physics Ben Gurion University. He is here on a three year Research contract with Auckland University. He is already in his own office at the University and is now planning to go back to Israel to bring his very young family to Auckland in the next few weeks. Evgeny’s research can bring when available the diagnoses through his lens aperture the dreaded but common Melanoma problem.

It is no coincidence that Evgeny selected New Zealand as the place to complete his research given the high incident of the killer problem disease which is so prevalent in NZ.

Wife Irina has a BSC IN Biology – they have a young 5 month old baby and a 2 year old daughter. It is their intention to apply for Residency and make Auckland their permanent home.

Mark Bialik

35 year old Mark Bialik is a Civil Engineer. He was born in Lithuania but has been living in Israel for last 20 years.
Irit, Mark’s 33 year old wife is a Registered Nurse. Irit was born in the Ukraine but the family moved to Israel in 1990. The couple met and in 1999 and were married. They have two children: Barr- older son, born in 2003 and Maayan-younger daughter, 2 years old.

Mark contacted the AJI in March after securing on-line a Work to Residency visa. Stan advised Mark to come ahead of the family and secure a job and pave the way for the rest of the family.

On May 7th Stan met Mark at the Airport and they did a round of introductions including Kadimah, the Shul team and then on to what turned out to be to stay at a less than desirable accommodation. This didn’t daunt Mark and he went straight to it to find a job. Within the first month Mark negotiated his permanent employment contract with one of the top construction companies in New Zealand, and much to his relief he both received a company car and more importantly was put up in a luxury hotel for a month.

The job finds in his own words a large group of international cultures that he is responsible for which Mark terms the League of Nations. The job is great but the only common denominator that binds his multi cultured work mates is
talking Rugby – something Mark knows very little about.

Mark plans to bring the family to New Zealand as quickly as possible and Irit hopes to continue her Nursing career here. Mark has signed up a near new apartment for the family to live. Mark in his own words says - "First days were very stressful and warm welcome of local Jewish Congregation helped a lot and encouraged me."

Not bad Mark – not knowing anyone in Auckland apart from the AJI, in just over a month you secured a top job, a top Apartment and enrolled the children at Kadimah, and a near certainty to secure Residency for all the family in the relatively near future.

Another new arrival opens his own business

The recently arrived Fybish family have settled into the Auckland scene very quickly. On the third June Gal Fybish emailed us that he was about start his own business. He has called it IDTA Solutions which is a combination of his children’s names.

His organisation intends to provide forecasting, demand planning and inventory management services to small and medium size businesses. His business specialisation is improving the supply chain of organisations through forecasting and managing the demand for products, setting inventory levels and raising service levels.

Gal in Israel managed the Forecasting and Inventory Management Department of the largest food retailer. If there is anyone interested in his services, email: gal.fybish@gmail.com.

Reeve, Ariel, Emily and Kylie from Israel

Our whole story begins with wanting to have a better education for both us as parents and of course Gorgeous 2 little girls.The opportunities in our previous country, Israel, haven't really given us the 'air to breathe' that we actually wanted and needed to have children to grow up in.

We decided to move to New-Zealand as we had heard about this country and hopefully it would be more supportive for our young family.The lifestyle of the New Zealanders, the culture and the fascinating landscapes were all sparkling points that caught our hearts and minds.

After applying on-line to the NZ immigration site and with almost the whole process finished, we had received a Work-To-Residence visa. That was quite embarrassing issue for us, as we already had sold our home and almost every property we had. The WTR visa gave us only 9 months of "mercy" to secure an employment contract and as a condition work in the new job for at least three months in that nine month period.

Because we were quiet worried, and we had just heard about the AJI's service only a week or two before our arrival in New-Zealand, we decided to make contact. We applied to the AJI for advice. We immediately received back their Email, suggesting a whole range of Immigration and settlement issues. Their encouragement and support have since then been a part of our life! Right from our first steps in New-Zealand, at Auckland Airport, we had a very warm welcome from our very dear friend Stan Rose. His support words then and since will never be forgotten.

Stan helped us with the huge mountain of our suitcases, dragged them with us, and loaded several of them in his car and drove Ariel and the girls to our hotel.

Right from the second day, including coping with enormous Jetlag, Stan and AJI's crew came to our hotel and we all decided how to deal with our plan to go forward. The family's highest priority was for Ariel finding a job and Reeve start retraining in his chosen academic field.

The months have gone by, and sometimes while we were having those periods of "depression" in the new environment and culture, the AJI team was always there to encourage us, to hug and help us. This included picking up our car at an Auction (under the expertise eyes of Joe Burns) who checked out the best car suitable for the family at the most competitive price. There were also the countless telephone calls to the AJI with many questions that needed urgent answers and for the AJI to check that we are alive and going along the best path.

AJI organization, built from only the precious volunteers, is our second home and our first family here in Auckland!!

Finally, after giving us lots of connections and advice, Ariel has started her job. Reeve stayed with the girls to arrange their schooling and to cope with the many home settlement issues. We have moved into our own just purchased first NZ home in one of Auckland's lovely suburbs, in Titirangi.

Approximately 3 months after Ariel secured a permanent job, the whole family was granted by Immigration New-Zealand our precious Residency!!

With the hand close and hard pressed on our hearts, we can surely say that we achieved it thanks to AJI's help and support! It is so hard when you are new in the country, to cope with a new English accent that we weren't used to-(we heard almost only the American accent back at Israel), and to handle driving on the left hand side of the road - (even with the driving laws we needed some guidance!)

We decided first of all to thank and cherish this support from Stan, Estelle, Joe, Desiree and all other amazing helpers, and we want to announce that we are willing to be a part of this amazing organization to help others to feel more "at home" in their first weeks and months in Auckland!

You can achieve anything you want to

Interviewed by Stan Rose

As I said my good byes to the Tur-Shalom family, and headed home You can achieve anything you want - words of twenty four year old daughter Gal resonated in my head and emotionally I choked up.

The family personified for me a shining example of what migrant families are all about –Courage, vision, hard work, and above all a loving integrated dedicated family to one another and their business dreams.

The story began at Kibbutz Tzubba-near Jerusalem.

Simcha (Mum) was the Cheese maker of the Kibbutz – working from Calves to milk to finally Cheese making.

Dad Ilan in his early forties wanted more for his wife and three daughters and meticulously from a list of countries made the decision –it was to be Auckland, New Zealand.

With the sort of courage that makes Ilan what he is today Ilan determined from the outset not only would he immigrate but also start in business in his new homeland as a Cheese maker.

So clear was he with this goal that where 70% of incoming immigrants come through the Skilled Migrant category Ilan audaciously submitted his application under the more demanding business visa despite never having been in business.

It was a monumental courageous decision.

The family arrived in 2002 and within four months set up a business in small premises in Mt Roskill.

This is where genius of Mum Simcha’s cheese making came to light to meet a new challenge.

The creamer New Zealand milk called for a major cheese making rethink. In the beginning it was all extremely hard going and at one stage Ilan was very close to closing the business. Mum, Dad and Gal’s husband Ilya worked in the tiny Mt Roskill plant while Gal worked at Farmers Departmental store.

A further hurdle was to fund a $50,000 upgrade of the plant to meet the Pasteurise minimum required standards.

Success eventually was to bring its own problems as a negotiated deal to meet an Airline supply contract outstripped and overwhelmed the capacity of the plant.

Another courageous move was called for and the business moved to new premises six times larger in Avondale.

Now the Avondale premises has been the home of Canaan Cheese. The family business now supply all the supermarkets through the country.

Gal, the girl from Farmer’s official business card reads Canaan Cheese – Artesian Cheese Makers – Sales and Marketing.

Canaan Cheese today due to these migrant families’ courage and vision is a household name in the industry marketing twelve different types of cheeses under the Canaan brand.

Their Brochure proudly spells out Kosher Kiwi –family made, hand crafted Mediterranean cheeses.

Canaan Cheese can be purchased at Auckland City’s new cafeteria –delicatessen in the Jewish Complex at Greys Avenue.

Gal was married at the Greys Avenue Synagogue and proudly wears her sparkling Star of David.

As the family contemplates exporting its cheese products to Australia the Tur-Shalom family is an inspiration to all intending migrants. We are proud to have them as part of the Auckland Jewish Community.

Introducing the Emily and Richard from the UK

Emily writes here her own story...

Having backpacked New Zealand in 2002, always at the back of my and my boyfriend Richard's mind was "when can we go back?" Then, in 2008, he received a job offer with CB Richard Ellis selling commercial property investments in Auckland's CBD and the next 10 months whizzed by in a blur. First we told our families and although upset about our forthcoming departure, our news came as no surprise, since we had been talking about emigrating to New Zealand for 6 years. Then we applied for residency, discussed our plans with friends and colleagues, started selling stuff, made plans to re-home our beloved cat and rabbit, made contact with the 'Auckland Jewish Immigration' (AJI) and everything else that we needed to do in order to emigrate to New Zealand.

I was born in the UK in 1978. My maternal grandmother was Austrian and grandfather, Czech. I married my husband in 2007 under Borehamwood and Elstree Shul, although our Chupah and wedding celebrations took place in a converted barn on a farm in Hertfordshire, UK. My husband, also born in 1978 in the UK, is half Czech, his mother being born in Prague. I am a qualified Social Worker with over 12 years experience working with disabled children and their families. We therefore applied for residency under my qualifications, since Social Work is listed as a skills shortage...and since, in comparison to my husband, I had all my relevant paperwork organised and up to date!

Having been granted residency in August 2008, we eagerly and apprehensively booked our flights, (the significance and reality of our actions hitting home for the first time), handed in our notice with our respective employers and arrived in Auckland on 2nd January 2009.

We had organised a rental apartment for our arrival and only an hour after arriving at our new home, Stan and Estelle Rose of the 'AJI' arrived at our front door and spent the entire day taking us to Briscoes, Farmers, Telecom, Vodaphone and Sylvia Park, to help us purchase all the basic necessities that we would be needing until our own boxes arrived from the UK in a month's time! They have both been wonderful, kind, supportive and : helpful and we thank them both for this and we now think of them as our o "surrogate/foster parents". They also have put us in touch with the 'Jewish Young Adults' (JYA) and after only our first month, we already feel so accepted into the Jewish community here, having met some lovely people... you know who you are!

Whilst New Zealand 'closed down' for January, I started searching for employment relevant to my skills and have several interviews lined up over the coming weeks. Richard started work this morning.

Although it is still early days, we have no regrets at all about emigrating, although the distance from our family and friend's is obviously always on our minds. However, with 'Skype' and cheap phone calls, the distance does not seem quite so far. There is so much to love about New Zealand and whilst we originally saw Auckland as a 'stop-gap', wanting a more rural lifestyle for us and hopefully our future family, having lived here for a month, the suburban feel of New Zealand's most thriving city is a place where we think we will now settle.

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