The world is your oyster

Patricia Scott (née Galbraith) has been living in New Zealand with her Kiwi husband for four years and thoroughly enjoys the laid-back Kiwi lifestyle, except perhaps when the traffic lights take forever to turn green.

Patricia is currently lecturer and tutor for first-year accounting students, doing her part to ignite their passion to achieve more in the accounting world.

What is your current job tile and name of the company you’re working for?

Professional Teaching Fellow at the the University of Auckland Business School.

What do you love most about your job?

I love seeing how my students grow through the course, especially those who start out not knowing exactly what they want to do and then hearing from them how I helped them develop a passion for an accounting career.

What do you love most about living in New Zealand?

The friendly people, and there is a great work/life balance which gives you freedom to enjoy outdoor activities year round as the climate is moderate.

How has your CA(SA) qualification benefited your career?

When I started my CA(SA) journey I was told, that post-qualification, the world will be your oyster. This is true for me as I have worked in three countries – South Africa, Canada and New Zealand. I met my Kiwi husband in Canada and we moved back to New Zealand together.

How has international experience enriched your life and career?

International experience allowed me to try something new and gain confidence that as a CA(SA) I was capable of doing what I wanted to do. I have also learnt how to adapt due to the number of cultures I have worked with.

Describe yourself as a person

I prefer that others describe me – caring, organised, focused and driven.

An interesting lesson you have learned by living in New Zealand?

Traffic circles or roundabouts are common in New Zealand and I quickly realised that Johannesburg drivers seem to treat traffic circles more like four-way stops instead of letting traffic flow continuously. (This was true when I was driving in Johannesburg – not sure if this has changed, though.)

What are some of the challenges you have encountered in New Zealand?

A challenge has been getting used to the driving style. The speed limits are 50 km/h and 100 km/h and traffic lights have very long phases. Waiting at a robot can feel like an eternity – this is perhaps why everyone is so laid back here?

Is there a community of South Africans living in New Zealand?

Yes, upon moving to Auckland I would get asked ‘Where on the North Shore do you live?’ as most South African’s buy property on the North Shore. Grocery stores stock Mrs Balls Chutney and Illovo Syrup and most butchers sell biltong. I attended an All Blacks vs Springboks game in Wellington and was impressed to see a Cape carnival type-parade going from the CBD to the stadium.

What do people do in New Zealand to relax and enjoy their free time?

The Kiwis spend weekends doing DIY on their homes or enjoying the outdoors. Sailors and motorboat enthusiasts will be out on the harbour over a weekend. Winters are wet and mild, but the outdoors is still enjoyable.

What is the quality of living like in New Zealand?

Good – it seems that you can maintain a good work/life balance.

What do you miss most about South Africa?

Friends, family and good biltong.

What would a South African earn in New Zealand?

A newly qualified CA(SA) would earn between NZ$50 000 and NZ$70 000 (NZ$1 = R 9,30). The income tax system is similar to that of South Africa.

What is the cost of living?

Moderate to expensive, depending on the region. The average house price is NZ$450 000; in Auckland this is NZ$956 000.

The average rent per week (excluding Auckland) is NZ$395, the average weekly rent in Auckland is NZ$550.

Weekly grocery shopping would be around NZ$220 and the cost of a regular cappuccino is NZ$4,50. Health care and schooling are government funded.

Based on these two factors, can a South African move to New Zealand to save money or is it difficult because of the cost of living?

A South African wanting to move to New Zealand will want to move for the quality of life. New Zealand is far more expensive than South Africa so when moving saving money should not be at the top of a priority list.

Tell us how and why you got involved in the SAICA committee and what you hope to achieve to enhance the value proposition for SAICA members?

Involvement in the SAICA Auckland Chapter Committee happened by chance. I responded to an email I received regarding an event in Australia and I was connected with the acting chair in New Zealand. I wanted to check I was on the correct mailing list for New Zealand as I wanted emails for New Zealand rather than Australia. By the end of the call the acting chair had elected me to the committee and nominated me as the new chair. We hope the events bring a sense of CA(SA) community in the Auckland region which can help members expand their networks. A South African CA(SA) wishing to move to New Zealand can access help from committee members via the LinkedIn page we have created.