If you like the look of the above photo and think that perhaps you would like to live there (if only you had the money!) then today’s blogpost might be the thing for you! The tiny town of Kaitangata (pop 800) in the deep south of New Zealand’s South Island is in the middle of a recruiting drive trying to lure new residents to move there. Now, a small, rural town seeking migrants is not a new story: as urbanisation continues, many small towns in New Zealand and around the globe are struggling and suffering depopulation. However, not all towns can offer the attractions of Kaitangata.
First, it is picturesque (like most of New Zealand of course!) More importantly, there are 1000 jobs vacant in the district! Primary industries such as dairy farming and the freezing works are the major employers and for years they have been forced to bus in workers from the city of Dunedin (pop 120,000) which is over an hour’s drive away. According to Bryan Cadogan, the mayor of the Clutha district, the district’s youth unemployment is two. “Not 2 per cent – just two unemployed young people.” With that sort of employment, it’s perhaps not surprising that they are struggling to fill the job vacancies.
But there is no point in having a job if you have nowhere to live. Step up Evan Dick, a third generation resident of Kaitangata who is a dairy farmer and is spearheading the village’s recruitment drive. He is offering house and land packages for NZD230,000 (USD167,000). Further, the local bank, lawyers and community services are available to streamline the process for any workers interested in moving to the town.
With those house prices and nearly guaranteed employment, it is not surprising that there have been 10,000 inquiries from around the world about the offer:
“‘We’ve been getting smashed,’ said Bryan Cadogan, the local mayor of Clutha, who has 5,000 unanswered messages on his phone. Thousands more messages came in via email and social media.
Cadogan added: ‘It has perked the spirits of the locals up hugely, we don’t know how to deal with this, we’re unprepared.’”
The most queries are from Syria, Poland, the USA and Britain. Many from the UK cite the Brexit result as a reason to want to emigrate to the furthest place on the planet away from Britain. (I assume they realise that New Zealand is not part of the EU either??) Anyway, if you are wanting to live the rural New Zealand dream (and don’t mind the weather – it will be cold in winter although probably quite hot in summer) then get in quick. The international attention has meant that five of the eight original sections have been sold. There are 10 more ready to go, but a long waiting list for all. But as long as you are serious about moving there, I’m sure that you’ll have a good chance of getting your slice of Godzone.