In the third part of Coming Home, hosts Duncan Greive and Jane Yee talk to recently returned New Zealanders about the different factors that brought them home this year.
We’ve heard a lot so far about the factors that have for decades driven New Zealanders to live and work overseas – including the strong magnetic pull of the big city. But this year, with the pandemic, subsequent lockdowns and economic and political uncertainty, it was almost like the polarity of that magnetism reversed.
So what were the factors that led so many New Zealanders with established lives and careers in other countries to decide to come home? Was it push or pull – or a bit of both?
For blockchain entrepreneur Mahoney Turnbull it was mostly push – being laid off from her job in San Francisco during a wave of Covid-19-related redundancies had grave implications for her visa status and health insurance. For editor Rachel Morris, it was a bit of both, with a job in New Zealand forcing her to reconsider her life in the US, and where she ultimately wanted to live.
Others, like HP strategist Julia Arnott-Neenee and top chef Peter Gordon, felt a pull to return. For Julia it was to co-found People For People, a social enterprise with a goal to bring more Pacific people into tech. For Peter, who had been based in London for more than three decades, it was time to set up his new restaurant and cooking school Homeland.
Their energy and motivation for starting these projects is invaluable to New Zealand, and hints that not only can we make it out of this bad year, but, if we handle this right – we could even end up better off.