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ambulance, ambo

The ongoing job quest...

Posted on 12.10.08 at 01:36
Piropiro (Mood): nervousnervous
Tags: , ,
Piles of paperwork are in front of me. Applications, appraisals, calling cards and emails. I've decided that the best first step is to have my qualifications assessed by Ambulance New Zealand. They are the national agency that handles figuring out what your local certifications and experience translates to the NZ national system. From what I've read in they're packet, I'm right on the border for two levels. This is the first official step I'm taking towards immigration. Everything before this point has been inquiries only.

When I get the results back, I will apply for a visa, and for jobs. A bit nervous...

On a different note, I found the website for lifeflight in Wellington: http://www.lifeflight.org.nz . I may have mentioned before that I would be in heaven if I worked as a medic on a helicopter. That’s several years out though... I sent them an email seeing if they'd ship some of their shirts and caps they have for sale internationally... still haven't heard back :-( Those beanie caps look neat...

new zealand, nelson

Kiwi Pulse

Posted on 12.08.08 at 04:34
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I just stumbled across a myspace style social network aimed at Kiwis called Kiwi Pulse.

Seems kinda fun... If any of you reading this are on that site you should be my friend. :)

Here is a link to my profile: http://www.kiwipulse.co.nz/profile/JoshuaDeBell

I figured this might be a good way to get an idea of what’s going on over there socially, and to make some connections.

I have a facebook too for the record.

ambulance, ambo

My first job inquiry

Posted on 11.12.08 at 03:23
Piropiro (Mood): nervousnervous
Tags: , , ,

So I sucked it up and did it. A letter of inquiry is sitting here on my desk stamped and addressed to the General Manager of Wellington Free Ambulance. I figured a real letter would be better than an email. Just seems more professional. It's not a formal application yet. I just want to get a good feel for what I need to get in the works.

On their website, there is a whole page dedicated for overseas applicants: http://www.wfa.org.nz/OverseasApplicants.htm

I just needed to share. :) If this goes well, I will call Ambulance New Zealand and send them my documentation for appraisal to see if I am worthy of certification. I will probably also send a letter to St John's Ambulance... To be 100% honest, I'm excited, but a little nervous.

rescue, pickup

Where the Heart Will Be, and Has Been.

Posted on 10.26.08 at 23:26
Piropiro (Mood): pensivepensive
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I own my home. I jumped into a great buyers market last year on a foreclosure at a great rate. With this prospect of running away ever looming over me, this may be one of my biggest puzzles to solve: what the hell do I do with my house?

Logic dictates I should sell and use the equity in my transition. However, there are a couple of elements that may bring difficulty to that.

First and foremost, most people can't sell thier houses right now to save their lives, sometimes literally. People are too busy paying for other things to buy a house, or even to keep up paying for thiers. Fortunately I'm in a business with great job security, since people will never stop getting sick or hurting themselves and am still able to keep going pretty well.

The other thing that keeps me torn, is well, I kind of like my house. There is some sentimental value to a first home like this. Also, if for some reason I wanted to come back, it would be a good fallback.

So pretty much the options are try to sell my house in this crappy market, or rent it while I'm overseas to help pay the expenses for it. Renting would produce even more complications like property management and landlord services that might be a challenge from across an ocean. The gap in cost of living and pay between the two countries might pose a challenge as well.

So my question to you guy who have done it, what did you do with your house in the states or the UK or where ever? What was your reasoning for your final choice?

Now what about living accommodations in NZ?

I have been paroosing through several real estate sites from New Zealand. I still don't know exactly where I'd like to end up over there, but thats a discussion for later. Some things that clarification would be helpful in:
  • Are rentals always posted in weekly amounts? It's hard to tell sometimes.
  • What is average for a modest place to live?
  • What are some areas to look into or avoid?
  • Is it hard to keep a roof over your head?
  • Any specific websites I should keep my eye on?

new zealand, nelson

An uneducated shot in the dark...

Posted on 10.07.08 at 03:41
Piropiro (Mood): scaredscared
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It's been a long couple weeks, and a long time since I've been able to post. With everything going on, not least of which the upcoming elections and financial pitfalls, the other side of the fence is looking pretty green. It might be because I am weary of the future of this country, or I'm just ready to jump feet first into a total life change. Who knows?

Come November Fourth, I might just be spurred to expedite jumping ship. John McCain has the potential to send us deeper into the financial, international and social black hole we're already spiraling in to. That is scary enough, but when you realize that this would be one 72 year old heartbeat away from the big red button:


I know that New Zealand is coming up on a general election on November 8th. I actually just started researching it, and the political process. How well does your system work? Is there as much worry and heartburn related to the New Zealand elections this year as there is over here?

new zealand, nelson

Accents and Language.

Posted on 09.17.08 at 05:06
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If there's something I have learned straight off, it's never to call a Kiwi and Aussie. Thankfully, this was acquired knowledge from other people's mistakes. There is a conception of Americans world wide that we are arrogant and naïve. If you're one of those people, you're right. Culturally, Americans bug the heck out of me. I'm almost embarrassed to be associated with that stereotypical flag waving "the universe is centered on the states" attitude. This may become more apparent the more I post in this blog... but I digress.

Here in the states, and even North America as a whole we have quite a few accents being thrown around. (I think mine is classified as General Western) While I'd like to think that the majority of Americans would be able to point at least a small percentage of them out, the sad truth is, most Americans just don't care.

If a Kiwi has a conversation with the average American, odds are the yank is going to think they're an aussie.

I have to admit straight out that every once in a while I have a hard time telling the difference. After a while however, you do start to notice and will be able to peg an accent as true Kiwi.

Now personally, I love language. It's kind of one of my "hobbies." I speak a reasonable amount of Spanish and Russian, and have a handful of others floating around in the jumble of gray matter that some call my brain. So this subject has been pretty interesting to me. One of my favorite things to remember in noticing the difference in Kiwi vs Aussie, is Fish and Chips.

Some may be thinking, "why are you thinking of dinner at a time like this?" And, though now that you mention it I could go for a snack, that’s not my point. Fish and Chips is a phrase that when pronounce the two accents sound completely different. The letter I in New Zealand seems to be pronounced more like the a short U. Here are some other examples too:

Aussie: Feesh and Cheeps
Kiwi: Fush and Chups

Aussie: Seeks (6)
Kiwi: Suks (6)

Aussie: Tayk the piiss out uv
Kiwi: Taayk thu puss out uv

So what are some other ways to identify accents?

And, just as a side note, as cliché as it is I am pretty much in love with the Kiwi accent. mmmm. :-D

suitcase, travel


Posted on 09.14.08 at 23:28
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I like to spare everyone from obvious facts, but it is important to keep these things in the back of you mind to share my tribulations with the every pressing matter of how the heck am I going to get over there:

  1. New Zealand is made up of islands. Flying is pretty much the only option.
  2. My house is exactly 7503.9631 miles (12076.45799 km) as the crow (a really... really badass crow) flies from Wellington Airport.
  3. You can't find a regular round trip, or even one way ticket from Denver Int'l Airport to anywhere in New Zealand for less than $1000US
I've been mulling over a lot of options. The best logically would be to visit for a few weeks first in order to apply for jobs, travel and see where I want to end up, and get to know the people. Then I would come back and make all the arrangements I would need to make for a move overseas. This plan however, takes quite a bite out of my bank accounts with airfare.

The biggest problem I face with this, is that I am not a wealthy man. I work in public service. I am not a CEO, or any sort of executive who can jump across the Pacific on a whim. My subtitle for this blog is "random, impractical, unexpected..." This is the most prominent point where "impractical" comes into play.

I would be fine spending a lot of money for a one way ticket to my new home. But to make the trip three times over as I would like would be a serious financial blow at full price. So, I've been researching cheap ways to get airfare... and there aren't many.


Maybe some of you have seen adds for websites or books like this one promising 80-100% discounts on international airfare. The concept is, you give up some or all of your checked baggage rights in order to become an air courier for a freight or shipping company. This would be perfect for my first exploration journey to New Zealand, but there are snags. As always.

First, slim to none of these flights go to New Zealand, and even fewer start from Denver. There are websites that claim to be able to find you flights from anywhere to anywhere as a courier, but you have to pay a fee and quite honestly, the sites just seems sketchy.

Second, there are several articles out there outlining how popularity of using this method for shipping has pretty much dropped off the charts since 9/11 and the advent of more efficient tracking and networking methods.

Still if the possibility of cheap tickets exist, it might be looking into. Any insight?


From what I've seen, there seems to be three major international airports in the country. Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Does anyone know and or have experience on which airport would be the best to keep an eye out for cheap airfares? I've been frequenting several travel booking sites as well as a website called Smarter Travel to look for deals and ideas.

Drive to the Coast?

Obviously, airfare is much cheaper departing from LA or San Francisco. I've been toying with the idea of just getting to the ocean on wheels and the flying from there. This of course presents it's own complications, not least of which in this day and age is gas prices.

Any other ideas?

Some facts to consider for a flight like this:

  • It is a double-digit hours flight from the US. You might consider an overnight if you can sleep on planes.
  • When you fly over the pacific, you either gain or loose a day. People in New Zealand are some of the first to see the sunrise on a new day (which I think is pretty neat). Take that into account when you're booking flights.
  • There may be several connecting flights.

new zealand, nelson

Photos in Video

Posted on 09.13.08 at 21:48
Pūoro (Music): Let Me Lie, Hayley Westenra
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Here I am, daydreaming again and I stumbled on these videos on Youtube:

This first one brought a tear to my eye. Amazing photography, and music by Hayley Westenra... who I pretty much would run off into the sunset with. hehe.

The other (embedding was disabled... shucks...) I thought was very well done, and really got me all fired up for some reason. The music might be fairly well known, but with the photography... I don't know I just really like it.


ambulance, ambo

Fallen Bretheren

Posted on 09.10.08 at 22:05
Piropiro (Mood): sympatheticsympathetic
Tags: , , , , ,

An officer has fallen in South Auckland today. Sergeant Don Wilkinson and his partner were gunned down this morning during an undercover operation to plant a tracking device. His partner survived multiple shots, but  Don Wilkinson died almost instantly. You can read the whole story here: www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm

Every time I hear about a line of duty death, anywhere in the world, it hits home. I take a moment, say a prayer and have a thought. I hope that everyone reading this will do the same. I wrote an email to NewstalkZB radio that stated the following:
I am an Emergency Medical Technician and Firefighter in the United States listening to you online. I work side by side with Law Enforcement every day, and all of us are like family. I would like to express to the family, co-workers and everyone in New Zealand my deepest sympathies and support in dealing with this tragedy.
Larry Williams read it on the air. For everyone that may have heard it, I meant it. My heart goes out to everyone that has been effected by this horrible event. Especially the family.

new zealand, nelson


Posted on 09.10.08 at 17:25
Piropiro (Mood): excitedexcited
Pūoro (Music): Newstalk NZ
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I thought it might be a good idea to start getting insight to current events, music, and the Kiwi Accent. Just for kicks, I googled "New Zealand Radio" and this is one of the first things I found:


Streaming Radio! Wooo! I've been listening to a few different stations for the past couple days. Newstalk ZB has been the most insightful to current events and the accent for sure. I'm listening to it right now in fact, and just found out that the last Dolphin in Marineland at Napier, Kelly, has died. (www.stuff.co.nz/4689041a11.html)

rescue, pickup

From 911 to 111

Posted on 09.09.08 at 00:36
Piropiro (Mood): determineddetermined
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For the past five years I have been involved in Emergency Services. It all started when I was still in high school when I started volunteering for my local fire department. I saw it as a random life occurrence, but my parents would just laugh at that and proceed to regale you with tales of a young boy running around the house with fire truck and ambulance toys making siren noises in 80% of his waking moments.

I was hooked my first call for service. It was about 9:30 at night, a day after I was issued a pager and the go-ahead from the chief that I had enough training to respond on calls. Two of us responded from our station for a cardiac event. I sat shotgun in the engine, and was enthralled with the mountainsides lighting up red as we passed by. I thought that was cool enough, but I had no idea what was coming next. The ambulance from the closest station arrived, and immediately called for a "Chopper Go." We are far enough away from any major hospitals that critical patients usually get flown out by helicopter. That night, it was our job in the engine to be the contact on the ground for St Anthony's Flight for Life.

There I was, my very first call standing like an idiot in my shiny bright yellow suit being pelted by gravel as my very first up close and personal helicopter landed mere feet away. So, as I said before, I was hooked. I have been an EMT-Basic for three years, I work on an ambulance and in a 911 center for a living, and I still volunteer. Paramedic school is right on the horizon for me, and I am currently enrolled in all of the pre-requisites needed for it. EMS is my passion. It's really gratifying to be doing a job where you are giving back and making a real difference.

I have always had an interest in New Zealand. It wasn't until I visited a specific website fairly recently that I spiraled into this obsessive frenzy of actually moving there. The website is that of St John Ambulance of New Zealand. Pure curiosity brought me there on a slow shift at about 3am. When I stumbled upon their page about international employment, I had quite and "eyebrow moment." You all know exactly what I'm talking about. We've all had them. They're the moments when you look at something, you kind of half purse your lips, your eyebrows go up, and you go, "hmm. This might work..."

Those words reverberated through my brain. This might work... And that my friends, is what got me going. I started researching other ambulance companies as well. St John does most of EMS for the country. There is  Wellington Free Ambulance that covers the city of Wellington, and several other smaller companies that cover smaller area. St John and WFA seem to be the ones the most interested in hiring from overseas.

There are obviously a lot of differences I'll have to deal with being an EMS professional across the hemispheres. Not least of which is vehicles and driving. Lets start with the biggies like, "What the heck is the steering wheel doing over there?" and "Why is oncoming traffic driving straight towards my face?!?"

A little less crucial to life and wellbeing is the layout and general look of the busses. Here is a picture of what we're used to here --->

The last huge difference I can think of right now, is levels of certification and protocols. There are really no direct equivalents to American certifications. When you apply internationally in New Zealand, you need to have your skills assessed by either the Auckland University of Technology or by Ambulance New Zealand. They then decide for which level, if any, you are qualified for. There are differences in equipment (though some I've noticed are the same or very similar), pharmacological protocols and different drugs etc...

Despite the differences, and the effort needed to get hired, this might just work! My whole attitude with this dream, is why not try? What do I have to loose?

My heart and soul are in EMS. The fact that I could bring that with me to the country of my dreams is very, very encouraging.



new zealand, nelson

Visa Madness

Posted on 09.08.08 at 21:51
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New Zealand has several options for people wanting to live in and visit the country. Some pretty hefty research might be required to figure out which option is best for you.

From all of the government website I've been to, New Zealand has some of the most informative and helpful out there. Check it out at: www.immigration.govt.nz/

audrabaudraposted a comment pointing out that they even have a quick points calculator to see if you are even in the ballpark for eligibility. (www.immigration.govt.nz/pointsindicator/) (P.S. [info]audrabaudra, with the route I'm trying to go down I would be at 160 after a job offer... woo! :) )

Unfortunately, you can't just buy a plane ticket, show up, say "here I am!" and start a new life. If that was the case I'd probably be watching winter turn to spring right now. The first (very general) question you need to answer to yourself is: What I am going to do there?

All the visa types are outlined in detail on the immigration site. Some of the most viable for working foreigners are:
  • Skilled Migrant Visa: Main path to residency based on skills the country needs both immediately and long term.
  • Work To Residence Visa: A temporary work visa for those thinking about permanent residency. A good stepping stone. Usually requires a job offer from an accredited employer.
  • Working Holiday Visa (WHV): For short term work oppertunities.
There are also visa for employees of companies moving to New Zealand, and student visas.

This is a good place to start the dream. Come up with a basic idea of what you want to be doing in New Zealand, and research the paths to get there.

new zealand, nelson

Quick Inspiration

Posted on 09.08.08 at 06:18
Piropiro (Mood): hopefulhopeful
Tags: , , ,

A quick something before I goto bed that was pretty inspirational to my "cause." There is a community here on Livejournal called nz_photo that is nothing but amazing photos from all around New Zealand.

New updates from this group can be found on my friends page.

Here's some teasers:



-He tini nga whetu e ngaro I te kapua iti

kiwi, eagle, american, leaf

What Am I Doing Here?

Posted on 09.08.08 at 02:06
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Let me just start by saying, I have never blogged before. I've always had other ways to express myself and have never found the need. So what they heck am I doing here now?

With no way to sugar coat this, I want to move to New Zealand.

This is a totally random event for me, is entirely impractical, and not something anyone would ever expect me to do. Being a somewhat rational person, you might think I would quit with just that. But there is just something... something that I can't explain, that fuels my dreams of the Land of the Long White Cloud. Aotearoa the Maori call it.

There are hundreds of reasons why I want to move to New Zealand. The culture, people, history, mountains, forests, sea... I'm also faced with personal aspirations and challenges associated with this drive to move 7000 miles away. I won't go into any extreme details in this post. I'm sure a lot will surface later.

A quick background on who I am might be helpful. I am 22 years old, and was born and raised in the beautiful state of Colorado in the good ol' USA. I am and EMT/firefighter, and am currently in school to become a paramedic. (That's why I'm posting at almost 3am... still have 4 hours until my shift ends). I live in the mountains and love it. Cities (at least American cities) just don't appeal to me, and make me twitchy. I am a musician, love to hike and backpack, and am a language dork.

I started this blog for three reasons:
  • To gather and post information about New Zealand, Immigration to New Zealand, and everything else I can get my hands on for both my benefit, and for those who may share the same dream.
  • To document my efforts, successes and frustrations.
  • And most importantly, to gather insight from others who have lived there all their life, moved there from other worldly places, or those who are also trying to escape to the land of their dreams. Please, please please comment, message me, become my friend. The experiences of real people will be the most helpful for me and others.
Somthing else  to mention: No one I know has a glimmer that I'm even thinking about this. I made the decision not to tell anyone for many reasons. Don't worry its well thought out. But that being said, I'll probably keep up a bit of anonymity in public posts.

Honestly, I don't when I will make it there. Months, years... maybe never. But it's worth keeping this dream alive.