What kind of repat are you?

Posted on July 10, 2019 by Tricia Alach

In the past couple of years, since returning to NZ, I’ve had the privilege to meet with a wide range of repatriates and hear their stories. And, as I’ve collected more stories, my inner-academic has started to group these into a kind of ‘typology of returners’ – each of which reflect a common experience, and similar relationship to NZ.

So now I’m curious to know whether my typology resonates with the repatriate community and to find out just what our community looks like in ‘big picture’ terms. If you’d like to help me figure this out, please read the short descriptions of the seven ‘returner types’ I’ve identified and then click through to complete the survey below.

1. The Classic OEr

Returners in this group have typically gone to London on a two year working holiday visa and then returned to NZ with plans to stay forever. They often describe their time oversees as ‘away time is play time’ and see the return to NZ as the start of settling down e.g. progressing their career, getting married and starting a family or getting on the property ladder.

2. Classic OEr with a twist

Returners in this group have also gone abroad on a working holiday visa but to a country other than the UK. In some cases, they have first gone to the UK as a Classic OEr then, when their UK visa ran out they got another working holiday visa to North America, Asia or another European country in order to extend their OE for a year or two. This group also see the return as a permanent move and have similar motivations around settling down in NZ.

3. Emigrant-Immigrants

This group of returners are people who have lived away from NZ for a long period of time – usually more than 10 years – in only one other place which they refer to as home. On the return to NZ, they often feel more comfortable in the presence of other immigrants than they do in the company of Kiwis and, in some cases report having to relearn the basics of life in NZ.

4. Boomerangs

The returners in this category have come and gone from NZ a number of times. They may move back and forth to the same other country (e.g. NZ/UK/NZ/UK/NZ) or, have lived in a number of different countries, but they always come back to live in NZ for a time, in between moves (e.g. NZ/AUS/NZ/USA/NZ/UK/NZ). The reasons cited for coming back to NZ include: taking a time out, health reasons, getting a qualification or gaining some professional experience they need before venturing back out into the world.

5. Glomads

Unlike Boomerangs, Glomads move from country to country without spending any time back in NZ in between moves. Glomads most closely follow the classic Expat lifestyle, spending a few years in each country before moving onto a new place. Many Glomads are moved by an employer though a growing number are making self-initiated or DIY moves. Glomads will often report that NZ is just the place they live currently and that they fully expect to move onto another country at some point in time.

6. Location Independents

The rise of technology seems to be creating an emerging category of returners who report themselves to be returners with no real ‘fixed abode’. People in this group often work in professions that enable virtual work enabling them to live wherever they choose. Returners in this category may, for example, choose to ‘follow the sun’ – living in NZ only for the summer months, before decamping to sunnier climes when winter arrives.

7. Pick & Mix Families

Many returners come back to NZ as part of families which reflect a mix of repatriation and migration. For example, a Kiwi returner may move back with a foreign born spouse or two Kiwi parents may return with their foreign born kids. These families are often multi-nationality, multi-cultural and multi-lingual.

Please click here to complete the survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/22ZL3HN

Please feel free to send this blog and the link to the survey to other NZ Repatriates who you think would like to share their experiences.

The survey will be open for about a month, after which I will share the results via the blog and social media channels.