Be prepared to come here and never want to leave
I have known Elina for a while now and have been wanting to get her story on the blog, not only because she is super lovely and inspirational in her Yoga practise but she also has a lot to share about moving to New Zealand and making a transition into the community here.
Originally from Singapore, Elina moved to New Zealand with her partner Mario who is originally from Romania in August 2016 after 15 months of living in Puerto Rico. Now, having been in NZ from over a year, they are really making life work and plan to stay for the long haul.
Like many people, Elina has found that New Zealand offers her a place to follow her dreams and do what she loves, predominantly Yoga! She has also found the space to be entrepreneurial, including co-running amazing yoga and health workshops (Raw. Yoga, next one happening October 29th) for the community with her friend Jessica from Learn to Nourish.
Read on to find out about these beautiful Raw. Yoga events as well as Elina’s Moving to New Zealand story….
Moving to New Zealand Story #3 with Elina – Yoga Teacher and Raw. Yoga Co-founder
When did you start teaching Yoga?
I have been practicing yoga for a while and I took up my teaching training course to deepen my own yoga practice when I had a block of time in between jobs. Little did I know that it would change the course of my life.
This time was divine, beautiful Bali – immersing myself in daily yoga, meditation, eating and thinking clean. I had also then recently left a 13 year relationship and yoga was always there to catch me. It was a life changer!
Is this what you have always done?
No, I before Yoga teaching I have had a 12 year corporate marketing career in London, Hong Kong and Singapore. I spent the last part of it in financial services and it left me drained, unhappy and unfulfilled. I used to seek solace in yoga and working out at the gym, before and after work – looking back now that was a huge tell tale sign about what was to come!
What inspired your move to New Zealand and who did you come with?
After 13 months in Puerto Rico where we lived previously, for Mario’s job, we were assessing our situation and the desire to settle in one place was very strong. We wanted to design our live and not allow the job to dictate where we were going to live foeverer.
We wanted to live in an English speaking, progressive country with first class infrastructure with great access to nature and the outdoors. Both of us were raised in a city environment (Mario is from Bucharest) and we both love to be with nature. We eliminated all the other continents and looked into New Zealand. One thing led to another and in a quick two months, we left Puerto Rico and moved to Wellington.
What is your visa story?
We first came on a work permit (based on the skill migrant category) as Mario first secured a job and I came on a partners’ visa. We now have residency status and after 2 years we will hopefully be on track for our permanent residency.
Was this an easy or difficult process and why?
Once we started our research, we found New Zealand Shores – an immigration consultant who first assess our eligibility based on our education and work experience. Once it was determined that we were both eligible, the rest of the process was relatively straightforward. I wouldn’t say that it was easy, rather it was very time consuming.
Between Mario and I, we had both lived in 8 different countries and we had to produce Police clearance for each country that we lived in and there was a window time frame of 6 months. Our consultant was very detailed and we were very meticulous, making sure to provide more than ample supporting documents. I know of friends who applied for residency all by themselves once they were here but we are very happy to have worked with the consultant, it gave us a peace of mind.
Why did you choose to live in Wellington?
Wellington chose us ?, Mario secured a job in Wellington.
Did you bring belongings with you or just pack up a suitcase and go?
We used Crown Relocations to ship our belongings. I’m not sure if they are not most cost efficient company but it was a challenge as I couldn’t find many that would ship from Puerto Rico, they had to work with a local partner. But I was happy overall with the service.
What are the greatest advantages of living in NZ for you?
We love living in this progressive country, with its beautiful landscape, world class infrastructure and the warmth of the people. Although some people think that New Zealand is too remote from the rest of the world, I appreciate the peace and pace of life being so far away!
There is so much to do and see. I also love how New Zealanders are so enterprising with over 90% of New Zealand being made up of small businesses. Kiwis’ are proud of their country and works hard towards preserving the purity of their land, and are very passionate about their work, sport and play. It’s a wonderful balance of life.
And the biggest disadvantages?
Because NZ is a small economy and is so far away, price of travel like international plane fares can be expensive, making frequent travel back home less accessible. Private healthcare can be expensive, (comparably to what I am used to back home) although there is free healthcare for citizens and permanent residents.
What are your favorite things to do in Wellington?
Yoga!! We are spoilt for choice! My favorite studio is Pause Yoga at Day’s Bay, it feels like a retreat when you are there.
Walks; I live near the Botanical Gardens and love to walk up there, have a coffee on a beautiful sunny day. There are many hikes of different levels available, I have done the Skyline Walk from Karori to Mount Kau Kau and back, Stairway to Heaven are the memorable ones. There are so many awesome coffee places, and cocktail bars in Wellington, great options for catching up with friends.
Martinborough is just over an hour’s drive away, so we sometimes just drive out when we want to get away from the city. Wellington is home to many great shows, concerts and festivals so we are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to entertainment.
How easy is it for you to go home?
Via 2 flights and takes approx. 15 hours each way.
What do you miss, apart from family and friends?
I am very lucky that I have access to great South East Asian food here in Wellington, so most of the food cravings I have can easily be satisfied. When its not summer, I miss the warmth (of course!) But there is not a lot that I miss apart from family and friends, to be honest!
If you could give those moving to NZ one tip, what would it be?
Be prepared to come here and never want to leave!
What is the Yoga scene like in Wellington?
There are plenty of choices when it comes to yoga, dedicated yoga studios and gyms.. New Zealand loves yoga – the quality of yoga teachers here are high and is a wonderful community to a be a part of, especially if you are new to the city. People are genuine and welcoming, and its how I felt able to integrate into the community fairly quickly.
Which yoga studios do you recommend we check out?
Each studio has something unique to offer, so I suggest trying them all out if possible. Otherwise, check out Pause Yoga, Empower Studio, Abundance Studio, Hot Yoga Wellington, Power Living, Beginner’s Yogi, Centre for Higher Self. Check out also Antigravity yoga at Xtend Barre on the Terrace.
And the Raw. Yoga Workshop, tell us about these and what they offer people in Wellington?
Raw Yoga, the next one being the 3rd in the series is hosted at Empower Studio by myself and babe, Jessica Anderson from Learn To Nourish.
The idea is to get people, friends and partners together on a Sunday morning to reset and rejuvenate and be ready for the week ahead. We take them though a gentle yoga flow and guided meditation by yours truly ? followed by a mini health food workshop by Jessica.
In the first event we all made bliss balls, and in the second it was smoothie bowls, this time around we will be making sushi, Jessica’s mission is to teach & educate people on not cutting out food but rather on choosing healthy alternatives. Raw Yoga is a fun and informative way to spend a Sunday morning – the last 2 events have been fully booked and we are just so blessed and excited about the upcoming one. If anyone fancies coming along, they can check out all the information HERE.
Thank you so much for sharing Elina!
It is super inspiring to read such a positive review of New Zealand and about how you really can make your dreams come true here!
Having personally attended one of the previous Raw.Yoga events, which I wrote about in my very first monthly highlights I can well and truly vouch for them being brilliant and well worth checking out, so get your ticket before there aint any!
Thanks for reading and come back soon!
Also, if Yoga is your things then have a look at my recent post about the best Yoga Studios in Wellington