“We love New Zealand and I can’t see us going back to England now,” says paediatrician Dr Angus Goodson after starting work at Tauranga Hospital this month.
Dr Goodson and his family took part in BBC television show Wanted Down Under nearly three years ago. The show’s premise is that a family which is looking to emigrate to Australia or New Zealand is given a week in their chosen destination to learn about the job market, schools, housing, economy and the local area and then decide whether they want to make the move.
That was in May 2016 and the Goodson’s chosen destination was Tauranga, with part of the show being filmed at Tauranga Hospital.
“We loved the area and we were certain we wanted to make New Zealand our home but there was the issue of securing jobs,” said Angus. “At the time the Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Medical Director Dr Hugh Lees said I would have to be flexible with where I was going to work initially as Tauranga was very popular and there were no vacancies here in the Paediatrics Department.”
Angus initially returned to the UK where he finished his training and worked briefly in Surrey before a job came up at Wellington Hospital’s neo-natal unit. He leapt at the chance and the family (wife Jo, son Freddie, 10, and daughter Arabella, 6) landed in Wellington in December 2017. Then, a few months later in October 2018, a position opened up in the Tauranga Hospital Paediatrics Department.
“I was on holiday in Taupo when a position as a locum consultant paediatrician came up and I was invited to come for an interview. I had to rush into Taupo and buy a proper shirt, because I only had my jandals, shorts and t-shirts,” laughs Angus.
The Goodsons, and their two dogs, arrived in Tauranga in the second week of January with “a bunch of suitcases” and no permanent place to live.
“Luckily we’ve found a house now, and everyone’s settling in,” said Angus. “The children are absolutely loving it. Freddie loves cricket, Arabella has tried rugby and dance, and they’ve thrived in the schools over here. They love the outdoor lifestyle; they live in shorts and do so much more sport than they did in the UK. New Zealand just all seems a bit more carefree, it’s such a great place for kids.”
And Angus is settling in at his new department as well.
“The paediatrics team here has got a very good reputation and everyone’s been so welcoming and friendly. Paediatricians tend to be nice people anyway,” he smiles, “but they all seem to get on so well and support one another. It really feels like a team. I’m very happy.”
Angus said his family couldn’t be happier.
“We love the kiwi vibe. We’re still in touch with people in England and you miss family and friends but we love the culture out here.
“It’s just a different lifestyle and the people are great. We want our kids to grow up in a culture where it doesn’t really matter where you’ve come from, or what your job is, it’s more about the type of person you are.”
So is Tauranga the Goodson’s home for life?
“We’d like to find a way to stay in NZ long term,” said Angus. “I’m here for a year covering sabbatical leave, so I don’t know what the future holds. Hopefully it’ll all work out, we’d really love it to.”