From Singapore to the West Coast

A year ago, the Chia family traded the urban hustle of Singapore for the tranquillity of the West Coast.

Brandon and Lin, both critical care nurses, sought a more family-focused life for themselves and their 2-year-old daughter, Ellie.

“Upon the arrival of our daughter, we realised that our demanding work schedules were affording us little time with her. This lifestyle was incompatible with our parenting philosophy, prompting us to seek a change,” Brandon said.

They stumbled upon a series of job openings in New Zealand for critical care nurses on social media.

“I promptly submitted an application, participated in a virtual interview at the early hour of 5 am Singapore time, and to my surprise, received a job offer just a few hours later.”

Lin now balances stay at home parenting with occasional hospital shifts to stay connected to her nursing skills.

Brandon expresses gratitude for the rewarding experience at Te Nikau Grey Hospital. The Chias were pleasantly surprised by the family-friendly environment at their new workplace, Te Nikau Hospital.

“What astonished us upon joining a hospital in New Zealand was the prevalence of family members, both doctors and nurses, working together in the same hospital,” Brandon added.

Lin's flexible schedule, courtesy of a thoughtful nurse manager, ensures their shifts never overlap enabling family time remains uninterrupted.

The family has also found a supportive community, Brandon says, “The close-knit community on the Coast means we support each other by sharing surplus eggs or fresh produce. Our daughter eagerly anticipates the Friday Kids and coffee session at the Anglican church, where parents and children come together for an enjoyable time.”

The move also brought two significant advantages; affordable housing and proximity to the outdoors, “Affordable housing allows us to save a more substantial portion of our income. We also appreciate the accessibility to diverse landscapes, including the alpine region (Arthur’s Pass National Park), rainforests, beaches, and glaciers.”

The family enjoy getting outside together, Brandon speaks on some of their favourite walks, “The Coast boasts numerous family-friendly walks, with one of our favourite short walks being the Moraine Walk at Fox Glacier. For a more adventurous experience, the Robert’s Point Track, featuring charming swing bridges, is a go-to choice. When time is limited, we enjoy picnics and stand-up paddleboarding at Lake Kaniere.”

“Transitioning from a metropolitan city to the Coast has allowed us to pause, slow down, and cherish moments as a family.

“Though we are still newcomers to the Coast, our family has already gained valuable experiences, from cultivating our herbs and vegetables to honing our water sports skills, such as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, and learning about the local fauna and flora.”

The Chias now document their family adventures on Instagram (, showcasing their experience moving to the West Coast.

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