Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in South Africa and my husband and I immigrated to New Zealand as adults. I am a qualified lawyer in South Africa but decided early on to specialise in corporate operations. I like to be involved in the wheel turning aspects of a business. It suits my personality.

What do you do when you’re not working?

We are keen gym junkies and mountain bikers. Anything to do with fitness floats my boat. Music defines my life in a big way. We like to make music. I sing and play the guitar (which I only mastered later in life). Life is for living. I love spending time with the people that are special to me. I am a sci-fi fan. Escapism is fantastic for perspective.

Why did you immigrate to New Zealand?

Better opportunities and a safer lifestyle were the driving forces. We made the journey a question of faith and believe we are where we are supposed to be. To us, New Zealand is a place where we can breathe and live.

What was challenging about your immigration journey?

The unknown was probably the scariest part. Leaving loved ones behind is never easy. The paperwork involved was almost overwhelming. We sought professional assistance and that made the journey so much easier. Everything in New Zealand was different yet vaguely familiar. A positive attitude will get you to your destination.

What do you love the most about New Zealand?

The fresh air, open spaces, and the freedom to live. New Zealand is breathtakingly beautiful and still untouched in many ways if you go off the beaten track. There is much to discover and explore.

What do you do at Laurent Law?

I’m a bit of a Jack of all trades. I manage all operational functions, which includes accounting, HR, marketing, systems, and compliance. There is never a dull moment and one day is never like the next. I enjoy the variety and challenge.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your work?

Knowing that we help people’s plans for a new life to come together. Being part of someone else’s puzzle is greatly satisfying, especially once the puzzle is complete and the chapter written.

What do you think immigrants find the most challenging about the immigration process?

Language can be a barrier. Cultural differences can make fitting in challenging too. The isolation (especially in the beginning) can be difficult. Reaching out and becoming part of the community is a good idea. Seeing every day as a new opportunity makes it easier to take on. Being positive is a decision.

Why do people immigrate and why is New Zealand a choice for those that want to immigrate?

Often it is because circumstances in their own countries are less than ideal. New Zealand reminds me of my country of birth in less troubling times. I feel at home here. Many others seek the same sense of belonging where it is safe and free. Others will know of New Zealand’s beauty and the wonderful work-life-balance that is on offer here.

Is there a downside to immigrating?

It is important to be realistic about the whole process. There will be good and bad days. Celebrate the good ones and learn from the bad ones. No country is perfect. Do as much homework about your new environment as you can. Know that your loved ones are far away (for us at least) and that you will miss out on important milestones in their lives. Learn to live and let go of possessions. The journey will be easier if you are serious about not being too serious.