Kiwi family quit the rat race to live on tiny island

By Cam Carpenter

A Kiwi dad was tired of spending more time at work than with his family. So he decided to do something about it.
A Kiwi dad was tired of spending more time at work than with his family. So he decided to do something about it.

A Kiwi family of four have quit the rat race to live on a tiny island as the cost of living continues to reach new highs in Auckland.

Zack Smith and his wife Christyl Smith moved their family - including their two children - to their former home of Niue last year, after 16 years living between New Zealand and Australia.

Zack, who was once a longhaul truck driver, was tired of spending more time at work than with his family.

"I'd only see my kids a couple of hours each day because I was working night shift driving trucks six nights a week."

They returned to Niue for a wedding in 2014, and after getting a taste for island life once again they decided the next time they came back it would be for good.

The family are now self-sufficient on the tiny island home to just over 1,600 people. Zack spends his time hunting and fishing to feed his family, while his wife works at the Broadcasting Corporation of Niue.

"Back in New Zealand we depended a lot on money to survive, but since we moved here last year we don't need as much money to get by.

The family are able to live off whatever nature provides on the island.
The family are able to live off whatever nature provides on the island.

"You will never go hungry here. Coconuts are free, water is free, seafood is free and the hospital offers free health check-ups and medicine."

The family were able to move into a home his grandad built 20 years ago, which has been empty since 2001, and are planning to build their own home on the land.

"If we were to buy a house over in New Zealand it would take forever paying it off. In Niue an average three bedroom house would cost around 150k."

Zack has all the time in the world for his two sons and is making sure they learn to survive the old-fashioned way.
Zack has all the time in the world for his two sons and is making sure they learn to survive the old-fashioned way.

Zack says the hardest part about moving back to Niue was saying goodbye to friends and family and adjusting to the lack of shops.

But he says that's a small sacrifice to see his sons grow up in paradise and learn about their Niuean heritage, espescially as the country continues to suffer from a population decline that has been relentless since the 1960s.

Just 1,600 people live there - with 15 times as many Niueans living in New Zealand, putting the culture and language that has developed on the island over more than 1,000 years at risk of vanishing.

That's why it's so important for Zack to teach his children about their heritage.

"They are learning how to survive the old fashioned way, so one day when they have families of their own they too can pass on the knowledge to their own children to keep the culture going."

Niue is warm all year round.
Niue is warm all year round.

- NZ Herald

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