JUNÉ VAN WYK, the wife of Hurricanes wing Kobus, explains what it’s been like for her to move to Wellington in New Zealand.
We packed up our house in Durban and sent everything we weren’t taking with us to Cape Town for storage. Fortunately, the movers came with a whole team that did all the packing in one morning. We then stayed with friends in Durban for a couple of nights.
The first thing we packed for our trip to New Zealand was our coffee machine, because we can’t live without it! Kobus also made sure he packed his Xbox. We took three suitcases and hand luggage on the plane and shipped another eight bags, which included our warmer clothes that we didn’t need immediately.
We arrived in Wellington at midnight on 23 November and were fetched at the airport by Ben Castle, the Hurricanes general manager, who took us to our apartment in the Wellington CBD.
It is a very nice, fully-furnished two-bedroom apartment, but our 20-month-old son Elijah liked to go up and down the stairs, which wasn’t ideal. We know (now former Hurricanes head coach) John Plumtree and his wife Lara quite well, so when Lara asked me how the apartment was, I mentioned it wasn’t very kid-friendly. I said we had to watch Elijah the whole time and were looking for another place to live.
Lara spoke to Tony Ward, the Hurricanes operations manager, and they found us a beautiful three-bedroom house in Karori, which sits above Wellington in the hills. It’s very spacious with a nice yard. The people who own the house are our neighbours and super-friendly – they’re happy to help us with anything we need.
The house is about 5km from where Kobus trains and nine or 10 minutes from the city centre.
I’m happy we stayed in the CBD when we first arrived, though, as we were able to explore the city. We love our coffee and Wellington has a big coffee community, so we checked out a lot of the coffee spots. The other day, Kobus and I were at a coffee shop, chatting to each other in Afrikaans, when the barista shouted across to us ‘Hi, is julle van Suid-Afrika [are you from South Africa]?’
Wellington is at the bottom of New Zealand’s North Island, so we’ve driven a lot around the coast – there are so many beautiful bays.
I’ve become good friends with Lara. While I know it’s a good thing for John to have been appointed as an All Blacks assistant coach, Kobus and I are sad to see him leave the Hurricanes. Fortunately, the Plumtree family is staying in Wellington, so I’ll still be able to see Lara.
We’re having a Hurricanes players’ partners meeting next week, which I’m looking forward to. I’ve already made some good friends here through our church. They say they knew we were from South Africa when we kept saying ‘ja’ all the time!
Elijah obviously keeps me busy – he’s growing up so fast – and I’m also working on a little side business with Kobus. I did my BCom Law degree and just graduated with my tax honours, which I’m very pleased about.
During the Hurricanes’ recent break, Kobus, Elijah and I went to Fiji for a holiday, which was unreal. It’s a real bucket-list destination.
We stayed at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa, which is so kid-friendly. While we had dinner, the wonderful staff would play with Elijah.
It’s good to be back in Wellington, though, and Kobus and I are excited about what’s to come!
As told to Simon Borchardt