top of page

I'm moving to New Zealand! Why? - let's blame 'the butterfly effect'

I recently announced (via Instagram) my plan to move to New Zealand. After almost 3 months spent back home in Australia after my 18 months of backpacking through Asia and Europe, I don't think many people were surprised about, or questioned, this move. What was questioned, however, is where on earth this idea / plan came from! And to that point, I reference the butterfly effect.

Pic from Pragser Wildsee, Italy (seemed like a close NZ vibe)

The butterfly effect refers to the idea that everything in the world is super interconnected, so much so that an occurrence as small as a butterfly flapping its wings could somehow cause a cyclone (down the line). While I have never been a believer of 'fate' or the idea that 'everything happens for a reason', I do like the butterfly effect. Life is made up of lots of tiny decisions which, often unbeknownst to you, are leading towards something wonderful.

So, I am moving to New Zealand. I am heading to Christchurch at the end of the month to begin a one-year Graduate Diploma in Sustainability and Outdoor Education. While I've never actually been to New Zealand before, I have a good feeling about this move, so will hopefully stick around once I finish my course... but who knows with me!

While the butterfly effect can be seen in even the most mundane parts of life, the route that led me to this move is one that I am able to trace quite easily, and one that I can place 'blame' on a few of my wonderful friends.

Person to 'blame' no.1: Jasmin

I met Jasmin through a mutual friend when I was doing a solo road trip through Tasmania to bring in the beginning of 2021. I told her of my plans to drive up the east coast of Tassie to camp and do some hikes, in which she promptly responded "oh sick! I have the next week off work, mind if I come too?".

Jasmin at Cape Raoul, Tasmania, Jan 2021

While I was always a lover of walking (I once convinced my best school friends to walk the 10km home from school to my house... just because) and hiking (I mean, Gariwerd / The Grampians is right on my doorstep!), Jas opened my eyes to the kind of kilometres I could tick off in a day. During our time in Tassie, back to back we did something like 13km, then 18km, then another 12km - which blew my mind at the time! Then on the day we parted ways, Jas did a 30-something kilometre route (recommended as an overnight hike) in a day - mental.

This time with Jas ignited something in me, and then saw me do some bigger 20+ kilometre day hikes in Gariwerd, complete the 30km Capital City Trail around Melbourne in 6 hours, and do the 110km Great Ocean Walk in 5.5 days. If I thought I liked walking / hiking before meeting Jas, the love had absolutely been turned up a notch!

Chola Pass on the EBC trek w/ Jas, October 2022

I spent a lot of time clocking up kilometres while overseas, and Jas even joined me to complete Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Ri in Nepal, which was pretty bloody special! When we recently caught up for a run in Melbourne (she's also the person that introduced me to bouldering... it's hard to hang out with her and not be active!) she jokingly poked at the fact that I could choose to live in Melbourne so we could hang out all the time, in which I responded "well, this New Zealand thing is kind of your fault". She made me realise what my body is capable of, and what it is I love to do.

Person to 'blame' no.2: Ellie

Hiking during the School for Student Leadership, 2015

I met Ellie when we both attended the 10 week 'School for Student Leadership' in East Gippsland in 2015 (both aged 15) and have considered her a close friend ever since. We share a 'go-getter' kind of attitude, and often speak to see whether our respective adventures might somehow line up (other than a few days together in The Netherlands in 2019, they unfortunately have not!).

We were having one of these logistical conversations in September of last year (2023) when Ellie mentioned that her brother works as a tour guide on the Kokoda trail in Papua New Guinea, and I responded with the message you can see here:

I ended out chatting a little to her brother about how he landed this role, his pathway etc. He completed a traineeship in outdoor education and recommended some things for me to look into. I found a bunch of different options and even interviewed online for a couple, but none were quite feeling right, or ticking the boxes of what I wanted, but the seed of potential further study had been planted.

Person to 'blame' no.3: Lachy

Camp Cambodia, July 2018

I met Lachy when I moved to boarding school at the end of 2016 and became close friends when we both went on the school volunteer trip to Cambodia in 2018.

Back in about March 2023 we were chatting and he mentioned he was working with our old high school at a campus along the Great Ocean Road. Working with kids and going on hikes, the role sounded unreal so I picked his brain a lot, and in October 2023 ended out chatting with the person that was going to run the campus in 2024.

While the role seemed perfect for me, there were no positions currently available, so I set my sights back on potential studies within this area, and was encouraged by the campus head to look into Graduate Diplomas, as it could then build on my current Bachelor of Arts Degree.

This conversation happened when I was in Thailand with my Dad in October 2023, and I immediately then got to researching Graduate Diplomas in outdoor education (nb: a Graduate Diploma is essentially equivalent to a 3-year Bachelor's Degree, but is completed in one year as it builds off your prior degree). While no such course seemed to exist or appeal in Australia, I came across this one in New Zealand and genuinely said aloud to my Dad:

"This is it. This is the one. I'm moving to New Zealand".

While there are so many other routes or 'butterfly effects' that can be linked to in this current journey of mine, such as the fact that I only went to Tasmania because my flight to Sydney to see a friend I studied with in Norway got cancelled due to a COVID outbreak! I just thought that this particular story of mine kind of rung a nice tune.

This one particular example of some of the actions which have lead me to move to New Zealand and begin this course speak to both the randomness of life, and the wonderful impact great friends can have on you.

You never know where things are leading, just try and find joy in the present moment, as that's honestly the only reality that exists.



113 views2 comments


Lisa Habermann
Lisa Habermann

This sounds like a wonderful opportunity Nia. And what a great place to explore!


AJ Harrison
AJ Harrison

Going to be so good seeing the butterfly effects that then come from NZ Ni!

  • Instagram
bottom of page