Between kayaking the local lakes and hanging out with all the tourists that move through his hostel, Journeyman Carpenter Mathis has been keeping busy in New Zealand. We were able to sneak in a few minutes to catch up with him two months into his placement with Journeyman at a small carpentry shop in Lake Taupo, in the heart of the North Island. 👷‍♂️🔨✈️🌏️ 


Mathis, tell us what made you decide to go to New Zealand? 

Mathis: I knew I wanted to go to an English-speaking country again and because it gets cold in Germany in winter, I was looking for somewhere warm. I was already in Australia and would have gone there again, but New Zealand looked great too.

How was the preparation process for you?

Mathis: Because I had already made a similar visa application for Australia, it went relatively quickly this time. I was able to secure this one in under two weeks. In addition to Journeyman finding me the company, it was also a great feeling to have someone when questions arose during the preparation or once on site. 


You’ve been in New Zealand for two months already, how do you like it so far?

Mathis: In Germany I worked for a large company, whereas here I am part of a two-man company and I like it much better. You feel more like family and have a much closer relationship with each other. I’ve had some bad luck with the weather so far. My boss says I caught the rainiest spring in 10 years. But summer is just around the corner so I’m looking forward to it taking a turn for the better. 

And what does a typical working day look like?

Mathis: So far, I’ve been staying in a hostel as there aren’t many accommodations in the area and it’s a great way to meet people. But sometime after Christmas I may look for a shared apartment. I usually get up an hour before I start work and have a coffee with friends here in the hostel. Then I drive to the shop and work from 8:00 in the morning until around 5:00 in the evening. When I return after work, I usually do something with my friends from the hostel. In Taupo there are many things to do and the scenery is beautiful. I bought a kayak last week so now I often go out to the lake for a paddle after work.  

How do things in New Zealand differ than in Germany?

Mathis: New Zealand differs from Germany in most ways. In Germany, I worked in a big company where there was a lot more focus on time and deadlines. Everything was much, much more hectic. Here you enjoy the day more and approach your work with a more relaxed attitude. I wouldn’t say you work less, but it just has a more relaxed feeling. When it comes to building, the European standard for houses is definitely much higher than here in New Zealand. But my boss is from Denmark and he tries to bring over a bit of his knowledge regarding passive houses and the higher European standards to what he does here. He even builds according to German or European standards as much as possible, but that’s not the norm here in New Zealand.  

Is there anything you miss from Germany?

Mathis: The bread… And here rugby seems to be the number one sport, which makes football (soccer) more difficult to follow on television.  

What else do you want to do or see while you are in New Zealand?

Mathis: I will definitely spend some time on the South Island. I haven’t made any big travel plans yet, but plan to see as much of the country as possible.   

Do you have any tips of other Journeymen/women going to New Zealand?

Mathis: Just take advantage of being in a new country and get as involved as possible. Journeyman will assist you with all the hard parts so that you don’t have to worry about not knowing where to start. And of course, enjoy yourself and your time here.

What is Journeyman all about?

Journeyman is a German based start-up with a mission to build a global online-platform for the trades. Starting out, we’re helping construction companies from around the world find highly skilled and qualified tradespeople from Germany, Austria and Switzerland through our global trade-exchange program. Furthermore, we love sharing our insights with the industry and helping construction companies develop better and more sustainable Human Resource strategies.

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