South Pacific move a winner for Ukrainian couple | ELPNZ

South Pacific move a winner for Ukrainian couple

13 December 2017

Dreams of a temperate climate and a better life brought Julia and Yaro Panfylov from the extreme cold of Ukraine to New Zealand.

“We really wanted to live somewhere warm,” says Yaro.

The young couple met in 2002 while studying Biology at National University in Donetsk. “We both have a passion for the environment and were both working towards Diplomas in Teaching Biology and Chemistry.

“Life was very difficult in Ukraine,” says Julia.

As citizens of a post-Soviet Union country, the couple were unable to gain free access to many European countries, so decided to move to Poland in 2010. They lived in Warsaw for three years and several short visits to other countries opened their eyes to what the world could offer.

“Travelling abroad was a really big step. We decided to emigrate to either New Zealand or Australia,” says Yaro. “Somewhere completely different – and warm. We hated the climate in Poland where it is cold and dark for nine months of the year.”

Julia applied to come to New Zealand as a post-graduate student at Massey University to continue her studies towards a Masters qualification. It took three years of saving and getting their documentation in order. “We spent almost everything we had earned during that time to get here, and didn’t really know until the last minute that we could come.

“It was a dream to finally see the visa in my passport. I could hardly believe it,” says Julia.