New Zealand a dream come true for Datacraft exec

Lynette Saldanha still wakes up each morning thinking, 'No, it's not a dream, I really am in New Zealand.'

Lynette Saldanha still wakes up each morning thinking, "No, it's not a dream, I really am in New Zealand."

While other IT professionals moan about the country and its prospects and make plans to leave, this Indian businesswoman is happy to call Auckland her new home.

Saldanha started her own IT company in India, built it up to a $50 million business, and after forming a joint venture with network services company Datacraft, became the head of Datacraft India. Since migrating six weeks ago with her husband, who works in advertising for Young & Rubicam, she has taken up the position of Datacraft New Zealand's director of marketing operations.

Saldanha has relatives in New Zealand and, while visiting them five times in as many years, began thinking about coming here.

"You have a balanced lifestyle. In India I ended up with all work, no play. After 31 years in the IT industry, I thought it was time to get a life. I think people take for granted things they might value when leaving New Zealand. The absence or neglible presence of pollution. The sheer beauty of the countryside. The friendliness of the people. I describe New Zealand as GodZone country and the last civilised paradise on Earth."

Saldanha considered other countries, but the Cambridge University graduate and former Geneva-based UN employee found Britain and Europe too cold. Though rich, America offers a poor lifestyle and she believes Australia is not as tolerant of ethnic diversity as New Zealand.

New Zealand is more egalitarian, without the extremes of wealth and poverty, she says. She admits to some guilt at coming from one of the better castes. But she has done her bit for her old country, paying taxes, supporting charities and helping build up its booming IT industry. "I gave India 31 years of my working life," she says.

Friends tried to dissuade her from leaving but Saldanha felt it was time for a better life. Aged 53, with her parents dead, the ties to India are not as strong.

And while New Zealanders grumble about our politicians, government and taxes, we don't have the corruption, she says. But GodZone does not offer everything for everybody. Saldanha sympathises with those who might want to leave because of our rising taxes and says if you are a young person in a great hurry to make loads of money, then New Zealand is not for you.

"But if you are at the stage in life when you have had your fill of burning the midnight oil, when you want to leave work and do other things, then New Zealand is the place," she says.

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