Dr Frances DeKock was out exercising in South Africa one afternoon when she was assaulted. It was this event that made her realise that she had become scared to live in her homeland. Crime was escalating and the homeless lined the streets. She had always dreamed of moving to New Zealand; the snow-capped mountain ranges and rugged scenery had touched her heart on a trip many years ago.
She thought the chances of that dream coming true were slim. This is the story of how she achieved her lifelong dream and moved to the beautiful Coromandel region.
Dr Frances DeKock was born and raised in South Africa. Her father was South African and her mother was Scottish. At first, she majored in Piano at university.
“I wanted to be a concert pianist but realised in my 2nd year of BMus degree that I was just not good enough!”
After deciding music wasn’t for her, she fell into medicine. It was in her blood and came to her naturally.
“My mother and three of my grandparents are medical doctors so it may have been a profession I had some idea about before starting.”
Working In South Africa:
Initially, she found working as a medical doctor in South Africa very fulfilling, but this began to change over the years. “I have been exposed to a wide diversity of pathologies and communities, having worked across the full range of socio-economic classes” explained DeKock.
Several reasons lead Dr DeKock to reach out to Medrecruit. She felt her generation was paying for the horrors of apartheid. This made her unable to secure work in the public sector which she felt she could have best served.
“I was stuck in the private sector and becoming professionally frustrated and bored.
My generation and race group are not wanted or welcome in South Africa at this stage in South African history - I absolutely believe in the bigger picture this is inevitable and best for the new South Africa. A difficult transmission period for many of which I am one.”
The second reason was the ever-increasing rates of crime.
“I was assaulted while exercising one afternoon which had a massive impact on my attitude. I realised that I was single and now scared of my homeland so thought I would reach out for my dream and see if there was any, (although I thought slim) chance of finding work and a new life in New Zealand”
The New Zealand Dream:
Dr DeKock’s dream of coming to New Zealand was born about 20 years ago. She came on a trip here all alone and fell in love with the country. She climbed as many mountains as she could and lost herself in the rugged beauty - she didn’t want to leave. “I have had a lifelong love of nature and the outdoors. I rode horses for many years and love hiking and tramping.”
The idea of uprooting her whole life was daunting, but there was something about New Zealand that called to her “I am an opportunist and follow my heart!”
After reaching out to Medrecruit, her dedicated Solution Specialist; Sarah found her a role at a Hospital in the Coromandel region. “Sarah was amazing - I feel that Medrecruit really changed my life by assisting me to realise my dream. They guided me step by step through the process of finding employment”
She knew the move would be stressful on a whole new level, but Sarah and the team at Medrecruit made her feel supported enough to take the plunge, and when she made it she felt liberated.
“This feeling of following my heart and dreams is now something I am proud of and feel enriched by. Sometimes it feels surreal as well.”
A new life:
Dr Frances DeKock was placed in the Coromandel, a region renowned for its natural beauty. Here, pristine beaches meet waters of turquoise, you can explore caves, or get lost in nature walks through lush valleys and misty rainforests.
‘It was worth the move a million times! I am happier than I imagined. It is taking a while to get used to living in paradise!’
Dr DeKock was happy in her new role from day one. “Sarah matched me perfectly for this position. I am doing work that I feel is appreciated. The patients are wonderful people and I feel honoured to be part of this community, who have accepted me with such warmth.”
The Coromandel is a holiday destination for many New Zealanders, and there is so much for DeKock to see and do on her days off from work.“The coromandel is really beautiful. Difficult to compare - South Africa is very dry by comparison. The lushness of the New Zealand countryside is something I love, coming from bone dry and dusty! I have tramped most of the tracks in the coromandel forest park- always out there on weekends.”
Abundant in nature walks and hiking tracks, the Coromandel was the perfect place for Dr DeKock to start a new life. “I am really lucky to be out of South Africa now- really sad to see the conflict, compounding the devastation from Covid and the poverty caused by stringent lockdowns last year.”
Back home in South Africa the crime is escalating and homeless are lining the streets, but DeKock is now far away and glad she made the move.
“I feel safe here - I can walk in the forests and mountains alone and at any time of day without feeling scared of being attacked or robbed.”
Everyday living and working in this beautiful country Dr DeKock feels lucky. Her family was all so supportive of the move, and her mum plans on visiting her in New Zealand soon.
“I love exploring the wonderful mountains and forest parks to tramp in. The people are great. I feel accepted despite being a “foreigner” and everyone has been so kind and willing to help me in so many ways. I respect and admire the way the country is governed. It is an honour to have found work here and be able to live in such a fantastic country.”