Swiss Expat Story: Reto in Christchurch, New Zealand

von MySwissWorld & Swiss Food Box Team

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We welcome you to our newest interview in our weekly series. Here we interview each week somebody from the community and learn a bit more about their lives. This week, from Redcliffs, New Zealand:
Reto Casutt spent his working live in the travel industry and got to see a lot of places on this planet. These days, he lives with his wife very far from Switzerland in New Zealand and tells us a bit about himself and the “Keas”. 
What is your name and where are you living now?
My name is Reto Casutt and I am living with my lovely wife Deb in Redcliffs near Christchurch, New Zealand.

After a long and varied career in a number of countries, I recently had the 'choice' of early retirement, which I took - and I haven't felt better in many years!

What is your connection to Switzerland? Have you been born there, or do you have some roots in Switzerland? 
Born in Graubuenden, and doing all my schooling there, I soon ventured further and spent some time in Geneva, followed by many years in Kloten, near the Zurich Airport.

Working many years for Swissair and its affiliates, I traveled extensively, yet always called Switzerland home - until I met my wife and we migrated to New Zealand.
What is the thing that you miss about Switzerland the most?
It is actually not a 'thing' I miss most, it is a number of people - first and foremost my brother and sister - yet I call myself extremely lucky to have still some great and fantastic friends in Switzerland.

And yes, of course, there are foods and drinks which I miss, and really enjoy when going back to Switzerland - I will only mention three: Rivella Blau, Buendner Nusstorte und 'Cheese' (in general).

What do you think is better or do you like more in your new country?
With the South Island of New Zealand being around six time the size of Switzerland, one of the main attraction is definitely the space and freedom we have here. 

I feel it also helps the people to have more and better quality of life, despite the salaries being rather low compared to the prices we pay here for good - after all, we are down-under, you can't go much further.

And what I really appreciate here is that you can be yourself - especially in our neck of the woods :-)

Do you have any plans of returning soon? For vacations or permanently.
Just having been in Switzerland last Fall, I was (am) very grateful for the fantastic time I had with my siblings and some of my best friends.

Still a bit 'sad' I couldn't catch up with more of my closest friends - time flies, and having Covid (or Corona, as they still call it in Switzerland), took a big chunk out of the time I was in 

Hoping however to return
 at some point in 2023, for a slightly longer period - a good way to 'escape' the New Zealand winter and enjoy the beautiful places and rich history of Switzerland!
Ps. Could you tell us a bit more about the beautiful birds in the photos?
It is my pleasure - and happy to tell you a bit more about the birds and the charity looking after them. :-)
And no, we do not own any of these beautiful creatures - we prefer to see them as often as possible in the wild, in their natural habitat.
Here the link to the keas*** and more about them: 
My loveley wife and I volunteer for the South Island Wildlife Hospital (in Christchurch), and while Deb (my wife) is very hands-on with the native birds/patients and any other native species, I am more the handyman, when manual work needs to be done.
This included building (with some help) the kea aviary, making it predator proof - or building hawk stands (for birds of prey learning to fly again after their operations) - and much more
Just one last thing: The birds and any other patients are all wild animals, and they are brought to the hospital for care, operations, or to feed them up, especially sea birds that are starving with the oceans getting warmer and less fish for them.


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