Hi Wayne and welcome. There are a few Kiwi's here and it's good to see another.
Boat choice? well thats a hard one. As you said, some look like they aqre setup for crusiing and you need to look at those. The cost is in the safety gear
you need, The ability to single
hand especially in heavy sea's.
is important. It is unbelievable what you end up trying to put away.
Now the other important thing, you aren't trying to live on that Lyttleton club warf thingy they have there are you. In a southerly blow, it is next to impossible to stay on the boat. Once they get the new marina up and running again (who knows when) then that will be better, but pop down to the old marina on a southerly one afternoon and you will see what I mean.
Somebody that you can talk too and may be able to help you is across in Purau (I think he is moored over there). Look for a large (50ft) white Ketch
called Waitane. The guy's name is Dave and is very approachable. He sailed down from Picton with it and lives aboard and he will be great to talk to and ask question of. He may even take you out sailing.
I am Marlborough and feel free to Email
me if you want.