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  •  Living in New Zealand
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Living in New Zealand- Part 2: The Pros

You feel safe. You have to get 2 psych evaluations done before being allowed to buy a gun. You never feel like you need to look over your shoulder here. Point in fact, the other day I saw a gangsta wearing skin tight Capri pants. No threat there.

The cops aren’t out to get you. In Texas you just take it for granted that there’s always going to be a cop looking over your shoulder trying to find an excuse to bust you for doing nothing in particular. Growing up in that environment you just assume that’s how life is supposed to be. It’s not, and in New Zealand you don’t have to live like that.

Religion isn’t a big deal. Even school teachers in New Zealand will often refer to Christianity as “Christian mythology.” Say what you want about the virtues of religion and all the good it’s done in the world, but I guarantee you that every place in the world where there is a religious majority you’ll find oppressive customs and laws. In New Zealand you’re not (very) pressured by society or the law to live according the backwards, illogical, counterproductive, archaic standards of primitive tribal mythologies.

The government is relatively un-corrupt. You don’t feel the shame and nausea of watching your leaders trample civil rights, reward greed and invade oil rich countries while lying with a straight face about their motives even though everybody knows they’re lying.

College costs $5K a year for residents and citizens. Not only does this mean I can continue my higher education, but I’m proud to live in a place that values education and doesn’t exploit it for profits.

Healthcare is cheap as well.

Prostitution is legal, the age of consent is 16 years old, and the drinking age is 18.

Kiwis aren’t (that) obsessed with material goods.

El Caminos are popular. They call them “utes.” A lot of police cars are utes. They’re cute.

You’ll see billboards and bumper stickers such as: “Airplane fares to Christchurch that won’t crucify you!” “94.3 FM: Every other radio station is shit.” “Welcome to Raglan! Now leave.”

New Zealand is a smoothly functioning multicultural society. This provides a wealth of interesting people to meet and a wide variety of delicious ethnic foods.

Kiwis don’t hate Americans, just American presidents who are guilty of war crimes.

The bus and train system are efficient, and New Zealand doesn’t have the stupid zoning laws in America that create suburbs far removed from any shopping, dining, nightlife or work. In New Zealand you can actually walk to places from your house. Not only is this convenient and healthy, but it makes you feel like you’re more of a part of your community.

The culture has a hint of refined British properness to it. This is a breath of fresh air compared to the ignorant, volatile trailer trash rednecks in Texas. However, the Kiwis don’t take it to the stifling extreme that say Germans do where you can get a ticket for not washing your windows or you have to wear a suit and tie to get into a night club. The Kiwis’ refinement is balanced by the laid back Pacific island Aloha mentality. The result is a culture of clean, well behaved people who don’t stress out or take themselves too seriously…most of the time.

There’s a ton of world class vacation spots within New Zealand that you can visit without spending a lot of money. There’s no excuse for not having an adventure in New Zealand.

You’ll work with and meet people from all over the world. Every day is an international experience.

Similarly, people value traveling. People who travel gain a coherent and intelligent world view. People who have a coherent and intelligent world view make interesting, safe neighbors.

In summary, New Zealand is a little less convenient and a little more expensive than America, but unless you’re hopelessly spoiled this really isn’t a major hurdle, especially when you consider what you stand to gain by sacrificing those relatively petty amenities. Even without mentioning the stunning beauty, the culture is calmer and saner than America’s. My blood pressure has dropped significantly since I got here because I’m not stressed out, afraid and angry at all the trailer trash, gangstas, pushy suburbanites, jocks, valley girls, religious fanatics, sadistic cops and micromanagers who make life miserable in America.


17 Responses

  1. Hang in there!, its a big culture shock for you both.
    Alison and I lived in Florida years ago (we are NZ) and empathise, in a reverse sense!.
    Let us know if we can assist,
    Good Luck
    Garry & Alison

  2. Hi Guys,

    As a Kiwi I love reading your blog and your experiences in our country. You’ve got a witty style of writing and it is interesting to see places I know so well through your eyes…keep it up!

  3. Hey, just found your blog. I’ve also just come to NZ, but from London. It’s funny you say that NZ is less convenient and more expensive than Austin, because I can’t get over how much more convenient and inexpensive it is compared to London. 🙂 I hope you continue to enjoy settling into this beautiful country – I’m taken with it already.

  4. hi, I’m doing a report on immigrant who have moved to New zealand, and could you be so kind to answer some questions for me?
    1. Which country did you come from, city, area, town, and in what period of time?

    2. Why did you move to NZ, and not some where else? including both push and pull factors(give 4)

    3. Where did you settle in NZ?

    4. How did you earn a living?

    5. What items from your cultural group has nz society adopted? (name and explain 3)

    • Sure
      1. I moved from Austin, TX. In Oct. 2009. Though, I only lived there 2 years, I would say I am from Chicago originally.
      2. I had lived in HI. for 5 years and I feel in love with the Pacific culture. NZ is an English speaking nation. I found it very materialist and the people unfriendly in Austin and the US mainland in general. NZ claimed to have a shortage of secondary ed. teachers, my profession, and IT my husband’s.
      3. I moved to Auckland, first an apartment in the city. Then down to Mangere Bridge.
      4. I am currently working as a LTR teacher at an Auckland high school, teaching English and social studies. My goal to is be hired on as a permanent social studies teacher. My husband is working as a customer service representative for an online company. He is currently looking for employment in the IT help desk field.
      6. Kiwi’s seem to watch a lot of American reality TV. Fast food, I.E. McDonalds, KFC. Music, especially R ‘n B and rap.

      Hope this is useful.


  5. It’s curious that a good number of the things you’ve listed as ‘pros’ for New Zealand can be found in other parts of America, especially New York City. The lack of stupid zoning laws that separate living, working and entertainment areas, thus discouraging walking; the diversity of ethnic foods; neighbors who value traveling and cosmopolitanism; religion not being a big deal–these can all be found in wonderful NYC. So it’s not like ALL of the U.S. is some horrible suburban nightmare filled with provincial ignoramuses (which I can imagine Texas is notorious for).

    But God, what I wouldn’t give for cheap health care, cheap education, sane gun laws, an honest and non-militaristic government and freedom from the stressed-out, materialistic neurotics. Though you never mention anything about the rent–I suppose Auckland is much, much cheaper than NYC in terms of rents. That would be another plus of living in New Zealand. Keep up the good work. Maybe some day I’ll get tired of the rat race here in the U.S. and make a move out to a more relaxed, laid-back country with vast areas of nature to explore.

    • Actually rent in Auckland is higher than New York City. Everyone I know in their late 20s and early 30s here either lives with their parents or lives in a flat with 5 other young adults because nobody can afford to rent a place all to themselves.

  6. I am an American woman who has lived in Auckland for about nine years with my Kiwi husband. We tried moving back to the States (Hawaii) but found it too expensive there so are headed back to Auckland. I have some very nice Kiwi friends, but would also love to know if there are any clubs or organizations for American ex-pats to be able to socialize with and share the experiences they’ve had living abroad.

    Certainly there are pros and cons to living in NZ; I guess it comes down to individual opinions and experiences. I think the healthcare system is better in NZ than in America. Sometimes there appears to be a lot of road rage in NZ.

    I don’t understand how some Kiwis actually enjoy walking barefoot in urban areas/city streets (along with their young children) (particulary in the middle of winter….). It doesn’t worry me, but it does seem bizarre to those of us from other parts of the world.

    I get homesick sometimes, but living overseas has been a tremendously educational experience. NZ is a beautiful country; although it is far from perfect and has its own share of problems. But then what country doesn’t?

  7. This is a wonderful blog. I’m considering making this move from Canada and this is a great source of information

  8. An informative blog, you’ve obviously taken some care to provide an objective and balanced view of NZ to the rest of the world. It’s a welcome change from the lightweight ‘what I did today’ type of blog or the ‘disgruntled immigrant’ version.

  9. This made me want to move to NZ!!! Any idea on grad school opportunities there? I’m finishing up my bachelors in New York and I need some fresh air, sunshine, and kindness.

    • We I don’t know anything about grad schools in New Zealand, but the biggest universities are in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

  10. I’m thinking of moving to Auckland from Canada. The cost of living seems a little scary.

    I just need a change in my life and New Zealand seems like a good fit.

    Great blog.

    • Having lived in Hawai’i for five years prior to moving to NZ I’m not that surprised by the cost of things. It’s an island, with a small population, not much of a bulk market to spread the cost about. Cost of ‘things’ here are expensive, secondhand is normally the best way to go. But ‘living’ here as Kiwi’s do means less consumption. Towns put on an extensive array of free concerts and festivals. Camping and the bigger museums are free a lot of the time. Living in Auckland is more expensive then else where in NZ, but not prohibitive at all.

  11. I LOVE your blog! My fiance and I are from Texas, we have never been to New Zealand, but after doing some research we decided New Zealand is the place we want to move! We are in the process of saving money and hope to be able to move in the next 2 years. It is great to see other Texans have taken the leap we want to make!

  12. Hi, I want to thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. My wife and I are looking to relocate from Toronto, Canada where I have lived all my life. My wife is from Hamilton NZ and was working as a nurse before she left. There are three things I don’t seem to get a good answer on.

    1. Weather – I’m looking to leave Toronto because of the winters. I hear the same of the winter over there but that seems to be a problem only in the south island. Is the north manageable?

    2. Jobs – It seems as though it’s really hard to find a job unless you are there on the ground. I work in IT sales and do see quite a few of the big companies there like Yahoo, Expedia. Is the job market reasonable and what do you think is a reasonable salary I should be expecting.

    3. Good Family Income – We have a baby and wanted to get an idea of what a middle class family income would be. No one seems to have a clue on that number. $120k NZ dollars to be comfortable?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Here’s our impression of winter in Auckland: https://brokenluggage.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/ode-to-the-new-zealand-winter/

      Most of the jobs in New Zealand are found on wwww.trademe.co.nz and http://www.seek.co.nz/.

      You’ll be able to live comfortably on $120k. Once your household income drops below $80k you’re going to have to start sacrificing comforts.

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