Is New Zealand right for you?


If you’re considering emigrating to New Zealand then you’re probably trying to figure out if New Zealand is better than the place you’re at. I can tell you right now that, regardless of where you live, nobody but you can say if New Zealand is better than where you’re at. Sure, we can pull up all sorts of empirical statistics about quality of life in New Zealand, but unless you live in a third world or war torn country that really doesn’t prove New Zealand is any better than anywhere else because everyone is different and has different priorities. New Zealand might be perfect for your neighbor but not for you.

The real question you need to be asking yourself isn’t, “Is New Zealand a good place to live?” You need to be asking yourself, “Is New Zealand right for me?”

Based on my subjective experiences, here are a few factors that indicate emigrating to New Zealand could be right for you.

You meet the immigration requirements.

You can cope with being separated from your friends and family.

You have a high tolerance for change.

You don’t mind a slow pace of life and minor inconveniences such as limited shopping opportunities and crappy internet connection.

You enjoy living with/around people of wildly different cultures and backgrounds.

You love eating strange foods from different cultures.

It’s important to you that you live in a country with a relatively non-corrupt government.

You really love the outdoors.

You really love the ocean.

You really love to travel.

It’s very important to you that your government not be involved in massive human rights abuses.

You don’t mind taking a pay cut in exchange for lifestyle opportunities.

You don’t mind long winters.

A safe environment is one of your highest priorities.

You hate living in a cookie-cutter suburban neighborhood.

These bullet points probably apply to most people like a vague horoscope. I mean, sure, most people like travelling and the outdoors, but do you really, really LOVE to travel and spend time outdoors? If these aren’t things you’re actively passionate about then you don’t really need to move to the other side of the world for them. If you don’t really mind living in cookie-cutter houses then you don’t really need to turn your life upside down to escape American suburbia. If you’re just going to stay inside and watch TV and surf the Internet your entire life, stay where you’re at and save your money to buy a bigger TV and computer chair.

I don’t say that to sound snide. If that’s your passion then focus on it. Moving to a foreign country pushes the reset button on your entire life. You start over from scratch. You have to buy new pillows. You have to learn how to send mail all over again. You have to learn street signs. If you’re not seriously dissatisfied with your life or insatiably hungry for a total life challenge then emigrating might be overkill for you.

Here’s some signs that New Zealand (or, in some of these cases, emigrating in general) is wrong for you.

You have very strong ties to your family to the point that your family is your world.

You’re focused like a laser on building your career and making a lot of money.

It’s important to you and your career that you be near the center of the global economy.

You love the fast life.

You get mad and frustrated easily.

You’re unfocused at this point in your life and have a hard time committing to anything.

You can look around you right now and say,” Yeah, I’ve got everything I need right here.”

You thrive on routine.

You’re trying to run away from yourself.

If you’re still on the fence, you may consider getting a working holiday visato New Zealand. You can live here up to 3 years without the hassle/limitations of getting residence or citizenship, but we’ll talk about that more later.

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2 Responses

  1. I’m grateful that the first time I considered moving to New Zealand, I stumbled upon this blog. That was over a year ago (March 2010). Today, I’m living in Auckland as well (between Ponsonby and Herne Bay), and unwinding myself after years of living in the US. It’s only been 7 months, but at least I know that NZ is currently the right place for me. If you ever wish to swap expat stories, I’m open for sharing a pint or two, my treat…no bull. Keep up the great blog posts.

  2. Great blog! Very informative & extremely useful insight. Really appreciate all the wonderfully detailed advice given. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences & knowledge 🙂

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