Written by Travis
So we’ve been living in New Zealand for 3 years now. It took about 9 months to get used to living here and two years to say everything we have to say about the immigration process. We’ve only written a couple of blogs in the past year, because we’ve run out of things to say about the immigration process/experience. Even now as I try to think of things to say all I can think of is to re-emphasize things we’ve already said.
The first thing I have to say is that neither of us have any regrets moving to New Zealand. If we had to do it all over again we would have left America sooner. The Kiwi people are friendlier than Americans, and this isn’t just a statistic from a survey. When you live in New Zealand you are constantly impressed by how friendly people are. Granted, there are some horrible people, but the overall culture is refreshingly friendly.
Not only are people friendly, but they’re also generally accepting of other races and cultures. New Zealand only has a fraction of the racism, religious bigotry, gang violence and homophobia as America. There are only a few places in New Zealand where you should be afraid to go outside at night, and you’re never going to have to worry about getting car jacked. Even hitch hiking is so safe it’s still a national past time.
One of the best things about New Zealand is how absolutely, ridiculously beautiful it is. It’s so fantastically beautiful that people come from all over the world to film fantasy movies here. You’d have to go to Norway or the Alps to see scenery as beautiful as New Zealand’s. So having lived somewhere that looks like this:
I can’t imagine moving back to a place that looks like this:
Having said that, New Zealand isn’t without it’s problems. It’s got it’s own idiosyncratic issues that are easy to ignore, but it has at least four big problems that are a constant thorn in my side. The biggest one is the oppressive economy. Wages are low, and the cost of living is high You feel the financial squeeze immediately when you move to New Zealand, and it never goes away.
The second biggest problem is the inadequate insulation in the houses. Every winter you live with the never ending cold. Seriously, I lived in Germany for 2 years, and even though the temperature in Germany was much colder than New Zealand, this country feels colder because you can’t escape it…unless you’re rich. The summers are next to perfect in New Zealand, but the winters can be…daunting.
The third problem is the lack of professionalism in New Zealand business culture. You get jerked around and charged nonsensical prices. Also, bosses aren’t constrained by modern, first world standards of professionalism either. There are probably some phenomenal bosses somewhere in New Zealand, but all the ones I’ve met fly by the cuff and manage their employees irrationally. There are good things to be said about New Zealand’s lax standards of professionalism though. For instance I’m typing this blog at work while drinking a beer, and I wear shoes to work maybe once a week. So that’s good. I can thank New Zealand’s low standards of professionalism for that, but the downside is that trying to get quality work/services from Kiwi businesses can be…daunting.
The last problem with New Zealand is the high population of South Pacific red necks who have never left the region they were born in and have no interest in being a part of the outside world….or being intelligent in general. This problem is offset by the huge international community in New Zealand. This year my best mates were British, German, Estonian, French and Finnish. I’ve lived with flatmates from all over the globe, and that’s awesome, but there’s still a huge percentage of people in this country who just aren’t switched on and never will be. Granted, every country has these people. I just wish New Zealand had less.
These are just my personal views. Different people love and hate different things about New Zealand. So take this for what it’s worth.