Migrant Tales – “NZ Like A Dumb Blonde, Great To Look At…” Updated

Snells Beach

Continuing in our series of Migrant Stories: first hand accounts of migrant life in New Zealand, taken from locations around the net. For more Migrant Stories click here

This tale is taken from an expat forum. The poster, a British tradesman who lives in Northland,  has been in New Zealand for more than three years, has tried both South and North Islands but has found, as have many others, that the ’scenery is not enough‘.

He’s had problems breaking through local price-fixing  cartels, is disillusioned with the quality of housing and dangerous drivers. He’s twigged to the 100%  Pure myth and to the violence and brutality present in some sectors of society. He’s thinking of giving it another two years but he has a Kiwi wife so the pressure must be on him to stay put: caught between a rock and a hard place. Should he stay or should he go?

“Me and kiwi wife moved to Nelson Jan 2007, after 18 months realised it wasn’t for us. Like a lot of NZ it is cliquey, and remote, not to say expensive.

We now live at Snells Beach about an hour north of Auckland. Beautiful spot great neighbours and for us probably as good as it gets. So why am I bored and frustrated with life here?

Trying to start a business is much more difficult than the UK, trying to open biz accounts with companies is like pulling teeth.

People NEVER respond to phone messages or emails.

If people are putting a few bucks in your pocket they seem to think that you are their bonded slave !

The food and construction industries are each run by 2 cartels who fix prices across the board I’ve encountered 900 % mark ups on building materials personally !

Roads are frequented by morons who can’t drive but think they can.

The media seem to be in the pockets of big buisness therefore none of the above is ever broached by the likes of ‘Fair Go’ instead they go for the small fry.

House construction – what a joke, they sell glorified garden sheds for 6 figure sums and they cany even keep the rain out !

Leaky homes – came about because of the greed of big biz and the ineptitude of government – of course everyone is denying responsibility in true kiwi fashion.

Sport – very popular, because there’s bugger all else to do !!

Insurance companies – excellent at taking your money and finding ways of not paying out on claims.

Customer service – an alien concept here.

Clean Green NZ – total bulls**t, if there’s a buck to be made then it WILL be made just see what happens with the mining.

Fishing – stocks are rapidly decreasing so get out there while you can !

Pig hunting – it’s what the hillbillies do when they’ve run out of relatives to beat up or rape.

Domestic violence – NZ is up there with the best of em.

All Blacks – how can the best in the world never win the world championship ?

I know I sound negative but I’ve found NZ to be like a dumb blonde, great to look at but very little else.

I’m giving it 2 more years, if it doesn’t improve for us then its back to the traffic jams, bombers and civilisation!”

The poster ends by saying

“This country is very conservative, to many greedy people and far to many people accepting the status quo. Unfortunately things arn’t going to change any time soon, being a remote Island, we’re at the mercy of the power brokers. Does anyone remember the ‘RIP OFF BRITAIN’ revelations ? If only they knew !!!!”

A few days later he added:

“Another thing occured to me recently. I bought a picture book, about 50 images of great places in NZ, milford sound, rotorua etc etc. The only places in the book that I’ve actually been to happened during the 2 holidays we had here before emigrating. Whats the point in living in ‘Gods country’ when you’re priced out of seeing the good stuff ?
And what’s with the architecture here ? Are all kiwi architects on mind bending drugs or what !”

His post is similar to another Tale – “Married to a Kiwi in God’s waiting room” its about another family for whom the scenery was not enough and they left after two years.

Update 1 September 2010

This post was the subject of a recent discussion on ExpatExposed.com and in turn on the  Trademe.co.nz message boards, where it attracted a lot of attention. Read

“Ouchies!! An anti NZ forum and some sad truths”

Excellent comment. Very true:

“The biggest & most important difference between Scotland & New Zealand is the people & their attitudes. NZ is isolated & that reflects in the insular & parochial attitude of the people. New Zealanders are generally polite, but definitely not friendly (as is often said, although I can’t understand why). New Zealanders are unbelievably tight with their money, which causes them problems. This is why they don’t tip waiters & their houses are cheap, cold & rotting & their wages are low etc. Scots, contrary to popular belief are a generous race of people. They are also welcoming & hospitable to visitors. New Zealanders have a misguided belief of their own self importance. Scots know they are not world players, but have over the years made major contributions to the world e.g. telephone, television, literature, engineering etc.
When I left Scotland, I was friendly & outgoing. After spending four years in New Zealand I found myself becoming angry & bitter & filled with hatred. Since moving to Sydney for the past year, that veil of negativity has mostly lifted. I can now look back on NZ & see the things I liked & the things that I hated. “

Since I moved to Tauranga from Christchurch, I have become more insular, angry and bitter. I believe NZ gets worse as you go further North and the North Island is the most unfriendliest compared to the South Island. Back in CHCH in most cases when I move into a new house I get welcomed by the neighbours but here in Tauranga they don’t give a s**t about you.

tamsim wrote:
I find it really amusing to see NZr’s cling to this myth. esp when most of those that do have never left the country. (except to visit the gold coast and Fiji !!!)

It’s because it’s all they’ve got.

If kiwis have to tell people what is great about NZ, they talk about mountains and beaches – as if that’s some kind of rare commodity.

There’s little culture. No depth. Like Tasmania, only colder.

23 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – “NZ Like A Dumb Blonde, Great To Look At…” Updated

  1. Hi I’m a NZer but i lived overseas for a long time and decided to come back about 4 years ago. The biggest mistake i’ve ever made. I never wanted to come back and my kids can see why now. They could never understand why but now after living here they do. They needed better English skills, so i came back and have been broke ever since. And their English hasn’t improved much. I just got back from a short stint working overseas and I’ll be going back again. The first real job i’ve had in 4 years. The big problem is my wife is not a NZer and she loves it here, but i don’t like to leave her here by herself because of the crime rate. To be honest i cannot understand why anybody would want to come here. I’ve been wanting to leave ever since i got back, and now all my kids have left school I can. Education here is a joke, my daughter came home from school and said the maths she learned today she had already learned in primary school.

  2. He resigned. He was not sacked. The document can be found at:
    It says little about why he left. If you read between the lines, you can conclude that his expectations about the job were not met in real life.

  3. It will be very interesting to hear why he decamped and headed home, it would not have been a decision he’d have taken lightly. What degree of mis-selling occurred here?

    If he’d been sacked (say, under the new 90 day Fire at Will law) would his employers still have asked for the return of relocation expenses?

  4. http://www.3news.co.nz/Man-fined-12000-for-work-no-show/tabid/423/articleID/172985/Default.aspx

    I’d like to hear this guy’s story. He comes over from Northern Ireland…and probably goes crazy trying to deal with these people. Decamps before he goes postal. You know it. LOL! The problem is that now the Kiwis, having misrepresented their corner of the world to him and sent him screaming, want their relocation expenses back…

    “A man who told Whangarei District Council from Northern Ireland that he wasn’t returning to his job has been ordered to repay the council $12,000 in relocation expenses.

    However, Employment Relations Authority member Yvonne Oldfield knocked back the council claim for $459 in car hire and $4025 in accommodation expenses.

    Ms Oldfield said there was no dispute that the council met certain costs incurred by John David Jenkins and his family when he moved from Northern Ireland to take up a job in June 2008.

    There was also no dispute he left without giving notice in February 2009 and returned to live in Northern Ireland, informing the council by email he was not coming back….”

  5. Hi The Recruiter, your comments make for fascinating reading, but I just have a few questions.
    “Nobody pays a gardener $60 an hour, and very, very few workers are on minimum wages.”
    1. Depends what kind of gardening you do – and notice that the person said that only NZD13 to NZD15 actually goes toward the gardener. It’s the same with computer technicians, the charge is NZD75/hour and I don’t know how much actually goes towards the technician; and 2. How do you define “very very few” considering that minimum wages exist so that the MAJORITY of people without skills collect a “just getting-by” salary? Not to mention that the salaries in New Zealand are “by the hour” not “by the job”.

    “I am a recruiter and IT skills have been in huge demand for decades. If you didn’t get a job, it will be because you’re a whining minge, not because you’re a foreigner.”
    I didn’t realise you could spot a whining minge through a resume. And if IT skills were in such huge demand, why are trained STEM professionals (educated in New Zealand, no less!) unable to find work in New Zealand? There was precious little useful advice my Student Careers Advisor could offer me regarding what was deficient in my resume, besides “use a bigger font”, so I hope you have an inside track on the Kiwi mind?

    “Our governor general is a migrant.”
    How long was he here before he got the job?

  6. The Recruiter :

    It looks like it’s time to resurrect the once-mighty “Punch a Pom a Day” campaign, but it looks like we might just stick to punching any migrant who cries about being poorly treated here.

    Thank you for your valuable insight into this topic and for your honesty.

    Is that your own personal view or that of the recruitment company you work for? Or maybe you are the company?

    If this is the typical mindset of people in your ‘profession’ in New Zealand your comments only serve to support and re-affirm the statements made by other posters on this topic – especially Kiwiauss and Bananachicken.

    Your remarks also serve as a reminder to all immigrants that when looking for work in New Zealand it is perhaps best to avoid certain recruitment agencies and to apply to employers direct.

  7. It looks like it’s time to resurrect the once-mighty “Punch a Pom a Day” campaign, but it looks like we might just stick to punching any migrant who cries about being poorly treated here.

    Hey, if you don’t like the place, the airport is open 24 hours for you to leave!

    How delightful that the OP is written by a whinging Pom! His story is full of lies, which are easy for the initiated to spot, because there are no cartels, no barriers to starting business, and in fact pretty much everyone from bankers to governement officials will bend over backwards to ensure you get a fair go.

    It’s abundantly clear that sour grapes are driving these comments.

    Fantail’s comments are pure fantasy. Nobody pays a gardener $60 an hour, and very, very few workers are on minimum wages.

    As for bananachick, you picked the wrong place to try that BS – I am a recruiter and IT skills have been in huge demand for decades. If you didn’t get a job, it will be because you’re a whining minge, not because you’re a foreigner.

    Our governor general is a migrant. Need I say more?

    • Hi Recruiter, You mate are full of shit. Have a look at how many seek jobs there are in Christchurch for Business Analysts, Project Managers, Developers. I have 700 job application knockbacks and 3 interviews from NZ recruiters in this rotten place ovver the the last 2.5 years. I have many friends with IT, HR and Marketing qualifications in the same boat as me from Australia, Czech, Britain, US with more and higher qualifications than me. Maybe it’s because we had foreign names, no NZ experience or too many skills that we looked too weird for rotten little keyword gatekeepers like you. In christchurch the IT market is predominantly sewn up with two key recruiters. AS you are in the industry you’ll know that 90% of the work arranged is through word of mouth and i’ve lost many a position because i found out that the employer was mates or knew of the employee through word of mouth. The place is tiny. This place in my experience is a nepotistic closed shop. It’s not through merit that you get ahead it’s through your high school and mates of mates networks. At least that’s me experience in Wellington and Christchurch. Perhaps Auckland is different. Open your eyes to other peoples experience “The Recruiter” and stop propagandising crap. Because NZ is far from the Milk and Honey experience that you conjure up. 1 Million expat Kiwis can’t be wrong, talk to them and ask why they will never come back to this festering 2nd world shit hole

    • “The Recruiter” says it all to me. Useless like the rest of them in the IT recruitment sector. They would not recognise an IT skill if they trip over it…

      I made a point of it 4 years ago that I will NEVER, EVER deal with an recruitment agency again. I flatly object my CV being vetted by someone who have NO clue of what my skills comprise of. I came to that decision after applying for a role which matched my skill set by more than 90%, but never made it past the agency.

      So Mr cheeky arrogant dude, you can give me all the attitude and lip you want, but you will never earn a cent of me if I can help it.

      • I totally agree with Bananachick.

        Sorry for the anonymous nature of this, but I can’t risk being identified by vindictive agents, etc, because I have to use them regularly.

        Why do tech departments allow a salesman to decide what technical roles you can do? I don’t get that one.Look at Momentum’s recent screw up with Stephen Wilce at the defense agency…haha. Unfortunately, I’m forced to use rec agents because they have cornered the market in Wellington.
        I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in IT management in Wellington.
        A preponderance of Managers who haven’t got a clue about IT. (e.g low level Stephen Wilces!).
        They manage to talk themselves into management roles (because they are people person, whatever the hell that means) with no or little background in IT.
        I’ve run out of times I’ve seen an attractive women BA who couldn’t write a specification if her life depended on it.
        Pretty obvious how she got a management role….

        I think that’s why this symbiotic relationship between agents and governement has sprung up.
        The clueless IT managers and other hangers on in government pass the buck to an equally clueless IT agency in the hope that they will give them a decent hire because they couldn’t spot one themselves, and they DO NOT want to accept any responsibilty. Just a thought.

  8. That’s why I can’t understand why people come over here. I look at them and go “Why would you come here? There’s a reason so many of us get the hell out first chance we get . . .”
    I was born in New Zealand. I was raised in New Zealand. My son was born in New Zealand. But F**ked if he’s going to rot in New Zealand! My husband and I and our son are getting the hell out of here in 6 months. As a Kiwi born and raised, I too warn people away from this country. The green grass aint real man. It’s fake.
    And the reason people with degree’s don’t get jobs is because the more skills you have the more you have to be paid. Employers here dont like to pay. You pay $60 and hour for a gardner/landscaper through a company. That gardner only gets maybe $13 – $15 of that IF he’s lucky. Most though are on minimum wage. And the money the employer is earning? Very rarely goes back into the business . . .

  9. Hi Bananachicken, we’ve seen the account you’ve written about your experiences on ExpExp.

    We’d be honored if you’ll consider re-telling it here as a Migrant’s Tale, a series that is proving very popular with our readership.

    • HI there, Thanks for offer but rather than recycle my words, if anyone is interested in my story just pop over to http://www.expatexposed.com go navigate to the forums, go to “Hi there, my story” section and look for the iNZeption thread, it’s not too hard to find or simply go here http://www.expatexposed.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3165.

      It’s just my story of being infatuated with New Zealand (in terms of the scenery and what i thought were the self evident opportunities) and then coming over with a ton of money, skills, experience and seeing them dashed upon the realities of how New Zealand views and helps business. I am en entrepreneur who wishes someone had taken a cricket bat to my head and knocked some sense into me when i first realised what i thought was an opportunity to start a business here in New Zealand. The head to cricket bat would have been a small price to pay to have learnt the hard way of what it is really like to not only do business but to actually try and make a living here in New Zealand.

      The short answer is don’t come here. New Zealand is undoubtedly a beautiful country but the place is a economic black hole death zone and it is without doubt going backwards. I’m heading back to Australia with practically nothing after losing many hundreds of thousands of dollars of my own money and my investors money, I will only return when i’ve made my fortune in the real world coz it won’t happen in New Zealand Dreamzone.

  10. Does any expat have experiences with the lackluster jobmarket scene here in nz , meaning do you believe the recruitment personel and work and income personel have any decent best pratice standards? my findings are that it is a complete shambles trying to get work in nz. I advise expats in uk to stay there if they have jobs. This place is a complete circus when it comes to getting work everything is in favour of the employer who can ask for hair, blood and just about any information they think they are able to get before they will make a decision, not like the real world.

    • Yes plenty of experience in IT contracting. Unfortunately the experience and skills (10+ years) counted for nothing in New Zealand. 700 job applications less than a handful of interviews, mostly to the HR recruiters rather than clients. This is very common for immigrants and even NZ expats coming back to NZ. Problem is the relative lack of broad education that HR people have. Just a question of plugging in keywords for them, the less thinking the better. They have a very technical narrow education, unable to see your skills. If you have had a diverse career, hold high level degrees, forget about getting a job. All they seem to want is people who’ve been in stable settled employment within their current career structure. Try Auckland if you have to, move anywhere else and you might as well throw away any savings you had and start preapring for food parcels after 6 months. Stay the F**K away from NZ. 5 years here and what a mistake.

  11. New Zealand is more especially like a nasty little dyed blonde gold digger, using her looks to get by and screwing people over one after the other! Mildred the waitress in Of Human Bondage…

  12. There are some dreggy people here who really know how to work their system. I resent being taxed so heavily to support people who ought to be supporting themselves. Most of the people I know of on the DPB where I live (Northland) are capable of working. They just don’t want to.

  13. Hi Akshay, thanks for taking time to make some comments, it’s good to hear that you not only survived New Zealand but were also able to get out and rebuild your lives.

    If you feel it will help to get the rest of your story out please feel free to do so when you are ready. We can either leave it in a comments box or give it its own page in Migrants’ Tales.

  14. Man ur story sounds like mine. Being medical professionals moved to lovely Tauranga 10 yrs ago. Believing in couple of years things will improved financially, kids will have good schoold education, blah blah, – debt kept making mountains, one finish other ready. Found nothing more than long driving to long walks. Too many stories to tell- friends who were on fake benefits (single mums, depression, back pain, etc. etc) were better off eg. their own homes, frequent oversease visits, good cars, dont’ know how they were on dole stuff for years and how bloody winz and IRD were happy with those crap people. It was like our all tax money is nurturing those fraudulant bunch of fake beneficieries. Finaly, decided to move to OZ. It is not the bestest place but kids like school, no major bullies, better education, well organised jobs, very friendly, generous and people who love to work hard, excellent infrastructure. Cant’ forget- one guy from out office (hospital) let me borrow his car for 3 months, got free three beds people have spare at home, When our work colleague found we are new – they did so much we hardly had to buy anything. Look at the generousity. In nine month got heaps tax returns that we can afford first home deposit. On thhe other hand I am still paying 100 doller/m to NZ IRD which were overpaid tax benefit and IRD refused to give up. Thank God for helping us.

    Want to say heaps but can’t – it is tooomuch damn/ crapps to tell which experienced in New Zealand. However, I missed some of my friends.

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