Continuing in our popular Migrants Tales series – first hand accounts of migrant life in New Zealand taken from locations around the net.
Today’s tale is taken from a British expats forum and is comprised of two posts – one from 2006 and the other five years later.
This is an excellent essay on what the Kiwi Lifestyle is really all about for one family in Hamilton, and an indication of what the future may hold for YOU when you emigrate to New Zealand.
I don’t know, we’ve been here for just over a year and a half and are beginning to have our doubts.
The work ethic thing is true, I get customers ringing me up at 9pm on Saturday nights asking me technical questions.
I can’t believe anyone really thinks the average kiwi regularly goes abroad. Most that we speak to have maybe done the OE thing in their youth and apart from that have been to Melbourne a couple of times.
I wouldn’t say they’re all considerate neighbours….many have a “fack em” attitiude, crank up the stereo, rev their big bore jap import at 5am or burn their waste when you’ve got your washing out.
All comments about hosing here are true. If you want a decent place you’ll need to build it yourself.
Regards to money and wages. A LOT of kiwis we know make ends meet and that’s about it. I had no intention of starting a business here but it seems the only way to get a living wage [*1]. If my other half didn’t have pommie pounds to live mortgage free there’s no way we could stay here. House prices to wages are probably as bad as the UK. Please don’t confuse average with median when talking about wages and house prices. One thing is for sure though, if we can’t make it work here then there are dozens of other countries we’d try before going back to the UK.
The supermarkets end up with all the crap food…all the best stuff goes abroad. We’ve ended up buying a chest freezer and going 1/4’s on “a beast”.
As much as I think Don Brash is a pr!ck, his comments about the talent going to Australia (and further afield) are true and it seems to be a disproportionate amount of the “dregs” are left in New Zealand.
Clean and green is a complete myth. Kiwi’s are a filthy lot compared to Europe. The statistics probably don’t show this though but we regularly see farmers just digging holes for rubbish or people burning waste. The cars are dirty too. The “heating” issue also stinks…literally. Our eyes literally sting from the stinking chimneys around here on cold winter evenings.
From a crime perspective NZ has a higher violent and sexual crime rate than the UK. I think burglaries are worse too but I can’t remember that 100%
They have FAR too many politicians
The TV is abysmal.
Drink driving is a popular hobby.
They’re not animal lovers. You will be appalled when you see how the cockies and pig stickers (yes, you did read that properly) treat their dogs.
They are as tight as ducks arses with regards to money (if they don’t know you). Second hand items like cars, electronics, furniture & clothing seem to depreciate much less than they do in the UK. Hell, this USED door mat pretty much sums it up.
The “lifestyle” thing is great though. Kiwis aren’t quite so anal as the British about inviting you into their home. There’s less of the “keep up with the Jones or we’ll look down our noses at you'”. People generally talk to each other (try that in SE England). Generally more “freedom” to do activities (walking, cycling, horse-riding, surfing, etc) that comes with just having more space per person.
Most important point if you’re thinking of coming here:- When a Kiwi asks “Do you like New Zealand?” they’re not really asking. Your reply should be “it’s awesome/fabulous/cool/special” etc etc. The take great offence if you criticise their country.
Just my tuppenceworth
 I’ve noticed a LOT of “normal” employed kiwi’s have an almost non-existent part time business for the sole purpose of claiming expenses.
 There are few bargains on trademe (kiwi…sorry…Australian owned kiwi version of Ebay with crap facilities and poor search engine).
Well, since my last post in 06, not a lot has changed. If anything, I feel my previous comments about poor housing, drink driving and anti-social neighbors have been backed up by more experience.
Moved a few k’s up the road and spent all our (and then some) hard earned “pommie pounds” on a “lifestyle” block. Little slice of heaven; for a couple of years until the local council shafted us, swept our objections under the carpet and put a dog pound up < 300m away. Serves me right for declining the invitation from the local freemasons. Guess I’d best save up my pennies for the double glazing (did I mention poor housing?).
I’ve noticed that the majority of my friends around here are foreigners (Dutch, Japanese, English, Scottish…some lived here for 30 years). This was not intentional, I’ve got a handful of good kiwi buddies in the area but I got sick of banging my head off a wall. I think it’s a small town thing as seemed to click much quicker with my friends in Wellington and Palmy (ongoing debate, but IMHO Hamilton is far worse than Palmy).
Cost of living seems to have skyrocketed but income has hardly increased. This is probably old news to everyone. By pretending to have assimilated, I’ve offset this somewhat by doing what the locals do (working 60 hours a week, 2nd job, paying tradesmen cash, terrible DIY jobs, bartering, maxing out credit card, maxing out other credit card, fortnightly trip to PAK N SAVE, homekills, disconnecting speedo on diesel, burning trash, driving with no rego for the odd month, drinking local home-brew and cheap alcohol although I draw the line at drinking HAAST or Ranfurly beer. I’m considering the other popular Kiwi income stream : claiming WINZ, or making a dodgy ACC claim whilst working on the side. Maybe I should just get into the burglary business as most of the rich farmers leave their places unlocked and to be honest, you’d have to murder someone twice to do gaol time here.
With fuel costs its tricky, but I have to escape the area at least once a fortnight. Two weekends on the trot and I start growling at people. I would suggest having a sport or hobby that frequently entails getting the hell out of dodge as being essential to any ex pat living in small town eNZed. With good friends in other towns, at least I’m not getting stung for motels or dossing in the car as much these days.
Money worries aside, I’m now in the situation of being BORED OUT MY SKULL. Were I 20 years older I guess I’d be like a pig in poo. Or maybe not as savings are all gone. Career opportunities out in the wop wops are rare and the job situation nationwide is dire. Wondering if it’s this town and whether moving to outskirts of Wellywood would solve many issues. Missus reckons if we’re getting jobs, restarting business, making friends, etc all from scratch again we’d be as well in OZ.
My attitude is all wrong and I’m not trying hard enough, obviously.