Migrant Tale – I Want Out

Continuing in our popular series of Migrant Tales, first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand taken from places around the net.

For more Migrants Tales please click on the link in the header above, there are scores from people of all nationalities from all walks of life.

Today’s tale was recently published on Expatexposed.com, a not for profit emigration discussion board dealing mostly with New Zealand.

The author is an American woman who deeply regrets her decision to move to New Zealand with her Kiwi partner two years ago.

Initially I moved here from the U.S. because I am engaged to a Kiwi and we made the decision to move here to be near his mother. I was alright with this because when I visited NZ I just fell in love with the country, and because his mother has no one else here really that she can rely on. It has been two years now, and I have not been able to even get a nibble as far as a job, we are barely making ends meet and to make matters worse at the end of the month my fiance’s job ends because the company is closing down.

After having been here for two years I can say that I wholeheartedly hate living in this country. Everything is insanely expensive, the job market is garbage and I am almost always either freezing or too bloody hot. Our overpriced flat has no heat or air, is constantly damp and we’ve got a mold problem. Our landlord is useless. I desperately want to go home to the U.S. but my fiance’s mother would be left with no one here, and my fiance just thinks things are dandy in NZ, or at least that things are better in NZ than in the U.S. I am terrified that i’ll have something go wrong medically with me here because having seen the state of NZ hospitals and the healthcare system in general I know I would be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. I do feel that my health has declined since moving here. With food prices the way they are in NZ the only food we can afford isn’t food that we should be eating to stay healthy. I am really not at all sure what we’ll do when my fiance’s job ends.

In closing, I dearly want to go home but even if I got him to agree at this point we wouldn’t be able to afford it. I am really just over this place.

18 thoughts on “Migrant Tale – I Want Out

  1. Nik, I’ve been here six years too, and I’ve also prospered more here in New Zealand than in the US, this being entirely due to my extremely hard working, brilliant husband. Yet both of us are impatient to leave because it’s not all about money. Although we make excellent money, we still resent the rip-off mentality that pervades here. Just because we can pay the exorbitant prices doesn’t mean we like doing it. It’s a matter of priciple really, we are being robbed by the few, very greedy powers that be, and we don’t for one minute believe the cost of things in this country is due to its small markets or remoteness. We do not like having to buy online from overseas, and having it shipped here individually and still pay less than what you pay here retail. Anyway, no matter how much money you have in New Zealand, all the other problems remain aside from the economical – the appalling quality of homes, the poor quality and choice of goods, the bad, monotonous food, the lack of culture and obsession with rugby or watching any team sports, the poor quality of schools and education, lack of interesting things for children and adults, and the general shabbiness of the place.
    You say NZ politics are calmer and saner? How interesting, especially as New Zealand has an almost nonexistant culture of investigatice reporting. They like to hide a lot here, there isn’t a lot of information tavailable to the general public from which to make an informed opinion. You actually have to take the time to dig around the interenet and do research. I think this accounts for so much of the nonsense that gets repeated about New Zealand, from Kiwis themselves and from less well informed migrants. Take for example the boast of being an environmentally advanced country. Nothing could be further from the truth, and there is no evidence in the form of policy or statistics that could back up this claim. It’s a hugely deforested, polluted place, where even basic ideas of energy conservation are still not being practiced to a developed country level (lack of insulation in houses, lack of double glazing, drafty and inefficiently heated homes). Yet people repeat this, because they heard it somewhere, not because there is any evidence of it.
    It really does remind me of a third world country but without the culture, history, food, and interest that less developed countries offer. I should know, I was born in a third world country, and most of my family still live there. Not all third world countries are the same, and some are more livable than others, so I don’t think this comparison is quite as extraordinary as it seems. Perhaps people are so quick to dismiss any suggestion that New Zealand resembles a third world country because of their ignorance of what life is like elsewhere and also a kind of racism – white people do not predominately populate and govern third world countries. Believe me though, there is a good argument to be made, or at least an interesting debating point. Anyway if you pay attention to the media, you will often hear Kiwis themselves referring to some statistic or occurance as being “third world.”

    • Well said William (or partner) !! Totally agree with you!! And i come from a so called “third world” country- South Africa and i totally believe we are miles and miles ahead of NZ in many many ways… totally agree also with the lack of news and of the digging on the net to find out more.. Its quite scary how much gets pushed under the rug here….

      There is just too much here in NZ that is wrong and ignored and i too believe that it stems from ignorance and a lack of interest in anything outside of the country and the world around it…

      If people were not so self engrossed here, they would find that there is so much more out there than they will ever know…

      And sadly, from what i have seen, they have not joined the 21st century right from the clothes, the lifestyle, the outlook on life and all round slow pace..

      Think a time machine or wake up call is in order here…

  2. Agreed that living in NZ can get depressing as there is a not-striving sort of mentality among the people there. Everything grinds down to slow down in this island so one loses motivation. Even getting employed and self-employed are disappointing experiences as the pay is low and when self-employed, you get customers who do not want to pay your rates even when they had agreed to them initially.

    Due to their poor pay, they always try to cut corners on everything and you will become part of their ‘budget’ saving plan. They demand a discount or come up with some silly reasons that they are not happy with your work.

    Some customers do not even pay your bills and it is a waste of time to go to the Small Claims Court to get your money back. Since the locals dislike immigrants so much, they should stop advertising their island as the wannabe place to live.

    Maybe, it is a place for the retirees who can live with their retirement funds and do not need to strive anymore but the place is not for those families with kids. You do not want to let your kids think that getting second hand stuff from the flea markets is a norm of life. People do want to progress in life and not fall back into lower quality of life. Australia will be a better choice to get forward with better pay and the universities there have higher status than those in NZ.

    With the government cuts in benefits and jobs, one can expect more crimes like shoplifting, house breaking, bag snatching to be committed within the next year as people are getting more and more desperate to have cash to buy groceries, etc. The police will be stretched as their numbers will also be cut. You don’t have to call them anymore if your house is burgled. Just inform your insurance company.

    Perhaps, the travel companies will start Human Safari Tours soon to bring the visitors to see how ‘feral’ the people are living like the Mashco-Piro tribe with uncut hair, no shoes, etc. Meanwhile, the fat cats in the bureacracy are lapping up their mayonaisse-laden sandwiches, chicken pies and other morning tea from the taxpayers’ funds in their Wellington offices. Someone should count the number of overweight and obese civil servants like Gerry, Paula, etc outside government departments who have free meals while kids starve for a mince pie.

  3. Many South Africans move to Australia and seem to like it there. Some congregate in little groups here. There is a large community of them near Hamilton. British seem to stick together, as well. Americans, they don’t hang out together much, I have noticed. There’s nothing special here to sacrifice this much for.

  4. @visitor, I know what you mean.,.,.we are doing just the same…and still trying to survive at the moment

  5. We experienced a drop in lifestyle because of the high cost of living. We found were working all the time to make ends meet, stressing to the max, surrounded by people smoking dope on the benefit. I think those latter are the people experiencing the “Lifestyle”. We sure weren’t. Anxious to leave but spent our savings trying to survive here.

  6. `@Nik., glad you have had a wonderful experience since you got to NZ and that you feel its great….’
    Trust me, i have never had any rose coloured glasses when it comes to any country….i do however believe that each persons experiences are different and just because yours was a bit better than the next persons, doesnt mean that that person has it any easier or hasnt had it as bad as they have.

    We all move to other countries for many reasons and whatever they may be, we want a better life for ourselves, no one is asking for things to be perfect, non of us are that naive…
    But if your quality of life has not increased then what is the point of coming here?

    The only reason for me leaving South Africa is crime….and maybe to a small degree some family issues….Other than that…South Africa has everything going for it… and if i felt safer there i would stay there…

    The sacrifices my husband and i have made have been big ones just to come here and no i dont expect a medal for doing all that as it is for my own benefit as well but NZ does offer an open door to immigrants with skills and does advertise the perks of being here.

    We have the skills NZ needs and we feel we can benefit the country just as much as the next person, so here we are….not for a free ride but to work hard for what we want…

    Asking for decency and respect from a fellow human being i dont think is too much to ask, no matter the country!! Thats my bottom line!!

    Treat people who come to NZ well so that the country grows in economy and so that all benefit!! It works both ways!!

  7. @Michelle. I understand where you’re coming from. I spent a year in NZ with my husband and daughter after leaving SA because of the crime situation. I hated NZ – I was terminallly depressed and literally felt as if the sky was pressing down on me (my husband said it was only because of the low clouds in NZ, but it was definitely a mental state). I hated the weather, the food and most of the people. There were exceptions, but mostly I found NZers nasty and mean-spirited. The same goes for a lot of the South Africans we met there – it seems a lot of SA’s racist scum made their way to NZ and they immediately assume you are of the same ilk when they realise you are South African. We have now been back in SA for two years and I have not been sorry for a second. Yes, we still face dangers and it does become a little overwhelming at times, but we also have clear, big skies, beautiful weather, friendly welcoming people and a vibrancy and diversity unmatched by anything NZ can ever offer. I’m not trying to convince you to come back, I realise that for many SA immigrants, NZ is an improvement and they are very happy there. I’m just saying: don’t close your mind to the possiblity of coming back. It can be done. By the way, we left the country knee-deep in debt and are still in the same situation, but are slowly chipping away at it while living among our own people and giving our children the benefit of learning what true humanity is about. More than worth it, in my opinion

    • Hi Tanya,

      What can i say really, i totally agree with you and since i have been here i have seen all you are speaking of and then some.
      Being indian and from South Africa, you can imagoine just how quickly my husband and i would have found the racism issue. We truly experienced racism for the first time here in NZ, how ironic is that considering we come from a country with such a past yet till the age of now 28 we had never seen it firsthand till now.
      We are very disappointed with certain aspects of things here in NZ like the dont care attitude in every sector. The unfriendliness which goes against everything that is publiscized about NZ and its people and the behaviour of youth and sometimes suprisingly adults here that you would think would know better…. We are appalled.

      Thing is though, South Africa is definitely out of the question for me starting a family and personally its an issue of if i am feeling unsafe in my environment and have to be constantly vigilant for my safety daily, it would not be fair of me to bring a baby into that environment and expect to be able to protect him or her wherever they go….and in all fairness, i cannot guarantee that in South Africa without a shadow of a doubt.

      Yes, i know anywhere can be unsafe and here in NZ there are other elements to be taken into account but now that i know what i am dealing with here, i can take steps to protect myself and my family and maybe even work towards exploring other options in other countries…

      I totally agree with you about the benefit of learning about true humanity….i think its a lesson some kiwis have missed and the lot of S.A’s and british who have come to settle here too as you have mentioned with racism and small mindedness…

      One thing we have learnt is that people from welfare states have no idea what hardship really is….if a government is always taking care of you, no matter what your bad choices in life may be or even if you are lazy then what is there to really work for?!!

      A country like South Africa or even one like America is a whole other story…. if you dont work, you dont eat, have a roof or have anything for that matter…. thats a lesson that needs ot be learnt and if it is….people would appreciate others and treat them like human beings and not just judge them by the colour of their skin…. Anyways, we still have debts in South Africa, alot!! and my husband just received his work permit and so we have to make the most of this whole thing…

      I know totally how you feel….i have gone into depression since i have come here and i dont have the drive to do anything anymore…i also do not like the food or the attitude of most people..

      There is however few, some nice people here with good hearts and who are friendly…… and we have come across those…although they seem to live by, out of sight, out of mind rule!! lol

      Anyways, if you would like to, could we maybe email each other? Would love to chat more if you send me your email?

      Thanks alot for taking the time to respond and be so honest…,,means more than you will know!!

      • Sure Michelle, I would be happy to send you my email address. Not sure how to do that securely though, there are some trolls who visit here occasionally and the last thing I want some semi-literate idiot flooding my inbox with abuse. Can anybody advise how to make contact with someone directly?

        • Tanya with your consent we’ll send Michelle your email address.

          We don’t mind putting people in contact with each other but advise them be circumspect with their personal information.

  8. I ran into a back tax problem in the States too. I reported it, negotiated an installment plan and they were cool with me paying it back that way. Several thousand is really small fry. They go after the big guys and take it easy on little people like us.

  9. Hi!!

    Can i ask where in NZ you are?

    I totally understand how u feel….my husband and i have been here for 5 months now and we feel the same….but because we have no choice and going back home is not an option we are forced to stay here…

    Would love to have chat with you if possible?? by email

    • May I ask your reasons for not being able to go back? my wife and I owe several thousand US dollars in back taxes to the IRS AND have one of the worst credit scores due to forclosed house; repoed car etc BUT are still going to go back to America because New Zealand is a shithole.

      Anything is worse than being stuck in NZ when you hate it so much; it is like a prison here.

      • My reason is because i am from South Africa and i am here because South Africa has a huge crime problem….. So it is a matter of life and death literally.
        Otherwise, without it, TRUST ME!! We would be on the next flight back…..
        There are things that are appealing safety wise here in NZ and truthfully between the not so nice people are loads of good well meaning ones.

        We love South Africa and wish we could have stayed there with our families and friends but NZ was the only option we had for work and so here we are…considering that we sold everything we own in S.A and borrowed money and used credit just to come here…we are determined to make this work…

        So yeah, thats why we cant go back… hopefully in time it wont be so bad and we will actually start enjoying life here…but until then…..i totally understand how miserable it feels for those who are here and cant handle being here… Feel your pain totally!!

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