Migrant Tales – New Zealand is Over Rated

Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales, first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.

Today’s tale was left as a comment on this blog and is reproduced here in full.

“Well, I look forward to the day I can leave. I have lived here for over 3 years and they have been 3 of the most boring, depressing and lonely years of my life. I lived in Fort Lauderdale, USA for 4 years and then I went back to the ‘motherland’ South Africa to see if I could make it work and try and ‘brush’ off the crime issue, but my wife and I decided to leave SA for ‘greener’ pastures and so I headed to the clean, green & adventurous NZ…more like propaganda! Anyway, I fell for it. I was in Wellington for a year and as soon as we got our residency I had to leave because my partner was also suffering from a mild dose of depression and boredom and the worst weather that I have ever encountered in my life. We booked our first tickets out of the place back to my country lifestyle in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It felt wonderful to be back home, to be close to family, and to soak up the great weather…We just felt alive again! Well, we couldn’t stay there forever, so we decided to come back to not lose our residency and also the crime situation and job prospects for a young white male in South Africa are few and far between. If it wasn’t for the crime and political situation in South Africa, I highly doubt we would have ever left the place to come to NZ.

Another major disappointment for me is the lack of wildlife in New Zealand. Going for hikes or doing anything outdoors, I noticed that the forest(bush) had minimal birds and wildlife. It felt like a place that is completely devoid of any wildlife. I know that most native species are threatened, endangered and extinct because of the NZ people and government waking up a little to late to try and conserve what they had left. Their poor conservation efforts has resulted in the demise of most native species in NZ. What a shame! All they have now is a forest that is overrun with with invasive species of both fauna and flora.

NZ small towns are soulless and dead, it’s not pleasant walking around any town, there was nothing much to see or do. When my wife and I did a few road trips around the North island, I didn’t see any nice towns or villages compared to the towns in Italy and Brazil that were full of life and culture! It was cold, damp (most of the time wet), dreary, boring and so called ‘clean & green’ That’s must be the joke of the century. Cost of living in NZ is a complete rip off. Renting a decent one bedroom apartment in Auckland will set you back R400 a week which is insane compared to what I used to pay in the USA and SA. Food prices are way too high! The beaches are not that great and the weather in Auckland is terrible.

Don’t get me wrong, NZ has some nice places, but it is way oversold. I typically advise people that NZ has simply perfected their marketing. I might sound very negative and full of it, but remember this is just my opinion. New Zealand does have it’s + compared to South Africa in that the crime rate is low especially violent crime, minimal corruption within the government compared to the ANC, less materialistic and also no poverty stricken areas when compared to SA.

My wife is studying and after 2 years we will be leaving. There is no way we could ever live here. It is just a stepping stone even though the last 3 and half years feel like a complete waste of time. I’m getting older and with every year that goes by I keep asking myself why on earth I ever went through with it…The best answer I could come up with was the political and crime situation in SA pushed me to pack up and head overseas. If I had it my way I would of stayed in the USA. I felt alive and well there!

Anyway, it is what is for now. I must just be grateful! 😉

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now was once among the things you only hoped for.” Epicurus.”

21 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – New Zealand is Over Rated

  1. we moved to NZ from Africa in 2002. My 14 year old daughter arrived here, a confident and happy, friendly girl. Within one year she had been reduced to a terrified, lonely and very unhappy girl due to the bullying at her school. Despite numerous visits to the headmistress, nothing was done to protect her and at 15, we were forced to withdraw her. The effects of the years in NZ have had a long lasting, negative impact on all my daughters and we regret bringing them here. Apart from the beautiful scenery, we believe NZ has serious social problems that are ignored and over looked by New Zealanders.

    • Dear Debbie
      Thanks for your honesty. I was a 16 year old guy who arrived at the high school in nz confident and happy, friendly, and of course just like what happened to you, i was reduced to a terrified lonely and unhappy guy due to bullying Not only was that happening at school, after going to the workforce the worst has happened. Abuse of technology happened were people intentionally use productivity tools to falsify records and use words to hurt instead of doing positive productive things. Violation of privacy and human rights, no fairness or justice. In US I see different races get along like peers with no barriers. In NZ, I saw only hostility and prejudices. its like they want to eiminate your life all together.

  2. Janey – I think something I have really noticed about life in Nz as compared to life in Uk is that no one here wants to speak about anything interesting or about politics, religion or history or travelling – there are no thinkers, just a bunch of sheep with no opinions.They will talk about master chef on the tv or what plants they are buying for their garden that weekend . If you go out to a pub here in Auckland with friends you will be so bored that you drink too much hoping that you will have a better night and end up with a hangover for no reason. Its a sort of “reserve” and lack of a sense of humour that you notice in people here, after meeting some real characters overseas.
    And house prices here are now the 4th most overvalued in the world (see this article in the Nz herald of today –

  3. Sorry, that should read ‘perpetuate the Kiwi myth’, although I guess ‘perpetrate’ could work in this context as well.

  4. Stephanie :

    Stephanie :Mmmm……Depression is an underlying feeling which has rapidly grown in New Zealand – unfortunately! Born and raised in Auckland, it saddens me to see New Zealand drop all the standards we had back in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s. It has no culture, and once you see one little town you’ve seen them all! Groundhog day revisited! I have called this country “the green prison” for many years, as have a lot of us, who can’t leave for one reason or another. The medical system currently (I feel) is letting everyone down, along with the educational, judicial, political, and social aspects. I constantly have the feeling also that racial tension between Maori and White Europeans is escalating. This is also an underlying and somewhat passive feeling. My daughter has been unwell for a period of time, as the specialists decide just exactly what it is she suffers from!! We’ve had to take things into our own hands, and try and cure her with alternative methods. Once she is up and running on full cylinders, I shall certainly leave New Zealand, (as I know she will too)to a country that offers warmth, culture, aliveness, and the good things in life – in the meantime, I’ll create my own “shamballah” and plan for the future “escape”!!

    • I can’t believe I have wasted so much time longing to go back to NZ. Reading this forum has stopped me from making a really dumb decision. Looks like I will be staying in London and Europe for as long as poss.
      My husband and I are NZers and we both feel there really is something fundamentally wrong with the place. I remember how unacceptable it was to ever be unhappy and show it. Richard von Sturmer’s ‘There is no Depression in New Zealand’ is so true. New Zealander’s want to present a image of being friendly, uncomplicated and welcoming to the outside world. As long as you are a visitor, it will probably seem that way.
      I remember purposely dumbing myself down to fit in. I usually had low paid, crap jobs and eventually felt that I would never do well at anything. I came to London and was amazed to actually achieve quite a lot in education and my career.
      I would now probably be admired by the snobs I used to meet in New Zealand. Although, I would like to add that there are a lot of creative and interesting people there. Most don’t seem to have easy lives, from what I can see. Being creative and intelligent in NZ is certainly not a recipe for having a good life there. Being a lawyer, a politician, or doing some crap lifetime job in the government probably is.
      I would like to add that we have both sensed an underlying violence in NZ. I have always felt it is strange that I can feel quite safe in central London at night, for example, and yet Auckland has this strange vibe. It really doesn’t feel safe.
      I was there when there was a riot in Queen Street. It is as though there is a repressed anger and misery there. I think the place would be better if there was an admission that NZ is not a paradise, that there are a lot of problems to do with violence and racism, for example.
      It is sickening that so many enthusiastic, hopeful, adventurous people have gone to New Zealand after believing the hype that NZ loves to put out about itself, and now feel so desperate to get out. BS, unfortunately, is a strong aspect of kiwi ‘culture’. I fell for it. I am just glad I got out of the place at a fairly young age.
      For anyone who feels they don’t fit in, or haven’t done well in NZ, don’t blame yourself. Its the NZ way to make you feel that way if you don’t conform to certain expectations.. As soon as you get somewhere alive, where things aren’t fossilised in the media and everywhere else, to perpetrate the Kiwi myth of its own dumb lifestyle superiority, you will do flourish again!

  5. ”Another major disappointment for me is the lack of wildlife in New Zealand. Going for hikes or doing anything outdoors, I noticed that the forest(bush) had minimal birds and wildlife. It felt like a place that is completely devoid of any wildlife”……… there is no wildlife in NZ because it is an island…duh! Any wild mammals that there are , were introduced by settlers …goats, pigs, sheep etc etc

    • @ Robert, I have been to many islands and most have native wildlife like birds, small mammals etc You are probably one of those ignorant materialistic consumerist zealots that have no idea what is native of the country and what is a introduced species. If you are from NZ and actually did some research and went to the museum to educate yourself you would know that NZ had some of the most unique wildlife in the world. They use to have the giant eagle, the moa and numerous other species that are now extinct because the people of the land couldn’t care less. The concepts of conserving and preserving areas for future generations was not part of the plan, the only plan they had in mind was to decimate the native wildlife and exploit the place. That is why all you have left is goats, sheep, cows, rats, possums, city pigeons, sparrows, stoats, rabbits… They are all introduced from abroad! The ones that have created havoc on the remaining native wildlife like the kiwi and the forest in NZ are the stoats, possums and rats. Do some research on that if care to know why!

      Read a few books and educate yourself about New Zealands native wildlife and then you might be in a better position to make such an ignorant and dumb remark!

      • Jac now that you’ve finished telling people how ignorant and dumb they are you may like to go back over what you’ve just written and see how badly you’ve contracted yourself.

        We’ll let our readers make out who is the dumber of the two of you. Clue: it isn’t Robert.

  6. Rest assured people,I have been to the MP’s in Labour and National,Greens and etc about a known pedophile being moved next to a school in the Hutt Valley area and nothing was done,instead the left and right wing in New Zealand say Pedophiles should be protected,I know of 2 very good friends who work as therapists in the rehab ward have said Pedophiles can’t be helped at all,whats worst of all is that one of my friends who work for the Department of Internal Affairs have mentioned that Pedophiles in New Zealand get better payouts than the normal person on the dole,why is the left and right wing in New Zealand refusing to talk about pedophile payouts in New Zealand is beyond me,if your child gets raped in New Zealand,its very highly probable the culprit will get away with it:


    Click to access Our_experiences_on_discovering_our_daughter_was_victim_of_sexual_crimes_in_NZ.pdf

    Politicians protecting pedophiles in New Zealand is not a joke,there is a Pedophile cover up in the Wairarapa and the whole of New Zealand as well

  7. I could give you people a example where the left and right wing in New Zealand will refuse to talk about,its about the government moving a pedophile next to a school,for those people who do not know what the New Zealand Government is capable of doing,there is a child abuse cover up in New Zealand and also pedophiles are protected,I am thinking of moving to the US as well since NZ is hard to find a job and etc as well

  8. By the way south africa is beautiful. I travelled through Africa on a safari and it is so far the highlight of my time away. Capetown is so stunning – I fell in love with the place.

  9. Gosh thank you as I thought it was just me. I am a Nzer who was living in uk and hate it back here as NZ no longer feels like my home. I feel like I don’t belong in my own country as it has changed so much from the place I grew up in. It is just so expensive here now that it is almost criminal – rents for nice apartments in Takapuna are $5000 a week for a furnished 3-brm? If you are getting the average pay of $600 after tax then how can you live? How can you eat? What – are we to live in a cardboard box? People are told here via the media that we had better not move overseas as visas are becoming so hard to get for the Uk and taking 6 months to be issued so I rang up the embassy in Wellington and they told me it takes on average 15-20 days.

    • People are told here via the media that we had better not move overseas as visas are becoming so hard to get for the Uk and taking 6 months to be issued so I rang up the embassy in Wellington and they told me it takes on average 15-20 days.
      Freedom of the press … also means freedom of the press to tell lies. Just like control of the press … also means suppression of the truth.

      On the other hand, remember that the longer you spend overseas, the less familiar you will be with the office “power structures” and networks in your home country.
      That implies that returning carries the very real risks of having your experience “pooh-poohed” and accepting a lower pay packet. Or that you have to sink in substantial costs to start your own business, innovatively find a way to deliver a product or service cheaper than anyone else or become some sort of franchise holder.

      In all cases, you will be competing against established networks or preferred suppliers.

      That’s one of the reasons why people leave … and don’t come back.

  10. I was looking for a paid job, and a kiwi local family business rang me up. then without a successful deal, I wasn’t even thinking purely about money, but getting on with locals. I had the mindset about making friends. but I was shocked when they rebutted ‘there is no basis for friendship’. so honest it may seem, if that’s the message on their heads, then that explains why we got so much mistreatments, silent treatments, rude yelling, or callous attitude. they may have always judged based on face value with their set of thinking, and I don’t want to be a complainer, but life is too short to be always running into dead ends of non engagement and me against you type hostility?

  11. when I worked for telecom there was this colleague whos a white guy apparently from SA. I don’t understand or know well why young white folks have a hard time in SA and leave for NZ. Maybe its because the blacks are in power and the crimes went on unpunished? But you’re so right about NZ. I felt somehow it seems American and Canadians are quite used to multicultural people and different race, their mind are more set at an advanced global view/scale (although can be aggressive and greedy). whereas nz? well, counseling is everywhere, and depression and loneliness can be quite a problem. what happened to your neighbours? many of them don’t want anything to do with you other than take money. are they easy going? not quite, maybe only within their own clique. even back in asia where im now if I want to remember the nz roots about rugby, the white folks that play rugby at the club are with their own cliques not keen on getting on with you.

  12. Exactly. Correct again. Wait for my “Exit Post” Although it may not be published, even this site is to a degree affected by the PC virus. Where I’m going PCness is unheard of.

  13. Another thing that I would like to add to my original article is that NZ is also a very PC (politically correct) place where you actually can’t put the hard word on people when they have digressed and committed bad blunders.The culture of cringing political correctness drives me nuts. It is a horrible thing that is “dangerous,” as it hampers freedom of thought and expression. Proponents(mostly radical liberals) of political correctness turn the world into language and culture by controlling the words we use – by defining the limits of acceptability of the meanings of certain words and ideas that we use.

    Binge drinking is a culture to them…The culture in general is barely existent.Go All Blacks…..and beer. (By the way, I do not support the All Blacks!) They are generally passive-aggressive, superficially polite, drunk(binge drinking culture), and insular. Kiwis cannot stand criticism of any kind. Maori do receive preferential treatment to non-Maori. NZ also has one of the highest rates of domestic violence, youth suicide and child abuse for developed countries. The justice system is soft on criminals! I have heard of cases of murder where the perpetrator gets away with 10 years prison sentence and many other assault and robbery cases where the perpetrator does community service instead of a lengthy jail sentence. Unfortunately, the radical liberals are always jumping on the bandwagon to give violent criminals/thugs a second chance all because of human rights…. I’m a staunch pro-death penalty advocate for murderers. Anyway, i don’t want to get into a political debate and go off topic.

    I live in Auckland and I am bored out of my mind and I hope the next 2 years race by…what a waste though! The best way for me to put it is that I felt alive and content in the USA and SA, and here in NZ I feel depressed. No wonder depression is a major problem here.

  14. I agree entirely with your sentiments, I’m sorry you wasted time to find out about the way of life here. I’m a New Zealander (European), lived here all my life. Ignorance was my friend. Until recently I had never travelled. Over the past 3 years visiting dozens of European countries including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Strangely it felt like home.
    The result of these visits has made me angry ! The realisation that I have been ripped off for decades, I’ve been eating crap food of bad quality, I’ve been fined thousands of dollars by a police force and city council Nazis whose sole function is to persecute motorists. I’ve been subjected to thousands of regulations, petty laws and by laws. And indeed there is no cultural activity (that my family can relate to anyway)
    We have learned new languages and will be leaving here too.
    Its the right decision to leave here. Good luck.

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