Migrant Tales – New Zealand Culture is Brutal, Something is Seriously Wrong

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

Today’s tale was first published on  a NZ forum which has since closed down.  It was written by a born and raised New Zealander, who eventually left New Zealand for a new life in Australia.

If you are contemplating a move to New Zealand you may like to hear what a local thinks of the place. This may be why around 40,000 people a year leave the country and why over a million Kiwis live abroad, leaving just over four million in a country larger than the UK.

Hi, I have been reading this site for the last month or so and have to say, it had been such a relief to read some of the views expressed here.

Yes, I am a New Zealander but I do not “fit in” to the NZ way of life/psyche and am planning to leave asap with my family.

It has taken quite a while to get to the place of realizing that there is something seriously wrong with this country, that is is not just all “in my head” or my own personal failing that I do not like life here.

I will start with my childhood:
Started out well, parents with good educations and good opportunities. More on the intellectual end of the spectrum. This didn’t seem to be a problem until we moved to a rural district and started attended the local country school. Immediately we were pegged as townies, outcasts, snobs, and targeted relentlessly by bullies at school.

My parents did not fit in, as they did not go to the pub regularly or submit to the mind numbing sameness of thought that seemed to be standard for the locals. We were not a family that did sports which really seemed to rub people the wrong way. Basically, there was an incredible amount of hostility, suspicion and sheer nastiness from the old established local families.

I was an observant child and noticed so much brutality going on. I could name 3-4 families in our school where there was serious and sick physical and or sexual violence going on in the home. Fathers who would send every night down the pub and go home and beat the wife senseless. Their kids were the ones bullying me the next day at school. Any hint that you might have some thinking going on behind your eyes was greeted with suspicion and “who do ya think ya are?” type attitudes.

The first reaction to all of this is to naturally assume you have made mistakes, that your behavior is at fault. This was reinforced by my parents, white liberals who had no idea what the kids at school were capable of. Looking back on it now, I can see that these kids were probably whipped into it by their parents attitudes, the whole “piss off you pompous intellectuals, get some rugby up ya” attitude emanated from them 24/7.

From my childhood I got the strong impression that suffering was normal and that sports and being aggressive were pretty much the height of achievement.
There are so many little incidents that stick in my mind, like when I was 12 or so, didn’t know how to use a soda fountain machine at a cafe and accidentally pulled the lever the wrong way and got only unflavored soda water, no coke. “Ya gunna have to pay fer that” sneered the counter lady. As a sensitive child it all starts to seem too much. I slipped into depression around then and have struggled with it since.

It really takes quite a while for a NZer to start to see the true picture of their country. My whole family is here and so it is home in that sense. This in itself stops one from the self analysis process – if I lift this rock and find something horrible underneath, what will I do with that information? Leave this country when all my family live here? Easier to just not look under the rock and carry on with all the horrible bits bobbling around in the background.

Even as a child I knew there were major problems in NZ with the Maori. One of my parents, wracked with liberal guilt etc, took up the Maori cause, determined that us kids should learn Te Reo, tried to get down with the local marae. My feeling is the local Maori thought she was strange and bizarre for wanting to become part of a culture that she had no claim to.

As I go older I saw more and more of the Maori anger, hostility, contempt for white society, violence, feralness etc. And realised that “you can’t talk about that in NZ.” In a North Island town I lived in, the main street was scary because of rough aggressive Maori hanging around spitting on the footpaths whenever a white person walked past and asking for money. Let alone the gangs of young feral Maori boys, shoeless and looking like they hadn’t seen a mothers care in years. Yet, nobody wanted to hear about it. “You can’t say that about Maori, they are disadvantaged, they have a different culture blah blah”. Meanwhile the news filled up with stories of horrific child abuse perpetrated by Maori.

I think this whole entitled Maori thing is going to destroy NZ. The upper North Island is already a violent and unstable place because of it. The treaty settllement has been taken on as an excuse for appalling behaviour, as if bad treatement by the white man justifies living in a feral uncaring way. I have heard of Maori students that have been beaten up by others because they were achieving high grades or “speaking white” and this was a threat to the rest of the Maoris at that school. Underachieve or we will knock you down to size seems to be the story.

I am with a non-NZ partner. Most if not all the NZ men I met were emotionally stunted and fixated on rugby and cars. Yes, there are some nice people in NZ but fundamentally they are a bit odd, grim and struggling and unable or unwilling to dream of better. Or if they have “made it” thrusting this fact in your face with their brand new performance car and house in the newest subdivision. We are now in a position to leave NZ, and I am finally seeing what my country is really like. The hostile driving culture is only a reflection of the hostile culture in general. Offices I have worked in are incredidbly hostile and anti-intellectual. Conversations centre on mortgages and cars and all has a tone of bitter resignation mixed with arrogance.

We want to buy a house and send our children to good schools. but we are not willing to try and do this here. In order to buy a house we would have to massively overextend ourselves financially and be willing to fix up a house to a proper standard with insulaltion etc. And all this on lower than low salaries. It is probably getting to this point of “do I want my kids raised in this country” that has been the real eye-opener.

Anyway, this is all a bit of a ramble, but it has been a real life saver to find this site.

A few months later they left an update

We got out of NZ last year and are in Oz, it is great. It was more expensive, stressful etc than we imagined but life here feels like life not like survival. Australians have a very optimistic go-getter view which is extremely different to NZ.

With some perspective I now think of NZ culture as fairly brutal.
Yes there are some nice things but they are dragged down all the cr-p, and that is just demoralising day after day. Best wishes to everyone still trying to make their way out.

In the NZ headlines today

Teen in sinister sex attack at Northland home(Ruakaka)
Party host survives gun blasts
Woman kidnapped, dragged behind a car in Tokoroa
Man slashed in glass attack
Four arrests after armed robbery pursuit
Men jailed after shootout near school

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13 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – New Zealand Culture is Brutal, Something is Seriously Wrong

  1. This is a breaking exclusive:
    Condolences to the family of a 1st year University of Otago (“Scarfies”) economics and political studies overseas Asian student (born 2 July 1993) on his untimely demise at his home in Asia just days ago.
    This happened as a result of a sexual relationship with a dancer at the same University, resulting in a pregnancy.
    He, coming from a religious family (apparently not enough to stop him getting into a sexual relationship before marriage) … then tried to pay the NZ mother to abort, which she refused (best wishes to her, the baby will definitely be a corporate contender when grown: grandfather used to hold the national franchise for KFC until his retirement just 3 years ago).
    His “friends” knew about his desperation (yet from what is implied, I believe did nothing to inform his parents), and I’m not sure what the Student Services knew, but it wasn’t enough to stop him taking his own life just recently. (Yes, yes, I’m fully aware people cannot control others’ actions, but they sure as heck can point out legal/lawful alternatives!)
    I would (ominously) point out too … that the girl is lucky not to share the same nationality, as in some cases where rich people are involved in this way things happen which makes this type of problem go away.
    Again: Students, please ask for (legal/lawful) help, you are not the only one with ideas! And be conscious of consequences, your parents love you!
    In the tradition of a cover-up, I wonder if the student association will deny/ignore this happening?

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  2. I grew up in NZ, went to school, had a good school childhood, went to school in OZ too, 6 years, I left NZ for ASIA and have spent 15 years in South Korea.
    South Korea is a very safe society and easy going, no youth crime culture, drugs etc..
    sure there are problems, but which country doesnt have problems..
    I have friends from the UK and they have told me they will never return to England.. its not the UK he remembers, now the schools are infested with drugs, teenage pregnancy, binge drinking, drink to get smashed, fights, bullying, crime on a serious rise, and multi ethnic schools fueling xenophobia, hate and gangs.
    no space to live, everyone living on top of each other, london prices are crazy expensive, burglaries and muggings a daily occurrence. its grey all the time, and people are rough.

    Australia, another friend of mine has left and vowed to never return.
    similar things said, NOW way to expensive, drugs everywhere, needles on the beach, kids being kidnapped, raped and murdered, racist hate crimes on the rise, huge flux of immigrants coming to the shores daily, prices going up, crime going up, and almost impossible to get ahead. he has moved to Canada.
    I have friends from USA who also vowed to never return, would not ever think about raising his children there, etc etc etc
    europe same thing

    I mean come on..
    end of the day, no place is perfect.. humans dwell everywhere on this planet and bring their problems with them.. you are no safe anywhere…a random attack can happen, you might get raped walking down the street in any country..
    NZ has its problems, but let’s no stereotype and generalise the public.
    not every KIWI is a racist prick!
    not every kiwi is a rapist
    not every kiwi is a pedophile
    not every kiwi kid is gonna bash your kids
    not every maori is in a gang!

    sure.. there are cases of what I have said to be true..

    but growing up in NZ, I, I read about them in the papers..
    met a few dicks, sure had the odd playground fight,
    saw some guys with patches..

    but I am sure folks in USA, ENGLAND, OZ have seen worse..

    growing up in New Zealand we spent our summers at the beach at the kiwi batch, catching crayfish and jumping off cliffs, riding horses and quadbikes, play games like flash light, going camping, and playing in the rock pools,
    I went to school and played rugby, played cricket, had mates of all ethnic backgrounds..
    asians, islanders, maori , white and greeks,
    we never used derogatory names towards each other about their race in malice, maybe be for a laugh we would tease each other, only because we were mates..
    life is what you make of it..

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    • “NZ has its problems, but let’s no stereotype and generalise the public.
      not every KIWI is a racist prick!
      not every kiwi is a rapist
      not every kiwi is a pedophile
      not every kiwi kid is gonna bash your kids
      not every maori is in a gang!”

      This is true, you’re whole post isn’t totally wrong either. Thing is, it’s much worse here than you seem to realize and by putting the spotlight on other countries issues, you are only exacerbating the ones here by downplaying them with comparisons to places that may be worse.

      I’ve lived in Philippines, and it was horrifying what goes on there. My wife is from there you see, and yeah, she has lived through things in that place, situation where the average kiwi would not last 5 seconds. The poverty there makes our poorest look rich. But not once did any of that make me thing less of the issues we have here, such as horrific child abuse and all kinds of sickening issues in the govt and justice system.

      “we never used derogatory names towards each other about their race in malice, maybe be for a laugh we would tease each other, only because we were mates..
      life is what you make of it..”

      This is completely irrelevant. All you’ve said is you didn’t treat people like garbage. I can say the same but it doesn’t change anything about what really goes on here. I can only deduce you haven’t seen or experienced that much. You aren’t acknowledging the real issues, rather you’re trying to downplay them by shifting the spotlight.

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  3. Hi
    I am an expat living in Oz moving over here in the late 1980″s. I came from a small rural North Island coastal town as was bought up as a half caste, that is white father, maori mother.
    That meant, my own immediate family (maoris) loved me for who I was knowing all my whakapapa. When we moved from there to Auckland in the 70’s life changed , the maoris and Islander kids at school felt we were either too well off, too smart or too good looking, they would say something or get me bashed up.

    Life was a struggle, every other day I saw women bashed up by their partners, kids left to fend for themselves, and this seemed the normal way of life in South Auckland, while parents spent most weekends drinking and fighting. These kids then went out and did the same.
    We were no angels ourselves, and soon took to fighting back and giving out what they gave, you had to fight to survive. Everywhere I went, I heard or saw the same thing. What were my parents doing? Exactly what the others were, I ‘ m sorry to say. Life seemed like shit, drinking just to shut every thing out. What a way to live.

    Memories of NZ, life a battle every day, no money, white people who just took and took never giving anything back to the country making themselves rich. Government who just handed out benefits, the dole, solo parents anything just to shut the people up, rather than dealing with the problems. Narrow minded people in a narrow minded world, got so bad I knew I had to leave (sounds like a song), Can’t see out of their own little bubbles, and never DOING anything about it. Beautiful, beautiful scenery that you will never see anywhere else. Man, every single day I dream about NZ, but sadly the reality of living there again may just never happen. We have land there, albeit in our hometowns, but could never put my kids through what I went through and glad we have the life we have here that Australia has given us.

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  4. I am a new Zealander, half kiwi and half Maori.
    Tonight I decided to search the net to see what other people thought about nz and it’s people. Most of thr things I found were all very nice comments from people who are American or from somewhere else and live in nz. But finding this site has shocked me.I have seen people write that maoris wear tamokos or tribal tattoos just toexploitthemand to make the non-maori feel smaller then Maori. That is completely wrong. Tamokos are a sign of pride you have in yourself, your family and where you are from. We are also not racist, yes there are racist kiwis but most of us are very kind and helpful people who are very interested in other cultures. You may see us as racist but we’re not. We are afraid that our country is going to get taken over by another country because our prime minister is selling our country.
    L to other countries nd we want nz to stay nz! So excuse us if we seem racist but really we’re just scared of loosing our country and that’s why some new Zealanders are rude and come off racist. Im nit saying that gives us an excuse to be pricks

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    • Hi Aroha – if it makes you feel any better, many people have written on both this site and the Expat Exposed site that Maori and Pacific Islanders have tended to be the more friendly and less passive-aggressive and most white NZers they have met here. And you will read many (many!) racist rants from foreigners in NZ – who bring their attitudes of “england won the colonies, so everyone who thinks that indigenous people have rights is wrong”. Allso people who come here and are annoyed so many Chinese or South Africans are here, depending where they’re from and who they mind being here first. So every country produces its racists. Canada certainly has some, but they get in a lot of trouble there… in NZ everyone turns a blind eye, especially in a school yard or work context.

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    • A lot of the things that get sold are due to being run into the ground by kiwis who have no idea how to run a business. Selling some farms and land is not selling the country. And shit, it’s not like foreigners are going to build a military base and take us over.

      I wouldn’t say most kiwis are racist, but a amount that is TOO MUCH are. Nor are kiwis very helpful.

      How do you define ‘staying NZ’? If anything we need a complete overhaul.

      Kiwis don’t need an excuse to be pricks.

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  5. Thank you for being brave enough to put this post on this site. Wish we were able to move to Australia. It has been a very hard 11years in New Zealand.

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  6. Our story, our life in NZ will shock you!

    I am UK born, came to NZ in 1970 recruited as a physics and maths teacher, completed training at Auckland and then taught at Kelston Boys High, very happily for three years before under pressure from my ill parents in UK, I returned to UK.

    I did well, worked very hard and did very well! I ended up with a large computer business which I sold in 1987 for a significant sum. Went into semi retirement, doing some property development with my wife. Bought a Chateau in France, raced big yachts around the World and enjoyed the fruits of our hard earned success!
    Now most Kiwi’s aspire to doing this, start with nothing and make millions, few however are willing to actually put in the hours of hard graft on which success is based.

    We found the education system in rural France to be sadly lacking and with two bright kids we had to do something, we discussed coming back to NZ – I knew the education system was OK and my memories of life in the 1970’s had, I suppose, grown warmer with time. We visited for a month, did the tourist things looked at a few houses, it was all fine or so it seemed.

    A year later we stepped off the plane to our new home, excited and pleased to be back.
    With pets following a couple of weeks later we had to move quickly to buy a house. Our budget was great, $2.1M in 2005!

    We had selected some stunning houses to view from the internet and spoken about our search to the agents, we loved the first house on the list, a snip in Franklin for $1.7M, we made an offer. The owner was away for a couple of days so we had to wait. The agent came back, the price had gone up! It was now, coincidentally $2.1M – we had come across what we labelled as ‘Kiwi Greed!’

    To the agents amazement we told him to go forth and multiply, endless calls resulted with every lowering prices but whilst we had been waiting for the owner to accept the offer we had looked elsewhere. We made an offer on that house too, full asking price – $1.6M for a house that was partly finished. Our beautiful house, Killara, in 11Ha just outside Kerikeri was ours.

    The kids went to the highly rated local school, problems started almost immediately, endless stand in teachers, bullying and yet more bullying, it was hellish. We moved them to a small local private school and fortunately they fitted in well and everything settled down.

    A year later, the house was great, we had spent lots of money on it, a swimming pool complex, stables, Olympic sized dressage arena and the house interior had been completely updated. The grounds had been landscaped with lovely gardens replacing the endless open lawn. We loved it and the lifestyle, the only problem was that we had all started to be ill!

    We lived a simple life, we are quiet people, no parties or flash activities we didn’t splash our success in peoples faces, we used local traders and bought from the local shops believing that we should support the local community. I played golf and bridge and made lots of friends.
    In the ten years prior to arriving in NZ we hardly ever saw the doctor, our daughter had riding injuries as all equestrians do but illness was unknown to us. Our health in NZ got worse as time passed. We thought we were allergic to the pollen, there was lots of it on the cars every day.

    We had sub divided two plots off our land, got an estate agent to act for us and started to look for a section in Kerikeri to build a new house on and escape the pollen. We got an interested buyer in one of our sections and found a section we liked, the estate agent pressured me that there was other interest, the section was lovely, overlooking the golf course, breezy and fresh. I was assured that an irrigation water supply was available, as keen landscapers it was essential, they even offered to confirm that fact by email. I signed and paid 10% deposit, $43,500!

    The buyer for our section was never heard of from the day we signed the contract! The irrigation supply was mythical and the email confirmation never appeared. I refused to complete due to misrepresentation, the owner sued and we had to give up the deposit after our limp barrister caved in to every gesture from the other side! Yet more Kiwi Greed – This was in late 2007, the slump began weeks later and the value of the section dropped through the floor so we lost the deposit but not a larger sum due to the devaluation, a small, if bitter, victory.

    The slump was much worse in the USA, our pension fund there had been growing beautifully, almost 12% pa, tax paid due to us not making any withdrawals and reinvesting the interest. We had run up a small deficit at ASB at 6% whilst this was happening good business or so we thought. Then we got a letter, the whole US Pension fund, by that time, some $5M kiwi, had been lost! We were left with a stunning house, no income and a loan to the bank of about $400,000. Still lit was our fault really, no problem, we were much better off than most people, we put the house on the market, the agent from whom we had bought it suggested $2.4M excluding the sections or $3M with them. In the recession of 2008 we couldn’t you couldn’t have given the property away for $1M, we had no chance.

    I was getting really quite ill, breathing was getting difficult. I got inhalers from the doctor and bought a Golf Cart to allow me to continue playing. Looking back, life had a unreal quality to it, I just didn’t care really. It was all very odd, then it got deadly serious – I started to have mini heart attacks, my wife’s face looked like a skull, he eyes sunken into her head, son spent weeks sleeping and daughter was too ill even ride her horses – the doctors couldn’t explain it. Test after test – confirmed the symptoms but the cause was a mystery.

    We had run the Chateau in France as top quality guest accommodation so decided that Killara would make a stunning lodge, $100,000 was spent setting it up as a Qualmark 5 Star establishment, bookings began to arrive, the summer looked very promising. Then the estate agent bought a buyer to view it, he made an offer of $2.995M, we accepted but the mortgage crunch meant he couldn’t get the loan he needed!

    Somebody suggested that exposure to toxins could explain our health problems, dioxin was suggested since there was a known problem with it in NZ. We finally realised that the issue was the water, I drank lots of tea, the severity of the symptoms of the family members matched the level of water consumption. I reported the problem to the estate agent who strangely didn’t seem surprised. The Councils all ran around in circles denying any liability, from one of their comments I found out that the NZ Government had dumped large volumes of organochlorines onto areas of bush in the late 60’s and 70’s. DDT mainly after it was banned from use in NZ – It didn’t take long to find out that one of the sites, they are all over NZ, was our land and the area surrounding it.

    We sent water and soil for testing, the results were stunning, not DDT or Dioxin although they may be there too, the land has Arsenic and Lead at several times the dangerous level. I closed the lodge immediately, the idea of serving Gin and Arsenic to guests from the US and around the World sounded like an invitation to be sued out of sight and extremely dangerous to all.

    The site had been an orchard it seems and large areas of orchard land are affected all over NZ but orchards are not now listed on the hazardous site register. The more noise I made about the situation the more the agencies ganged together to oppose me. I got test samples showing the contamination levels but the council sent a little man to check them, he took another sample, no proof it was that sample was was actually tested but always the value came out below the limits. I got the press involved, positive at first then a backlash, threats and violence.

    I discovered that the attitude in NZ was ‘sell it and it isn’t your problem any more!’ The idea hit a nerve, when we had bought it, the vendors wife had been ill, almost the same disabilities as mine from memory. The house had a massive water filtration system and a Billi Water processor under the kitchen sink that we discovered cost over $10 a day to run! We had been sold a deadly house – the vendor clearly knew and from the behaviour of the estate agent he knew too! Funnily enough he started to bring more people to view the property, we let it happen a couple of times before telling him to stop! We were then sure he had sold us the house knowing it was a death trap and was willing to do so again even though we had shown him the test results!

    I issued High Court cases against the Estate Agent, Ray White and the lawyer he had recommended to us who just did absolutely nothing! We were getting very annoyed with the Councils behaviour, we had revealed a well oiled system for dealing with such complaints. 100% Pure was one of the reasons we and I suspect many people came to NZ – it is a lie of monumental scale – NZ is one of the most polluted places on the planet! I issued a High Court Case against the NZ Government too, for misrepresentation of NZ!

    We collected sample after sample, all stored ready for testing to show the degree of contamination. Loads of research, masses of paper, witness statements, all prepared. A blog told everything as a warning to others.

    We had a break in, oddly, nothing was taken but it scared my wife. We all went away for a few days ten days later in an attempt to calm down. After just one night the Police rang, the house, our stunning house had been almost totally destroyed by fire overnight whilst we were in Hamilton 370Km away.

    Rushing back in a blur we discovered what appeared to be a cruise missile strike on the house, maybe 10% of the outside survived but inside everything was toast – we had the oldest car we owned, a couple of bags of clothes and nothing more! Police and Fire officers were very nice to us, they told us that no accelerants had been found!

    State Insurance quickly started to be difficult, it was a suspicious fire. AMI followed suit about the car insurance. Very soon we were told they would give us no help until the cause of the fire was established. We turned to the charity of our friends and waited, we became dependant on my Sickness Benefit, I couldn’t work, needing constant care and treatment.

    Months passed, not a word. My health was suffering badly, I had been diagnosed finally with Micro-vascular disease. Commonly associated with exposure to toxins it is the break down of the smallest veins and arteries in the body due to the toxins killing the cells themselves. The worst effect is Micro angina, a degenerative heart disease, constant severe pain, breathlessness and eventual heart failure. It is untreatable and fatal. I am supposed to avoid stress.

    We got a lawyer to prepare a case against IAG, owner of State and AMI for repudiation. ASB had been progressing towards a mortgagee sale of the land since we had no way of paying the mortgage. Just days before IAG had to file the defence to our lawyers claim the Police arrived and I was arrested for Arson! How a man who spends his life sitting in a chair most of the day could commit a crime of this sort baffles me completely but it wasn’t even considered by the Police.

    I was taken to Hamilton from the Coromandel, charged, held overnight in a cell where I collapsed and was sent to the hospital for treatment. The next morning I appeared in front of a judge and was told to go. Not a cent in my pocket, the Police had said it would be better not to take money with me, unable to call my wife who didn’t even know where I was, use of the Court phone was refused, I was weak and disorientated due to the morphine I had been given during my night in the hospital – totally disgusting. I walked into an office and explained what had happened. Fortunately, the man was from the UK and he helped me.

    Disclosure of the evidence took ages, the photographs that support the accusations took over a year to arrive. They showed that the evidence that led to my arrest and allowed IAG to decline the claim was totally fabricated and falsified by the fire investigators employed by IAG!

    ASB are trying to make us bankrupt to prevent us continuing to sue IAG but so far we are fighting them off! It is likely that I will die before the situation is resolved, the actions of IAG and ASB seem to be aimed at delay and generating as much stress as is possible, both reduce the chance of my survival and them having to pay the insurance claim.

    If you would like to see what is happening now we have a blog – http://www.nz-house.com
    We would appreciate any help we can get, legal advice and help in particular, legal aid reject us because I was a director of one of the trust companies that owned the house, no asset there and no income but the formula rules us out! A lawyer could sort it we understand but finding one is tricky.

    As a place to live, if this is living, NZ has a few problems. NZ is polluted, the law is apparently optional, many of the people are greedy, mean and vicious and these attributes are considered to be virtues by the majority!

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