Migrant Tales – Why We’re Leaving. If New Zealand offered a “great lifestyle” the place would have filled to the brim a long time ago

Many migrants eventually leave NZ, and with good reasons

Many migrants eventually leave NZ, and with good reasons

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

Today’s tale was compiled from comments left on a commerical, British, pro-NZ forum. As with many emigration forums it is funded by the promotion of emigration related businesses. These are not the sort of places where you’re going to get an honest answer to the question “what’s it really like to live in New Zealand?”

The following was probably written in a circumspect manner to avoid possible censure-ship and barracking. Why? because not all sites protect their commenters with the ‘anti ad-hom attack‘ rules that E2NZ.org abides by (as some of the comments to this post in its original context demonstrated so well). Therefore, take the following with a pinch of salt, and try to read between the lines.

Here’s a some of the reasons why New Zealand still has less than 4.5 million inhabitants, and why so many migrants eventually leave.

Although Auckland specifically and New Zealand in general are quite expensive places to live, the cost of living is not why we’re leaving. In fact, it’s not a factor, apart from resenting paying so much for housing and goods compared to many other places. It’s quite possible we’d be financially better off in New Zealand, because our salary will be considerably diminished by the subsequent currency conversion. We’re not alone in wanting to leave despite having sufficient funds. Several people I know have already left, and it wasn’t money worries that drove their departure.

All the issues that are driving our move are not influenced by lack of money – the schools, the lack of opportunities for our child, the lack of amenities and quality in general. More personally for us is the isolation from my family. Our Kiwi family don’t live near us, which is probably a good thing, as we feel their attitudes about race and their xenophobia is quite unsavoury and unwholesome, and not something our child should be exposed to frequently.

I think if most people thought New Zealand offered a “great lifestyle” (whatever that means) the place would have filled to the brim a long time ago. It’s OK for a short visit, though. I have to agree with *******, about the devastated natural environment. It’s disappointing if you’re coming here thinking you’ll see a huge amount of native flora and fauna. There’s some left of course, but most of it has been destroyed, with dairy farms and pine plantations in their stead and general deforestation all around.

Saying all this, there’s been quite a lot I like about living here, as I think I would find in any place really. All places have their inherent charms, and there’s always interesting stuff to do. It’s just taking it all into the greater scheme of living the day to day workaday life. Quality of the more mundane aspects of living are extremely important if you’re to consider any “quality of life” in the long term.

We’re moving to where my family live, on the east coast of the US. Not our first choice of preference, but that’s where family are. The cost of living there is quite affordable compared to New Zealand, which takes the sting out of the currency exchange. Also being close to NYC there’s lots of stuff to do. If you’re familiar with that part of the world, you’d know there are many, many wilderness areas, large and small. It’s a good place for the hiker and nature enthusiast. Lots of beaches, and skiing in the winter, cross country and downhill. There are aspects of life there I prefer to NZ, also plenty of things I prefer in NZ. It’s a matter of finding the right balance, which is quite a personal choice, so I can imagine it would be difficult to make the decision based on a complete stranger’s advice. We all have different priorities and tastes in recreation and companionship.

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16 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – Why We’re Leaving. If New Zealand offered a “great lifestyle” the place would have filled to the brim a long time ago

  1. Highly recommend reading Lindsay David’s book Australia: Boom to Bust

    Substitute dairy for mining – it’s the same story.

    Remember it’s the same 4 major banks!!.

    If Australia tanks – what’s that going to do to the NZ unemployment rate???

    Frankly the NZ media gloating on the relative state of the OZ economy is rather bizarre – akin to the parasite gloating on the demise of the host.

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/will-housing-bubble-pop-in-2017/story-fndban6l-1227365483287

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    • I’d also recommend a book written in the 1960s about Australia “The Lucky Country”, people misinterpret the title, it actually means “the luck will run out, sooner or later”.

      “Frankly the NZ media gloating on the relative state of the OZ economy is rather bizarre – akin to the parasite gloating on the demise of the host.” Agree completely.

      Eventually the real estate bubble will burst and Australians will learn the same very hard lessons as the Americans, Irish and Spanish nearly a decade ago. Australians have far more capacity to adapt than New Zealanders, whether we do so, is another question entirely.

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    • Thanks Russell, it would be interesting to know if these “Australians” were unemployed Kiwis returning home.

      The Royal Society last year estimated that there were 650,000 New Zealanders living in Australia. But though many New Zealanders do tend to spend periods overseas, many eventually return. In the year ending March 2014, just over 27,300 citizens returned home after 12 months or more overseas – the largest number since the 12 months to March 1991.

      Also, from your link – it’s noticeable that New Zealand is no longer as popular with the British and they’re far outstripped by Indian and Chinese migrants, Filipinos aren’t far behind. It’s great to see things getting mixed up a bit, perhaps then New Zealand will have to become multicultural instead of bicultural – good for all concerned.

      The countries with most migration to New Zealand in the 12 months to April were India (12,200), China (7,800), the United Kingdom (4,600) and the Philippines (4,000).

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      • Admin,

        It’s a similar pattern to Australia, increasing Asian immigration and less immigration from the UK,
        I presume that other EU countries are more popular destinations for the British these days.
        Your comments in regard to NZ’s bi-cultural policy are interesting, there might be some difficult adjustments to be made in the future as the country becomes increasingly multi-cultural.

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    • You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
      The “grain of salt” comments are actually funny, as the BS spewing from the migrant pedallers and PR sites far out weigh the counter balance that e2nz seeks to provide.
      I also find it ironic that some from Oz would be looking to move to NZ for “economic” reasons. What is that line from “Big Yellow Taxi”, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone [or until you’ve gone, in this case].
      I recon that there will be quite a few Aussies on here soon.

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  2. “It’s a matter of finding the right balance, which is quite a personal choice, so I can imagine it would be difficult to make the decision based on a complete stranger’s advice. We all have different priorities and tastes in recreation and companionship.”

    You’ll do OK in New Zealand, probably even thrive, if you’re a “bogan.”

    This chap has made a study of it, so let’s take his words as authoritative:

    “I wrote it because I’m interested in the cultural context of New Zealand, and how this place is in many ways a perfect breeding ground for bogans. When you think about it, bogan culture’s like a concentrated form of New Zealand culture, because a lot of the things we value here – the idea that we’re easy-going, unpretentious, egalitarian, can fix anything, love a beer and a barbie – are absolutely central to being a bogan.

    “But because bogans are associated with working-class culture, they can also be an uncomfortable reminder that this country has a class system.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/8973809/The-trouble-with-bogans

    Kiwis are not any more easy going than anyone else, and it’s proved by the high rates of violence in the home and aggressive driving to be found in NZ. They mistake “easy going” for an apathetic attitude to work and standards.

    Definition of Bogan:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogan

    Nearly all New Zealand slang is originally Australian. There aren’t many home grown words, apart from Maori. Actually New Zealand culture is almost exclusively derivative of Australian, and most of it’s icons are 50’s style kitsch. Kiwis still don’t have their own identity, which adds to their enormous inferiority complex. Certainly explains the enormous amount of boasting they do.

    “Perhaps the less we have, the more we are required to brag.”
    ― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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  3. New Zealand by far has bad wages and once you compare what other countries have to offer, that’s why NZ won’t be attractive to the young at all

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  4. “The following was probably written in a circumspect manner to avoid possible censure-ship and barracking. Why? because not all sites protect their commenters with the ‘anti ad-hom attack‘ rules that E2NZ.org abides by (as some of the comments to this post in its original context demonstrated so well). Therefore, take the following with a pinch of salt, and try to read between the lines.”

    You’re absolutely correct. Among the things I love about New Zealand is my immediate family, who are NZ born, I love our renovated house (which took an enormous amount of time, money and grief to bring it up to a first world standard, partly because the tradesman argued so adamantly against our insistence on installing more than the bare minimum as regards to insulation and sustainability). I love the interesting native trees and backyard birds, just as I would anywhere I live. I love fossicking and collecting minerals, just as I would anywhere I live. I love the volcanoes (New Zealand is not the only country in the world with volcanoes, by a long shot). In other words, the things that I love about my life in New Zealand has really almost nothing to do with it being a place to have “quality of life” or anything that can’t be found similarly and in almost every instance, better elsewhere. What I appreciate about my life here has to do with myself and my family and the life we lead apart from any “place”. I’m positive I will be happier elsewhere, because my family will be with me, and we always take an interest in whatever place we live in. I look forward to a more comfortable, more affordable and fuller life away from New Zealand, and where you don’t have to worry so much about your accent or the way you look.

    In Michael Palin’s “Around the World in Eighty Days” TV series from the 1980s he said something that could very easily apply to NZ, but he was referring to his first few days in Egypt:

    “What, in Europe, had been problems to solve, in Egypt became limitations to accept.”

    That quote came to mind soon after I started living in New Zealand. We don’t want to accept limitations, nor do we want that for our family, especially when the inevitable privations do not offer any improvement in the kind of life we seek.

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    • “What, in Europe, had been problems to solve, in Egypt became limitations to accept.”

      Excellent quote, hits the nail on the head. This is something we’ve seen reflected in many other comments over the years. Life in New Zealand has been likened to having all of the fun and privations of a camping trip – fun for the first few days but the novelty quickly wears off.

      Good luck with the future, and its unlimited possibilities.

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      • In 2013, a working trip to Hawaii when living in the US made me compare Waikiki to Auckland: gouged everywhere for worse quality. Just like a camping trip. The novelty of that visit indeed wore off very quickly. Returning last year to NZ has reinstated my “camping trip” lifestyle.

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  5. Interesting, excerpted from the article, link posted below.

    “An open letter from a first-home hunter …
    I am 24, hold a good degree and have a good white-collar job that pays above average. I am married and have a wife and a newborn baby girl. Between us, our salary would be around $90,000. Even so we can’t make ends meet. Yes, I do have some luxuries such as iPhone and Macbook etc … but the truth being that we are very money-wise.

    We tried house-hunting last year and gave up, and we had a deposit sufficient for our age (around $60,000) which came from penny-pinching. Even then we failed to get a house, because the number of properties in our budget isn’t there, and we are not going to buy in Northland, or anywhere else, as some media commentators have been preaching. We were looking for a family home where our daughter can grow, but we found out the hard way that the whole ladder was missing, not just the first step.

    We have decided to leave New Zealand as it’s not fair to us anymore. This country has failed our generation and the oldies aren’t keen to solve the issue. We have a feeling of disenfranchisement and desperation that is hard to describe.”

    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11428254

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    • And yet it’s presented as “poor planning”, since when the newcomer speaks up, they gets told “Well, you should have done your research” and “nobody owes you anything” …
      Linear thinkers don’t understand, that injustice towards others today, will soon stretch to … injustice to them, tomorrow.

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    • Crime also makes for interesting reading (especially the why and what people spent the money they earned on such a venture):

      http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11428405
      Parnell gambling ring accused dodges fine
      Save
      Updated 1 hour ago
      Monday, 06 April 2015
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      The New Zealand Herald
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      Police stumbled across the covert casino at a $1 million Parnell townhouse. Photo / Thinkstock

      By Rob Kidd

      A croupier who made $10,000 working in an illegal gambling den in one of Auckland’s wealthiest suburbs dodged a fine because he spent all the money.


      “I was a student with no job so when someone offered me a job dealing poker I accepted,” he said.

      He was keen to stress he did not blow the money he made on “getting p***ed”.

      “I just used it to pay my rent and buy food,” Grozdanovski said.

      Remember … Auckland is EXPENSIVE!

      I like the fact that he was from “G-Field”.

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  6. New zealands natural environment/nature has been destroyed by decades of intensive farming, both dairy and beef & sheep. Unfortunately, the primary industry in NZ is farming which means the NZ government has turned a blind eye to farmers polluting rivers and the land for many years. Do not emigrate & live in a rural farming area of NZ as you will be shocked at both their lack of proper concern for the welfare of their farm livestock & the other wild animals that live there. My personal experience of New Zealand farmers is that they are very arrogant about their industry & particularly xenophobic & racist towards other nationalities & countries. If you wish to emigrate to NZ then please move to a big urban area such as Auckland or Wellington as the rest of New Zealand is populated by small town narrow minded bigots.

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