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.