Migrant Tales – There is No Beauty, No Magic in Living Here


NZ has pleasant scenery, but people still need culture, decent homes and the prospect of a good future

Welcome to our very popular series of Migrant Tales – first hand accounts of life in New Zealand.

Today’s tale was told in response to this article: A small town in New Zealand, or the Kiwi who came in from the cold.

In it the author tells of how after nearly 20 years of living in New Zealand they still don’t feel at home. New Zealand doesn’t evolve, rather it is going backwards and becoming very cold and hostile place that rejects its vulnerable people. A state with poorly defined legislation, that allows to be interpreted according the occasion – one way for the wealthy and another way for the rest. Such country has no future.

Here’s the Tale:

“I live in NZ nearly 2 decades but I am not settled. After all this time I should have felt at home, but I don’t. It is hard to describe this emotional state. You feel that you do not belong and never will.

The biggest problem for me is the lack of culture. My soul is starved for real art and quality musical and theatrical shows. There is no beauty, no magic in living here. No matter where I go and how much I have paid, I never receive professional service. One example – years ago, a friend of mine and I decided to share a nice lunch in a classy restaurant for Christmas. We did research and found a place called Hotel Du Vin. It looked promising and we were assured that they treat their customers with high professionalism and utmost respect. So we booked in advance and waited in anticipation. The day came, we dressed up in nice outfits and drove to that Mecca. It was nicely appointed establishment and the main room was beautifully decorated with huge Christmas tree…We thought, yes, this is going to be very special.

It wasn’t. The maître d’hôtel told us that we cannot be seated in the main restaurant because the staff of some big company had their Christmas do there! So, he seated us in the summer garden where there was no trace of any festivity and the furniture was cane tables and chairs! The people lunching there were wearing shorts and T-shirts. They were hotel guests. The food wasn’t spectacular, although quite expensive. Our Christmas lunch was ruined. They apologised after I protested, but our Christmas lunch was ruined. Needless to say, that establishment doesn’t exists anymore. But it is a cold comfort because most are like that.

Of course, nobody ever died because they didn’t have a nice lunch or diner in a classy restaurant and I am no exception. But it makes it for a basic existence if you cannot satisfy your hunger for art and for some special experiences. Going to barbecues and to the beach doesn’t do it for me.

Regarding the “open air life’ – oh, I do have that! My house was built in the 60’s and the walls are not insulated. There is nothing between the brick and the interior walls, so the wind comes in all the time. It is real open air life, 24/7, all year round, but I guess that is a better option than the modern leaky homes.

I too feel the cold and keep my jacket on during windy, summer days. And I too get comments such as: “You should toughen up”.

I am fluent in EN, but speak with an accent. That is big issue for the locals who genuinely believe that Kiwi English is the only English and everybody should speak it.

NZ is a young and remote country. For years I used this as an excuse for its faults and for justifying my devotion to it. But it doesn’t evolve, it is going backwards and becoming very cold and hostile place that rejects its vulnerable people. A state with poorly defined legislation, that allows to be interpreted according the occasion – one way for the wealthy and another way for the rest. Such country has no future.”

12 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – There is No Beauty, No Magic in Living Here

  1. The country is broken. When you have a PM stating on national TV that the 5% house price increase in Wellington over the last 3 months is good it says it all. What a JOKE.

  2. Yours is quite a sad story. I sense that deep down (like me) you do actually care for this country – but like me you have become exhausted – exhausted and tired of the many setbacks you have received along the way. (Nearly) 20 years is surely a long time to commit to a country in the hope that things may change for the better. Any society needs social, intellectual, and cultural contact with the outside world in order to remain in ‘good health’ (mentally). Perhaps if New Zealand had opened her doors to more plentiful immigration during the so-called economic ‘boom time’ of the 1950s (like Australia and Canada) then today we would be reaping the many cultural benefits that the immigrant populations (and their descendants) have brought to those countries? And things would be much more ‘vibrant’ and less ‘boring’ than what they are in the New Zealand of 2016…

    • Yossarian,

      Multiculturalism and mass immigration certainly transformed Australia, there’s no reason to assume that it won’t have the same effect in NZ. That said, the country is still extremely isolated even allowing for modern communications. Based on the comments I’ve read on this site and on the MSM, Kiwis seem remarkably complacent in regard to the country’s relative decline. NZ’s status as a developed nation isn’t guaranteed either, Argentina ‘dropped out’ 100 years ago and has never recovered its position.
      You might not agree, but I’ve always thought that NZ made a disastrous mistake when it refused to join the Australian federation, it’s too late now of course.

      • Agreed about joining Australia ,even if that option was still on the table the idiots of N.Z would decline ,they look at the entire world as though it’s a sports match to be won ,to join Australia would be to concede .

        • Given the remoteness of NZ and the size of its population, the logical thing to do would have been to join Australia. But it didn’t happen in the past. it won’t happen in future,
          The reason why Kiwis voted against the Federation explains a lot of their problems. Quote from “History of New Zealand”:

          “Premier Richard Seddon saw himself heading a South Pacific empire, not a subordinate administration. He set up the Royal Commission in 1900 to buy time and get a sense of public opinion. While most submissions opposed union with Australia, many farmers were in favour, fearing trade barriers to their produce.

          The prevailing view was that New Zealanders – both Pākehā and Māori – were of superior stock to their counterparts across the Tasman. New Zealand’s trade was mostly with the United Kingdom; Australians were economic rivals rather than partners.”

          And PM Richard Seddon had no formal education. He was unruly student and was removed from school (in England) at age 12. He immigrated to Australia, then NZ, working as a laborer in mines. In NZ he eventually became merchant and got involved in politics, which paved his way to the office. That man to date is considered the greatest NZ politician.

          To me, the following speaks volumes: “The prevailing view was that New Zealanders – both Pākehā and Māori – were of superior stock to their counterparts across the Tasman.”

          Nothing has changed for better. They still see themselves as superior to everyone else and they always will.

          • jdels,

            Agree completely, you’ve really summed up the Kiwi attitude to Australia. Of course New Zealanders didn’t anticipate that ‘Mother Britain’ would abandon them and join Europe.
            Another fact to consider is that the two countries have, historically, not been close, despite the Anzac myth, Kiwis have traditionally been oriented to the UK, not Australia.

        • mcleodkiwitony,

          Constitutionally the offer is still on the table, however I doubt that there would much support in Oz. Some Kiwis think that they only need to apply and it’s a done deal, they’re wrong.

          LOL at your sporting comment. About 10 years ago I listened to a debate on whether NZ should join Oz. Some Kiwis actually wanted to know whether they could still have their own rugby team and independent foreign policy if they joined. The rugby team seemed to be more important.

          • E2NZ,

            I doubt it, because of their sour grapes attitude Kiwis will probably join the Third World ( they’re halfway there already, don’t drink the water) before they decide to join the Australian federation.

            Rugby….rugby? Is that the game with the round ball?

          • I agree that NZ should try to join Australia, though to be honest there is (and always was) far more in it for the Kiwis than the Aussies, and I suspect the Aussies would refuse for that reason, given they are already sheltering 10% of Kiwidom. Some Aussie politicians talk about it as some kind of grand empire sort of affair, but once they crunch the numbers on bringing NZ up to Oz standards for infrastructure, healthcare, education and welfare they would run a mile.

            It’s a shame, because I’d love to see that investment happen, and for the opportunities it would give for cultural enrichment in NZ.

    • My mum was from Armenia and she really struggled to fit in, here in NZ. I’m feeling the pinch myself and dream of something better.

  3. Thanks for posting. I’m surprised anything operates here. Professionalism? Ha! They strive to be nothing more than piss poor charlatans at the best of times. But really, their bullshit is transparent, and only unsuspecting tourists will be duped.

    I wouldn’t have even had dinner there if they had told me I couldn’t sit i the main room, fuck that. Vote with your wallet, because thats all Kiwis give a shit about-$$$$$$$$$.

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