Migrant Tales – If you’re an overseas academic considering moving to NZ, think twice


Academics looking for a bright future are advised to give NZ a miss

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

Today’s tale was sent in by someone who works in the university sector in New Zealand.

Here’s why overseas academics thinking about a switch to NZ need to look elsewhere better: Awful salaries, questionable ethics, nepotism, no progression, and under-funding are good reasons to stay away:

“I’ve lived in NZ for a few years. I work in the university sector. I believed all the hype about being ‘world class’ blah blah blah, but in reality, tertiary education in NZ is awful and getting worse.

For starters, the salaries are awful. For the same job in the US, Canada, or Australia, you’d likely be making about 30% more. (I’ve been told that UK academic salaries are similarly awful to NZ salaries). The working conditions are very, very, odd as well. There is no tenure here, which is a double-edged sword. It is much harder to get rid of faculty, but universities get around this by restructuring regularly. In my field, classes are HUGE, with constant pressures to ‘grow enrolments,’ through absurd strategies like lowering the already dismal admissions standards and not prosecuting plagiarism. I’m not kidding. The best students are great, but most students are pretty uninspiring, and the worse are very, very, very poor performers.

I had never heard the term ‘tall poppy syndrome’ until I arrived in NZ, and for quite a while I tried to believe that it wasn’t happening to me. I was publishing in top journals and still not getting promoted, while my Kiwi colleagues were publishing in crappy venues and moving up in the ranks. Tall poppy is alive and well here, at least for me. In fact, where my current employer thinks I shouldn’t even bother applying for promotion, a much better university abroad has offered me a higher rank and a much higher salary. So I’m hoping to be outta here, but it’s complicated…

NZ universities are horribly underfunded, but they also spend what money they do have on the wrong things. I’ve been astounded at the nepotism (veiled behind an allegedly ‘competitive application process’) and ineptitude in its Sr. ‘Leadership.’

If you’re an overseas academic considering moving to NZ, think twice. Or at least make sure you don’t mind a crummy salary, little academic integrity or respect, and disappointing resources. If you do move and intend to get out later, it might take you quite a while to dig yourself out.”

For more in the series click here: Migrant Tales

9 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – If you’re an overseas academic considering moving to NZ, think twice

  1. I work as an online tutor, so am regularly exposed to students from NZ, Australia and Singapore. The New Zealand students are easy to spot: they are usually between two and four years behind in the level of their work, they have sour attitudes, and they are are very lazy. When a year 9 student doesn’t even know what a noun is, there is something seriously wrong with the education system.

    The more years students spend in the NZ education system, the further behind they get. Australian students at year 13 are so far ahead of their NZ counterparts that it is ridiculous. Many of them are very dedicated to their studies, and are producing work at the level of NZ Post Grad students.

  2. Peter Thiel received N.Z citizenship after visiting this country a total of 4 times he then proceeded to fool the retarded N.Z minister of finance into a b.s scheme using our tax payer funds to gamble ,he walked away with 30 million bucks and N.Z got nothing ,this is what I keep saying our retarded undereducated idiot politicians ( most of whom have poor personal grooming ) just need to contract out the management of this country to some more intelligent people .

    • Just a little bit more information about Thiel, the pro-parabiosist:
      22 February 2017
      How Peter Thiel’s company Palantir was built with CIA funding and has helped the likes of the NSA and GCHQ spy since its inception
      Palantir, co-founded by Peter Thiel in 2004, is a Silicon Valley software company
      Its clientele includes US intelligence agencies, military, and law enforcement
      The company produces software that mines vast amounts of data
      New report says it was founded with the help of the CIA

      (BTW, UK recently approved the Snooper’s Charter).

  3. “If you do move and intend to get out later, it might take you quite a while to dig yourself out”.

    And it will take you MUCH longer than you think. Beware! Come to NZ for a holiday only!

    • You’re to kind to the guy ,also should mention that all the items you bought here during your honey moon period with N.Z ,you paid $1000 per item when you had foreign money ,the moment you go to leave you will get $50 for the same item,better to insure your stuff and then burn it ,oh maybe not because the insurance companies are also thieves and crooks and will never pay you out ,just take your belongings to the beach and burn them then abandon your car at the airport after sabotaging the engine ,sit back on your Econo class flight and look forward to life in civilisation.

      • I think I would rather life in the wilderness than NZ “civilization”. If I could life in the forest and have ZERO to do with any kiwi’s I would be in paradise. Maybe get to talk with a handful of people here but apart from that, what does NZ civilization give you? Are you really getting a better deal paying taxes and being apart of the NZ economy??? This is something I think about a lot. I think the best outcome for me living in NZ would be to either leave the place and go to a real civilized country or go life in the bush and build my own shelter, clothing, and get my own food and water. Now I can’t afford to leave the country so my only option is to either stay and life in NZ “civilization” or go into the wilderness and make it without the commune. I think the commune would track me down and harass me. This is food for thought, does being apart of the NZ commune offer you anything at all? What do you get? Granted I will say that there is some good decent people here but the balance is definitely towards the negative spectrum.

        • You can isolate yourself or take control of your interactions with them either way you won’t have any friends here,friends and communication are not an important part of Kiwi society,it’s all about getting money from anyone you can.

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