Reddit I Want Out: “US to NZ, couple with two kids” -updated after racist attacks on Indians in Auckland

Thinking of moving from the US? Give NZ a miss.

This question was recently posted to Reddit I Want Out. Here’s the link

US to NZ, couple with two kids

Early planning stage and looking for advice. There’s a lot to unpack, so I’ll stick to the highlights.

Who we are

Married couple, 39 & 40, with two kids in elementary school. American citizens (1 naturalized). 20 years experience in IT/Ops/DevOps, no management though – strictly technical. BS in CompSci (him) and MA in Education (her). No criminal histories.


100k liquid. 400k retirement (mostly 401k). 200k home equity. 110k base at current position that I will have to give up. No family or connections in NZ.


  • We’re observant Jews, so a decent sized community would be ideal. Avoiding lots of antisemitism is a requirement.
  • We’re mixed race. How do New Zealanders deal with Indian ethnicities?
  • We have a cat and he has to come too.


  • Best city to raise kids? Christchurch?
  • Order of operations? Research -> Visa -> Find job -> Move? Without a job in place, we’re coming up short on EOI.
  • Tips or other resources to recommend?

Getting a good grasp of COL is tricky, and I appreciate the insights. My job is on the long-term shortage list and I’m looking at staffing firms that could place me within NZ. Even so, we’re expecting major lifestyle adjustments.

Our cat is a mutt, but my kids would sooner give me up. All told 2-3k is going to be fraction of disentangling our lives in the US and moving over.

Here’s our recommendations

  1. Read our migrant tales series – hundreds of first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand. Also posts tagged American migrants
  2. Read the page 5 Things You Should Know About New Zealand  and get the inside scoop on what its like to live there
  3. Don’t ever think that the New Zealand education system is as good as the one you’re leaving behind just left. Honestly, you’re better placing your kids in boarding school than submitting them to what passes for education in New Zealand.
  4. Don’t use a migration consultant. A load of overseas students just did that and were deported from the country. Do it yourself so you’re sure its been done properly. You’ll also save thousands of dollars to spend in NZ. You’ll need them too because of the high cost of living.
  5. Don’t leave for New Zealand unless you have a watertight and signed job contract. Preferably one that will agree to support your future application to remain in New Zealand long term, or agrees to your repatriation costs.
  6. Don’t sell-up your assets, or transfer pensions, to New Zealand until you’ve been there for at least 3 years, preferably 5. Most migrants move on within that time-frame, those that can’t afford to do so are stuck at the end of the earth in reduced circumstances with little chance of leaving. Be the former, not the latter. Your bank account and long-term financial security are at stake. Take this advice seriously.
  7. Look for somewhere else, New Zealand isn’t all its cracked up to be. Even New Zealanders don’t want to live there. Over a million of them live overseas and 25% of the remaining population are migrants. Why accept second or third best when you could chose first? Here’s a tip – look at the countries that Kiwis migrate to and cut out the middle man completely.
  8. For goodness sakes, don’t move to Christchurch (aka NZ’s murder capital). Especially not with children. Really. Don’t.

What are your recommendations? leave them in the comment section below…

You may also be interested in

Since publishing this article the following video went viral. It was reported internationally by the Times of India and concerns a road rage attack on an Indian driver in Auckland, posted to YouTube. Warning – strong language, nsfw

Published on Mar 6, 2017

A 25-year-old Indian-origin trainee teacher in New Zealand died today after being punched outside a fast food outlet in central Auckland.

Another case of racial attack has come to light as an Indian national in New Zealand was subjected to racial slurs and told to go back to his own country during a road rage incident in Auckland, according to a local media report. Narindervir Singh said he videographed the incident from inside his vehicle last week. “I gave him a space… that lady gave me the finger. He was driving that car [pointing to a white Holden] and now he’s trying to threaten me, giving me bad names,” Singh says in a video which was being streamed live onto Facebook.

The video associated with this comment has been withdrawn from YouTube, here is a replacement...

Last week another man, Bikramjit Singh, suffered similar abuse last week as he left a Papatoetoe storage facility.  A man who claimed Bikramjit was speeding yelled at him, saying: “Go back to your country – slow down! You know what the speed limit is here.” Bikramjit says he wasn’t speeding, is a New Zealand citizen and has lived here for more than a decade.

The man who hurled abuse in that case ended up apologising in an email, blaming two alcohol beverages he’d consumed earlier that day.  source

Readers may also recall the group of young Muslim woman who are abused by a violent female in Huntly earlier last month: Read Islamophobia Is Real, Violent and Ugly In Huntly, Waikato New Zealand. Ironically, one of the victims tweeted last year that she was worried for Muslims in America, never dreaming she would share their horror and fear in her own country.

Also read: Reddit NZ: What sucks about living in New Zealand

and these tweets from today…

living wage nz

The reasons why NZers want a living wage

14 thoughts on “Reddit I Want Out: “US to NZ, couple with two kids” -updated after racist attacks on Indians in Auckland

  1. Sadly they’ll probably move here anyway ,pay the smiling assassins at immigration thousands of dollars ,funny thing they’ll most likely feel they escaped a false Trump style government and now live in the free world hahahahaha ,point of order N.Z is a member of the five eyes intelligence organisation ,you can run but you can’t hide here

    • Good quotes with numbers, regarding that drawing:
      [–]EvoDriver -15 points 22 hours ago*
      My first house was in Mt. Eden. It is possible. Bought in 2014, and I’m still there. To get it I saved practically every penny I earned in London for 7 years and then when I came back to NZ I bought what I’m fairly sure is the smallest house in the entire suburb. And I’d do it again.
      My comment: Note that in order to achieve this you must be on a Tier 2 visa – in other words a company has to sponsor you … regulations to get into the UK in that way have become a lot tougher, no more “bartending on my OE to get a house”
      [–]Sakana-otoko 14 points 20 hours ago
      The issue here is “London”. Few can escape to another country, save from a higher income, and then find an anomalous house (there’s only so many smallest houses)
      [–]EvoDriver 2 points 20 hours ago
      True, I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s certainly not impossible, nor is what I’ve said the only way of achieving it

      [–]12345654321ab 6 points 15 hours ago
      I’m from NZ and live in San Francisco. I’ve posted about this before, but Auckland is substantially worse than San Francisco – on two levels.
      1) Wages in NZ are a joke. It’s far easier to make $100k USD (hell $200k even) in SF than it is to make $100k NZD in Auckland. I really can’t overstate how big tech is – it employs literally hundreds of thousands of people in the Bay Area. If I can extend out my visa here, I’ll pay off my student loan in 2 years. No way could I do that with god awful NZ grad wages. Sure – the cost of living is much higher, but there’s more wriggle room.
      2) Unlike SF, Auckland is entirely built on shonky math. $1m for a 3 bedroom house that you then rent out for $600 a week won’t even cover the mortgage. Watch the OCR go up 2% and a lot of boomers lose their shirts 🙂 I haven’t even mentioned rates, the eventual maintenance that comes with owning a property, and the fact that places aren’t often rented 100% of the time. Sure, in SF you’re paying $1m USD for a house. But it’s also being rented out for $1500+ / week. Oh and interest rates are a lot lower.
      Forget the boomer vs. millennial argument for a second. This market doesn’t make sense for investors. It won’t end nicely.
      [–]banspoonguard 1 point 10 hours ago
      doesn’t make sense for investors.
      it makes perfect sense for risk-tolerant investors. occupiers, not so much.

  2. I strongly advise you do not come to NZ.
    It is a world in which only the narcissistic survive. Your call.

  3. New Zealand is like Canada’s Detroit if Canada had a Detroit instead of say, a functioning socialist parliament system that is constantly putting the rights and welfare of it’s own people (including it’s indigenous population) ahead of powerful corporate lobbyists and global business interests, you know, kind of like what they do here, in NZ. Seriously if you’re planning to leave the United States just move to Canada where you can either live there permanently or just wait it out twenty years for California and Nevada to become it’s own country along with Casscadia in north and move there. Seriously stay away … :-S

  4. My biggest suggestion is that if you are looking at moving to New Zealand, first come on a longer term working holiday of at LEAST 5 years. That will give you long enough to get past the honeymoon period and to get a good idea what the place is really like.

    Keep your belongings in storage during this time and bring over only a minimum amount. Don’t sell your house and buy one here – rent instead. Maintain ALL contacts from your previous location, including work ones. In other words, make it as easy as possible to leave NZ as you can. If you decide that NZ is not for you, as many migrants do, you can easily leave.

    Now comes the most important part. Assume that EVERYTHING you have been told about NZ by immigration officials is a lie; quadruple check EVERYTHING to make sure you aren’t a victim of incompetence, bad training and the “she’ll be right attitude”; assume EVERYONE is trying to rip you off; make sure NO ONE knows you have any money (you will be come a target if they know you do); keep most of your finances locked in overseas accounts away from prying eyes; secure your home like Fort Knox to prevent burglaries; buy a large number of jackets, jerseys, and blankets and assume your home will often be colder than outside, will leak, and will probably have mould growing in it; also assume that your landlord will do nothing about any of these things, and would rather see you in hospital with respiratory illness than lift a finger to make the home you pay a ridiculous rent for even vaguely liveable.

    If you are single do not, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, marry a New Zealander or have children with one. You must always have an exit strategy, and you must NOT get trapped; if you are a guy, assume all women will lie to you about the use of contraception (this is a regular thing with NZ women) and if you are a woman and get pregnant to an NZ guy either have an abortion, or do NOT list him as the father.

    After 5 years of really tough living, you will most likely be ready to return to civilisation with a totally new appreciation for your country of origin.

  5. Seriously, I hope these people read our responses. DO NOT BELIEVE THE HYPE! Move to a US state that isn’t crazy, or to Canada. The salaries are low, the people extraordinarily reserved, and the ‘lifestyle’ not all it’s cracked up to be. I’m not Jewish, but I grew up with tons of Jewish friends. Whether you will find a community depends where you go. You might check out synagogues in a few big cities. Christchurch is about the whitest big city in NZ, so you might find it hard to be mixed race there. In other big cities, it’s NBD to be mixed race. But seriously, I would strongly advise you not to come here. You will find the housing awful too. Your savings will get squandered. And be careful because your 401K might be taxable too.

  6. Don’t forget the biggest thing! You will need all of the money you currently have just to buy a piece of crap house in any major city in NZ, then you will have nothing left and no way to get it, Christchurch boasts new homes in the 600k range but they are cheaply built shacks indeed by other country’s standards. New Zealand people are nice to your face and stab you in the back the moment you turn around. Everyone is always looking to rob a foreigner and Jewish people are not liked, nor are any others who are not white, and born in NZ, share the same retarded 50’s “poor me” ideology, and rich. Kiwis love money, always want it and never have enough because the cost of absolutely everything is a rip off! If you have a job (don’t even think of coming to NZ without a guaranteed job, locked in by unbreakable contract). Kiwis hate work – mostly because our Prime Minister says they are always on drugs and too lazy to work. Race crimes are increasing quickly as Kiwis blame immigrants for “stealing all the houses and jobs from Kiwis”, and drunken and domestic violence is common. You WILL encounter crime if you live in New Zealand. As far as the views and beautiful countryside go, New Zealand is struggling massively beneath the weight of river pollution. When you get to the mountains, you will see they are nothing more than a veneer of beauty, amongst the toilet paper and poo in rest areas and air pollution on the plains in Christchurch in winter which is a horrible thick brown layer. NZ’s intensive farming has pumped so much crap into our rivers, that 95% of them are too polluted to swim in. This has happened since the 1990s and we hide it from the world. Other countries have their problems, but here, they are 100% hidden! For the sake of your family you should look around before settling – stay a year without outlaying any money – if you can find anywhere to stay – work and watch with eyes wide open! Once you move here, many get stuck because they lose all their money. Read right through this site – it’ll open your eyes. Good luck.

  7. Yeah come here from the U.S what a bad idea,just go to a different state in the U.S and avoid losing your entire life savings and 5 to ten years of your life

  8. You will give up lots of things if you move here. Some of them will be things you didn’t appreciate you had until you moved here.
    I love the scenery, it’s truly breathtaking, and the ability to ski, followed a swim in a geothermal pool half an hour later. This, however, doesn’t replace people, family, old ties. I’ve not found community yet in my six years of living here.
    The education is shocking. You have to pay $2.5 mill to get a home in the right zone for a good school. By good school I mean, filled with social climbers, because the education is terrible in all of them. It’s like a huge experiment where egotists, given free reign to teach in any way they choose, use the kids as a captive audience .
    The weather is good for around 3 months every year and then it’s wet if you live in Auckland . If you live farther south than Auckland you will freeze and complain constantly about the lack of central heating and badly built wooden shacks.
    I recommend a visit in July. Just to see what it’s like here in winter. Bring a rug and some thermals!

  9. If your set on moving to New Zealand, be prepared for a very different life.

    Having lived 6 years in Boston and Philly. Here are some of the issues you will encounter

    Housing is basic, even new houses are very basic. At least 50 years behind the rest of the developed world. Cold, damp and no heating or cooling. Don’t ask why it is just the way.

    Food, expensive and quality will vary from day to day. All good produce is exported and the reject sold to the local market.

    Range of fresh fruit and vegetables will break your heart when you compare to USA. There is little to choose from.$12 kg Tomatoes is the norm outside of summer, this applies to all, with bananas and carrots staying low all year round.

    A lot of USA fruit imported that has to be eaten right away, if your eyes don’t water cutting onions, they will eating an Apple.

    Schools are ok, if you have money you can go private as well as private tutoring. Broken system, staying broken yearly

    Work, this is a hard one, if you are lucky to be with expats you can survive. If you are the exception and the only overseas employee, life will be tough.

    Social life will be a shock, lots of alcohol and drugs, it is part of the culture, being at the bottom of the world, no one sees you!

    Religion, no one cares, except that there is an increasing race issue building with old Western immigration declining and Asian immigration increasing. Add this to the all ready domestic unspoken ignored racism. You need a thick skin to absorb the shock.

    You have to have a real good reason to move to NZ from a Western country. You will be stepping into a country with the appearance of a developed nation. Simple way to think of New Zealand 1950s time warp.

    Not many people here, huge numbers leave each year which keeps the population low, its a brain drain

    You need to come for a holiday and then come to work without the family to see if you can change your life to fit in, because you have to fit in or you will not be able to stay.

    For your kids, Australia would be better or Canada or somewhere else in the USA.


  10. Christchurch- NO. Very much home to the white right movement
    Auckland- totally unaffordable
    Wellington is nice enough but priced well out of the market
    Palmerston North is a better choice, very multicultural, affordable housing, good enough public facilities and close to the beaches and mountains etc.

    But still in New zealand.

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