Migrant Tales – NZ Isn’t all Roses and Blooms – After 21 Years Not Even the Scenery is Enough

New Zealand cuts down tall poppies and ignores its terrible issues. Time for this English rose to get her family safely home

Welcome to another first hand account of migrant life in New Zealand – part of our very popular Migrant Tales series.

This tale is from a British migrant that has endured New Zealand’s infamous tally poppy syndrome. After 21 years of witnessing New Zealand’s increasing murder rates, pollution, family violence culture, mental health issues and one of the worst suicide rates in the OECD this is why she’s taking her family back to England:

“! came to NZ in 1996 from Lancashire. Tall Poppy syndrome rules the NZ workplace along with anti POM sentiment. I now have two daughters 8 and 10 and want to return to the UK at the end of this year. Maybe West Yorkshire, Solihull or anywhere really. I’m not sure how I would get the kids into schools or go about organising health care anymore but I am sure we would manage. I’ll be 48 when we move back. Even on visits over the years Ive made friends in the UK. 21 years in NZ and still floundering around with any real friends at all.

NZers get very defensive should you mention or compare anything, yet they are free to say anything they want including “go back to POm land” if they dont like what you have to say.

Those that have not travelled or have led insulated lives here are really not open to any kind of debate or criticism. Such attitudes that ignore issues contribute to the increasing homicide rates, mental health issues, self-harm of youngsters and one of the highest suicide rates of a ‘western’ world. People live with these issues and they pervade the whole of society.

NZ also has a terrible family violence culture. All true but largely swept under the carpet in favour of ads that outline the scenery (which is stunning) and overlook the disgusting filthy polluted water ways. There are many Pro’s to living in NZ but there are equally as many Con’s as anyone with half a brain can entertain. Unfortunately making any observation not in favour of NZ being shown as the land of honey and paradise is met with aggressive defense, abuse and intolerance – a way to ignore the issues which is contributing to why NZ is struggling with so many issues currently. It is impossible to fix a country unless the problems are acknowledged and accepted. So, I guess youth crime will continue to rise, family violence will increase, death of children and those vulnerable due to cold, damp, unseated housing and mental health and suicide rates will not significantly change.

Agencies trying to force change are vastly underfunded and mental health services in NZ are abysmal. Being an immigrant elicits comments of “if you dont like it leave” or “go back where you came from” and then people do leave because they get fed up of trying to help change a cycle of abuse that NZers don’t want to see or be bothered with. Its very very sad. Sad that children are still being battered to death, suicide rates are still high and mental health issues are tenacious.

I wonder what needs to happen before NZers see that it isn’t all roses and blooms and change is needed without the abuse towards and aggression towards those that have tried and continue to try and highlight those areas that need change for THEIR sake, sanity, children and future generations…… might never happen.”

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5 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – NZ Isn’t all Roses and Blooms – After 21 Years Not Even the Scenery is Enough

  1. I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments. We returned back to Yorkshire in 2016 after 15 enjoyable years in Auckland. We needed more than NZ could give. Moving back to the UK will present you with many technical hurdles, and you must pay close attention to your financial position as you may not exist in the system unless you still have property and accounts in your name. However, these can be solved and I can tell you, the civility and culture of England after being away are fantastic. As long as you plan well, and accept there will be temporary set backs, when you sit outside a nice old pub on a summers eve listening to the birds; you’ll be OK. Europe on your doorstep is great too. Kiwis love to criticise other places, especially the UK, and are incapable of seeing their own country objectively. I wish you all the best.

  2. Although now a U.K. citizen (I have been in Britain 17 years) I was born in New Zealand and worked and lived there for some 50 years before migrating to the U.K. I still go back to NZ to visit family every 2 years and enjoy my visits. Because I have family there and many happy memories my personal experience has been far more pleasant than that of many who write here. Nevertheless, I recognise a lot of truth in the criticisms made. But one thing which most people comment on does surprise me- almost everyone says the scenery is “stunning”. There are indeed some spectacular scenes (mountains etc) but N.Z. is not unique in this. Moreover, most people do not live in the vicinity of the “spectacular” scenery. The vast majority of the “everyday” scenery for most people is, in my view, certainly very pleasant – e.g. a lot of greenery, trees, farmland, often rugged hills- but it is really no better than can be found in many other countries (and I have travelled to many). The countryside of Britain, rolling green hills, beautiful hedges, stone walls and vast trees, is (to me anyway) far more breathtaking than that found in N.Z. But the one thing which certainly spoils N.Z. for me is the incredibly ugly buildings- this is not entirely its own fault as earthquakes have destroyed so many of the lovely old Victorian buildings and these have replaced with rather unattractive, very temporary-looking buildings. Similarly, it is unfortunate that virtually every town in N.Z. (with a couple of exceptions) looks identical to every other, unlike the U.K. where almost every village and town (whether small or large) is very distinctive. Most N.Z. towns are built on flat land, divided into grid-like streets where there is a main street, plus a few leading off, with some very flimsy looking buildings which are usually single story high, or occasionally two; there are no surprises going from one town to another and you know exactly what to expect- with very minor variations they all look the same with identical buildings and shops. This is almost the complete opposite of what one finds in the U.K. (or in Europe) where there are huge geographical and architectural differences between one place and the next. As a consequence while I personally find my homeland attractive visually it is also actually rather boring. Even Queenstown, so popular with tourists and undoubtedly visually very attractive in terms of natural scenery, is very badly let down by its rather ugly buildings and predictable lay-out. This is probably a small point to many people but, as I say, I am most surprised by the comments from so many that they find N.Z. to be “stunning” to see, and it makes me wonder why they feel this.

  3. ” We live in cities you’ll never see on screen. It’s not very pretty but we sure know how to ruin things … ” Lyrics from 2013 hit song Royals by Lorde. Even their biggest and brightest pop stars aren’t afraid anymore to admit truth. This is place is really fucked … :-S

  4. NZ is being sold as easy to register a business and do business in. Now there is only one element of that which is true and that is the ability to register a business. You will struggle to do business and will quickly learn that the old boys network controls pretty much everything. Go and do a bit of research and you will find out how the boys sewed up the lawnmower market to the extend that it was not worth any foreign owned company registering a business in NZ.

    I learnt over the weekend that a child that falls pregnant (assuming 14 years old) will have the school work with them and arrange pregnancy tests and abortions without the parents knowing or providing their consent.

    How absolutely screwed up is this?

  5. Last year our family pet of 12 years ‘disappeared’ from within the limits of our property. He had been with us for our wedding, our moves, and essentially everything we had done in NZ. We have tried reasonably hard to please our neighbours, and the other kiwis around here. Not good enough.

    Cowardly society.

    We were not born here. Xenophobia is a fact of life. You can believe this, or not. It is up to you. Like the writer above, I was born in the the UK, and I would never have thought this would happening to me (arrogance, or naivety). How could you predict it? It is like a strange nightmare.

    Frogs sitting in a pan that is gradually coming to the boil.

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