An American’s Take On “Rip-Off New Zealand”

rip off pharmacy prices in nz

Pharmacy prices put some medications out of reach in NZ

Today’s tale is taken from an online forum. The author, an American married to a Kiwi, gives her opinion about how expensive New Zealand is.

Many immigration sites manipulate material to present what appears to be a ‘balanced’ view of New Zealand. Bear this in mind,  immigration sites exist solely to make money from migrants.  doesn’t make a cent and never will That’s why you’ll always get the truth here.

The thread was discussing the recent newspaper article “NZ: 100% Pure Rip Off” written by journalist Peter Bills (see here for our blog about it) please read the comments section too:

I’m American and my husband is a Kiwi. We lived on and off in West Auckland, NZ for the past five years. At this point we have given up and are staying stateside for now.

NZ is beautiful and the people are super friendly and it’s very fun to live there. It is just like the postcards. We really do love it there…

BUT it’s different when you’re not there on vacation.

It is very expensive and difficult to make real money there in order to save up or get ahead. Anyone looking to relocate there needs to do a lot of research and have a huge nest egg. NZ is a fantastic place to raise a family or retire…. if you’ve already got money. But nowhere is a fantastic place if you’re struggling.

The rents and housing prices in Auckland are astronomical compared to wages. Our rental in Glen Eden was $400NZD/week for a small 3 BR. The quality of the rentals there is very poor. I don’t know how people working on average wage do it. Wellington and Christchurch aren’t much better and these three areas are pretty much where all of the actual professional jobs are located.

We’re not the only ones that had to leave NZ to make a living. A lot of younger kiwis leave to go to the UK or the US to work and travel. A lot of them don’t come back. My husband’s family members and close friends are scattered all around the globe from Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Scotland, Canada and here. Very few are actually in Auckland. We have to coordinate our vacations so that we all meet up there.

Most of the problem is that it’s very isolated, so it’s very expensive to get cargo shipped, and there’s not a lot of competition there. It’s such a small population. There’s more people in Nassau and Suffolk County in Long Island, New York than the whole country of New Zealand.

Also I noticed while I was there that there just isn’t the energy or drive to innovate or “do more” there. I didn’t feel like there was any spark there. Kiwis are perfectly happy to make do. “Whatever bro”…chill out, drink some Steinies, and watch the rugby. They are ingenious in their own way, to make things work for them personally. But few have any interest in making any kind of business, investing or becoming entrepreneurs. All the dairies and small shops in Auckland are owned by immigrants. (The immigrants from India are having a field day there.) Kiwis are very easy going and friendly, but overall are not a bunch of go-getters. It’s just not valued in their culture. They like everyone to be on the same level, they don’t reward achievement. Anyone who’s a “tall poppy” get cut down one way or another. I don’t know how it got to be like that, but it’s a shame because it’s what is going to hold them back.

It forces the ones that actually do go into business to squeeze every penny out of every customer. I have never been so nickle and dimed in my life.

This is also partly because Kiwis are very cheap as buyers. They have no interest in buying quality, only what’s cheap and will do the job for now. If an item is better quality and will last twice as long but it’s 20% more expensive, it won’t compete with the cheaper alternative. Part of this is that Kiwis don’t have money to spend, part of it is just the mentality there. Consequently it’s very difficult to do business there, the chinese make out like bandits exporting there.

Just Google “Kiwi” and “No. 8 wire” and you get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

It’s very difficult for Americans and Europeans to relocate and be happy over there without having a good idea of the sacrifices involved with living in such an isolated country. Not only will you take a 50% pay cut, the retail there is *god awful*- just a bunch of cheap stuff imported from China that breaks in a few months. And then has to be duct taped together. With cheap chinese duct tape. Sheets and clothes are polyester, towels are thin and scratchy, everything’s plastic, kid’s mattresses are foam. Seriously, yellow foam like you’d get in outdoor furniture cushions. Furniture is particleboard, appliances are 10 years behind, and nothing comes with any kind of warranty. It’s horrendous. And what they charge for this stuff is insane. It often costs me less to buy quality stuff in America and import it than to buy it in NZ (if I can even get something of similar quality – which is rare.). Electronics are a hassle because they’re on 220V there. I haven’t figured a way around that one yet. It would probably be cheaper to buy an appliance and have it re-wired in the US and shipped. It’s crazy.

The average housing in Auckland was of very poor, cheap quality. Nothing’s insulated, no central or baseboard heat, single pane windows, cheap carpet and linoleum, mold all over the place from condensation from LPG heaters, cracked and warped sheetrock/gypboard from moisture damage, no such thing as a dehumidifier. Even the newer houses were super-inefficient, wasteful, environmental nightmares. They might not get snow in Auckland, and it rarely gets below 40 degrees for long, but the rain and the humidity is unrelenting. Yet nobody builds for that. What passes here for adequate is like 5 star accommodation there. The lots are small because everyone has subdivided the place to death so you’re right on top of your neighbors. Honestly, I didn’t like Auckland at all. And all the other urban areas are just the same. Once you get out in the country where you could breathe a bit, it’s a different world.

The taxes there are also high, but not really much higher than in NY or VT (not that that’s saying much) but you get full socialized (OMG the horror) health care and a lot more social services there. (You can also get private insurance there, and the situation is completely adequate. Don’t believe the FOX news hype.) Maternity leave is paid, and there are child subsidies and all that. But the bad thing about having such good social services is that it attracts people who game the system. There is a large percentage of the population that is on the dole there- the majority of them are rural people and some of the native Maori population who have fallen behind socially and are having health, social and education problems… and then go and have 5 kids to make it even better. It’s a very difficult unique situation. Although I do believe that there is existing prejudice against the Maori population, a lot of the troubled ones don’t avail themselves of the massive amount of programs available to get an education and do better for themselves and their whanau (family/tribe/group). And there is really no excuse because there are plenty of upstanding, motivated, super-bright Maoris there that have done really well. The lazy ones give the good ones a bad rap.

**** is right. We pulled all our money out of NZ when the US dollar was weak and the NZ dollar was .81 USD a few months back. We won’t be sending any money back until the Kiwi dollar goes below 0.60 cents American. And we certainly won’t be going back for more than visits until we can afford to semi-retire there.

Rip-off indeed. Unfortunately it probably means RIP for the economy there at some point, unless they do something to promote massive investment and economic development.

Sure a lot of this is my opinion based on my personal experience there, but I don’t think I’m far off the mark in most aspects. Anyone who is thinking about moving there, do your research and crunch the numbers.”

297 thoughts on “An American’s Take On “Rip-Off New Zealand”

  1. I do not agree with the comment that there is something fresh about and real about NZ and NZers. My experience has been that there is an avoidance of being real, a superficial level of communication that is quick to judge. On many occasions I have experienced a weird silence from Kiwi’s as well as abrupt changing of the subject. It feels to me that there is a small scope of human emotions/experiences that kiwis deem acceptable to feel or discuss. Conversation is superficial, lacking the richness of depth, thoughtfulness and emotion that makes life interesting and meaningful. I believe this is part of the she’ll be right mentality; pretend it does not exist and it will go away. An unfortunate result of this way of living is that it hampers one’s ability to develop empathy, compassion or thoughtful inquiry. This has been my experience and I find it bizarre and also sad. One thing I noticed right away when moving here was the level of gossip that occurs here, conversation is full of gossip about others. This made me uncomfortable. I have also experienced, on many occasions, that kiwis will laugh at something one says, when there is no joke involved. It feels like they are laughing at something they perceive yet do not speak. In short, they are judging me, what I say, or another and, while they will not share their thoughts, they laugh. This feels so rude to me. If it happens again before I leave here, I am going to politely ask, “what is so funny?”. I do not find kiwis to be real, more superficial and judgemental and lacking depth. Sorry to say, I know it sounds harsh. I have lived in cultures where there is a simplicity of life and way of being that is refreshing in it’s simplicity and ability to be real. My general experience is that kiwi’s are afraid of being real and hide behind superficiality whilst harboring bitterness and judgement towards others who do not fit in to their limited mentality.

  2. Interesting reading this post and the responses. I’m a kiwi who has lived outside of NZ longer than I’ve lived in it. Last year we thought of returning to NZ so my foreign spouse started applying for jobs. He has 4 degrees and numerous qualifications and experience. Unfortunately for him, he also has an exotic sounding name. The jobs he applied for matched his skills, experience and qualifications, yet he didn’t get so much as an interview despite stating that he had NZ Residency. I have great sympathy for highly skilled immigrants trying to find jobs in NZ.

    I’m not a fan of the “she’ll be right” attitude (let’s just settle for not doing anything to improve the status quo) or poor quality/overpriced products, but I do contend that there is something very fresh and real about NZ and NZers. The place has so much potential.

  3. Hello My Fellow American,
    I feel compelled to respond to your post as my husband and I moved here 2 years ago filled with a dream of a simpler life, better work life balance etc… While we did not move here to get rich, we also did not expect to have to lower our standard of living so, so much. I know it is hard to hear news which runs contrary to one’s hopes and aspirations for a fresh start in a new place. And yet, it is also wise to gather real information so as to not have to far too fall when reality does not meet one’s ideal.

    We have a healthy 6 figure salary, and we can not, nor would we, buy a house in the Auckland housing market. The average cost of a house in Auckland is nearing a million. And, I promise you, that is not a home you may imagine a million $ home to be. Not only does Auckland have a housing crisis in terms of supply, the quality of homes here is exceedingly poor. I am sure you have read this before. If you could live outside of Auckland, you may do better. However, they are calling the creeping price of housing in Tauranga and Hamilton the “halo” effect. Prices are going up there too.

    Another aspect we consider is the state of NZ economy. The dairy industry is taking a hard hit now and has been for awhile. When we first moved here a local told us kiwi economy rises and falls on Fontera. I am not a whiz of economics, but I have done some research and read articles from those who are. NZ’s link to the Chinese economy also makes them vulnerable to fluctuations in their economy. China’s economy is at a downturn, so is dairy, the kiwi $ has dropped 15% since we moved here. The housing market is a bubble; we see the writing on the wall. We would not buy here even if we had the money to.

    One thing we have achieved here is a better life/work balance. My husband works in high tech and the hours he worked back home were unsustainable. He worked in the Silicon Valley, mostly for start ups. The work culture here, even if there are hard working people who work 2 jobs, IS different. My husband goes in at 8 and leaves at 4:30, pretty regularly. And, while some Kiwi’s will not like me writing this, the work culture here is lax to the point that it is frustrating and deadens one’s ambition and drive. I have heard this from many professional immigrants from various parts of the world, not just Americans. In my husbands case, his job is boring and does not challenge him at all. He and some of his colleagues that have been with the company for a long time, like 30 years, express their frustration at being undervalued and unchallenged.

    I do not want to harp on NZ, it is beautiful, you can create a slower paced and peaceful life here. I feel it is a matter of what one is willing to live with. I do not know what you financial situation is so maybe the high cost of living is not an issue for you. It is beautiful and while I do not have children, the area we live in (Eastern Beaches Suburbs) has very good schools. Like the states, the quality of the school is somewhat related to the socioeconomic demographic of where one lives. This is an upper middle-class area.

    At this very moment we are in negotiations for a job in Sydney. Ironically, it is with my husbands current employers biggest competition. That company is paying him overall, with bonuses, base pay and super- annuation, 50% more than the company here. And, the Aussie $ is stronger than the kiwi. So we get a pay raise globally with a stronger currency. When you live halfway across the world from your former home you like to visit, that matters a lot. This company is also arranging our visas with a highly reputable legal firm as well as paying them. We feel like we have the golden ticket and we are going!!

    We will be leaving NZ in a matter of months. Within the past 2 months, 3 overseas employees at the company my husband works for have left for the same reasons we are leaving; finances and limited career opportunities. We are grateful for what has been good here, our stress level has dropped considerably and we have been the recipients of kindness from many kiwi people. That being said, generally speaking, there is a huge chip on NZ”s shoulder when it comes to America/Americans All I can say about that is I try not to get offended or be too judgemental about those who express ignorance and are xenophobic, but it gets old. A time or two I have wanted to tell people off, though I do not. I take the quiet and reserved stance. All in all, I do not feel like I fit in here, I do not feel kiwi’s are that accepting. They seem to pride themselves on “kiwi culture” (not really sure what that is) and have an expectation that those who move here adopt it. Perhaps because I come from the great melting pot of cultures, I appreciate and respect cultural differences. It took me over a year to put my finger on how the xenophobia feels for me. The word is oppressive. Living in insular, isolated, xenophobic, tall poppy syndrome NZ feels oppressive. And, I have been back stabbed A LOT by people who are jealous of my skill level in my field. It is bizarre.

    As we prepare to move to Australia, we feel we are seeing things more clearly. We hope we will not be so disappointed there as we have been here. At least the finances have improved vastly, that helps. We can afford to buy there now though Sydney has it’s own housing issues. That is turning around, prices have dropped there this year for the first time in many years. Some are anticipating the bubble there will burst soon. We will not buy for a couple of years, we are watching the market.

    I wish you all the best in your decision, in your move. I would love to make myself available to answer your questions, so please do ask and I will do my best to give you objective answers.

    • Hi, I loved your post and just wondered how it was going in AUS…I have heard that the racism there is far worse than NZ.?

  4. Being a resident for the past 3 years I love New Zealand and everything about it I even don’t mind paying extra for my household expenses but seriously if the housing remains like this for another year I plan to leave NZ it is absolutely a rip-off for new working class immigrants and young New Zealanders.

    • This is one of the reasons why I moved to Australia. I live 35 minutes drive from a major city and I can buy a new house for under 400K. As you can imagine, there’s loads of other Kiwis living around me.

  5. Wow. Hi all, an American (Yank?) here. I firmly believe that when one moves somewhere THEY need to acclimate to their new society. Not the other way ’round. How can they expect people from another culture to act like people from their original culture? Yes many ‘mericans are elitists. So are Brits, Aussies, whomever. There are gonna be nice people where ever as well. That’s the same everywhere. I’m retired with health concerns (I’m a mere 60) and am unable to run, bike and be in the outdoors as I was in my youth. From what I’ve read here I’d probably fit in fine in NZ. Do you guys have a decent internet connect? I spend lots of time on my laptop cruising the world. I’d love to visit Shetland in the UK. Cold and isolated (I’m an introvert). Now that bird sanctuary is a potentially boring place. I’ve often wanted to move to Canada as it’s cooler and more space available to live in. And friendlier people than the average ‘merican. I grew up in the South and it sucked. I’ve lived in California for over 35 years and would never go back to Florida/Georgia.

  6. “Frozen out” is exactly what happened to me. I was not invited to an open house type event in which all providers gave a demo and presented themselves to the client base. I was stunned to not be invited. When I heard about the event, innocently questioning what time I should plan to be there, I was told I would not be presenting.

    I have also experienced backstabbing and clandestinely questioning my credentials to others. In anohter case, it was blazing obvious I was highly more skilled than the top performer and I feel she was seriously threatened by the new kid on the block who blew her away. Of course, she was very nice to my face. I only heard what she said to others through a true friend who was there after I left and told me what was said. She actually tried to imply I was not trained!! In this case, the acclaimed individual, (by New Zealand standards) did not match the skill level I had when I was in training 11 years back. I was actually embarrassed for her as her skill level was shockingly low. Sounds awful to say, but in the community I lived in in California, this woman would not last a month. It felt like her lack of skill actually undermined the entire training I did; it lowered the bar so much I was embarrassed to be in the same profession as her. After that experience I decided to branch out on my own. I guess she was pleased about that as it allowed her to continue to claim herself as NZ’s expert.

    • Kia ora I am a 56-year-old Maori woman. I really enjoyed reading your article and the comments below as they are similar to how I view the gradual decline of Aotearoa/ New Zealand over the last thirty years. I am saddened that you have been damaged here and hope that you can find some relief soon.

  7. I’ve been WORKING on a project for about a month. I am also pushing 60.
    I have guys coming over and looking at what I’ve been able to get done in a short period of time with their jaws dropped.
    Pushing 60, there are not that many pairs of kiwis [20-30 yr olds] that can outwork me. I am aghast at the work ethic in nz.
    Yet, I’ll get “outsided” because I make them look so pathetic. And the companies do not appreciate the increase in productivity. Go figure.

  8. I emigrated to NZ in 2006. I had 2 suitcases full of the required paperwork to be a skilled immigrant- as a medical practitioner. My partner and I wanted to move to Nelson but the corrupt medical agency in Auckland directed us to Whangarei. It was the worst move in my life and I was destroyed working for Northland district health board.They seriously abused me such that working for them became totally untenable. For example they lied to me to make me, a guy then in late 40’s work first on call for an area 2 thirds the size of Wales as the only on call doctor, 70-80 hours per week, when I had a family with 2 young children to look after. I was forced to resign from my senior medical post, and lost my family, my career, as the New Zealand Medical Council, because I was off work with resultant stress and depression. made sure that I could not re-register with the GMC of GB without paying 7000 pounds GBP, which I did not have. I was destroyed by the women running Northland District Health Board, and we had to return to UK in 2010. My life has been destroyed by my experiences in NZ;I have not recovered

    • Yours sounds like an horrendous experience Colin but you’re not alone in it. The bait-and-switch tactic is one that has been pulled on many migrants, as is the promise of a work-life balance that doesn’t exist in New Zealand.

      It would be interesting to hear about your experiences in more detail, you may find it cathartic to get your story out there and realise that what happened was no fault of your own.

      Would you consider writing a Migrant Tale for publication when the site re-opens?

    • They are a petty vindictive lot, ruining people for no apparent reason. They seem to particularly enjoy going after people that stop working for them [for whatever reason], if they can’t have you or you don’t want to work for them [because they are sooo brilliant] then you are defective in their eyes and must be kept out of the work force.
      It is a reaction to rejection that they turn around and reject you AND endeavour to ruin your reputation so you will not work again [in nz].

    • i am so sorry to hear your version. i feel soory for the kids and your wife too.

      i moved to auckaldn with my wofe in 2008. i enrolled in their university post graduate business program . my wife got an accountant job too at the end of the 1st year. but i never was able to find a job. i also looked around for some qualoty business to invest into or buy out but nothing is attractive enough.
      new zealand is only for those who like true new zealand lifestyle that is boring and lazy and laid back

  9. I just moved here recently to be with my kiwi partner.I am from Europe.won’t say my country because it’s not a country many people come to here. I don’t like anything here. I seriously want to go back but my partner can’t come and just begs me to give a try.
    First of all food sucks.people have no idea of hygine.I don’t want to eat anything anywhere:(
    People look nice but hospitality is zero. But somehow they think they are super friendly.
    I am keeping all my money in my account in my own country. Missing my lifestyle,culture, etc. I made a huge mistake coming here. I hated my job over there but now I miss that too. I want to give myself and my partner a chance but I urgently need European friends. Here people think greeting and kissing on cheek is gay. That’s what they tell me. How silly thing to say.Can’t stay here more than 3 months.oh let me know there are no jobs here

    • An advice: Don’t stay here if you don’t feel comfortable. It only gets worse when time passes. I did that for my partner too, and 6 years after i’m leaving anyhow. So, what’s the point of suffering for nothing?

    • Hey Minty,
      I can relate to your feelings about NZ and being homesick. I am an American, have been living here for 19 months, about 12 of those have been spent trying to get out of here. The housing is awful, the food expensive and mediocre, the mentality is closed, insular and I feel, also quite racist. I can not tell you how many people make fun of my accent, make weird jokes trying to mimic the American accent or otherwise speak disparagingly about Americans. I find this distasteful and small minded. Living in a multi-cultural country, I appreciate diversity, I would not make fun of someone’s accent. I have also found the “tall-poppy” syndrome here is very real. My sense is that Kiwi’s harbor resentment towards anyone who has more ambition/skills/knowledge than they do. One can practically see them turn green with envy, and then make snarky comments or otherwise be passive aggressive, when you discuss your qualifications or show more knowledge of something than they have. The small mindedness here is oppressive. I feel I have had to dumb myself down. The skill level in my field of work is shockingly low. In all truth, I would be embarrassed to deliver what is considered quality skill level here. Of course, I would never say this to a kiwi, never. I remain polite even when I feel they are rude.

      New Zealand is backwards and out of touch in many ways. they do not seem to know this because they live in this insular reality bubble. I have heard educated kiwis make comments about the reality of the rest of the world, which are SO off base. One that comes to mind is an assumption that all of the Earth’s deserts are flat and sandy. Truly, this was an assumption of a University graduate. Such small mindedness is common. True openness to another way of life, another culture is rare. My experience is that kiwis are exceedingly ethnocentric, patriotic and nationalistic. If I, as an American, behaved as they do, I would be snubbed even more than I have been for being American. I feel there is an underlying jealousy in the kiwi culture, hence the tall poppy syndrome. Desiring to better oneself or achieve something seems to threaten their she’ll be alright mate mentality.

      Sure, NZ is beautiful, no doubt there. And yet, it is over the top expensive while also being backwards and dysfunctional. The weather is not that great, a long rainy season and an intensity of sun that makes the summer less enjoyable. I feel like I need to hide from the sun here, it is so strong. We are leaving soon, thank goodness. New Zealand has been a major disappointment and I would not recommend it as a place to live. The housing market in Auckland is, as we know, over the top expensive. The poor quality of housing here is shocking. Most houses here don’t friggen have screens on the doors and windows. In the summer heat you get the added fun of fly killing because kiwis seem to not be aware of a thing called a screen. WTF? Screens, insulation, central heating, it is not high tech people. We live in a very nice neighborhood and pay way too much for, what is in our standards, a totally crappy rental house. Sure, it looks nice enough with modern kitchen, bathroom etc…….but it is only a facade. The house leaks, single pane windows, no insulation, cheap appliances that do not work properly and shockingly poor craftsmanship. There is still globs of grout on the new tile in the kitchen and bathroom because whoever laid the tile did not bother to wipe up the excess grout so now it is permanently smeared with little globs of grout cemented to the new tile. Really? Who works like that? My husband and I joke that it seems like it was designed by monkeys. That sounds mean but truthfully, it was put together so thoughtlessly. A brand new bathroom without a towel rack! Really? Who designs a modern bathroom without a friggen towel rack? Kiwis do.

      I could rant on and on about how narrow minded and backwards NZ is. I have met plenty of other immigrants who do not like it here at all. Some of them are women and have stayed for their partner. Whatever you do, DO NOT have a child here with your partner! You will be stuck here. I have met several women whom that happened to. The government would not allow the women to leave the country with their kids without the consent of the father, so they had to stay. Others have stayed for love and are miserable. Get out before it steals your spirit and makes you depressed. NZ is a weird place. I will refrain from the gut turning violence and cannibalism that took place here, the modern day glamorizing of the warrior culture of the Maori- a warrior people that committed heinous acts of irreverence for life.

      Hope you make it out soon!

      • Thats a crazy story to hear, I’m currently working for the state department and have a Masters in Public health, I was looking into moving New Zealand in the coming year but am definitely having second thoughts. As an American I feel like I would go insane if everyone is really as bad as you say, thanks for the heads up!

        • Hi John,
          I would encourage you to carefully consider moving to New Zealand. Our decision to leave here has come down to a careful assessment of what our priorities are in life and how much we are willing to compromise to live a life aligned with them.

          There is no arguing the beauty of NZ, (though it is true that it is not as ‘pure” as is advertised. There are growing problems with water pollution. The use of roundup here is rampant. It is used as an alternative to trimming around walkways, highways, parkways on and on……….. Being that dairy is a major industry here, as well as sheep, you can surmise the impact on the “pure” environment).

          At any rate, for us, we are not willing to live with the 50% wage cut, the weak kiwi $$, the ever increasing cost of housing, 28% income tax plus 15% GST taxes, high energy cost combined with housing that lacks insulation or central heating and a home loans that are typically only fixed for 2, if you are lucky, 5 years before they become variable. We considered all of these economic factors and decided we are not willing to pay that price to live here. If we loved it here, maybe we would consider the cost worth it, We do not. The social factors of the prevalent tall poppy syndrome, the underlying dislike of Americans that is palpable and the general small mindedness that we have experienced here, the insular and isolated society, are factors we might decide to live with if the issue of finances was not so massive. And, btw. we are in the 6 figure income bracket. In our opinion, the Auckland housing market is heading for a big crash. We do not want to be here for that.

          If you do come, consider doing so with a limited amount of belongings and check it out for yourself. At least then if you do not like it you will have saved yourself the hefty (approx 18k USD) of shipping a container here and then back to the US. If you do like it, well, then you can ship your stuff at a later date.

          Not to be a real downer, but something else which is very relevant to consider when moving here is your health. As the housing lacks insulation and central heating and humidity is high, mold is a real issue here. NZ has a VERY high, if not the highest, rate of asthma in the world. We moved into a newly remodeled 2 bedroom duplex in a very nice high end neighborhood (we are the smallest house here) and I became incredibly sick for the first 7 months I was here. I had a chronic chest/sinus infection and pneumonia twice. The second time I had to take antibiotics for 21 days!! It was scary, not to mention downright depressing, to be sick for so long. My kiwi born Dr. told me that it is very common for immigrants to move here and get sick. The pollen is different, the molds very high, the housing damp and COLD. Interestingly enough, in the same sentence, my Dr. also told immigrants often find when they go to Brisbane or Sydney their health issues clear up. I spoke to a kiwi woman here who took her kid to the Gold Coast for a week just to clear up their lungs! I would not bring kids here unless I could afford to put out big $$ to buy a home that I was sure had no mold and was properly insulated and heated. Mold and asthma are truly rampant here, that is no exaggeration at all. Even my cat got sick and needed steroids and antibiotics to clear up his lungs. He still wheezes:(

          So there is my lowdown. I do not mean to be pessimistic or to harp on NZ. Rather, to let you know what my experience has been to hopefully give you some realistic things to consider as you decide whether or not to make the leap to NZ. It is a hard thing to come to a place full of hope to be let down again and again. It is also very costly! And, we did not come here with rose colored glasses, not at all. We will happily be leaving before winter and I do not feel we will ever look back and question our decision.

          All the best in making yours. Good luck and best wishes.

          • the underlying dislike of Americans that is palpable

            This is what makes it much more difficult for Americans specifically. Those from the UK, even Pacific Islanders seem to get an easier pass than Americans [they really do hate them].
            So combine all of the other “issues” and stack on top the absolute loathing for Americans and it is not a very welcoming place.

          • Well. I have lived in alot of other countries around the world. I have to say “There us no place like home”. Why? The main reason is because I am constantly comparing these countries with my homeland. Plus, I miss my family. I have come to the conclusion (and have told my family) that the only reason you change countries is if you are guaranteed ” awesome” financial benefits. If you truly believe you’re going to have a better life in another country (ANY other country), suck it up because it ain’t gonna happen.

          • It is a hard thing to come to a place full of hope to be let down again and again.

            As I’ve said in other posts, the skills and methods [in dire need in NZ] that migrants bring are almost an affront to Kiwis. They do not want to hear a bar of it and will cut their noses of to spite their faces in rejecting ANY changes to the “kiwi way”, especially when they are better, faster, easier…
            So, if you are highly skilled and full of ambition, NZ is probably not a wise choice as those attributes are frowned upon, more so if you are American. You will be “frozen out” so as to not make them look bad.

          • I really can’t figure out what made you decide to come to NZ in the first place if you so self evidently mention to earn a six figure salary. There is a paradox in your story….

      • I am quite impressed by your story , and I have difficulty in accepting it , but I know you are so true. Only the remarks about the towel rack are a bit over the top and very American spoilt brat sounding. There is one observation though that I want to mention : I regularly have been ” walking” streets in NZ via Google Maps , and I compare the images to what I remember from my life there in the early 90ies: Streets look impeccably clean and organised , almost no tacky fences anymore and people create pretty gardens with native elements.I see perfectionism in the facades of new builds , and I cannot believe that newer houses donot provide quality shelter. It just looks so much richer now , most places not all. Ok, I have a bias walking newer streets and neighbourhoods . Probably there is a different approach between dwellings for private use and rentals, would’nt surprise me…..

        • Any towel bar would have been nice. We were not expecting a heated one, just a place to hang a wet towel. Guess if I wasn’t such a spoiled American I would, what? Hang over the door? Throw on the floor? Hang over the shower? Seems like in a house that is freshly remodelled and “modern” they would put up a towel bar. Guess that was an oversight as was a mirror over the bathroom sink. Yeah, maybe I am a super entitled American expecting too much from this rental we pay a fortune to live in.

          Thank goodness for the kind people we have come to know, generous friends and sublime beauty.

          Sent from my iPhone


        • When we finally sold our house there weren’t any remarks about the new double glazing or insulation or heat pump system or new kitchen and bathrooms but the heated towel rails caused quite a lot of excitement! Priorities are a bit skewed when buying a house.

  10. Has there been changes since 2005 in the crime rate (maybe against tourists)?

    I hitch hiked for six month and so i had to walk everywhere. Sometimes i have been worried but there was never a problem. I walked through the cities and the souroundings (car salers etc.) at every time and talked/”hang out” with (groups of) residents.

    One Maori woman told me that there is alot of blaming (residents) in NZ. White blame Maori. Maori blame Asians. Asians blame Indians. But other than that and the normal “be safe” when you hitch hike i didnt recognize anything, and i had a lot of times all my belongings with me 😉

  11. Hi all, what can i say? New Zealand has some beautifull scenery,plenty of sunshine, very small population, little pollution, relaxed lifestyle. However, this is not enough to keep me in NZ, after living here for 5 years after coming from UK. New Zealand is very boring, outside of the handfull of large cities, there is nothing of interest in New Zealand. The rural towns are so insular, parochial and on the surface New Zealanders appear friendly to newcomers, but once you live here you realise that they are passive aggressive and they appear very bitter and insecure about their isolated and insignificant country. If you are not obsessed with rugby or outdoor sports then you will find New Zealand very, very boring as there is nothing else! Do not emigrate to New Zealand unless you have given up on life!

  12. I have finally figured out the best way to describe this hellhole of a rock,It’s the novel “lord of the flies ” but with older players and without the rescue at the end ,also fused with the movie Groundhog Day without the last day.

    • Or .. Royston Vasey meets Deliverance

      The League of Gentlemen – BBC could easily be mistaken for a documentary on ‘small town’ nz.

  13. Dairies (convenience stores) in NZ beg belief – like a school tuck shop gone really bad.

    There also seems to be an unwritten 2 freezer rule.

    1st freezer – solely filled with single serve ice creams – magnums, cornettos/trumpets etc
    2nd freezer – half filled with family serve ice cream , the other half – a combo of pizza, pies , peas and chips/fries.

    Even in the depths of winter!!!

    No wonder obesity is the 3rd highest in the OECD.



    • Typical sales & marketing talk, perhaps there are less customers to hook onto 🙂 What I don’t understand is, when someone is indeed “happy” why would they want to enforce their happiness on others?

      Considering above link (, did you read the disclaimer and definition of “Formal Contact”?

      BTW, it doesnt mention the crime rate based on percentage of population too. Good luck with finding better numbers in justifying your sales pitch matey.

    • A HAPPY NEW ZEALANDER! October 26, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Clearly this person has had a successful lobotomy, or is just another “average Kiwi” that has never been out of NZ before. Many people in NZ do not live to a ripe old age as they die in a mangled car wreck or at the hands of an inbred psychopath. Failing that they commit suicide as it appears to be a logical response from living in such a social environment in such a limited country.

    • Just to be clear, is not a government site, but they clearly have a vested interest in people going to NZ as they are an immigration broker, helping people get into NZ.

    • Seriously, I rather be killed by a police officer in a country that allows me to live my life to the fullest than live in NZ. Living in NZ is like being dead already.

  15. I agree totally! After 9 years in NZ I had to bail because if I didn’t I would literally be ‘stuck’ ther and that was not what I wanted. Moving to NZ cost me essentially everything I had and I am having to move back to the US just to rebuild.

    I started a company and was shocked at how lazy the Kiwi workers are. Late to work, tea breaks, lunch breaks, another tea break, knock off at 4:30. When does the work get done?

    As someone said, mentally dull and uninspired. Absolutely. Even the research is second order with the rare exception of a couple of researchers who get it. The government drinks its own kool-aid daily and although they say they want skilled migrants, they really don’t because once you get there, your opinions and suggestions are viewed as being inappropriate for kiwis or just simply wrong. Consequently, most immigrants I know ultimately move back to their homes. The folks who stay are frequently not the sharpest crayons in the box, or they would have made it in their own countries. NZ is at best a third rate country and is unwilling to change because the people who hold all the power would have to yield to that change. Something they refuse to do.

    So eyes wide open, NZ is a rip-off and horribly expensive to live there. It is beautiful, but I can’t eat or live in beauty. My house in Palmerston North, a sh**ty little bungalow that was cold as ice in the winter and hot as hades in the summer cost more than an equivalent house in Portland, Oregon. And, no one wants to live in Palmerston North. The ONLY positive about New Zealand from my perspective was the single payer medical system, but even then I had to have private insurance to cover what I needed.

    So what will I miss about NZ, the beauty and nothing else. But, I can find similar beauty all over this world, so in the end NZ really has nothing special to offer.

    • Lol, u got me cracking real hard…

      I started a company and was shocked at how lazy the Kiwi workers are. Late to work, tea breaks, lunch breaks, another tea break, knock off at 4:30. When does the work get done?
      So what will I miss about NZ, the beauty and nothing else. But, I can find similar beauty all over this world, so in the end NZ really has nothing special to offer.

    • totally agree with you. after reading all these comments about NZ, i consider myself lucky. i stayed in nz for about 5 yrs. then i decided to go to Australia and i am much happier here. Better lifestyle, better people, and certainly more money. i did not want to talk about my experience since it is pretty similar to most of the comments stated here. Though, one thing i’d like to advise those who are willing to come to nz:
      “pls. believe me don’t waste your time and money, try the states, Canada, Europe, aust., save your money and effort. No NZ.”

  16. Lets see: NZ$200K = US$135K. So, yes at 120-150 you may not get the 50% bump, but your money will go a LOT further, effectively giving you that bump.

  17. Most relevant part
    “EI: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, (pause for laughter), eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing “Hallelujah.”

  18. Sorry but new Zealand has one of the highest rates of entrepreneurs in the world. Get your facts straight and also yeah aukland is expensive but the rest of the country is relatively cheap

    • Isaac September 14, 2015 at 5:34 pm – “Sorry but new Zealand has one of the highest rates of entrepreneurs in the world. Get your facts straight and also yeah aukland is expensive but the rest of the country is relatively cheap”

      You are probably mistaking “Entrepreneurs” with “tradies”, the latter (most of them) do business only to discount their tax obligation. I do see articles once in a while about innovations but these are same set of people that are going out of NZ to prove their mettle, isn’t it?

      I would have expected at least correct spelling of “aukland” to say the least. The only expensive thing in Auckland is property market, most part (50%-60%) of average wages go towards the walls (and roof) otherwise rest of the country has similar (if not same) cost of living.

    • Issac, having the ‘most entrepreneurs’ in the world? How do you qualify that? I would disagree completely. Have you ever been to Brazil or any third world country where thousands sell whatever they can? Those people are entrepreneurs by definition. NZ produces a lot of ‘entrepreneurs’ who come up with poor ideas rooted in a general lack of knowledge of what the rest of the world has already done. As an entrepreneur who tried to make a significant business in NZ I left after 6 years of fighting with cheap investors who ultimately killed the company. There is no VC industry, no real talent and no government supprt unless you are already part of the old boys network.

      Trust me, NZ is great to vacation in or retire in, but as a place to create and innovate, you would have to be second or third tier innovator to stay there and not go to Europe or the US.

      • No real talent? Coming from someone who has talent and can recognise talent? I’d really like to see that backed up by ‘facts’. Oh hold on surely something as wishy washy as talent is subjective? Same with all of your opinions.

    • highest rates of entrepreneurs

      Most of what I’ve seen is entrepreneurs bringing something from somewhere else and introducing it to NZ.
      No real innovation, just expansion of franchises.

      As far as recognizing talent, most kiwis must be beaten over the head with talent before they’ll see it.
      Anything non-kiwi based is viewed with great scepticism if not rejected out right.

    • I would very much like to see” the hard evidence” in support of the claims made by those posting anti-New Zealand comments but it would appear that the bar is set higher for those who post positively…please don’t hesitate to correct me if I am wrong though!

      I live in NZ and have done so since my youth…I won’t say it was easy to begin with and my attitude toward this country probably would have echoed some of the views posed by others in here(but definitely not all – some comments are just plain inflammatory, patronising and maybe even a bit bigoted in my opinion)but what I came to realise is that for many years I had held myself apart because I listened to my mother voicing her anger at how different, how substandard NZ is when compared to the UK – everything was awful for her because she couldn’t change to fit her environment!

      My Dad was a different kettle of fish though…he was a hard worker who got on with everybody, didn’t judge people based on their points of difference to himself, was happy to embrace a new culture and perspective and was grateful for the opportunity NZ gave him to be gainfully employed in the profession he was trained to do and support his family comfortably…something he couldn’t get back home sadly.

      He died, a good man, a hard worker who was proud to be a Brit but also very much in love with his adopted country…my Mum is still alive and still very anti NZ: I mean come on, a Scotswoman who cheers for the English every time they play sports against NZ says it all – what I realise is that it IS to a great extent about perspective and expectation and a refusal to let go and move on into a new experience positively – I’m not saying it is as simple as that or that you need to lower your standards as someone else in here suggested, I am saying you need to open your eyes to the experience and accept that things are very different but not necessarily worse!

      Years ago I worked for a Rabbi here in Wellington (when I was pregnant with my son)and knowing they were to return to The U.S very soon he offered to take me back with him and his family. I declined his kind offer and he was, to say the very least rather taken aback when I explained that I could’t think of a better place to raise my child than here in NZ and I have never regretted that decision…my son is a generous and intelligent young man of whom I am very proud and rightfully so!

      I think if we look objectively at this issue we can see that ALL countries have their faults and many have problems that in my opinion far outweigh anything I have come across here in NZ…all we need to do is google something and we can come up with any number of crime stats and horror stories about any given country and post them all in one spot and of course it is going to look bad(if they are even all true)…but if I was to do that with lets say Britain with it’s high crime rates, binge drinking, welfare dependency, high unemployment and teenage pregnancies along with increased levels of domestic violence and hate crimes, would you consider that to be the whole picture? Would that be representative of the majority of Brits? Or America with it’s armed and racist police force shooting African Americans because they can, high numbers of drug users, shootings within schools, bullying in schools, murder, theft, serial killers, videos of wee toddlers being taught how to fire guns, gang violence, drive by shootings…..and the list goes on!

      When a person is murdered in NZ, it is still newsworthy and I may be wrong but I think you can count the number of serial killers in the history of NZ on the fingers of one hand…give or take a few!

      Don’t get me wrong, NZ has many faults but can any country in the world, especially in this day and age claim otherwise…throwing stones when you live in glasshouses really isn’t a good practice!

      To those of you who have had an awful experience here, I am truly sorry to hear of it and I genuinely wish things could have been different for you – I imagine it would fall on deaf ears if I was to regale you with stories of migrants I know who have had far more positive experiences so I won’t bother…it would be anecdotal anyway and apparently that is only permissible if it has a negative slant(once again feel free to correct me if I have gained the wrong impression, but I doubt you can in truth).

      Seeing all this angst and bile aimed at one small, sparsely populated country down under makes me feel very sad, as much for the people spewing it as for this beautiful, young country being targeted by it!

      • I agree that there are many good and bad points to any Country. However, you are taking this website in isolation without seeing the vitriol on other social media sites against anyone making the slightest criticism of New Zealand. I really took note of this when the families of Emily Jordan and Bradley Coker were upset when their children where killed in separate accidents in New Zealand and were subject to shocking abuse for criticising the New Zealand Tourism Industry. There is a cult like mentality to protect a mythology that New Zealand is perfect. I noticed the same backlash against the Pike River families that they wouldn’t go away quietly.

      • “When a person is murdered in NZ, it is still newsworthy and I may be wrong but I think you can count the number of serial killers in the history of NZ on the fingers of one hand…give or take a few!”

        Give or take a few…..HANDS? The problem most people cite is the full content of news is covered with only murders, accidents, good weather (which for some reason is always +/-2 degrees to project as ideal climate), housing crisis, Mike Hosking on RadioNZ goes one step further in making his own news that there is no slowdown in economies, no inflation in “overpriced” real estate , everything in NZ is hunky dory etc etc. To an extent, a friend of mine played audio clip from 2nd week of January’16 where the Radio host (Jack Tame) was disrespectfully referring Aucklanders as “JAFA”s – this was around 1pm my friends when most of the people are up & most likely listening to radio crap.

  19. NZ is an expensive place to live and yes, it is a tiny country population wise BUT (after growing up and living in SA) it is such a wonderful feeling to have that freedom and feeling of complete safety which is elusive in South Africa!

    • I am SA citizen done the whole expat thing 10 years back whilst abroad we were also drinking some serious cool-aid and all us expats were all motivating ourselves that it was the right decision for “complete safety” blah blah blah (that was before I got held up at gun point – false sense of security). It was the most difficult decision ever to come back to SA and today 10 years on I can tell you it was the best decision I’ve ever made to come back to SA and help make a difference – just mindset change. We were group of 5 families and we are all back today the last person returned 6 months back. Jip we have some serious crime issues however at least you can mitigate that by staying in a security estate and keep out of problem areas. I sleep like a baby every night and kids run around in the estate till 1:00 am if they want to. I understand that safety is an issue what I have read from NZ it has some serious problems with crime, gangs, drugs, suicide, etc – same as us so keep up with the cool aid and hanging on to that feeling of “complete safety” it’s also called false sense of security. I Don’t think it’s fair to compare SA with a population of +- 50 Mil vs a population of less than 5 mil. Keep on telling yourself how “safe” you feel. Jip we are all alive and kicking living a good life and I still don’t have burglar bars on the windows but that’s just me. Cheers from sunny SA.

  20. I’m not sure your situation fits the norm.
    Generally speaking the wages/cost of living [in NZ] = lower wage, higher cost. A $200k job in NZ is not normal. Check some of the mean annual earning figures, your current salary is way ahead of the curve and not normal.
    Moving to North America: pay cut, maybe. Quality of living increase, certainly.

  21. In some ways, I find the twice yearly inspections to be intrusive.
    I take the more individual responsibility view and prefer to maintain my own vehicle to my own standards.
    So, having the government dipping its’ hand in my pocket twice a year and telling me to do what to my vehicle is not a selling point.
    Seems all the “good” points are not as good as one might imagine.

  22. The reason New Zealand suffers economically is because England left us behind. It’s our fault for being baiting into accepting independence. (Long Story Short) As long as China keeps buying our dairy products, we should be fine.

  23. I’m a dual citizen (US/NZ) I lived in the US for 22 years and then NZ for 14 and currently live in Christchurch. My opinion is that New Zealand is a civilized country in terms of its public services and social programs and the country is ‘bite the back of your hand beautiful’. Furthermore, the weather is fantastic, there are plenty of holidays, good gun control, a sense of communal humor and in general can be a nice place to raise a family.


    For alot of people life in New Zealand can be a very, very tough. I myself struggle with the isolation and cost of living. (E.g. the average house price in ALK as of today was $800,000 according to tvnz). I get the feeling that many people are really squeezed, there seems to be an underlying financial tension in NZ that you can feel, but no one talks about. Culturally, I find that sometimes the people can be quite cold and I don’t get the same sense of optimism that I felt in the states.

    I don’t know if I’ll move back to the states, I’m kind of stuck in a rut right now and don’t really know where to live. Anyway, from one human to another, good luck on your journey and I wish you all the best

    Kind regards,


      • If you follow replies in Yahoo Finance on articles about retirement and financial soundness of Americans , you will soon read that a general perception has become the notion that Americans feel compelled to fake it to a neurotic level , being reticently suffering of the reality from which they have learned , they cannot escape , despite a US passport , or by virtue of having it.You are supposed to radiate optimism , it’s a self fulfilling lie that makes things worse and erodes your character. Europeans like Americans in various degrees and for different reasons , never take them serious though , for their perceived plastic fakeness .The feeling that anything is possible is an expat dream , but has long fizzed in US conscience.

  24. Totally agree. Been here two months and want to leave. The world view of NZ is much different than actually living here which is unfortunate. The good thing is that I’ve learned what a great country America really is, truly the land of opportunity and freedom. Don’t move to NZ unless you are financially set for life and like getting ripped off.

    • You cannot even drink a can of beer in public , you have an uncanny definition of freedom , greetings from a free continent Europe.

  25. We have been in NZ now for coming up to eight years, just for the record.
    I don’t want to address all of the issues raised here, but would just like to give an overview of our findings and a couple of examples.
    There has been much mentioned about the tall poppy syndrome, and yes, this does exist, very much so. On the occasion where I have to mend something or make-do (given the lack of the “real thing”), I have noticed that you get a pat on the back and a “you would make a good Kiwi” comment. The same doesn’t always go however, if you have the real thing (you might have bought it with you from overseas) or if you want to improve something that the kiwi’s have, or improve on a method they use. The number of times that my wife and I have heard things like “we don’t do it like that here…” or “this is New Zealand mate… what do you expect?”, or “We’ve always made do…” or, “this (describing an object or method) has always been good enough for us!”, etc.
    It sort of reminds me of an old werewolf horror film where two Americans travelling through an old English village are warned by the yokel locals, “whatever you do… don’t stray off the path!”

    Bullying. Yes, well my wife has a good corporate job, and she has been bullied by some colleagues at work. It got to the point where she nearly quit her job. As it was, she changed from a warm, happy, easy going lady, into an edgy bag of nerves. Her boss was useless, as he (by his own admission) didn’t want to upset the pair of bitches who was making her life hell. It took dogged determination on the part of my wife, and intervention from the all but reluctant human resources guy, who eventually had to get involved; in order that the problem be looked into.
    More recently, my wife also witnessed the same aggressive bullying of an older lady at work, by another member of staff. This was for no other reason than the bully disliked her. The older lady was tormented to the point of near breakdown, and this was from a woman whom herself was in her fifties!
    Now I’m going to say something which will offend some kiwi’s, but it can’t be helped, and it is my honest opinion and not a cheap shot of sorts. Kiwis (generally) have a schoolboy mentality. They are overly competitive in such things as sports, driving on the road (my God, you have to just see some of the driving here in Chch!), boozing, being “tough” and not showing pain, discomfort, sadness, emotion etc. Bullying fits right in here! If you don’t stand up for yourself, or if you tend to shy away from in-your-face conflict, you will be a target for bullying. My wife, well she is good at her job, has no agenda’s, and doesn’t like conflict for fun. Unfortunately, this may be perceived as being weak, an easy target.
    Racism or dislike of tall-poppy poms. Well for want of a better way of putting it, that’s how we sometimes feel. A few days ago for example, I had a tradesman over to do a job which I couldn’t do myself (I do nearly absolutely everything but didn’t have the large machine needed for this particular job). The guy was arrogant on arrival, obviously didn’t want to speak or have any form of dialogue with me whatsoever it seemed. Before he started the job, one which was about to make much mess, noise and throw stone chips everywhere, I asked him if he had a cover for our NEW double glazed door/windows. He didn’t even glance at me and just said “no’. It was obvious that he wasn’t bothered about damage to the $5000+ unit, so I said, “errrm okay, maybe I can find something”. I did, and started to fix it best I could to the unit. Being curious, I asked what he would normally do to prevent damage… his answer “Nothing”.
    Now this wasn’t a handy man picked from obscurity, this guy had a newish vehicle, a registered company, business cards etc…
    Anyway, he then started the machine up, before I had quite finished taping up the door, and right at the side of me. Unlike him, I had no safety glasses, hearing protectors etc… he didn’t care.
    I went inside and left him to it, until I noticed that he had started using out brand new hose (which cost nearly $200 with fittings!). I saw him dragging it behind this machine, and I just knew he would wreck it! This one being a replacement for the one that a previous tradesman had used and mangled up!
    Anyway, I went outside, saw that he had taken his own hose from his van, and just not used it. So, I uncoiled his hose, layed it out across to near the tap, and gestured (he had hearing protection on) with a smile, could he swap hoses. This guy flipped out. He stopped the machine and went off on me, seriously. He tore our hose from his machine, breaking the brass hose coupling in the process, then started to berate me how dare I blah blah….
    I was speechless. He shouted at me, asking what the hell was wrong with him using our hose (it was now covered in crap and had a broken fitting)….
    I said, look, why didn’t you just use your own… his answer, I saw yours and couldn’t be bothered uncoiling mine!
    When I said well just didn’t want another hose wrecked, he said (and I swear this is true) “you’re in New Zealand now mate, spread the wealth”!
    It was at this point I knew who I was dealing with. A 120kg schoolboy bully. A kiwi who saw a “rich pom” with a big house, and he didn’t like it! Man he was so transparent. But more importantly, this guy squared up to me like he was going to take a swing at me, I mean he came charging up and just stopped short. What a moron, what a complete and utter moron. And this is from a tradesman with his own business, who has come onto someone else’s property in order to do a job of work!…. its mind boggling!
    THIS is the extreme, but this is an example of the prejudice you are likely to come up against. Oh, and yes, we are seen as cash cows. That is why I try and do most every job myself (we are renovating a large property), save going over it every time when trades come around. By which I mean telling them we are getting multiple quotes, yes we are poms, but also we are clued up with costing jobs etc. Nearly got caught a couple of times previously. Had a fencing company come around to give a quote. Got his quote, nearly died of shock. Decided to ask a friend (a kiwi) to get a quote on the same work. He rang them, gave them a detailed measurement (same spec as ours), his quote was about 50% lower! This wasn’t the last time we experienced this. Once, I even quizzed a contractor, and he told me “yeah, well you’re a pommie, you can afford a bit more than the locals can.. your pound by three times what our dollar does!” This upset me so much, I thought what the hell we have done coming here. Not only are the people stupid beyond belief, they are also in your face offensive, whether they even know it or care less!
    However, to give a balanced view, not all are like this obviously. We have made two lovely kiwi friends, who have been so supportive and welcoming. That said, you must see how bad the flip side is though!

    With the global climate what it is, I can say that the feeling of safety here is a good thing. Well, at least from the threat of Islamic terrorists that is… so far! We do have crime, and locally we have started seeing much more of it recently. Burglaries, theft, armed assaults at corner shops, banks etc. The trend is worrying, but still lower than many other places we could have moved to I guess.
    Are we glad we moved, well on the whole yes. Is it as good as we hoped it would be? Well, maybe not. We have traded some bad stuff for some good stuff, and vice versa.
    I think for us, the feeling of being safely away from the growing European conflict/s, huge crime rate, cramped living etc, well it trumps not having the best material goods available, and we have weathered the jibes and bullying, and are aware that we have a “kick me” sign on our backs. Fortunately we have a tenacity of our own, and we are intelligent enough to not let school kids bully us into submission!

    • It sort of reminds me of an old werewolf horror film where two Americans travelling through an old English village are warned by the yokel locals, “whatever you do… don’t stray off the path!”
      This is the clip you are looking for:
      An American Werewolf in London (1981)

  26. Getmeouttahere – you are right, Celtic Kiwi is a Kiwi. Can’t hide the Kiwispeak (“materialism, yadda”). They hate comfort zones because there are none in New Zealand, just like they hate people who show relaxed confidence – like Americans. Kiwis like to “take the mick” and start things with you. So nice to come back to the States where average people treat you with a basic and earnest respect and politeness at a level unheard of in New Zealand. I have lived in a couple other countries, and the U.S. offers the most of everything across the board (and no, not “buying stuff”. We are talking about opportunities here. Celtic Kiwi can have New Zealand – I’d happily see it sink to the bottom of the Pacific after our years there.

    • @TomHeydon – The sad thing about the Kiwis and their weird attitude about all things American is the disconnect between their outright hostility to all things American and their pathetic need to been seen as exactly like Americans, only more so, so much they will try to pretend. But they have no idea how to “sound” like an American. A Kiwi pretending to be American sounds about as American as “righto, pip-pip cheerio!” to me, I can spot it a mile away.

  27. I am also a kiwi born and raised and will agree with some aspects of your article but I can assure you there is more to New Zealand than auckland. yes the wages and cost of living are a problem and always will be a problem as New Zealand is very isolated and with such a small population the cost of living there will not change anytime soon. However the pluses far out weigh the minuses of living there. I also think that the government has focused so much on tourism instead of the actual day to day living but I suppose that’s what you get when your pm is also the tourism minister. I too have been to America and loved it but i don’t think you should be compering New Zealand with America as both country’s are completely diffrent in every way.

    • > I am also a kiwi born and raised…

      Do you live in Australia?

      > However the pluses far out weigh the minuses of living there.

      I thought so.

      > I suppose that’s what you get when your pm is also the tourism minister.

      Definitely. Trying to distance yourself from the country so as to elevate yourself above average bogan status to sound more authoritative, perhaps?

      > but I can assure you there is more to New Zealand than auckland.

      OK, so you don’t actually live here, but you feel the need to enlighten about where we live(d). You’re a kiwi born and raised, so you have a lifetime expert badge.

      > the wages and cost of living are a problem …

      For most kiwis, certainly. Yet I’ve earned >$100/hour, and our household income is way above average, but it buys, well, not much. Why? No value for money.

      > New Zealand is very isolated and with such a small population the cost of living there will not change anytime soon.

      No, not really, but that’s what kiwis like to tell themselves and uninformed onlookers, especially. The truth is that kiwis are poorly-educated, unmotivated, and mentally limited. An American or even Aussie, asks, how can I do this? A kiwi asks, why would you want to? An immigrant asks, why do your crap houses cost so much? The kiwi asks, how can I flip my house and get a piece of the action? Immigrants come to New Zealand to create value; kiwis have only the desire to overprice and profiteer from it.

      > I too have been to America and loved it

      Careful, a two-week trip to Disneyland counts for nothing here, and will make you the instant target of derision.

      New Zealand’s cultural psychosis is it’s pathological need to rubbish all American things and people whilst plagiarising everything they can. If coming to NZ from the US for the first time you will be floored at the blatant rip-offs of business concepts, names, logos, and product from the US especially, and other countries as well.

      > i don’t think you should be compering New Zealand with America

      That is the last thing an American who has migrated to New Zealand wants to do. Unfortunately, NZ’s superiority complex depends on constant, rigged comparisons and cheap shots. What you read here are the collective defensive reactions of people like us who are fed up with the daily barrage of kiwi insecurity.

      No, double-DD dog (what, pray tell, does a name like that refer to?), your post is so typical, it’s cliché.

      • >An American or even Aussie, asks, how can I do this?

        Sorry, I should have said “new migrant,” but the thread is titled “An American’s Take….”

        Americans aren’t alone in wondering how to get things done or make things happen.

        • I’ve just about given up trying.
          With about 40 years [39 actually] of carpentry/building/construction experience, I’m NOT looking to contribute to the collective knowledge base here, anymore. I’ve forgotten more than they’ll know about high speed production. At 50+, I can still whoop most framing crews, but I’ll keep that to myself, because “that’s not how we do it here”. Most of my clients are quite happy and amazed and usually ask “why isn’t it done like that here?” Leave them in the dark [ages], that’s where they seem to want to be/remain.
          But, that’s not how I started out, I came here wanting to help introduce high speed methods, yet they were flattly rejected. Let them remain ignorant.

          • I feel your pain. New Zealand: the perfect cure for optimism.

            You should consider blogging about NZ housing construction – I would certainly read it. It could be therapeutic and might lead to bigger and better things, if you could keep it mostly professional. I would love to read a knowledgeable American perspective on housing construction. Here are a few suggestions for blog topics:

            Why do Kiwis prefer polystyrene for foundations (or “we don’t need much concrete, mate”)?

            Why kiwis have a love affair with 1/8″ (3mm) hardboard for walls?

            The best ghettos for kiwi builders in-the-know to get their carpet from – or Is shag making a comeback?

            How to spot the kids’ DIY P-lab that has been painted over by Mum and Dad before renting?

            Is double glazing the future of pastry science in New Zealand? And is 1080 good for your teeth?

          • One of my favorites:
            1/8″ hardboard to cover over sheet vinyl [usually with asbestos in it].
            Why bother to peel up the asbestos when you can just cover it over? This makes it more dangerous because if anyone were to cut into the floor [with a saw], the dust would have asbestos in it, the most dangerous form for asbestos to be in.
            She’ll be right, indeed. Ticking time bomb for some unsuspecting builder to trip over.
            Health and safety, what a joke.

          • Perhaps this is a novel concept in NZ. It is possible to be both fast AND good.
            Increasing production rates and still providing the same or improved quality.

  28. I’m an American who has lived in NZ for almost 13 years now – although I agree with some of what the original poster wrote, I think NZ is one of the best places in the world to live. I did not have a nest egg when I came here – I had less than $5,000 in savings, but I got a job straight away, worked hard, saved harder and was able to purchase a beautiful home WITH central gas heat! You just need to change your expectations and perhaps be willing to “go without” and live outside your comfort zone – I personally believe the pay off of being able to call this beautiful land home is the pay off, I miss my stateside “home” but not for any monetary or materialistic reason, more for the family & friends I left behind. I’m sorry NZ didn’t work out for you but to be honest, I’m not sure anywhere other than the USA would work for you – you’re perhaps just too set in your expectations and lack of trying to see beyond the “problems” or differences. Comfort zones, sometimes you need to expand out of them.

    • @CelticKiwiShill:

      “straight away” the inevitable ” stateside” and ” central gas heat”

      You really suck at pretending to be American!

  29. The ironic thing about employment in NZ: it is difficult to get a job in NZ without NZ work experience, yet the calibre of service and standards is so poor, the external quality of service and standards are needed to improve NZ service and standards. So a bit of a “Catch-22” situation going on.
    It seems as though most would rather be oblivious of what “world class” service and standards are, and continue along in the ways that have come to exist.

    • My Swiss/Kiwi wife and I watched a Jamie Oliver show where he went to a town in West Virginia that was supposedly the fattest town in the United States to introduce them to proper food. The suspicion and hostility with which the cafeteria workers, school officials, and the local townspeople seemed to treat him reminded me of the reception from Retardicon 6 (New Zealand). The general ignorance, slovenliness, and blank stare that people gave Oliver were identical to what I had experienced in New Zealand. What an appalling lack of culture.

  30. I’m an American and I’ve lived in NZ for almost two years now with my wife and two children. We are both educated professionals, who work in the healthcare field. I can only express my own reality based upon what I have experienced and been subjected to in NZ.

    It is a beautiful country, we live on South Island. Our home we’re presently living in is one year old. I’ve been disappointed by the lack of quality in the construction overall. Yes, there are double-glazed windows, but windows come in various grades of quality.

    There is a lack of proper insulation, as it becomes very cold, especially noticeable during the winter months of june, july, august. Space/room electric heaters must be used in order to make it comfortable for sleeping. I still don’t understand the rationale for not having central heating installed within the homes here, especially the new construction. Utilities are very expensive here, especially electricity and other necessities such as shoes, trainers/sneakers, clothing, food.

    I have seen and lived in homes which were of better quality for around the same price-range in other countries in which I’ve lived.

    I have lived in Europe, UK, India, across America and NZ and have traveled to many different countries throughout the years.

    I will also be the first to admit that the US has many shortcomings, issues, problems like most, which need resolution. However, I feel that overall it is stil one of the best countries to live in the world.

    One of the area’s which has been most disappointing to me is the interaction of kiwis, their communication style or lack thereof. I have found the men to be hypersensitive passive-aggressive personalities and the women to be aggressive, rude, hostile and argumentative in general. There are some exceptions to this observation, of course.

    I have never been so condescended, talked down to, spoken rudely to other than by some people within parts of the UK, in my entire life.

    If you ask a question, some kiwis take this as an offense. If you make an professional or personal observation on a specific subject matter, they will become defensive and often offended. I’ve even had perspective employers here in NZ tell me that Americans scare people, so they wouldn’t hire Americans to work with/for them.

    I have had retailers in NZ actually become rude, nasty, argumentative for making a point about a product on something I was interested in purchasing. In the US, the general demeanor is the customer is always right and you’re not to argue with a customer. The US in general is a customer service driven marketplace.

    In summary, every experience is just that, an experience, be it good or bad. I cannot nor would Itell anyone what to do, what they shoudl or shouldn’t do that’s a personal decision only the person can make for themselves. I would encourage anyone who is considering making a move to NZ, to first come and check it out thoroughly to see if it is really what you want to do and where you would enjoy living.

    • “One of the area’s which has been most disappointing to me is the interaction of kiwis, their communication style or lack thereof. I have found the men to be hypersensitive passive-aggressive personalities and the women to be aggressive, rude, hostile and argumentative in general. There are some exceptions to this observation, of course.”

      Yes, this. It’s true that you will find exceptions to this behavior but it is overwhelmingly true. The rudeness and hostility of people who will happily take advantage of any hospitality, generosity or honesty you bring to the table. This is rip-off central because most Kiwis regard foreigners – and each other – as stupid rubes to be fleeced. There is a reason there are the highest rates of bullying, depression and suicide. This is a nasty place to live.

      • I just want to point out that we didn’t invent Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’m sad about my anti – social generation – sometimes I really wish I grew up in the 70’s…

      • Oh for heaven’s sake there are rude people everywhere I like the English but they will barely give you the time on the Tube some of them, always a big sigh, you are taking two seconds of my time unbelievable. Bullying, yes I was bullied as a Kiwi working overseas, it happens everywhere, people are much the same. I know I am banned for being a bad Kiwi. Which you think most of us are anyway

        • 100% agree with your statement 100% – “there are rude people everywhere”.

          Do you know the proportion is exorbitantly high among kiwis? I don’t have to go too far to figure this out, you can just drive out on a weekday (and even Sat/Sunday) and see for yourself – the number of rogue drivers I see here are way more than what I have seen in my entire life, The fun doesn’t stop there – this records breaks everytime I step out and drive on the road. SIGH!

      • yes sevice to the public is an area that NZ is very behind in. Service in IUS is geberally fantastic, you get the feeling peple like serving you. service is better in Australia and in japan. NZ service is shocking.

    • I know the South Island and it is lovely, scenery wise. But that doesn’t make up for some of the people.
      The customer service in NZ really is terrible and I think it comes down the fact that people grow up with a deep inferiority complex and cannot bear the thought of being the one serving someone else. It as if giving good service means you are somehow being subservient and that must be avoided at all costs. It’s just ridiculous. The hostility, slack service, rudeness etc is crazy.
      I would suggest you move to Australia if you are looking to stay in this part of the world. It’s totally different here, you go to the supermarket and generally you get a pleasant engaged friendly person helping you. They actually make an effort to serve you like a customer.

      NZers are deeply insecure around Americans. They may act hostile etc but growing up in NZ, American beauty, teeth, education, lifestyle, popular culture were all idolised and yet also viewed as utterly unattainable. The whole openness, positivity, go-getter attitude of most Americans is deeply threatening to many NZers who have tried to convince themselves that their underachieving depressed lives are just great.
      I feel you will always have to “hide your light under a bushell” as an American in NZ.

  31. Yes, it may have looked greener, and the NZ government said it was greener, and NZ immigration said it was greener, the [now to learn fake] stats said it was greener. This is why some are bitter, because they feel that they’ve been lied to. It is a sad day when you figure out that you can not believe a word that they said about how wonderful NZ is.

  32. New Zealand is definitely a different place from thirty years ago. I have lived here all my life and saw definite changes from the mid 1980’s onwards when Neo Liberal policies were embraced. These policies changed the way people were treated with thousands put out of work, factories closed down and cheap goods imported. This has resulted in a less friendly, less hospitable way of life. In my youth New Zealanders would invite anyone in to their homes and visitors were welcomed. Our society is much more isolated now and it has become a virtue to buy cheap. I like to buy good quality goods and clothing and often feel I have to justify that.

  33. I believe that [in one of those “step programs”] one of the first steps to solving a problem is admitting that there IS a problem. It seems as though the “she’ll be right” attitude is prevailing, and everything is just fine.
    The ammount of information available to NZ industry from outside sources [migrants] is vast, yet only NZ “experience” or training is recognised. So all of that information is lost because NZ does not want to know what anyone else is doing. This is probably the most frustrating part: many migrants have moved here with a good and positive attitude towards contributing to the knowledge and skill base of NZ, and what do they find when they get here, ready to contribute? Migrants find that their knowledge and skills are NOT valued and [sometimes] actually make it harder to find a job that they’ve been employed in [successfully in other places] for perhaps decades.
    Shot themselves in the foot, yet unaware that they are wounded. “She’ll be right”.

  34. New Zealand is probably the most beautiful place you’ll ever visit, I immigrated to New Zealand over a decade ago with my parents, I love it here I really do. But the lack of motivation to develop and move forward has really taken its tow. I always say that Kiwis don’t understand the meaning of the expression “Economy of Scale” every infrastructure built is built to accommodate the current need with no room for growth and because of that things became undersized too quickly which forces new infrastructure to be build but instead of building it for the future it is built again to accommodate only the current need. This vicious cycle is breaking New Zealand’s back. I am genuinely scared with the future of New Zealand, yes the health system here is quite good, and there are benefits paid to people in need but there is no incentive to grow. Politics here while very honest by international standards are much centered in the politicians personal lives and gossip instead of who will actually help the economy grow. Few months back I watched the debate on about what to do about Auckland and if foreigners should be prohibited from buying real state in NZ, opinions aside, no one, absolutely no one in that debate asked the real important questions, they all had crazy ideas to change the situation but none of them, not National, not Labor not the audience not the presenter asked: WHY.
    Why are houses so expensive? WHY?
    Before trying to solve a problem with exotic contraptions that only add another layer of complexity to a particular situation you must understand the problem, understand its reasons and underlying issues.
    To me Auckland’s real state issue must be traced back to its roots:
    Lack of adequate transport: Most people prefer to live further away from the noise of a big city, but when living in a quiet suburb area on the outskirts of a big town means you are subjected to a 4 hour daily commute to work it is natural people will try to move closer and closer.
    • Lack of infrastructure elsewhere: everything is in Auckland and for Auckland. I live in a small town and work for the biggest employer in this town, the amount of hurdles imposed by the local council that we have to jump through makes me understand why every business in NZ want to move to Auckland, I am not saying that councils should be at the mercy to big employers but more should be done to nourish local business away from Auckland to spread the wealth and facilitate growth
    • Immigration: The amount of highly qualified immigrant professionals that are forced to find simpler jobs due to the fact that job associations just simply won’t recognize their qualifications due to lack of will and basic laziness.
    • Construction (material prices and local regulations): this is a tough one, for example insulation prices in NZ are absolutely ridiculous, anywhere else in the world the insulating foam costs next to nothing making a DIY insulating job extremely cheap, but the lack of local production makes these astronomical in NZ. On top of that local councils require ridiculous amounts of pointless regulation without realizing that a worm home is much more important than if there are 2 houses of different styles in the same street.
    • To name a few
    Now I am not saying that these problems alone are responsible for all of NZ issues, my point is: we must act on the causes not on the symptoms the Auckland housing issue is a symptom of many much deeper issues.
    Now I know I veered of the point a little, but, I do believe New Zealand have tons of potential, but we must not stand by and let all of this potential go to waste, we as kiwis must improve ourselves to compel others to do the same, I know this sounds cheesy but it is the absolute truth.

    • The biggest problem is that none of the issues you have pointed out will ever be solved. The New Zealand people are not interested in fixing the issues that plague their country. Look through this site and you will see one example after another that indicates only too clearly that the vast majority of New Zealanders are lazy, incompetent and dishonest. They won’t lift a finger to make the changes that are so desperately needed, they would rather pretend the problems don’t exist, or complain endlessly to the wrong people. When given the chance to actually make a difference all their voices go suddenly silent.

      You will encounter this in all it’s disgusting glory if you try to get involved in any form or activism in New Zealand. When the opportunity to actually make a change is there all the people who were so vocal and pretended they would actually take action suddenly disappear. I’ve had this happen several times to the point now where I point blank REFUSE to stand up for anyone in this country. I have, however, become involved in solving certain issues overseas, where the people don’t behave like a bunch of apathetic, self-absorbed wimps.

      • [Ad hom attack deleted. Admin] We are NOT dishonest, and to create that stereotype of us is just mean. If we are lazy, why the heck are we spending around $25m to CHANGE OUR FLAG?? I mean sure, we need to sort out our priorities, but we are NOT lazy, under any circumstances.

        • “Whey the heck are we spending around $25m to change our flag?”

          Why indeed? Why are the New Zealand public tolerating their government spending TENS OF MILLIONS of TAXPAYER dollars on a vanity project of the Prime Minister? Why are the New Zealand people not marching on parliament in droves and demanding the resignation of an individual who has shown that spending money on pointless projects is more important than solving the REAL problems the country has? Apparently it is considered more important to change the flag then to deal with New Zealand’s drug problems or booze culture. It is considered more important to change the flag then to deal with New Zealand’s violence and child abuse problems, or the gun problems, or the level of fraud, or the backward schooling system, or the woefully incompetent medical system that has people dying on medical waiting lists, etc. etc.

          You could not have picked a better example of the laziness and incompetence that plagues the country, and the unwillingness of the Kiwis to do what it takes to make REAL changes.

  35. I completly agree , anyone with the slightest amount of intelligence can see the difference in quality of life and the reasons for the differences , Im an American male who married a wonderful and loving kiwi woman and moved here to wellington NZ 3 months ago , I quickly realized that no one wants to do a good job of anything here.

    Buy cheap stuff as cheap as possible and live day to day with no real security for tomorrow .
    I love my wife but I hate this place and it’s over priced junk .

    I’d like to add That all in all I’m here to stay because this is where my wife’s family is and she’s my life . NZ isn’t a bad place , everyone really is nice here . ( unless there behind the wheel of a car lol ) .

    There’s good and bad with any place you go , I was very comfortable and successful in America but I wasn’t happy in the way that I am now . Being here with my wife happiness compared to no other for me. Yea it’s over priced , cluttered and moldy but it’s all those things with her at my side .

    I regret nothing I’ve done , regret are for those who have done nothing .

  36. I just found this site. I have a nephew who visits relatives in New Zealand periodically. I hate the way he acts when he comes back. He has lost all his graces, seems to have forgotten how to show normal casual affection towards his people, and has a brusque brush-off way about him. He acts as if he is unaware of other people having feelings. Entitled little mini-jock. He’s back to normal within a few weeks. But his parents tell me that’s why they don’t live in New Zealand anymore, but they don’t have much to say outside of that. I am always left with the impression that they don’t want to talk about it or don’t think others will believe them, because everyone has this “idea” of New Zealand formed from the media. Glad this site is easy enough to find on Google if you want to learn more about the bad parts of life there.

  37. This article is so true, its good to read the truth about our country because the dimwits in the local media never will. NZers are always told how great it is, because generally speaking most of us don’t know anything else, so its just accepted as been the truth. The key thought above was when the poster said “No where is great if you are struggling.” Also about how laid back we are – I just call it straight up laziness. When you couple how hardworking the immigrants are and how the politicians have opened the floodgates to them, you can see how in 100 years time this will be an asian/indian country. Good luck to them.

    • Oh my goodness – that cake really does say alot about the lack of professionalism in NZ. I am a health care professional and have been bullied several times over but chose to stand up to it. Really, what happens here (if you are an American anyway) is that you bring to the surface –even without trying –all of the Kiwis insecurities, and they react via defense mechanisms, even when there is no threat. My education compared to the same one here is laughable at best — and my pay is 1/3 of what I made overseas. I do, however, love the scenery. THe people, you can have them. My partner was floored at how polite everyone was in America. When I stated a simple observation about my partner’s findings – another Kiwi said to me (and you will get this alot here when making a simple observation) “if you don’t like it here, you can just go back.” Defense mechanisms rule here – very big bully, tough guy mentality. I agree with one of the other posters who likened this to a schoolyard mentality…So my thoughts are this – we can stay here and try to be a good role model or give up and go back to where we came from. Over time, good behaviour is catching – is it not? Or maybe I am just grasping at hope.

  38. I recently had to do some air travel, and met a nice drugstore manager at a motel. We got to talking, and she said she knew two black gay health professionals who had moved to New Zealand after being recruited for one of those expat medical staff arrangements. They had lived there for a few years, or as long as their contract was for. She said they came back not because the Kiwis gave them a hard time for their orientation, but because of the racism. They are definitely not used to black people. Rural Iowa in the 1930s? Something along those lines. They were uncomfortable, they became tired of being treated in an ignorant and immature way, and all the scenery in the world could not relieve their discomfort. Despite all the security checks while traveling, I am always so cheered by the general air of people in the States, because of the difference from New Zealand, where we lived for half a dozen years. In America, people meet your eyes, are generally speaking warm and “in touch”, and will chat politely. So different from New Zealand. Living in New Zealand, we could not put our finger on exactly what was missing in this particular respect, but it was something social and human. Over and above the attitude the two medical professionals experienced, there was some kind of general human life connectedness feeling that was utterly absent in the “social air” there, and typically, in any relations you undertook. It was hard to explain, but some of the people posting on this forum echoed what we perceived.

    • As shown by the levels of fraud, corruption, sexual offending, murder, child abuse and general violence which this country is repeatedly shown to have the only conclusion that can be drawn is that a large number of New Zealanders have personality traits that promote these problems.

      So what kind of traits could these be? A complete of empathy, ongoing anti-social behaviour and a total lack of remorse are all clearly shown by those who will rip another off without a second glance, with the racism that dominates this country, with the high levels of child abuse, through tall-poppy syndrome and the unfriendly nature of New Zealanders to outsiders. This combined with a boldness to criminality far beyond what is reasonable, partly due to a police force and justice system rife with incompetence, creates a clear picture of the personality traits that dominate New Zealand people.

      Interestingly, a total lack of empathy, ongoing anti-social behaviour, a total lack of remorse and a boldness of criminal action are ALL the hallmarks of a psychopath.

    • Honestly I think it’s the fact that over time, you really start to question your own sanity living in a place where customer service(and interactions in general actually) are cold, listless and somewhat hostile. You start to wonder if you are the one with a problem for constantly being hurt/offended by it.
      Having left NZ I look back and think “yeah, that is intolerable so I should have been offended”. When you live with it day to day, it takes a toll on you I think.
      People who are even remotely sensitive should not move to NZ.
      It’s funny how many Kiwis are willing to have a go at other people when they themselves are nothing to write home about. I have had people at my old job openly criticise and make racial comments about friends of mine to me, as if they expect me to agree with them.

  39. Thank you for your candor and honesty. I’ve done gads of research, and continue to do more every day. Every country has people who will scream, “don’t move there!” after having expectations that don’t match the reality.

    We have acquaintances who moved to NZ and LOVE it, and never looked back. I wanted a more “this is how it really is” perspective, and “if you’r really set on going, here’s what I wish I had known…” You’ve all certainly supplied that, some of you keeping your judgement more veiled than others.

    We are not married to NZ, but for a 2-year adventure, it is still in the running. NZ is clearly not for everyone, and whatever decision we make, it will be a well-informed one. Thank you for your time and your input!

    • Yeah, come on in for your ‘two year adventure’, seems like you have got sufficient cushioning (financial + emotional). So my good luck to you.

      Come here on a tourist visa first, stay here for while and see if it is for you. I personally know some Americans/ Canadians who can fit well here, you seem like you will do well in NZ.

      As about me, I am 25 old guy with a baby on the way, and i am already hell bent upon taking the flight away from here asap. I don’t want my yet to be born kid, to grow up in a culture which doesn’t values respect for parents, hard-work and knowledge. I don’t want my yet to be born kid to be intellectually limited, and grow up in a culture of teenage alcohol abuse and tall poppy syndrome.

    • Which part of NZ are your friends in? That really makes a difference. I would consider moving to the same place they are so you have the support, experience etc if you do go.
      Please don’t think of NZ as some safe haven from the darker sides of modern life, there is plenty of methamphetamine there, and correspondingly a heck of a lot of violence.

      Be aware of the anti American sentiment, it can be pretty strong. I would suggest you do a lite move, bring the essentials but leave most of it back in the US. Treat it like a sabatical. You can rent a house, get second hand furniture etc, then moving back is no such a hassle. I am sure you can have an okay two years if you choose a safer part of NZ to live in, have enough money, are extremely careful about your personal safety and have your tickets back already booked/paid for. I would just say that a lot of assumptions you might have about people being basically friendly, outgoing, good , decent etc might be challenged.

    • I would second what mdc said about anti-americanism. It pervades the culture here, from the top down (with the exception of the current Prime Minister, who will do anything to please Hollywood, including rapidly pushing through changes in the labour laws to please Peter Jackson and his immensely wealthy backers, after they threw a hissy fit). The media is full of it, and so are lots of the people I’ve met, including some of my in-laws.

      That Kiwis are among the friendliest people in the world is one of the many absurd hyped-up memes started by Kiwis themselves. They boast A LOT, especially about how humble, friendly and unassuming they are. In reality, they’re mostly like everyone else, some are friendly some are not. In general, I find common civility and manners lacking in many of my encounters with New Zealanders in public. Far fewer thanks you, or excuse me(s) than I was used to. People just tend to brush past you as if you don’t exist. They do it to my NZ husband too. It seems to be the Kiwi way.

      Mamamcheeta, you say you have acquaintances that LOVE NZ. I can tell you many people will tell you that, because it’s the easiest thing to say, and because it makes them feel better to say it. It will make you envy them for living in such a beautiful little paradise. When I’ve visited the States and have run into acquaintances, I’ve been told things like “Wow, You must love it there!” What am I supposed to say to them? Tell them it’s actually cr*p, mostly? I just agreed with them, and the conversation immediately turned to other superficial niceties. I’m sure some people I used to work with would say the same about me, that they know someone who lives in NZ and loves it. My close friends know better. You really can’t go into why NZ is so not as advertised without sounding like a whinger. The government has spent so much money on advertisement, and I must say, their efforts have worked well. It also helps that Kiwis are more than happy to tell everyone what a paradise they live in. They want to believe it so badly. I have family here in NZ that live in what would definitely be considered third world conditions, in a grungy industrial section of Christchurch They have little money, rarely eat out or entertain themselves except for free (they almost never visit the most interesting parts of the South Island, because of lack of interest mostly, but also because of cost of petrol). They would tell any outsider that NZ is a paradise, and much to be preferred to the rest of the big bad world. I can see their real situation, and I sometimes worry for their mental health. They are deeply miserable, depressed people. Like too many New Zealanders it seems, they have openly anti-American attitudes and say shockingly racist things on the one hand, and on the other they self-consciously use Maori words and spout all the correct opinions to show how they commiserate with their Maori compatriots (they’re of the younger generation). In reality they fear and resent people of less than pale skin. For all their correct opinions, some of the racist things I’ve heard them say would make your hair curl. Actually, I’m not sure who they like. Let me give you some quotes I’ve heard on my most recent visits – “English people are fat, and dirty looking. No really, you should see them. They look like misshapen potatoes. They have horrible complexions.” and “I hate Australia, the scenery, and I hate Australians.” “I don’t care what you say, I still don’t like them [referring to Asians]. These are certainly not the words of happy, contented, open minded people, lucky to live in the most beautiful country in the world. Unfortunately, I’ve heard talk like this throughout my time in New Zealand – at work, at school functions, overhearing conversations in public. Asians seem to get it the worst though, for now. My older in-laws extend their racism to Maori too, unlike the younger ones.

      Anyone who approaches NZ with the misapprehension that they are visiting a kinder, gentler corner of the world is surely to be not just disappointed, but shocked at how it is in fact, the opposite.

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