WELCOME please read


There’s a reason why so few people live in NZ.

To borrow a phrase from Glenn Greenwald, we commit journalism here.

Through this site and our Twitter account we “actively trigger discussion and examination of claims” about New Zealand, “rather than mindless recitation, ritualistic affirmation and compelled acceptance.”

Accordingly, this is a Kool-Aid free site. You may find that something of a novelty when it comes to NZ information, but we are refreshingly honest.

Rest assured, everyone who runs this site was once either a migrant or a student in New Zealand. Our present locations are varied and include the UK, Canada, US, Asian and Pacific countries.

We also have a group Twitter account which has a broader social media brief than just New Zealand, you can follow us at: E2NZ

On this site you’ll discover some of the unexpurgated truths about New Zealand, something that you seldom find in these days of mass marketing and nation branding.

Are you considering a move to New Zealand? perhaps you’re thinking of living there long-term, going out to join family (married a Kiwi perhaps) or you want to sample the lifestyle for a while and then move on.

Are you taking your children to NZ for a better life? Did you know in 2016/2017 New Zealand students had their worst ever results in the international education tests? and Kiwi youth have some of the highest rates of suicide in the world.

If you’re coming from Europe, or any other developed nation,  you may soon find out the meaning of the following (originally about Egypt and adapted from Michael Palin’s “Around the World in Eighty Days” TV series  )

“What, in Europe, had been problems to solve, in New Zealand will become limitations to accept.”

This is a blog dedicated to giving you as much information as possible to enable you to make an informed choice because it’s always better to go into these things with eyes wide open and rose tinted spectacles consigned to your back pocket. Because, as one of our posters commented, “too many people come here with what they want the place to be and not how it really is“.

We’re here to tell you how it is, no punches pulled – straight up. Are you ready to hear it?

There is a wealth of information on the world-wide web about the upsides of New Zealand. They mostly centre around the beautiful landscape, how pure it is, the laid back lifestyle and how great a place it is to raise kids. Whilst these things may have an element of truth how realistic are they? Usually when something sounds too good to be true it isn’t, perhaps a little balance and honesty is called for, its about time.

The days of the New Zealand Company’s propaganda are long over but has anything changed since the 1840s? this is from that era:

“The immigrants’ dissatisfaction was compounded by the misleading propaganda that the Company’s London office had put out. They had been told that New Zealand was a fertile Eden; that economic prospects were unlimited for the hardworking man; and that almost every form of agriculture, manufacture, and commerce was possible, and would yield high returns. The Company had depicted the Maori race as eager for the white man’s ways and merchandise. They had glossed over the difficulties of pioneering, and suppressed all negative reports of New Zealand…
By the mid 1840s, the four New Zealand Company settlements all had similar problems. The immigrants were angry. Many regretted their decision to come to this country and damned the Company for its misleading propaganda. They began leaving the settlements in droves, and by 1848, only eighty-five of the original 436 Wellington colonists remained.”

This following extract is taken from Wikipedia – Pakeha Settlers

“Campaign posters advertising New Zealand in England did give many settlers false hopes, manipulating their reasons. These posters often described New Zealand as an island paradise, complete with white sandy beaches and coconut trees. This heavenly image also did a lot to attract settlers to New Zealand, as it was such a welcome contrast to the rain and cold weather in England. Many settlers also believed that the paradise New Zealand was presented as would be good for their families’ health as the warm weather as well as the small population in New Zealand could keep dangerous diseases that were rife in England to a minimum in New Zealand.


Another factor in attracting people to New Zealand was families who had already settled writing to their relatives back in Great Britain telling them what a wonderful place New Zealand was. Sometimes these letters were sincere and people truly had discovered a much better life in New Zealand and wanted their relatives to share in the spoils, but sometimes there were other motives. Pure loneliness and isolation could encourage people to write exaggerated letters to their relatives in the hope that they would make New Zealand sound so good that their extended families would come and join them thus providing them with some comfort. There were also settlers who were too afraid to admit to their families back home that they had made a mistake in coming to New Zealand and so, to save face they chose to exaggerate the positive sides of living in New Zealand and keep quiet about the negative factors. This writing of letters by settlers back to their families in the United Kingdom resulted in what’s called a chain reaction as more and more people were encouraged to come out and join their families.”

These days we have the benefit of the internet. Emails, blog journals and social networking sites  are replacing the letters home. Many a propaganda campaign has been launched and waged on sites like YouTube and Facebook.

You may also like to see how modern day marketing methods are presently being aimed at potential migrants from wealthy countries a comparatively short distance from New Zealand:

“The bait was better working hours, cheaper cars and housing – and in three weeks thousands from Singapore have registered their interest in living in New Zealand…”

Shame the campaign didn’t first stop to find out the correct spelling for Singaporean: “New Zealand open arms to Singaporians.” It’s not a good overture from a country that’s marketing itself on the excellence of  its education system.

But these hard sell messages are difficult to resist, New Zealand has gained an international reputation for being a leader in Nation Branding, a skill that has been honed to perfection ever since the 1840s. This is taken from the Korean Times

“A clean and green oasis, 100 percent pure, and the land of “Lord of the Rings” are some of New Zealand’s signature images that have been shaped over the years, transforming the southwestern Pacific dairy country into the world’s fourth most desired place to visit in 2006. How did this happen?

Competitive national branding, says the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), adding that an equivalent tourism and trade boost would happen here if Korea benchmarked some of New Zealand’s winning points.

The trade group highlighted that the “all-natural” country has successfully positioned itself through an effective private corporation, thorough brand research and clear goal-driven strategies.

Starting in 1999, New Zealand _ well known for its environmental efforts _ campaigned with the catchy slogan “100% Pure” in all of its key markets for trade and consumer events, advertising and marketing.

Although the principal tag line is “100% Pure New Zealand,” the government allowed private corporations to extend the campaign to fit their businesses, such as “100% Romance” and “100% Pure Adventure.”

The catch phrase is now used by some 170 exporting and services companies, said KOTRA.

The country’s well-kept environment successfully translated into money as a 2001 study by New Zealand’s Environmental Ministry said the “clean and green” image would be worth “hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars.”

And to sustain its competitive national brand, KOTRA added that the birthplace of bungee jumping carries out ongoing market research with a global advertising agency, which also helps to tweak branding strategies…

read on

But one of the dangers of these campaigns is that if the country doesn’t live up to visitors’ expectations they are going to feel duped. Just take a look at any of our posts tagged 100% Pure Myth to see what we mean by this. It’s going to be even more difficult to maintain the 100% Pure advertising slogan now that pressure is on to open up the land for mining to release $140 billion worth of minerals and $100 billion in lignite.

Our Aim

Our aim is to try to cut through the hype and show you some of the present day issues you will encounter as a visitor or migrant in New Zealand.

These include archaic working practices, low remuneration, appalling poverty – especially when it impacts on children and young people, poor housing standards, the risks of damage from earthquakes, the high levels of crime, widespread drug abuse, the shocking numbers of deaths and injuries on the roads and those that arise from tourism activities.

Whilst you’re here why not take a look at our “Migrant Stories”  “Kiwi Talk” and “Facts and stats”  pages, get the inside scoop and see what migrants and local people are saying about New Zealand.

Read what a poet says about his home town in the Lawless North: “Ode to Whangarei”  and contrast that to the images that are put out about New Zealand and you’ll see the reality behind the façade.

We hope you get something out of it and a desire to find out more for yourself.

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120 thoughts on “WELCOME please read

  1. I want to share this experience with those who might be considering studying any kind of art degree in New Zealand. I have been to two different institutions and while the second one had very professional administrative staffs and facilities, art as a degree in itself in NZ is very lacking.

    First, this is my experience with the first institution.

    Back in 2013 I applied to a private art college in Parnell, Auckland. When I got accepted, I wrote to some student lodging websites listed on the college’s webpage. Some of those places apparently no longer existed while others said that they only accept students from a specific university. When I contacted the college about the fact that none of the housing suggestions were available or valid, they asked me, which one of the options were invalid. They did not bother checking it themselves when those places would just be a phone call away from them.

    I ended up staying at a family friend’s place for the beginning of my studies. On the introduction day, needless to say, kiwis were only interested in forming groups with each other. International students just ended up in their own separate group.

    The administrative staffs were always rude. Once I lost my passport and they told me that I was an illegal. I asked if I could take a day off to fly to Wellington to my country’s embassy to get a new passport. More yelling came from the staff, unhappy that I would miss a day of class even though this person was the one who told me it was illegal for me to be in their college. This came from the person who was in charge of international students.

    As the year went on, many people dropped out, unsatisfied with the teaching. Although we were supposed to choose a variety of majors to continue on in the second year, fashion, photography, graphic design etc the classes that we had to do in first year were heavily based on fine arts drawing and painting.

    As for students’ works, some teaching staffs ignore blatant plagiarism in the students’ artworks. Many works were almost straight reproductions of works found on websites such as Pinterest. I have seen a teaching staff accepting a photography project where everything from the idea to the composition and angle of photograph was exactly the same as the original, which the student has previously shown to the staff.

    Grades were supposed to be everything. Students were constantly threatened that if their grades don’t reach a certain cut-off mark then they will fail to go onto the second year. Fair enough. But it was often done in an aggressive and sometimes abusive manner. Mid-year they would sit us all in the lecture hall, passing out a list of names with numbers next to them. It was a list of who’s got the best score right down to the bottom. The last ones were mainly international students who had language issues. The staff then proceeded to shame students publicly, using swear words and foul language. It was highly unprofessional.

    This was where I understood why they have accepted so many international students whose English proficiency scores were below the level that is accepted at tertiary institutes: Money. We pay a much higher fee so the college used that as additional padding to their budget, not caring whether the students would get something out of their year in the college or caring about their welfare. I have even witnessed a teaching staff making fun of a girl who struggled with English and had special needs.

    The college got two of their recent master degree graduates to give those international students additional English language classes. Neither of those two have a degree in teaching but the college claims that the class is taught by qualified staffs. Hearing from my friends who had to take the class, they were not taught any English but the classes just involved going over the compulsory assignments from the other classes.

    Another blatant obsession with students’ money and the college’s self-promotion was the college owner and their daughter. The daughter was a fashion graduate from the college who had her own clothing store. A friend studying fashion told me that students were obliged to go on a compulsory group visit to the store and were told by a teaching staff to bring lots of money because they would probably want to buy a lot of things. The trip was supposed to be about learning how a fashion business functions but the college’s daughter failed to answer any of my friend’s questions.

    I noticed that more than often when students were given projects to complete, those that are better-off with money tend to get a higher grade. This was evident in fashion when some students could afford more expensive materials or during a book-making workshop where one student received a high grade with a factory-printed book, while the rest have to make-do with handmade books. Students should be given a limited spending budget to give everyone a fair chance.

    Apart from money, hierarchy meant everything. Students were not treated equally. Apart from the obvious mistreatment of international students by administrative staffs, the time you spend in the college matters too. If you are in the first year and need to hire some equipment such as projectors for your end of year exhibition, you can’t. Everything is reserved for the fourth-year students, those who have stayed longer at the college. If you are unable to afford buying expensive equipment yourself then you only have to get by with simple things. This would have been fine except that the more extravagant the show, the better grade your grade would be.

    My decision to leave was probably one of the best decisions I ever made while studying in New Zealand, but it wasn’t with difficulties. At the end of the year I went and applied to transfer my studies at a proper university that taught an art degree. I needed the current transcripts of my grades so far. However, the administrative staff in charge would not give it to me, coming up with excuses that she was too busy. From experience of completing another degree in another tertiary institute, this has never been a problem because all it takes was just to print out the document, add a signature and stamp it with the institution’s approval stamp. For over two weeks this staff and her colleagues kept saying that she was busy. I flew home for the Christmas holidays, still haven’t heard anything back. I was in a hurry because the other institution needed my documents in order to process my application before the deadline. I called the art college from abroad, asked the secretary to transfer my call to the same administrative staff only to had her hang up on me. In the end, I wrote a polite but firm email to her, reminding her that this is part of her job. Two days later she finally wrote me saying that she has just posted my transcripts to the other university. This all took almost a month to complete. Funny thing is, a friend of mine went in the day after to ask for his transcripts and was told that the staff was too busy.

    *note that the college has updated their website and some information regarding the English class and student accommodation at the time of my writing*

  2. Hi admin, I want to share my personal experience studying in NZ tertiary institutes for three years as a foreigner. Is there somewhere that I can send you my story? There are a lot of things that I want to let others know before they consider going to study fine arts in NZ.

    • Hi again admin,
      thank you for the fast reply. I don’t know if my writing will be too long…I went to two separate art schools so there is quite a bit that I have to share.

  3. Hi Admin,

    I stumbled across your site a couple weeks ago. You’ve some interesting articles. I wasn’t sure where to post this comment. However, I hope you continue to post your articles. They’re good. I was born in NZ but never saw myself as a ‘Kiwi’. I felt ‘Kiwi’ was reserved for some, and not for others. How the media portrays what a ‘Kiwi’ is, is interesting. We’re only ‘Kiwi’ when we make the All Blacks, Silver Ferns, etc. Then on the news we’re scum, and tbh I can see why people can think that of Pasifika people.

    Well done on your ‘Migrant series’ thus far. It reminds me of my grandparents migration story. My grandmother was a nurse, grandfather a tradesman. Their qualifications weren’t recognized here, hence worked ‘low-skilled’ jobs to support the family. The prejudice, racism and hardship they experienced, a similar thread in shared migrant stories. They left paradise for a promised paradise.

    I look forward to future postings on ‘Tangata Facista’.

    Best wishes.

  4. I can’t believe how utterly aggressive and unhelpful to tourists NZ people are. Thank god we dont live here permanently, and we’ve got our return flight booked. Tourists, you have been warned. Dont get pulled in by the saturation advertising in Australia.

  5. I wonder if you could post my comment here to a more suitable page:

    An Aussie on holidays in NZ – shocked by the reality.

    First commendations to this site for telling the truth about NZ.

    Since coming to NZ on holiday about a week and a half ago, I must say I am shocked by things I’ve found.

    Since driving around for about 10 days, I’ve been abused about 5 times, by angry NZ drivers, this is while driving around hills and cliffs, in the rain. Given that in Australia I am lucky to be honked at every five years either (a) my driving has suddenly deteriorated in NZ or (b) New Zealanders are terrible drivers. I’ve going with the second option.

    The sheer aggressiveness of the drivers here has to be seen to be believed. They seem to think that its your duty to throw yourself off a cliff so they can get there 2 minutes early.

    I have also been amazed at how unhelpful people are to tourists, and how utterly unwilling/unknowing they are about opening times and giving simple help.

    Within our first hour of driving into Auckland, we were honked at twice, and sworn at by a man with no teeth (a common occurrence here) for parking in the ‘wrong’ spot.

    The prices are very high, and there are a lot of rip offs. Nobody seems to do dental, as noted above.

    Of course, there are other problems not the fault of the people – it never, ever stops raining, and every drive is a clifftop winding experience.

    More power to this site and the people telling the horrible truth about NZ.

  6. I was a visitor to New Zealand as a foreign tourist from the US and I am absolutely appalled by the way I was treated as a visitor. I got nothing but rude comments about my country “oh you Americans are losers” “bloody Americans”. 100% pure new Zealand – that is a lie if I ever called one.

    I spent over $3000 American and I
    got nothing but grief. I am alarmed about how so far New Zealand is behind the rest of the world. It’s not funny. The amount of poverty I saw was shocking. Do not get me started on the infrastructure for example trains oh my GOD.

    It was a horrible trip and I will never go back again thanks a lot for disappointing me.

    The people in New Zealand are so not nice to foreigners they hate foreigners especially the girls there. Customer service is so Third World absolutely despicable.

    Am so angry!! what a waste of $US3000 like what the fuck!?!

    New zealand is so expensive ohmy god no wonder is so far behind the rest the world.

    Stop lying to the American people and Canadians because you are the one of the worst countries the world ever!!

    Am so glad I am a North American! ❤

  7. Hi Letta,
    how’s your degree-less life going? Keep that attitude that is all too-common to some Kiwis, coming.
    It lets more Asians know that they need to have a bigger stake in the country if they expect to be treated fairly …
    and lets the Kiwi Asians know that they’d better bugger off after their (relatively low-cost since they’re considered domestic students) hard sciences education is complete. Also that racists are unlikely to discriminate based on ethnicity.
    Because your attitude is precisely what’s keeping the country backward (and unproductive/unimaginative LOSERS like you employed).
    P.S. You get what of more you reward, and less of what you punish. Reward the small-minded people and you’ll get more of them … also competing for YOUR job.
    I’d think about that if I were you. If you can’t see that perspective, carry on.
    The next 5 years should be VERY interesting for New Zealand.
    My sympathies to the few good Kiwis out there … they’ll be working cheek to jowl with those who are trying to hold honest progress back, and will have to deal with many shysters falsifying their qualifications (Hohepa Moheru Barlow / Joseph Hikairo Barlow, Mary-Anne Thompson (spelling?) and Stephen Wilce come to mind).

  8. For you and I, yes. I once set myself the task of trying to liken the Kiwi psyche to some style (you couldn’t go so far as to say “school”) of literature.

    What you can write home (…)? Coarse but bold nature sketches. This is the real New Zealand – nature, pre-industrial air quality (3 seasons a year, as the town woodstove smoke is excepted), distinctive plants, life at the edge with no “fat” to make it “softer”. THAT aspect of the marketing is spot-on. Give it its due, right?

    But there’s the rub – if you want more than that out of life. If you do not want to squat on a knoll, admire the clouds blown by the wind, feel the goosebumps through your threadbare jacket – and have that fill up your entire time on Earth. If your attitude is more than just “the world beyond New Zealand is flash clothes and cars”. Those obnoxious Kiwis who extol the natural living-in-the-moment as some kind of higher human value should drop the hypocrisy and eschew their computers, shingle rooves, heart bypasses, heaters, phones, 4wd vehicles, rifles, tinned food and cooking utensils – everything that makes their life more than what a caveman’s would be. Because the people who invented those things were not the ones lying around under swaying pungas thinking life’s sweet-as. Nor were they drudges with minds full of useless “theory” who stupidly chose a life other than vegetating on the beach every weekend, shouting “woo-hoo” from motorboats.

    I thought initially that the Kiwi psyche was “Jack London”, but it lacks’s London’s dynamism, sharp observation, his ability to “see” the “other”. It lacks dimension at all. The New Zealand psyche is roughly simple, self-absorbed. Their deep connection to the land seems to replace a sense of interpersonal connectedness, and for some immigrants, this creates a unique kind of loneliness which is not at all easy to explain, but I could say I do understand why some stop bothering trying to make friends or only socialize with their fellow migrants. It is too hard! The “reach” is so tiring, on top of trying to survive. The Kiwis do not seem to perceive events in a penetrating way or have a broader understanding of how many circumstances link together to create what they superficially perceive. One migrant said they are “naive, for good and for bad”. Their society is like a single cell organism.

    Hemingway? No. The Kiwi psyche lacks that metaphysical awareness of man and his relationship with nature.

    Kiwis are rough, immediate. The product of boatfuls of lower middle class British people who moved out to the middle of nowhere a very long time ago and interbred with the Polynesians who had made it that far from their own origins. Naturalism was the first thing that came to mind. But that school (and after all, it was a “school”) was influenced by social and scientific theories, and Kiwis have no interest in theory at all, nor do they have any kind of background that would have informed them along those lines.

    I would cast it as “naive naturalism”, and invite thoughtful responses. I am open to correction, of course. http://books.google.co.nz/books/about/Simple_mindedness.html?id=XjEihTaiPBkC&redir_esc=y

  9. I can see that no one is home :

    Some clown posted on that reddit thread, “If you want to change their viewpoint, invite them around for a barbie or a day out sailing or hunting or fishing or to a stripper bar or whatever it is you do that you dig. They might dig it too. And start to love this country!”

    That must be the (in)famous Kiwi lifestyle? Not much to write home about, a weekend in Prague sounds more fun.

  10. Some clown posted on that reddit thread, “If you want to change their viewpoint, invite them around for a barbie or a day out sailing or hunting or fishing or to a stripper bar or whatever it is you do that you dig. They might dig it too. And start to love this country!”

    You can do that anywhere in the world – for cheaper, and often too for better.

    And those are the very sorts of schmucks who love it already. Fishermen who BBQ and objectify women. Barry Crumps. And that is the point posters are making here. Not everyone fits in here. New Zealand is mis-marketed, and has the same problems all the other countries have. So you do not want to move across the world to STILL DEAL WITH THEM.

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