What We Wished We’d Known

The question asked on one site was “Name one thing you wish you’d known about BEFORE you moved to NZ“. Most responses covered the familiar issues of poor quality/damp houses, how expensive some things are, how cold it is, foodstuffs, dogs and access to the countryside, plus a number relating to a serious issue that we are hearing more and more about from migrants in NZ- poor mental heath. The responses included:

  • “How expensive it is and number 8 wire attitude.”
  • “Hard to narrow down to one thing…so its a tie between the poorly built houses (at any price range) with little or no heat and the realization that the “100% Pure motto is a huge marketing scheme…”
  • “I wish i would have known how expensive dentists are here!!”
  • “I wish I’d known how HUGE an impact emmigrating can have emotionally/mentally.I might have been more prepared. I might also have realised that its OK to feel depressed & sad even though from the outside it looks like you have nothing to be miserable about because most of your circumstances have changed for the better.”
  • “Yes, the impact on your mental health, as above.”
  • “I’d have to agree with (the above) on the mental health stuff and no amount of research can prepare you for that.”
  • “Again,I agree-I wish I knew what an impact it would have on you psychologically.I now know it can be quite normal to feel totally shell shocked,depression and desperate………..”
  • “I wish I’d known which fruits and vegetables were in season and when so we didn’t have to spend the first few months wondering whether the prices we were paying were reasonable or not by watching for the fluctuations each week.”
  • “That employee attitudes tend to revolve around “what’s in it for me?” rather than “what can I do to help the company be successful?”.
  • “Without sounding like an alcoholic – how expensive spirits are here – ah I crave a Friday late afternoon G&T.”
  • “I wish I had some concept of just how cold a ‘winterless’ 10 degrees was when you have no heating.”
  • “This is pretty minor, but the first thing I thought of: I wish we had known how expensive razor blades are so that we could have stockpiled them before coming!”
  • “I wish we had known that we couldnt get decent bacon and sausages that dont have such thick skins on them we would have weaned ourselves off them before we arrived or stuffed our faces lol”
  • “Mine’s another financial one – I wish I’d realised that I would need double the money that I had anticipated as a start off (just for the things that I forgot I’d need to buy – all those household items that you only use a little bit of and always have in the cupboard); I’d have sent over more than I did initially. (but then again, if we’d had more in the bank, then we’d probably have spent more without thinking about it – all those gorgeous coffees that we’ve had to deny ourselves would have added up!)”
  • “I wish we’d known that in NZ pit bulls are legal, are immensely popular and dog controls are poor. Two pit bulls moved into an unfenced property on our street around a year ago and, sure enough, a pedestrian and his dog were attacked by one of them a few months later. We have had so many encounters with pit bulls that have been off the leash in parks, on beaches etc that the few places I can really relax with my family are in dog-free areas.”
  • “I think my “wish I had known” would probably have to be “that there are no Public Footpaths or Bridleways in NZ so you can’t really go for a walk across the countryside!” I used to take my dogs across farmland to the pub, into the pub while I had lunch then back across the farmland to home!”
  • “Mine would definitely be the poor construction of housing in terms of little or no insulation/double glazing/heating.”
  • “I am convinced that our kids have been sick purely because of the massive ranges in temperature from room to room (due to the fact there’s usually a single heat source in the living area and nothing anywhere else) and the associated damp/mould issues. Oh, and the very high cost of living relative to the poor wages. Sorry, that’s 2.”
  • “I wish I’d known beforehand how expensive it was going to be to ship our two European cars, have them inspected, (for a small fortune) and keep them in parts etc (yet another small fortune). After hubby got his job offer on our recce trip, we had but a few months to move from the UK, and were reluctant to sell our two cars at a loss. In hindsight, we should have just bit the bullet and got rid. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing isn’t it!!! Needless to say, I would urge potential migrants to research the benefits of shipping and maintaining their cars here.”
  • “I wish I would have known the “pub culture” does not exist as much here (or my experience of it), where we would have met up with friends and family etc all the time -drinks are far too expensive!, plus people have better things to do with their time when the weather is good! But the weird thing is I don’t miss it. Now I am thinking about buying bikes to go cycling and camping gear for a holiday!! I never would have done that before!”
  • “I wish I’d known how cold wellington is – I’m a warm climate person and I’m cold 9 months out of the year. I realize it’s not like we get two feet of snow in the winter (I grew up in the midwestern United States so remember what that’s like) but it’s much colder and damper than I expected. Or maybe this year has just been hard; it’s definitely the worst of the three years I’ve been here it seems like autumn ended quickly, winter was wet and spring hasn’t impressed me either (nice southerly yesterday! Brr!)”
  • “I wish we had known being on the SKILL Shortage list – doesnt mean there are lots of jobs for you to choose from – infact for us it ment JOB shortage !! Did arrive in the recession – they have now taken some jobs off the skill shortage list – but still not lots of jobs here – be careful – Having No job for OH was EXTREMLEY stressful!! However if we had known that maybe we wouldnt have been brave enough to give up 2 good jobs in the UK and just come – SO worth it.”

Today’s posts – click here

7 thoughts on “What We Wished We’d Known

  1. you must have your OWN PENSION PLAN for retirement here in NZ as you WONT GET NZ PENSION when you retire at age 65 as all the taxes you paid while here working etc are used for something else so no money left for migrants/ethnic kiwis in retirement so there is a Rule called S.70 direct deduction policy for any ethnic kiwi who has savings/assets etc YOU HAVE TO FUND YOUR OWN RETIREMENT sorry people that is how it is so you get more poverty stricken as you age see these web sites http://www.nzpensionprotest.com http://www.apnz.org.nz the Nz pension you should have got goes into the NZ Super Fund now worth over $22 billion and growing??????? not sure for who?????? we don’t get any NZ pensions after 45 years living here neither do 75,000 other ethnic kiwis from mainly European coujntries Uk Holland Germany Greece Italy etc.

    • The rule of deducting your foreign pension from the Kiwi pension is criminal. According to http://www.nzpensionprotest.com, if my Irish pension is more than the Kiwi pension, they would deduct from my Kiwi pension first and the remainder from my husbands pension i.e. if we both had pensions from Ireland that were higher than the Kiwi state pension, we would get no Kiwi pension so paying our taxes for years would have been for nothing. I wonder if the UK and Irish governments know that New Zealand is thieving from their pension pot and failing to make its own contribution!!! “This makes it fair to New Zealanders who never left the country”.What it is, is a disguised way of swindling your law abiding, valuable tax payers and other country’s pension pots. No effing way I’m breaking my back in Ireland to get a deposit for your overpriced houses, leave a developed country behind for a racist, culturally deficient, downgraded version of my professional career and at the end of subsisting on lower wages and a higher cost of living, to be swindled out of a good pension I worked hard to earn. In Ireland, you are allowed the full state pension and if you exceed a certain threshold you might pay the usual 20% income tax on the private/foreign pension. This is the case in most developed countries where stealing shamelessly from other countries to prop up your pension fund is abhorred and illegal! I’m reporting this to the Irish Government !!

  2. Thanks for the link tom, we’ve included it in our Migrants Tales series. Its useful to have the comparison with the U S.

  3. Some poster over at one of the other new zealand exposure sites recently posted actual specific figures about how much it costs to live in new zealand versus back in the u.s.. It’s an outstanding effort, and I can vouch 100% for these figures, having lived in both places myself. he posted them just for one person, living “adequately”, but with a family, I might add, the money stress is even worse.

  4. this island is a rip off and a fraud. I wish I had known how expensive it was. I wish I had known before coming that the quality for cost was so bad. You are getting a lot less and paying a lot more. I wish I had known how cutthroat people are and that they see immigrants as money machines. They suck us like vampires. Their system may be set up to be fair, but they all take advantage of it. The free, inexpensive medical is of low quality. Old equipment, and they will not pay for you to have any tests beyond simple and cheap entyr level ones unless you are extremely sick. Then if you are too sick or old, they decide you are not worth the public money to treat and you are SOL. They slide their problems under the rug so well that all you see is the natural beauty – from the outside. When you actually live here, you start smelling what’s under that rug. Be lucky if it doesn’t grab your leg and pull you under. I am more than anxious to leave and doing everything I can to ensure that will happen.

    • “When you actually live here, you start smelling what’s under that rug” And that sums up New Zealand, for visitors who think it might be cool to live there and want to know what it’s like

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