Why Are People Leaving NZ?


Many arrive, but many either leave or wish they could


Welcome to E2NZ.org while you’re here why not check out our Migrant Tales series. You’ll be glad you did.

Inward migration may be booming in NZ at the moment, but most of the permanent and long term arrivals are Kiwis returning home and looking for work.

In February 2010: ‘People Leaving NZ. What’s The Deal?’  was a question that was asked on the emigration forum Expatarrivals.com and not much has changed since then.

These are some of the answers that were given back then that still hold true today:

  • I”t’s very hard to be a returning kiwi especially with experience and qualifications. It’s difficult to get ‘a job’ let alone something in your field…even harder if you’re over 30. The average wage is low (especially if you’re female), cost of living high and kiwis are over taxed. The country has been mis-managed for some years (over spending, poor immigration, fraud) with very little to show for it. It’s also become increasingly more violent (murder, rape, child abuse, domestic violence). I would advise anyone thinking about returning to do their homework seriously! There are not many opportunities and it can be very closed shop, insular and nepotistic so if you’ve been away for a while it’s tough. The safe thing to do would be line up a job (if you can) before making any move.”
  • “You may not want to hear this as an potential emigrating expat but many leave New Zealand because there are better job opportunities outside of the country. Higher Salaries and faster career prospects entice people off the island.”
  • “I’ve heard that kiwis keep leaving new zealand because it is the most boring place on earth. there is nothing to do but go walking, or listen to crowded house records. there is no culture, jobs, excitement.”
  • “I have heard that New Zealand companies are now working very hard to recruit expats in an effort to replace the amount of young people leaving the country – this is surely a positive spin for prospective immigrants, giving them a bit of leverage to negotiate offers?”
  • Good jobs scarce. Low-wage economy. Sky-high housing. Gang problem. Insular people. Schools not good compared to UK. Housing poor quality. There isn’t much to emigrate “to” unless you enjoy scenery to the exclusion of all else. It is beautiful but there just is not much there. I know people who have regressed in their careers while in NZ because they were overqualified for everything, so you do find IT professionals with Masters in CompSci working help desks with some frequency. Their free health care is not actually free, and is staffed mainly by temporary foreign locum sawbones. If it is an injury you are covered, but not something like cancer or kidney stones, for which it is more efficient to go private before you croak on a queue. Many Kiwis leave for better wages in Oz, and some expats move on to Oz or elsewhere, or back home, after a few years. You don\’t hear from these leavers at all. You only hear all the constant public relations hype about how great it is. If you google around you will find forums discussing the downside. If you are an independently wealthy boastman or a nature freak who does not mind living in the manner of a backpacker on ramen and tiny rented spaces, you will love it. Seppos: No totalisation agreement with social security so check out tax ramifications.I knew a few Yanks who became stuck. Poms, if you love Tescos and Waitrose and M&S, don\’t move to NZ. Goods are either inexpensive and shoddy or they are the expected Blighty medium-quality but way beyond your budget in NZ. NZ winter weather is like March, cold, wet and windy, but your hearth will not be a refuge from this. The homes are draughty with no insulation and built with poor joinery and no central heating. In March temperatures this may be difficult. Nonexistent pub culture. Nonexistent culture in general.
  • Came, saw, stuck it out for a few years and will soon leave screaming.”
  • Their free health care is not actually free, and is staffed mainly by temporary foreign locum sawbones. If it is an injury you are covered, but not something like cancer or kidney stones, for which it is more efficient to go private before you croak on a queue. Many Kiwis leave for better wages in Oz, and some expats move on to Oz or elsewhere, or back home, after a few years. You don’t hear from these leavers at all. You only hear all the constant public relations hype about how great it is. If you google around you will find forums discussing the downside. If you are an independently wealthy boastman or a nature freak who does not mind living in the manner of a backpacker on ramen and tiny rented spaces, you will love it. Seppos: No totalisation agreement with social security so check out tax ramifications.I knew a few Yanks who became stuck. Poms, if you love Tescos and Waitrose and M&S, don’t move to NZ. Goods are either inexpensive and shoddy or they are the expected Blighty medium-quality but way beyond your budget in NZ. NZ winter weather is like March, cold, wet and windy, but your hearth will not be a refuge from this. The homes are draughty with no insulation and built with poor joinery and no central heating. In March temperatures this may be difficult. Nonexistent pub culture. Nonexistent culture in general.And before anyone thinks or posts that its the same everywhere and medical doctors drive taxis in NYC, USA or London UK. The difference is that those countries do not have the feel about them of being cut off from the rest of the world as NZ DEFINITELY does and despite it all those countries do offer more opportunity and better wages, even if you have to do a menial job to survive at first. I’d also like to think that those countries have long ago adapted to multiculturalism and even if its only on the face of it, at least make people feel equal to a larger degree. Unless of course you visit the small towns of West Virginia or Utah, USA but let’s face it, not many immigrants would rush there to begin with. And A LOT of NZ feels like small town, hillbilly, one-horse-towns. It’s very rural … so one becomes a bit depressed leaving the “cities” (100 000 pax = city here) to go and see the scenery as you drive through those small towns and look at the derelict housing etc.”
  • The thing about NZ IMO is that the country is so, so small that the social problems, economic problems, development problems, health problems, political insufficiency, youth problems (graffiti, teen pregnancies, truancy, gangs, drugs, poor literacy etc), living-below-the-breadline families, and terrible pollution – yes the clean green image was just a marketing ploy and e.g. recycling is faaar behind here – are in your face on a daily basis. You may live in a good area but the next rough area is often a few street blocks away. Walking distance. The only place where you may isolate yourself from not seeing the very real problems of this country is maybe Auckland, NZ’s only city (1.2 mil pax). So indeed, everywhere in the world has these problems but in NZ they are very much in your face. Now maybe this is a good thing to keep people humble and make them aware and not to isolate the down trodden yadda yadda, but if you’re going to blow your life savings to immigrate and leave friends, family and familiarity behind, I think its rather disappointing when you arrive here in reliance on the marketing campaigns by NZ Immigration and find that the countrys problems are rather close to you on a daily basis, the wages do not live up to the cost of living here, and the job opportunities (not to mention lack of promotional opportunities) may very well be the first very real problem you face … and add to that the xenophobia mentioned above when you go for interviews … Good luck to you if you are highly skilled (highly qualified) too because many a migrant can attest to the fact that New Zealanders do not generally appreciate foreign expertise. It all comes down to their inferiority crisis about being so small and isolated and indeed, the worst developed Western country in the world. Resources are and will always be lacking here. If you like living rural and in make-do way, you may just love it here.
  • It saddens me to hear some of the negative words that are being said about my beautiful country. Altough I have to admit some are true, I myself have left New Zealand for a better lifestyle, earning potential, and career that I didnt have when I was back home. Apart from this, New Zealand DOES have an AWESOME CULTURE, it is there you just need to find it. I love and miss home and would love to return to live one day, hopefull after I win the Lotto!”

You may also be interested in

Migrant Tales – ‘Musings From the Land of Shrimp’ and ‘the Myth of 93% Satisfaction

The Myth of 93% Satisfaction

In 2006, the NZ Department of Labour triumphantly announced a spectacular level of satisfaction among migrants with the “Kiwi way of life”. The “93% satisfaction level” has been quoted widely and often since. It was one of the ‘facts’ which helped shape our decision to make the move to NZ..

The report is an exercise in bad math and data manipulation. I can take the same data, manipulate it in a similar way in reverse and conclude that only 17% of the new permanent residents liked “the friendly and relaxed pace of life”. Or that only 12% felt they were “safe from crime and violence”. These would be lies, and likewise the DOL’s conclusions… read more

240 thoughts on “Why Are People Leaving NZ?

  1. New Zealand is a shithole and my family has been here for 4 generations. Drug taking is rampant and a huge issue with the young who are entitled and nasty; the social welfare system is being abused unbelieveably and has been by generations in the same families who have relatives who work there and who know how to work the system;
    Children are abused at an alarming rate (the highest in the world) and in the ghetto suburbs of all cities, major and minor, children are exposed to their parents drug taking and often go to school without breakfast or lunch, thus schools are providing food to prevent them from starvation and malnutrition;
    The housing is appalling californian bungalo type dwellings built from the same blueprint, with the ghetto suburbs being full of this 50 year old plus, substandard (in dire need of renovation) government housing – and every suburb houses its share of P Labs (meth).
    Overseas students are ripped off by unscrupulous tertiary providers; tourists take their life in their hands coming to New Zealand.particularly in the country areas of the far north of the North Island and in remote areas of the South Island… the list goes on… but I live here and although I have a good job, the long hours for an average renumeration by international standards are a killer;
    The cost of living is extremely high and is rapidly rising – food, house prices (owning a house is out of the question for most younger New Zealanders these days who are often saddled with student fees debt which can be exorbitant – plus education standards at tertiary level are substandard)
    New Zealand is a shithole…

  2. I’m sorry Kiwi “New Zealand” doesn’t have a culture, Well of Course there’s Maori Culture,Pacific Island, Asian+of various types,Middle Eastern,and many others. But when it comes to Your standard Anglo Saxon “Kiwi” then as a whole there really is No culture. French have culture,Spanish, Italian,Indian,Tibetan, Russian,Maori,Even American & pretty much everyone in The World but Majority of Anglo Saxon Kiwis & Aussies….sorry Yeaaaah Naaah She’ll be right, Its jus da way it us. “You don’t know Lucky we are Maaaaate!!!!!!!!!!!!” “You don’t know how lucky we are”!!!!!??????!!!!!!?????? LOL

    • Too true! It was cringeworthy going through both Wellington and Auckland airports and seeing how LOTR has been claimed by NZ in lieu of any proper homegrown culture.
      Really? Tolkien was English – OK ?!!

      And yes, Peter Jackson is clever but even the ersatz Maoriana of old was more representative of New Zealand than Gollum or the Dwarves.

  3. Final Update, I posted here a while ago.Background… I have been back and forward between UK and NZ since 2010. In 2012 I got my (Skilled Migrant) Residency Visa plus an additional 12 month extension.
    I am leaving in a few days to return to the UK for what will now be last time as my Visa Travel Conditions have now expired.
    I will miss NZ that is for sure, but Auckland is now a rich man’s playground.
    Not sure Weather is really a plus point ?? (The radiation levels are a bit scary lol ! and there are bad winters here too…..and don’t mention humidity !!!!!!!! agghhhhh ! )
    I have to say I got on with pretty much everyone I met over the years and found the average kiwi to be very amiable, I really got on very well at a social level
    However nearly impossible to get a job in Auckland, always one caveat or another, had to speak Mandarin, had to have a degree from a NZ University, only graduates wanted yada yada yada, and some of the salaries were pathetic ($38K anyone !!! although I did get ONE decent contract at $110k pro rata once)
    What really bugged me was you never even got any response/rejection…..even jobs that I had extensive experience in (18 years in IT)…I just felt my CV was deleted as soon as they saw UK University !?!
    Houses…say no more everyone knows the la la land that is AKL property market (Stayed in one of the ahem “period” houses…had to leave after a few days due to eye and throat infection….black mould on walls etc)
    Service….this is a BIG fail in NZ…restaurants/shops etc the service is woeful, example girl in bar give me WRONG drink, I told her that is not what I ordered….a shrug of shoulders and she says its still cider….she looked at me like I sprouted 2 heads….had to forcefully insist I get the correct one after having to get bar manager involved……(I personally wouldn’t mind but the person it was for hated Issacs cider)
    In restaurant….pot of Tea..no milk…when I politely asked for some…. 2 minutes later a very cross waitress came over with a crazy look in her eyes and literally slammed a jug of milk on the table !
    This was repeated over and over and over….sorry if I sound like nitpicking….but a smile and a bit of politeness go a long way and cost nothing !
    Now my scariest thing….DRIVING….I have covered all of NZ over the years right down to slope point, and had seen plenty of bad driving along the way….but this year it seemed so much worse….probably due to the fact that a lorry cut a corner at speed where I was waiting to cross…massive bang as the 40ft trailer hit and rode along the PAVEMENT where I was standing almost hitting me….really scared the crap out of me…happened so fast…add to that something like 200 accidents in 24hours on boxing day :O
    In parnell on day after boxing day….absolutely drunk girl came out of off licence with wine…staggering all over the road…she turned the corner and got into her car…..(also of note was ALL the police cars were at the station at the bottom of parnell rise…so I assume they take they hols too and none are out on patrol?)
    But lets be fair, EVERY country in the world has its warts and problems, for me I think the perfect balance is 6 week holiday in december/jan…best of both worlds ?
    I think people come here on holiday and fall in love with the place…then they think they can live the dream……………..well If you have several million in the bank, yes you can…..but for most like me…the reality is a far cry from what you envisaged !
    Sorry for the long post but wanted to share my experiences and wish everyone the best of luck in whatever path they choose 🙂

  4. very bad country had a terrible experience. no jobs, no good health system, everything is overpriced, no insulation for houses, etc. don’t come to NZ but the most important thing don’t waste your money and try to apply for uni. in NZ you can get your degree in a better country with almost the same amount of money you will spend on NZ uni. thnx

  5. After having lived here for some ten years I do believe Iv given it a fair go, I have given myself time to accept and adjust to the different cultural ways and attitudes here in New Zealand having lived most of my adult life in the UK. I must say I have travelled and stayed for some time in other countries, including the U.S , Canada , Germany both East and West. I have travelled through Asia on many occasions, with this in mind I will now say this is possibly one of the worst placed I have lived in respect to attitude, everywhere it seems its a shrug of the shoulders and its that ” she’ll be alright” attitude when actually its not! they seem to have no idea of the importance of getting things done properly, and when a problem does arise never want to shoulder responsibility and put things right, indeed they may have the best rugby team in the world with out a doubt, and there are some pretty tough characters around, but where it come to growing some balls and saying what is right and what should to be done in the government at both local and national level they are like sheep, almost too frightened to say anything. No they are not a nation of complainers, but if you don’t complain nothing will ever change, and therefore improve
    For instance at this present time the majority of everyone here as far as I’m aware does not wish to change our currant National flag but has allowed this flag debate to go on and on, at the same time we are being told that “Kiwis” ( the people of NZ) are dying because they have no real ambulance service here, ( The ambulance service here is not government funded , its a charity) there is shortage of properly equipped vehicles and untrained staff , but instead of any solidarity amongst the people protesting to the government not to waste another 40 million NZD on an un-necessarily idea and put the money to better use, like the failing healthcare or donating to the ambulance service everyone shrugs their shoulders and say “Oh well, she’ll be right” I could write pages of some of the crazy things that go on here in NZ, but there’s really no point, they will never change, its wore my down so much now Iv sold my house, packed up my business and I’m off in early 2016, Il be sorry to leave the good friends I have made here, but good reddens to a system that can only be described as one of the most pathetic for a developed country I have ever lived in, good luck to everyone whom is here in NZ, I hope for the working guy in the street things will improve tenfold. .

    • Great point about the abysmal health system. The ambulance service is run by St Johns, a charitable organisation, but you have to PAY for every call out.

      The following charges apply if you are:

      a citizen or permanent resident of NZ
      a work visa holder eligible to be in NZ for two years or more
      from the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau
      a UK citizen normally living in the UK and visiting NZ.
      If you are visiting from overseas and your situation does not match
      any of those listed please see section c.


      See further reading at

      Click to access STJ_Patient%20Part%20Charges%20Brochure_DLE_March14_email.pdf

      • re. ambulance charges

        to be fair you now pay many places. if i recall in toronto i paid $150 10 years ago for daughters post-gymnastics haul to sick kids emerg and that was only a 15 min walk from our house.

        the thing unusual about nz is the lack of any organised provision. its bizarre. surf lifesaving is properly organised, as is the emergency call out for (tourists) lost hikers.

        • Healthcare is free in the UK where im from, as we have the NHS-National Health Service. When I had to pay for an ambulance in NZ I was gobsmacked when they sent me a bill for $88. I never paid it. Then they sent a debt collector after me, Baycorp, so I ignored them too. Never heard from them since.

          I think I wouldn’t mind as much paying in Toronto Canada because as least I’d be living in a civilised country with lots to do and decent people.

          NZ can go spit.

          • Exactly. An emergency service, run by VOLUNTEERS ffs. What a joke NZ is. Ambulance services are just as important as the police, yet the police aren’t a volunteer service. Gee, I wonder why?

          • The UK and Australia don’t charge for emergency ambulances.

            The UK’s paramedics need to complete a university degree in paramedic science or get on to a student paramedic course at an ambulance service trust. The starting salary for a qualified paramedic is about £21,690.

            Australia is moving towards all its paramedics being degree qualified and there are about 20 different courses on offer across the country. The starting salary there is about AU$58,694 The state of Victoria has 4 separate bachelor qualifications specifically for Paramedicine, that’s 3 more than the whole of New Zealand.

            In New Zealand there is one university degree: AUT’s Bachelor of Health Science with a Paramedicine major. Routes into the profession are either through that degree or by volunteering with St Johns and working your way up.


          • There are just way too many important services that can only function with volunteers because the government isn’t interested in spending a cent. Just insanity.

          • Yes the NHS is a free service and the concept of free healthcare for the population is a good one. but working in the NHS I can see how poorly run and mismanaged it is. Personally, I would rather pay for a doctors appointment and get it that morning than not pay and have to wait 2 weeks (when normally after 2 weeks the problem doesnt persist any longer!) You’re absolutely right though, just because something is not performing well overseas doesn’t mean we should tolerate it in New Zealand. I believe the ambulance service is centrally funded (to some extent) but yes it is unfortunate to receive a bill for calling one in an emergency! Better safe than sorry.

          • It is poorly run and completely understaffed in several cities now because of the amount of people who have entered the country. Anyone from the UK knows exactly what I’m talking about. I’d still take my chances tho over shitty NZ.

            The point is, you pay for it in New Zealand and get a completely shit experience and sub zero quality. Paramedics who have bruised the hell out of my arm because they didn’t know how to put an IV in properly and took forever to do it. I’ve also noticed they walk casually to a person needing emergency help like they are taking a walk in the park. HELLO!!!! That person is not breathing!!! Time is of the essence!!! Absolute retards.

            It’s like the whole country is autistic or on smack, communication is warped and the lack of care and attention to basic detail is appalling.

          • How can you all compare NZ(Less than 2 million) to UK (30 million tax payers? Get real folks. how many people pay tax in NZ and compare it with the UK. Take some responsibility we do not want to pay tax and we want everything for free. healthcare, education, great roads and infrastructure. There is no such thing as free! ( free= paid by many and used by a few) Yes the government make mistakes and does waste money but so does the UK, Europe and the US. I call is a 2nd world country sure it is not perfect but it much much better than Europe or US at the moment. It is also a free country so leave if you are not happy especially if $88 is to much to pay for an ambulance. It prevents people from using it as a free taxi (as they do in other countries!)

          • We ‘compare’ it because NZ claims to be everything it is not, coaxing migrants to a bullshit country that baits people in with outright lies and propaganda then screws them over. That’s why.

            Could you sound anymore of a New Zealand apologist?

          • Sometimes the most intelligent act is to “shut up”, trust me Knor NZ teaches it very well.

            IRD sucked out 33% of my salary including the same percentage on my bonus – FYI there was no contribution from IRD whereas I slogged my ass for 16 continuous months. Guess what…the rest of my tax money was spent to airlift some idiot who was driving rash on a narrow single lane motorway in some remote corner, rehabilitate criminals (both under and above 18s), run the prisons and the list goes on & on.

            A friend of mine was diagnosed with a rare kind of brain malfunction while in UK, he was treated for 5-6 months without paying a single penny. Moreso he worked for another 5 years since initial diagnosis and made sure he was also contributing towards NHS. Basically I’d back NHS any day compared to the shitty GP system (i.e. 100 pack paracetamol prescribed by the GP for any thing – literally).

            The proportion of miscreants found in NZ is way more than any 3rd world country.

  6. [Deleted, you prefer to drink Kool-Aid, but we don’t serve it here. Some people find that quite refreshing. Admin]

  7. Christchurch SUCKS! I could very easily write 1000 pages about what a crap hole Christchurch (CHC) is, but I’ll settle for a few paragraphs here. In a word it should be called “the Miserable City”. I’m not ready to write New Zealand off as a country yet, but definitely CHC. If you’re having the slightest thought of moving here…DON’T!!! Outer Mongolia might be a better choice.

    I moved my family here (from Hawaii of all places) in 2013. We wanted to experience something different (did we ever get our wish) and we weren’t happy (so we thought) in Hawaii. Let me detail some of the issues we’ve experienced…(keep in mind this pertains to CHC only)

    Weather: As another commenter said, it’s not entirely fair to blame a place for something so far beyond it’s control. That said, the weather in CHC is truly miserable. Winter is long, damp, windy, gray, and cold; summer is too short and can be a milder version of winter. Any time there is a stretch of decent weather it draws in several weeks of nasty weather, so even when it’s nice out you have to get ready for the crap on the way. You never leave the house without your coat because as soon as a cloud rolls in it’s cold and windy. If you just think miserable almost all the time you have a pretty good estimate of CHC’s weather.

    People: OMG! The rudest, most insolent, sullen, abrasive, unenlightened, impatient a-holes I’ve ever met. They make New Yorkers look like angels. Most are completely self-absorbed and only interested in sport (mostly rugby, but also soccer and cricket) and getting drunk. No one smiles. They walk around with this morose look on their faces as if their child was just diagnosed with a terminal illness. They are completely intolerant of anything that doesn’t fit the kiwi mold. Absolutely the worst road-ragers ever. They are uncouth, crude, and vulgar people, i.e. obese, often barefoot, stupid tattoos, hair every color of the rainbow, trailer trash clothing, and no more class than a cockroach…many far less. Overall like rural Appalachia with an accent. (it’s a rather small point, but as previously mentioned, NZer’s don’t rinse the soap off when washing their dishes. It’s as if they’ve developed a taste for soap scum…Gross!!!…Hint: do your own dishes).

    Economy/cost of living: Out of touch! Everything is overpriced and no one gives it a second thought. Food, housing, fuel, the list never ends. They just shrug and pay up…what lemmings. Total money obsessed as well. Everything here is valued in terms of cost…and I mean EVERYTHING! You have to pay for everything…they charge for ketchup packets. It’s as if the goal is to see who can screw each other out of a dollar quicker. I think they’d sell their children for the right price. It’s just disgusting!

    Other: Restaurants, forget it, overpriced crappy food. Electricity costs: our bills in the winter are over $1000/month and that’s just to keep a few rooms above 60 degrees F. Music/art scene: virtually non-existent…plenty of local talent, but world class acts are rare. Entertainment here = sports/getting drunk. There is a casino, but it’s the equivalent of a Nevada border casino, nothing to write home about. Beaches: yes, but freezing even in the middle of summer…if you like swimming in ice water you’ll love it.

    Bright side: CHC has good water, no need to filter or buy bottled water…you can drink straight out of the tap…for now. Not much violent crime…an assault now and then, a shooting is rare, and hardly ever a murder. Can’t think of much else.

    Summary: CHC is a dump. DO NOT move here unless you ready to endure all the above and probably lots more that I’ve neglected to mention. Come here for a visit in the middle of winter to check it out (June-Aug) as it will be the worst of the worst. If you’re a glutton for punishment then you might just love it here. Otherwise do yourself a huge favor and avoid this place like the plague.

    (I will be moving out of CHC in Dec 2106 and I hope to never return!)

    • hey Ron, thnx for your comment. i had similar experience and i can’t add more of what you said. I left 2 yrs ago and got a job in Aussie and never ever want to return back to this shit hole. i think it is not just ch. ch. it is the whole bloody country. Good with your move try to get out of this rotten place ASAP. all the best

    • #You have to pay for everything…they charge for ketchup packets. It’s as if the goal is to see who can screw each other out of a dollar quicker. I think they’d sell their children for the right price. It’s just disgusting!
      …this is so true! …and I’m a 4th generation NZer

  8. One of the issues is that NZ does not have many trendy bars or coffeeshops. Most coffee shops with their flat whites in NZ are boring..and there are few goo ones with enough atmosphere that you want to hang around long there. Canada is nice..much more fun in winter, despite snow..Houses are built for weather changes too. A winter in NZ is terrible..nothing to do and neighbours that are anti social and asleep by 9pm..the reason is that local kiwis are poorly paid and really don’t have any spare money..its been a problem forever in NZ. Until they at least double the population NZ will not get better. On reason Canada is better is simply population and reasonable salaries enabling people to enjoy life past sitting at home.

  9. I think one issue is the desperately slow pace of change in NZ.

    I “emigrated” there 2002-2003. I moved back to the UK. I “emigrated” there again in 2013. This time I only lasted 6 weeks.

    It was the same shoddy looking cans of Watties’ beans on the shelves at PaknSave. Nothing had changed…. except that things cost twice as much, relative to both wages and the exchange rate.

    If you really love the outdoors, these things may not matter though.

    • Well said Ed..NZ is too expensive for common items and salaries are a joke..lower than average salaries paid today in big mainland Chinese cities..

  10. Although most of these comments seem to me to have some truth to them, they do read as a sort of feeding frenzy of negativity. As a NZer who spent quite a few years out of the country in the ‘States and Asia I can relate to much of what is said, but would point out there is more to any country than just the negative aspects. In truth, when we returned to be closer to family, we almost got back on a plane, such was the adjustment shock. It took a good three years to decide to stay on, and not taking up the opportunity of a green card in the ‘States was a close run decision. If not for wanting stability for the children, we would have gone.

    It does makes me wince to read such scathing opinions, even if the sample is clearly weighted to those who have found NZ not to their liking. But I must admit my impression of New Zealand upon return was of a people who could be … smug, self-congratulatory, materialistic, narrow minded, insular, passive-aggressive, and believers in the myths of the NZ bloke to list a few aspects… And with quite a few of the worst behaviours lifted from the worst of Hollywood pap, which people here do not seem to understand does not represent real America for the most part. I blame cable TV for that!

    The comments on low culture and marginalisation of anyone a bit different or eccentric also do ring true, although why anyone would expect high culture at what is essentially a settler country located at the end of the earth is beyond me! Education may well not be at the levels of the UK or other parts of Europe, however I do not think it is quite so backward as many have suggested; at least not in terms of the better schools. In terms of university education I studied at masters level in the UK, and while I found the expected standards to be quite exacting, I certainly did not feel out of place or struggle to perform well. I would say that on the average the level is above that of the ‘States anyway. They may have some outstanding schools, however there is a long tail of extremely poor educational achievement too. Our children have gone to the some good schools in Wellington that encourage and support high achievement in academics, arts, sports, so perhaps I am seeing this through rose coloured glasses.

    In any case, I would encourage anyone thinking of immigrate to New Zealand to read these posts, as well as feedback from others who have found a life here that they feel positively about. I am sure there are a few with a more positive or at least nuanced perspective…

    • The reason why a site such as this exists is that there are not many places where the actual “on the ground” version of SOME migrants experiences can be viewed. Most of the “migrant sites” give a highly stylised and slanted view and are not much in the way of providing any form of divergent opinion. In fact, most of the “migrant sites” edit, censor, and delete any sort of dissent. That being the case, where would you turn to to receive any kind of “other” opinion relayed?
      I find it interesting that you have found many of the same issues present and there is significant “adjustment shock”. Most migrants [not returning Kiwis] do not have the advantage of family and friends to fall back on. Nor do they have a “muscle memory” of having lived in NZ prior which will help them to get back in the swing of things. Generally, most migrants come to find things vastly different than as advertised, no support, and a very unreceptive atmosphere to any that mention how difficult the “adjustment shock” is. This is a place where similar experience can be sympathetically expounded upon.
      Not all of NZ is bad. But this is one of the few places that talking about the not so good parts is tolerated.

      • good reply. most people are unaware the nz govt shuts down many personal blogs etc that provide this kind of info. no idea how this scrapes through.

  11. People in New Zealand these days especially outside of the city are really bitter and scummy they have no respect. They blackmail and libel on other people but they don’t have any real respect they only have fake “Southern Hospitality” derealization and lack of real friends is severeside effect of being in such a limited environment with cruel people.

  12. Nobody should put up with these physcopathic tendencies. Take detailed notes, record conversations and then report this individual to the relevant authorities.

    • Unfortunately the law is such that you cannot record such things without the other party’s express permission. This leaves you unprotected. Sorry.

      • Last time I checked, this was not the case. You ARE permitted to record any conversation that YOU are PART OF. You don’t even have to inform other parties to the conversation, It is only illegal to record conversations where you are a third-party and NOT part of the conversation.

      • Not true at all. You can use tape recordings in NZ.
        But: YOU NEED TO HAVE A TRANSCRIPTION of the recording
        YOU NEED TO HIGHLIGHT which parts of the recording support your case.

        You will also be required to provide that transcript to the people you are advocating against, ahead of time.
        (I did that in a tribunal hearing for that guy who owed me money … and he turned up for the hearings once with his grandmother and once with his mother as a “support person” – and couldn’t rebut my notes. Pretty staunch!)

        Hopefully this helps a lot of other people get rid of clowns in their life, clowns belong in a circus not in offices or workplaces.

        Ref: http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/got-it-tape-lessons-using-covert-recordings-weekend-review-gb-138034

    • Problem is: when you hold them accountable, you are labled “trouble maker”. I know, I’ve been there. And nothing gets done, you are the bad guy [even though you are in the right, according to the “relevant authorities”. You get “black listed” for holding them accountable.

      • I’ve been labelled a “trouble maker” in a few NZ “businesses”. I just happen to stand up and call it when things are wrong.

  13. ” Most of the people there are so stupid that they do not know what they do not know.”
    Yup, what he said. And when you try and tell them of what else is out there, you get the bash, they don’t want to know.

  14. lol. accurate assessment!

    one of the wierd things about migs in nz was the level of denial – also v abusive relationship in style – the more unhappy they were the more they tended to defend problems with easy solutions. some, stuck there with leaky houses etc, i understood – it was those with options i couldnt. and the denialists can be such fckrs to intereact with. misery looooves company so when you step outa line…

    • Well – I have even more stuff heaped on my head in this rather bizarro-land. BTW whoever came up with Retardicon 6; I congratulate that man/woman. Not one but 4 separate incidents of institutional bullying in the space of one week. I wouldn’t mind, but I have a thoracic aortic aneurysm (as my boss well knows), so this latest campaign quite literally might kill me (emotional distress is the number one reason for rupture). What is even sadder, is that this person is not a Kiwi, but Irish! I think she hates it here, but has no power in her own life so practices the darkest form of passive-aggressive BS on the planet. I am really at the end of my tether. I’m trying to tell myself it doesn’t matter in the end. I’m going home as soon as I can – and I don’t need a bloody reference from the bitch. But when your boss makes up “anonymous” complaints about you and demands you respond in writing, before the “disciplinary meeting” about events you cannot possibly respond to, because you don’t know who made them, when, etc., how can you possibly defend yourself? It does get to a point where you thing “Is this really happening?” and “Am I crazy?”

      • I dealt with institutional bullying at my last job, before I succumbed to psychotic rage that built up over the weeks I was being discriminated and verbally abused against, and unleashed it onto the abuser who then went crying to higher management, blaming everything on me and playing the victim. Despite her being the revolting, insidious, antagonist and masterminding the misery she felt was acceptable to project on to others.

        By that point, as mentioned in another post of mine, I’d lost the will to live and descended into a downward spiral of brain crushing depression that was only temporarily relieved by whiskey and prescribed benzodiazepines. The thought of even bothering to find other employment seemed a pointless, detrimental exercise. And these are not isolated cases either. This is prevalent in most work places in NZ. The bullying, the discrimination, the cronyism, the nepotism, the bullshit. The never ending bullshit.

        • NZ is at the point, and has been since I don’t know when, that it needs a shelter of some sort for this very thing. In Singapore there’s one for OFWs who are abused, a place they can go to escape and get help. If I ever get enough money (which probably won’t happen unless I win the lottery) I would start such a place. I dont know if we have a similar system but if we do it ain’t working.

          What is the answer to all this BS? I have no idea.
          What I do know that in all my exp the abusers keep their coward mouths shut when there is a kiwi supporter beside the abused foreigner.

          By the way sorry for the continued use of the word ‘foreigner’ if that’s bothering anyone. I don’t like it in a sense, as I usually here it used in the negative, but it’s just to differentiate between the groups I’m talking about.

          Havent seen any recent posts from you Nebula, then again I haven’t been around much lately myself. How are you doing?

          • Hey Shan, I wish I could say things were ‘ok’ at the moment but they are getting worse and worse, but thank you for asking. How about yourself?

  15. I might add that there are eerie parallels with leaving a long-term abusive relationship – you don’t quite realise just how bad things are until you make the decision to leave. Then you take a step back, scratch your head in wonder, and wonder why the #%ck you stayed so long.

  16. I think I’m going to be adding to your migrant tales in a few months (please God). I’ve been here 25 years and this isn’t the place I came to. And boy do I have some stories – I just can’t share now because I would be prosecuted by 2 corrupt and crap organisations here. OMG – I am counting the days before I can get back to the UK.

  17. Here is some sober truth from a successful, Kiwi returnee..whom is really now a full fledged foreigner in NZ!

    First..let me say I really enjoyed these above comments alot. So much truth.

    I am a “Kiwi” whom left here in the 80’s and just returned and after 2 years of in and out are thinking about Canada or the USA or England or if my wife can handle it..France!

    My background..I left in the 80’s in my early 20’s due to total frustration over the total lack of decent job prospects. I am now back after being financially successful overseas, leaving a CEO post of a small, but very successful international firm..I have returned and are finding it all very interesting on just how this place runs or rather does not run.

    Luckily housing is not an issue in the sense I jumped on the housing wagon before it jumped in several years ago and live in a good area and without any silly housing loans . However the rest of it has some major problems. These are first the lack of intelligent people you can converse with..except English, American or others from overseas.I also remembered that when I left in the 80’s my friend were all Japanese with almost no fellow “white” Kiwi friends..I now remember why..My parents exposed me to overseas trips to Europe when young and I was not into drunken house parties and hated rugby. I still hate the “kiwi” culture that has got worst in the sense of these crazy tattoos that look terrible and the gut renting “rugby” which I have always hated since a kid.

    So why did I come back..it was to do with being tired of Asia, needing a good break and loving boating, fishing and hiking..and a supportive, open minded, highly educated , beautiful wife by my side and a lovely daughter keen on the “nice , easy lifestyle of NZ”…but we are quickly rethinking!

    Yet despite the attraction moving back here for the great outdoors we have found it frustrating in many ways.

    One big issue is the lack of decent opportunities to share your business skills with people whom deserve to be shared with. 90% + of “kiwis” , including so called big company CEO’s are not well educated and not very intelligent. They also lack vision past looking into a beer bottle. They think small, low risk and are just not worth the effort to talk to, as their intellectual levels are so low. Oh “sh@t”..guess that was another good reason I left in the 80’s!

    Food sucks here. Its nearly double London prices for most items, even taking in account the forex rates and the quality is typically half as good. There is a lack of quality fruit..most is chill stored too long and overpriced..double or triple of M &S or even Mitsukoshi in Ginza, Fish is cr@p..smelly, badly presented, often thawed out and old ..and yes..you got it..3 times the price of Japan and of such low quality it would never be sold to humans in Japan..exception is fresh mussels.

    GST is crap in NZ..15% on everything..including food items. Its crazy and forces you to lose alot of disposable income on already overpriced items

    Housing is crazy..some of the worst quality and worlds highest prices..Auckland now…NZD 1M gets you a “sh+tbox” worst than a dump-pad small apartment in Asia. 4 Million gets you are more expensive “sh@tbox”landed house in my suburb..which is still a crafty old, crappy, uninsulated home.

    Tradesmen..well..lets say the truth..with few exceptions..very overpriced and rubbish quality period. Worst and most expensive in the world.

    Legal system..cr@p..small claims is a “kangaroo” court based on all claims to NZD 25K now and run by crooks and arbitrators whom have no legal background and disregard all legal points. Its a scam and pure BS..a disgrace!

    Now schools….terrible to say..at pre school level now and find the schooling at pre school here very low level.Its also unclean grounds in the sense of not good premises, dirty and the level of pre school teachers consists of burn’t out dropout ladies whom are brainless. There is no schooling..its just a “dump” for kids to be offloaded in the daytimes.

    People..sad to say…but back in my old ways..no Kiwi mates again..Kiwi’s here don’t have much to say..are boring and either only want to talk about Rugby or else have nothing to talk about. My mates are again all foreigners basically, save 1 or 2!

    Bludging in NZ is terrible..put out decent wine..yet they turn up with cheap s@it that you simply put to the side for your cooking wine..or worst turn up with cheap, crappy beer that is full of chemicals.

    The worst is the “Kiwi women”.

    My wife is highly educated,very polite , attractive and not a snob. Yet she so far has no Kiwi friends..the “women” in NZ unfortunately all seem “rude, crude, narrow minded and uneducated pigs ” to be polite…in other words not worth spending much time with unless your wife gets off on “trivial bs and stupid gossip..they seem even worst than the “kiwi” guys! The exception is foreign women whom tend to be our only female friends.

    Water..water in NZ must be filtered..its crazy in NZ, full of chemicals. Kiwi gardeners are idiots ..they spray everything with tons of chemicals and same goes for inside of their houses.

    Restaurants and coffee shops..generally over priced, no atmosphere and terrible food. A few exceptions are inner city areas..but once again limited options.

    Gasoline for cars is double any other country, roads are poorly maintained, travel accommodation is poor and options are limited.

    So many other complaints..the uneducated “yobbos” whom have stayed and are narrowed minded jerks, women whom lack basic manners and all seem to think dressing in a tracksuit or worst is going out..I can go on for hours…

    I will say one thing..If you are young and just educated..get outta there..there are no opportunities for young smart kids and companies in NZ are limiting, low level and not progressive..including big name foreign finance or trading houses there too. Upside is negative

    If returning or immigrating and not financially cashed up..do not come to NZ..the society is as it is..still much unchanged from my youth..simply because of the low level of savings in NZ, poor job prospects, low salaries, extreme costs, poor services ..and only one good good reason to be there is the outdoors..except outdoor sports such as fishing, sailing, hiking..whatever floats your boat..NZ is terrible!

    I believe we will be here a couple of years until the “outdoors” runs out and then its likely in UK or USA or France for us after that!

    • very interesting writeup. I share you views as well. Also married to foreigner and we find the local kiwi ‘culture’ too different, basic and narrow minded. Housing is a rip off and the quality of homes are shoddy and shocking. Being in our late 20’s and travelled extensively, we believe that in order to save our sanity we need to move on from Auckland 🙂

      • Hi Dave..thanks for the feedback..I am in my forties so money side no issue..earned that outside NZ..If in your 20’s..Yes ..do not wait..as time is money as they say and its easy to make alot more overseas when you are in your 20’s and 30’s than NZ. My old friends I meet here whom didn’t leave all become jealous and financially screwed..their lives sucked in teh eighties and are worst now..cannot even communicate or meet them..our lives have changed so much..they are bitter, mean , very jealous Kiwi’s and its sad to see how they failed staying. A vicious cycle!

        • Thanks. We are looking at heading over to Aus or maybe the USA. Not keen on the cold weather so there are not many options left besides those two 🙂

          • Makes sense Dave..unless you have an inside angle or mega rich relatives propping you via a firm they own ..then in NZ it sucks business wise. I find even the heads of big banks, financial institutions and big 4 accounting firms in NZ all headed up by similar minded, incapable, inside old boys and mickey mouse directors..all the way to the top. A closed “kiwi” old boys shop and most of them could not swing a similar job outside of NZ..always being that way in NZ..if in with the top 1% on the inside families its easy..otherwise no way. As for the other areas in NZ like farming..OMG..so much a corrupt system..built on same old families owning for years and always having the government in their pockets too..full of blockheads and idiots raking it in at the expense of corruption and lies to Kiwis..Fonterra at top of it is the worst. NZ you pay twice the price of the same milk in Asia..a pure NZ scam again. Butter in NZ..tastes crap..the list goes on and on. Dave–Enjoy the fishing, the hiking, the outdoor sports..then get out..that makes the most sense. Don’t waste your prime business years there or you will wake up, 50 years old, not financially well off, pissed off and stuck in a rut..also if have children..you want them in a decent system from intermediate or high school on at worst case
            otherwise they end being screwed too if they want to go further in life and into real universities..which open up global opportunities, unlike Kiwi Universities which rank so poorly globally and are so far behind generally speaking

          • I would go back to South Africa asap, but violent crime and corruption is a major problem there. One of the reasons we left SA was because of the crime. Compared to SA, NZ and Aus are much safer. Hopefully things in SA will turn around for the better, but i doubt it. Looks to me like it is heading the way of Zimbabwe which is a real shame. Thanks for the feedback.

          • interesting you say that. my young sons friends family moved back to SA – father works in johannesburg during the week and they live in heidelburg. their theory is once you get your head around security smarts the lifestyle is incomparable. they were so miserable aft 18 mos they left behind a leaky parnell house they had no chance of selling after a neighbour opened a brothel in theirs (auckland zoning allowed it!!!).

          • South Africans are by far the most materialistic bunch out there. So i can see why they left. Johannesburg is an absolute dump. Lived and worked there in 2002 crime was rampant and corruption is even worse now. Johannesburg and the people that live there(the fortunate ones that have a bit of wealth) are pretentious and arrogant. Most people though that live in Joburg are desperate for work and poverty is everywhere. It is possibly though to bury your head in the sand and live in denial like most wealth South Africans do…

            By the way, i am South African myself, but i have lived in many different countries. There some really awesome people that live in SA but the vast majority are very ‘different’…

    • I am sorry to hear about your travails. I am an American who lived for nearly three years in New Zealand before escaping Retardicon 6 for Switzerland. Aside from meeting my Swiss/Kiwi wife and seeing some nice scenery that I could just have enjoyed during a trip or seen elsewhere, the place was a complete waste.

      The level of analphabetism and low culture were appalling. I find it amusing how some of my wife’s Kiwi relatives give silly junk gifts such as a rope with Kiwi birds on it that one uses as a badge to wear around one’s neck and they think they have done some massive favour. Most of the people there are so stupid that they do not know what they do not know.

      If scenery and the outdoors are important, there are some very nice places in the Western US and Canada with good economic prospect and outstanding recreation. Leaving New Zealand the second time is probably the best thing for you and your family.

  18. I can appreciate what you are saying and going through. However, the economies in most western countries are not in good shape and I would have reservations moving anywhere.
    My experience in NZ was dreadful in terms of finding reasonable paid employment. I stayed for 18 months with my wife, child and reached critical mass then left.
    I have no regrets leaving NZ and moving to a country which allowed better opportunities. You cannot get ahead in NZ financially, the salaries do not stack up with the cost living and to establish a new home is rediculously expensive. I am also sad to see the way folks have been treated in Christchurch after the earthquakes. I believe it is becoming a third world country, the stats speak for themselves, child poverty is absolute terrible and a reflection on some of these arrogant politicians how couldn’t less.

  19. I moved from UK to NZ and left for Australia after 7 years in NZ. It was such a big change! After a couple of years in Australia, I got the courage to migrate to the USA and have been here ever since… I was in my 20’s and just finished a degree at Otago… I don’t miss the ‘culture’ of rugby 90% of the time…at this stage in my life, I would happily visit NZ for about 2-3 weeks for a holiday.. that’s about it!

  20. I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts December 2014. So unfortunately it is a degree that limits my options for the future. But as far as culture goes there are so many more galleries and museums in the UK where i can get my foot in. Right now I am working in retail trying to raise money to get back to the UK. Ive emailed several galleries in NZ and have only had a couple of replies saying that there are no vacancies…
    Retail is slowly destroying me as well as being in NZ as it is…
    Hoping to save and get away within the next year

  21. I had the misfortune to have nearly three years in New Zealand, but thankfully, I managed to immigrate to a third country and I have made a great life for myself.

    My suggestion would be to leave for the UK as soon as possible. I cannot advise you on career prospects without knowing your situation better, but you are far more likely to find dynamic and interesting work in the UK compared to New Zealand. I imagine that you could stay with extended family as you work to find something.

    New Zealand is a very stultifying place and the people are coarse, insecure, insular, and usually stupid. Succeeding in that environment is challenging and New Zealand is the antithesis of a meritocracy. Go now before you struggle and lose time in New Zealand. I took two steps back in my career when I moved to New Zealand and I struggled to find something good. I have fortunately returned to the First World. I have marvellous career opportunities and I meet far more interesting and kinder people daily.
    Feel free to leave your e-mail if you want to discuss in more detail.

    • I have stayed in new zealand for seven years on and off,since 2002.I had in 2009 august returned to my moms funeral,and my travel visa expired april 2010,on application to return again i was refused a travel visa,yet i have and indefinite residency visa..i have spent 100 of thousands trying to qaulify,,including travel fees,yet i would like to attain my status,i am a SOUTH AFRICAN,I worked as bricklayer,corrections officer,tree felling operating heavy machinery,drove extra heavy vehicles,petrol tankers,etc, i dont want to really stay there but would like my status,as by now i would have had my new zealand passport,the authorities want me to make a whole new application,and were the money come from.i have all the necessary skills they need and refuse me a travel visa.I have had many disagreements in the work place,as no common sense is used,and my ideas always stunk,,any advise, thank u for listerning

      • Howzit Deon. As a saffa myself and experienced many difficult and frustrating times here. I can sympathise with you. The Indefinite resident sticker has to be converted to visa when you are travelling. I suggest seeing an immigration consultant for more advice or check out the forums on expatforums and the NZ immigration website. I wish South Africa didn’t have all the violent crime and corruption because I would move back tomorrow 🙂 All the best. Cheers

  22. I’d just like to start by saying THANK GOD I found this forum. I was shifted to New Zealand by my parents when I was 15 years old. At 15 the idea of moving to New Zealand was exciting! I imagined it would be such an amazing change. First we went for a 3 week holiday where my parents had interviews in various NZ cities and we could get a feel for the place. I WAS MORTIFIED. It was NOTHING like I imagined. Rough. Not a lot going on. People didn’t seem civil?
    My parents decided on Invercargill and its fair to say I was less than thrilled. I didn’t want to move from Leeds and begged for them to change their minds. We got to Invercargill and I attended a girls school where no one was particular warming, no one knew anything about England, my accent was mocked (even by teachers) and I found myself hating my time there. I would go to school and not utter a word all day.
    I stuck it out until I finally went to university in Christchurch. I found Christchurch EXTREEEMELY clique-y. If you’re not from Christchurch then they don’t wanna know you. If you do something differently to the way they do it they can’t comprehend it. I was fortunate to meet a few people I got along with but since graduating don’t really keep in touch with. They were mostly acquaintances, I never really made deep friendships like I did in the UK.
    I’m now 22 with my degree and I’m eager to get back to the UK to start my life and start making friends. I’ve always known something was wrong here. My parents currently live in a small town in Hawkes Bay and have been burgled around 5 times. On one of these occasions my dad’s wedding ring was stolen. For me, that was the last straw, I tell my parents it’s time to move on but I don’t think they want to admit that New Zealand may have been a mistake.
    I only hope they decide to retire back to the UK in a few years time.
    Another thing that has truly irked me whilst being in NZ is how they believe they are notorious for so many things? Marmite? Fish and Chips? Gum Boots? Pineapple lumps? Hokey Pokey? The only people who think NZ is known for these things is people from NZ, to the rest of the world they’re known for rugby and the lord of the rings. I feel that the huge sense of self pride is to compensate for how behind they are with the rest of the world.
    I’m pretty excited to leave this place for good.
    I’d love to hear from people who have decided to go back to the UK and how you found it? I am concerned about comments like ‘Why did you come back to the UK?!’ I just don’t think its a great place to be at the age of 22. I feel like I’m wasting away my 20’s.

    • I had the misfortune to have nearly three years in New Zealand, but thankfully, I managed to immigrate to a third country and I have made a great life for myself.

      My suggestion would be to leave for the UK as soon as possible. I cannot advise you on career prospects without knowing your situation better, but you are far more likely to find dynamic and interesting work in the UK compared to New Zealand. I imagine that you could stay with extended family as you work to find something.

      New Zealand is a very stultifying place and the people are coarse, insecure, insular, and usually stupid. Succeeding in that environment is challenging and New Zealand is the antithesis of a meritocracy. Go now before you struggle and lose time in New Zealand. I took two steps back in my career when I moved to New Zealand and I struggled to find something good. I have fortunately returned to the First World. I have marvellous career opportunities and I meet far more interesting and kinder people daily.
      Feel free to leave your e-mail if you want to discuss in more detail.

    • Hi there, it was my dream to move to NZ after all the over-crowdedness of UK (and cold, dreary weather). I still think it has some fantastic aspects. Firstly, when travelling around in 1999/2000, Invercargill struck me as the WORST place – end of earth, really cold, and de-populated – why on earth did your parents choose that place. I decided to go to the centre of it all, near Wellington, Kapiti coast to be exact and was not disappointed. There you can access culture, there’s alot of what is interesting in UK in miniature – its own literary festival, garden open days, local artists opening, lovely beaches, gorgeous international cafes – in short, an exceptionally wonderful lifestyle. Hawkes Bay is another out of the way place. I think to enjoy NZ if you come from a multi-cultural place like UK (and UK varies hugely too!!!) you must go to within striking distance of Wellington or Nelson, maybe even some other cities like New Plymouth but definitely not to Invercargill. I feel so sorry that you were plunged into a narrow minded school at the age of 15, just when you were settled in UK. That was awful, and probably coloured your idea of NZ really negatively. For me, the problems came with education system, and I’ve moved my son over here aged almost 9, he simply wasn’t learning anything much at all, the schools seemed devoid of content up to year 9 or so, just the odd project very occasionally. He’s having such a rich education over here in UK in comparison, but we still both miss the lovely relaxed pace of NZ, the uncrowded roads, the sunny weather, the friendliness of friends we met, the easiness of it all and so much more – including all the freedom he had to cycle along river paths, along wide pavements, down to the local tennis courts – I hardly ever see a child on a bike in UK. What I’m trying to say is, I think your parents chose the worst NZ had to offer and feel sorry for you. Before you leave, why not stop off and have a few days in Nelson or Wellington, you may see another side of it, stop off on Kapiti Coast. I don’t think it’s all as bad as you now think….

    • I can relate to your story and you still have your whole life ahead of you 🙂 I have spent too many years here wasted. My fault, i know, but when you come from South Africa, one doesn’t have many options. South Africa is great, but violent crime is out of control there. I am currently living in Auckland city and have been for the last 3 years. I am now dealing with depression and anxiety and i’m only in my late 20’s. It is fair to say that Auckland has not been what i thought it would be. It is far from this clean, green adventurous paradise that everyone portrays. I have no friends( acquaintances, yes) mainly because I have isolated myself from people i know as i have no time for small talks. Deep thoughts are very rewarding and that is lacking around here. i don’t know what is next for me and my partner as this country has divided us. Is leaving an option? Possibly!

      • Go for citizenship, then jump to Oz. There is a world of difference between the two. Even with their “slowdown” in economy, they are better.

  23. Has anyone noticed that food tend to be more expensive in New Zealand, say a box of sea lord fish, they are a third cheaper in terms of price in Hong Kong than New Zealand

  24. wish i had a dollar for every time someone said ‘going to nz idnt about money’. ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY. every last bit of it. if you approach it from that angle and plan accordingly you might just get through.

  25. It’s true. If you are thinking of marrying a New Zealander, think prenuptial agreement in capital letters.

  26. kiwis never bring broke partners home – think about that.

    fastest asset transfer in nz history. you don’t even have to live together but after 2 years your assets become 50% theirs (:

  27. The reason why I am leaving New Zealand at the end of 2017 are the following reasons despite having lived here with my parents for more than 20 years:

    Isolation is a very real thing when you have family members who live in Hong Kong.

    Employment Opportunities are lacking in New Zealand, I want to be a Network Engineer, I rather move back to Asia say Japan where chances I can expand or further my career.

    Food is so expensive here say when you want to buy some sealord fish or Big Ben pies in Asia, it justs cost a third less than New Zealand

  28. I almost made the same mistake. I followed my Kiwi fiance over from London to New Zealand and lived with him in Hamilton for six months. The change in him was shocking, he went from urbane and sophisticated to a beer swilling toe rag who expected me to wait in like the good little woman while he went out on the piss with his old mates night after night.

    His brother also brought new blood back from England with him, they now have two kids and she hated the place and was being medicated for depression. She couldn’t leave because she couldn’t take them them out of New Zealand until they’re 16 due to some weird law they have over there. I think I had a very, very lucky escape, my life could so easily have been hers.

    3 months after I came back to England I was offered a superb job (I couldn’t find one in Hamilton, not even in a supermarket) and met a lovely local guy. We’ve got a place together in St Albans and things are looking very good.

    • Superficial charm and grandiose pronouncements without an actual background of achievement, are among the hallmarks of … psychopathy.
      It’s a good thing you waited before tying the knot, as sometimes people are just putting on an act while they’re overseas, and back home you discover they’re effectively a zero.

      Kind of like that series “Charisma Man” …

      Somewhat related, is the unpleasant idea that psychopathy is a genetically inheritable condition. Makes you look again at “The Omen” differently, eh?

      You had a very lucky escape indeed.

    • i experienced same. my youthful escape involved a wealthy ‘sophisticated’ kiwi who became – accord to mates – his inner neanderthal upon return. met loads of women who tooks assets there, had babes and founds themselves trapped, alone, assetless and very very desperate. none felt being there was worth it, all needed family help at home but courts would not alllow moving – even when father did/contributed zilch. its bizarre but follow the money – its always about money. kiwis have rights to everything, responsibility for nothing.

  29. Hello,
    Fist of all I am glad I found this website and could read some different opinions.
    I just came back from a a few weeks holiday in NZ, I visited some cities and the countryside as well.My intention was not just for holiday but to see how the lifestyle,enviroment etc. was.
    Before i go there i was researching from the internet and I guess even reading some negative reviews wanted to think very positive because it seemed such a nice country. Just to note I am living in europe and where i live has its own problems so not perfect here as well. I met a guy who is from Auckland and lived all his life in NZ. ( we met several months before i came to Nz in europe when he was here for work purposes for two months.) He is such a nice guy and i fall in love with him. I truly believe he can be my life partner.
    He is asking me to move there too. But after visiting and trying to see it with a place to live I don’t think the beatifull landscape can make up for all the negative things i could review in a few weeks. I guess there are so many efforts to show nz a bit different than it is in the social media. Or i was too optimistic and just looked at nice pictures and read nice things.

    The things i figured out in a few things were not much different than written here. So i am happy that i am not alone or just being to picky. I find it so expensive even as a tourist who had a free place to stay, houses too expensive, no social life as going out is very expensive for many people.As well as cinema, theathre,concert . Well cultural activities in general… It just feels so isolated if you don’t live in the middle of Auckland and can afford going out. Where i live I can make the choice to eat out if i want to and there are nice places like bars, restraunts for low budget as well. I have been invited to some sport events . We watched it together but when i said i am not familier with cricket and not really intrested in the people got very upset. This way of thinking made me sad. Not everybody needs to have a passionate in cricket and rugby. Also felt like people are not very open minded and accept differences. I am 30 and I have a job here where i live, friends and family. Although I am willing a lot to make a fresh change in my life like changing place and country I am not sure this is the right place for me. I really want to belive that NZ is great and i want to live with him madly but I don’t want to make a big mistake with my life and regret my choices. I am not a person to get afraid of taking risks but I also don’t want to act stupid . I am afraid I might become unhappy in the future. As I say there are lots of problems in where i live too but here i have family, friends and a job that cover my expenses and by taking a two hours plane i can travel to a destination for a weekend with different food, culture etc. On the other hand in NZ he will be the only person i know and i get a feeling people are not open to make new friends and with life being so expensive i will get stuck in just the city suburb where we will live together. ( i dont think we will live in auckland center as rents unbelivably expensive. ) And maybe can see my family and old friends once a year if i can save some money for ticket. He seems to get used to this kind of lifestyle and not complaining much and likes where he lives so much.

    My decision is already almost no to go there. But wanted to share my thoughts as well.
    Thanks for all the posts here. They give a good idea of the overall picture and you dont think you are crazy when all you hear is nz awesome country when you think the opposite.

    • You could try it, leave children [having children] out of the equation until you know for sure about whether you think NZ is for you.
      The isolation [no family] and the distance to visit “other places” is hard to overcome.
      The problem that many have is becoming “trapped”, getting to NZ, spending all of your $
      getting set up, then not being able to afford to leave.
      In your case, if this fellow has a place to stay, you’d not have that expense. Leave your stuff [at home]
      in storage or with your family, and have enough $ saved for a return ticket and enough $ saved to get on your feet again. DO NOT BECOME FINACIALLY DESTITUTE WHILE IN NZ. With those few stipulations, you’d be good to go.

      • Wise advice. As a New Zealander, I am struggling to earn enough to get out of my own country. It is hell on earth apart from the beautiful nature which I can only value alone because there is nobody of worth or education here to experience it with me. Foreigners are the ones who respect the NZ environment, no so many New Zealanders themselves. Yes. Do not come here without a contingency plan in case you have to leave!

    • @ asli :

      Unfortunately, these seem to be the two most likely outcomes. Be wary, and you’d be wise to keep the whole “pre-purchased airline ticket” thing to yourself.
      An opportunity to catch a Kiwi in its’ natural environment might be extremely illuminating.

    • I am a fifth generation New Zealander. I can identify with your concern about the low behaviour of Kiwis who took offence at your dislike of cricket and rugby. I hate rugby! I hate it. It is boring HELLL. I say it strongly so you can feel you did not do anything wrong in having your opinion. NZ is a monculture. They do not know what classical music is and they think Maori kapahaka and language is the all and end of culture in this place. Nobody knows who Rachmaninov was; they do not know where Farsi language came from, and they leave the soap on their dishes and spray fly spray around the house and breathe it in saying “she’ll be right” then wonder why NZ women get breast cancer by the truckload! I cannot identify with the so-called NZ culture as it stands today. It is boring. It is hell. Terrible. The drunkenness is foul and I live alone like a nun because I can’t bear the men here, the rugby and alcohol. DON”T COME TO LIVE IN NZ if you have high standards, values and love higher culture or men who can speak in proversb! NZ men speak with their mouths shut and they don’t know what a metaphor is. People here think classical music is Elvis Presley. All they do is smoke and drink and listen to boring jazz played by elderly old cruddy bags in some seedy cafe in Auckland. Yuck! They think that is so amazing. I survive meanwhile because I met Iranian immigrants who have been suffering depression. We do Persian things and that stops me from wanting to kill myself in NZ. They are my friends for now….till I can get enough money to leave the country.

    • go with your gut feeling..it is never wrong……do not get yourself hooked up with someone who will stifle your life……NZ is 20 years behind the times…was even back in the 1960’s when I lived there….I live in Canada now and it is a wonderful country….safe, modern, affordable, friendly, multicultural etc etc. ….even the 4 different seasons aren’t a problem…winter is good…..

  30. Well New Zealand joined many countries by having an idle, uneducated , and overpaid government and for having a lack of choice of political parties and politicians . NZ had such a good reputation at one point in time , but bad immigration policies and a lack of understanding what infrastructure really is , has brought the country to where it is today . NZ could have been an example to the world , unfortunately it will now never happen , such a waste of a beautiful country .

    • PG – I so agree! And those politicians are uncultured more than anything! They have no art education – it is all commerce running NZ with no respect for depth of character in human beings.

  31. I can only agree 100% with these comments. Such an immature country and a very short term thinking thinking nation. I would never energise any business in NZ

  32. just biding time and treading water until we can exit…..
    Only bonus currently a high dollar so means when we cash up we will be able to afford a decent home in our new country.

  33. Sounds like another incompetent and badly educated government unable to improve living standards , and infrastructure . It appears it has not changed since I was last there a decade ago , such a sad state of affairs for such a beautiful country .
    I often wondered why my daughter really left the country , now I understand

  34. Yup, homeschooling is the answer. Make sure that you register, you can get a stipend from the govt. The MoE is shocking, they really don’t do much more that what you’ve noticed. The “social interaction” is a double edged sword, they may be exposed to things you and your kids would be better off not being exposed to.
    It is a financial trap, we’d find it VERY difficult to leave now. You have enough time in to get citizenship, then move to Oz [something we’ve looked at and would do]. Develop friendships [we’ve got a few Kiwi friends, mostly SA though], and do the best you can.

  35. Dear Anonymous poster, I sympathise with your frustration over the NZ education system. I like to describe myself as a New Zealander, not a Kiwi. I am different because I do not fit in with NZ society as a whole. In fact, most Kiwis believe that I am from another country. At first I found that very strange, but now I realise that it is simply because I value finer and higher cultures from other countries that Kiwis scorn and reject. I was born in the 1970’s. My parents were born here during WW2 and my great grandparents arrived in the 19th century. For some reason, I had a different upbringing which excluded me from the rest of NZ society somewhat. It has been sheer hell for me at times, trying to fit into NZ society. I had no friends at school who liked classical music. The kids were always rough and cruel. Everyone had to do sports and if you did not drink alcohol, as I found later on in life, there was absolutely no friendships to be had anywhere without a lot of searching. My friends were always elderly people, not young people because I just could not fit in with the horrible lifestyles of my younger peers. Generally speaking, I cannot stand my fellow Kiwis. I find them low and uneducated – disgusting in fact. All my friends come from other countries: the US, UK, Middle East and Europe. I love the nature of NZ but I dislike Kiwis. Kiwis are the ones who damage the flora and fauna of NZ more than migrants. They drop rubbish everywhere and they are dirty people. I find broken beer bottles in the formerly clean rivers at times after low scum progeny of Kiwis have been there to smoke their weed etc. They are drunken, horrible, scumbags, both the men and the women. They are utterly ignorant and cannot figure out that detergent on the dishes is not edible and should be rinsed off, not left to dry on the dishes. Kiwis are fools with chemicals. The women here are probably the most responsible for the high cancer rates here with their indiscriminate use of household, chemical sprays like fly sprays and Exit Mould. They touch that stuff with their bare hands and force everyone to breathe it in because they do not read the warning labels! “She’ll be right mate!” That’s the Kiwi for you. Their kids I teach in schools at times. I like teaching because I do not work full time. I would hate to be a full time teacher. It is not pleasant.

    Let me tell you that your frustration with the NZ education system comes from Waikato University where a bunch of smart bums on seats are busy recreating the education system each year and importing truckloads of crap that did not work in the UK and US to implement the NZ education system. National Standards and E-Asttle are examples of this rubbish that is imported here like crap clothes from China. I have just been relieving in an intermediate school over the last three weeks and the teachers are exhausted from delivering the most time-consuming, bureaucratic testing systems to each child in their school. They have no choice in the matter and they hate this. They do not have time to teach which is why I have been brought into the school to relieve. Nice for me of course! The teachers are forced to spend long hours in front of the computer 7 days a week writing comprehensive reports (in John Key’s plain English for parents) at this time of the year. The National Standards reports do not change the fact that children are not getting proper teaching in the basics and are failing miserably in some cases. It is not the faults of the teachers.

    The reason that grammar is all but banned from our schools at primary level is because there are a bunch of bright sparks right up there in the Waikato University with clever dick PHDs in education that show us that grammar makes young people walk of tall buildings and therefore it is no longer necessary to be taught in schools. Just so you know. I saw and heard for myself when at the Christchurch College of Education in 2009, the English Lecturer who told us: “Kids don’t need grammar” . I got into trouble when I asked why it was that when I learnt Spanish, grammar was really important but in English, somehow it is not. At the end of the day, the problems of the NZ education system come from A) the government B) the friends of the government in the Colleges and Universities of Education which teach the future teachers and B) the Teachers’ Council. Teachers are not allowed to teach your children as they wish. They have to teach what they are told to teach. Some teachers totally ignore all the nonsense and teach the old-fashioned way anyway but those kinds of braver, more mature teachers are few and far between these days. I have to say that I taught myself English grammar off the internet because I did not know enough even from my times at school years ago.

    And kids have to do addition and subtraction the “hard way” these days. It is not enough to just get on with algorithms for these areas because a fantastic, proactive, genius who went to Massey University, whose name is Bobby, has decided that kids have to do horizontal problem-solving for addition and subtraction to stop them getting dementia early in life. Three weeks ago, I encountered six Year 7 Level children who could not do subtraction with renaming (or borrowing). They could not do it because the method Bobby’s clever maths was too hard for them to get their heads. I, unwittingly showed them how to do algorithm subtraction and they learnt the method immediately and were very happy about that. However, it transpires that the children at Year 7 and 8 may not do algorithm to help them answer maths questions in tests. They have to do it the hard way. It is this kind of stupidity from clever geniuses with Phd’s in Education that is responsible for the failure of children at school too. You are dealing with insane bureaucracy to bright sparks can have their salaries to invent clever systems and eat cakes with John Key’s friends. Don’t let me carry on or I will be writing more than too much on here.

    I hope you understand now. Good on you for home-schooling your kids. I know plenty of parents who are doing the same as you are and I have been tutoring them myself too.

  36. So happy to have found this sight. We’ve been living in NZ for over 12 years and would find it financially impossible to return to the US. We now have a 7 year old daughter and I’m struggling with the New Zealand educational system. At first I thought it was because of it being more British, but it seems like a lot of the British parents are not very happy either.WE have made many friends here, ALL of them (with one exception) non-Kiwis. As I speak with other parents I am finding that they are just as frustrated as I am and it has reached the point that I just send my child to school “for social interaction” and I am “homeschooling” her during all the breaks to catch her up as it does not seem like they are learning anything other than swimming and art. How have others here dealt with the HUGE difference in expectations (or lack of them??) Any advice or suggestions for a frustrated and tired parent?

    • Hi there, replying to comment about education system, I am English and was trying to bring my son up in NZ, by the time he got to seven I was seriously worried, I have brought him back to UK – it’s not perfect here, but he himself says he was working to ‘lowest level of his ability’ in NZ, here he is challenged and is finally learning to write – is still behind due to terrible start in NZ, but he will catch up eventually, I brought him back when he was nearly ten. Lots of people feel the same. He has missed out on entire primary school curriculum, last term in UK learnt Anglo Saxon and Roman history, Hindu religion and a whole unit on rocks and minerals – this would have been impossible in NZ – he did 2 science projects in 4 years there!

      • jenny – we spent a year in canada post nz. it was ‘nz, the revenge’. jacked it in and returned to europe, which has loads of problems, but not in education. in less than 2 years my son has learned/ is learning 3 new languages (1 down, 2 halfway) and he has music etc back on the curiculem, arts too. sports far higher standard. personal freedom. teachers dont strike tho have a little too much attitude for my liking. social culture sans alcohol. easy travel – exposure to diff cultures. oh ya – penmanship – they are still big on it. 11 yr old writes better than 24 yr old schooled in canada, uk, nz. uk schools are generally excellent and i think you were brave/ smart going back – i thought about it but lost nerve as the uk isnt the best place to be without support.

  37. Segregation lines are being drawn in New Zealand not only between Pakeha and Maori (latest half Austrian half Scottish PM comments about NZ history), but generally between kiwi and foreigners. To my experience parts of local “culture” is being taken over by alcohol and drugs, with rugby on the background, and this is what “foreign tourists” (new settlers) who came here to build a new life not often easily buy into. Growing region depopulation, the monstrosity of Auckland, whole streets of empty houses in provincial New Zealand towns (Wanganui is good example) are just a few features of John Keys segregated Aotearoa New Zealand. When this government wants to completely stop taking care of us, it starts segregating us into orientations, ethnicities, cultures, whatever the division line they can draw, they will draw it – DIVIDE AND CONQUER – free trade deal is signed with Communist China and TPPA is in the way!

  38. I not only have an allergy now to some of the trees or flower pollens in NZ but also the people- the people here who hate and dislike outsiders, who use them to advance themselves yet treat them like 2nd class citizens, who use and abuse others and their own. To be frank, you will not find much class in NZ and the manners some have are all they have to cover-up for their ignorance. Fake is the word and passive-aggressive is the nature. Literally, a fool’s paradise. human rights have little meaning and inconveniences are not taken seriously in anyway. Tough sh*t attitude throughout the society full stop.

  39. I will tell you of a little experience… Called the NZ police one night due to some fireworks going past 10 pm during work week. Phoned police to see if there was anything they could do. After my first 2 sentences I got cut-off and could not disconnect for about 10 min. So I phoned back and shortly got a message from the person I was talking to to call back. I only mentioned fireworks and noise ordinance issues, nothing else. When I called back the next lady (generally only ladies have these sort of jobs in NZ) told me that she needed my details and that she would send someone by in the neighborhood and that I would need to call the council for noise ordinance issues. Her and I did not get on well as this is the common practice among Kiwi women as they think they are a notch above outsiders and do not like foreign women much. Anyhow I got off the phone and decided to go to bed then about 30 min later I heard a loud knock on the door… I did not get up to answer it but the Kiwi lady with the multiple personality disorders (this is quiet common here) living in the front apartment decided to answer the door and let the police in. It was about 11 pm and other people in the building were in bed too. The police knocked loudly on my door and since they were in the building I did not want to make a huge deal about it or cause more probs for others so I answered. Anyway they said they were there to search the premises. I asked why- they never said why but enforced themselves to look in my flat but I did not let them in and said I did not consent to anything as I knew the laws in the US and many are universal just not asserted in NZ as the people hardly assert their rights as most live in fear… Anyway the Kiwi Pakeha female cop put her foot in the door so I could not close it and the lady with the multiple personalities who was quite obliging, took her around my back door to look in but I still did not let the cops into my flat. They then said there was a call that dropped out as my first call had dropped out and that is why they were there for domestic violence but they knew my name only because when I made the second call and told them about the fireworks issue in more detail they got my name but only in the 2nd call, not the first they were referring to. NZ police will lie to you and they are racists and will gang up on you with other Kiwi people if they can. Be forewarned and the police had no reason to come to my flat and wake me for a fireworks call and cause me trouble but for whatever reason they did. I am not sure if the prob was because of sloppy business practice which is usually the case or if the lady dispatcher during my second call wished to take me for a ride by reporting things that were not true just because she did not like me. In NZ you will never know if it is mere stupidity and carelessness or racism and dislike but generally it is the latter- just ask the Maori.

  40. Yes, NZ is not the best culture and totally culturally segregated- no soul to this culture and people are easily insulted so much that it is abnormally so. No personal skills whatsoever to handle differences or conflicts. You must go with everyone else to make it and cannot be yourself. This is a total sexist country and the North Island even more so. Women will not support you as they have been on their own and so will you have to be on your own. They will downplay and deny everything to defend their country and its people. It is downright BACKWARDS, not other way to say it. Men will not be gentlemen and expect you to put out the first night on a date- no respect, no boundaries, no cares or shall I say NO WORRIES. It is laidback in a negative way and certainly not easy going.

  41. Yes, I migrated to NZ back in 1997 to establish a business in Christchurch. My experence was very unpeasant having to deal with dishonest misleading professionals in the commercial property industry. I had a young dauaghter and married to a Kiwi i decided to take 18 months out of work and enjoyed family life.
    I have no regrets about leaving NZ and would not reside there again. Very pretty country, but not much of a future for young people. Like most countries there is a boys club to contend with which i find quite perverse.
    If you intend migrating to NZ, go there temporarily and don’t pack up and close the door on your country of origin. In my case it cost me an absolute fortune and I left my house in Christchurch without selling it.
    Now After quite a number of years I am having to deal with the corupt insurers post earthquake. In a nutshell don’t go there if you have a young family as they will leave to seek a future elsewhere when they grow up.
    I have had disagreements with my wife as she would like to reside in NZ. I am quite adamant that I will never return or stumble over the same rock twice.
    On the surface NZ looks ok but a much different place if you are trying to make a living.
    I did some charity work while in Christchurch to deploy my what talent i had and what I observed I found quite disturbing. There a terrible drug culture and high prevalence of alcohol abuse.
    The approach to doing business and work is very sloppy. It is not a society I like,enough said.

  42. this is all so true – 30% of all brits who go to NZ come back and there are darn good reasons why, I believe others just cant afford to come back otherwise the stats would be higher – people in NZ dont want us brits taking their jobs – they only want you you to do the jobs they dont want – dont touch is with a 10 foot barge pole its a nightmare – we came back after giving it nearly 3 years – back in blighty life is fab – thank my lucky stars every day we just came back

    • @Jackiejo – I know people from several different countries who are stranded here (one couple for 28 years) and either the cost of trying to survive here, children, grandchildren, or poor health prevents their return. I also know many would be immigrants here who are planning to leave (I am going home to Canada in 2016) but it is so fucking hard to just pay to live here – even on a “good” income – that it is much more difficult to get home than anyone who lives in a developed country might imagine. And yes, the society is a tough one to adapt to. Counting the months till I leave.

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