Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales, first hand accounts of life in New Zealand taken from places around the net.
Today’s tale was first published on a NZ forum which has since closed down. It was written by a born and raised New Zealander, who eventually left New Zealand for a new life in Australia.
If you are contemplating a move to New Zealand you may like to hear what a local thinks of the place. This may be why around 40,000 people a year leave the country and why over a million Kiwis live abroad, leaving just over four million in a country larger than the UK.
Hi, I have been reading this site for the last month or so and have to say, it had been such a relief to read some of the views expressed here.
Yes, I am a New Zealander but I do not “fit in” to the NZ way of life/psyche and am planning to leave asap with my family.
It has taken quite a while to get to the place of realizing that there is something seriously wrong with this country, that is is not just all “in my head” or my own personal failing that I do not like life here.
I will start with my childhood:
Started out well, parents with good educations and good opportunities. More on the intellectual end of the spectrum. This didn’t seem to be a problem until we moved to a rural district and started attended the local country school. Immediately we were pegged as townies, outcasts, snobs, and targeted relentlessly by bullies at school.
My parents did not fit in, as they did not go to the pub regularly or submit to the mind numbing sameness of thought that seemed to be standard for the locals. We were not a family that did sports which really seemed to rub people the wrong way. Basically, there was an incredible amount of hostility, suspicion and sheer nastiness from the old established local families.
I was an observant child and noticed so much brutality going on. I could name 3-4 families in our school where there was serious and sick physical and or sexual violence going on in the home. Fathers who would send every night down the pub and go home and beat the wife senseless. Their kids were the ones bullying me the next day at school. Any hint that you might have some thinking going on behind your eyes was greeted with suspicion and “who do ya think ya are?” type attitudes.
The first reaction to all of this is to naturally assume you have made mistakes, that your behavior is at fault. This was reinforced by my parents, white liberals who had no idea what the kids at school were capable of. Looking back on it now, I can see that these kids were probably whipped into it by their parents attitudes, the whole “piss off you pompous intellectuals, get some rugby up ya” attitude emanated from them 24/7.
From my childhood I got the strong impression that suffering was normal and that sports and being aggressive were pretty much the height of achievement.
There are so many little incidents that stick in my mind, like when I was 12 or so, didn’t know how to use a soda fountain machine at a cafe and accidentally pulled the lever the wrong way and got only unflavored soda water, no coke. “Ya gunna have to pay fer that” sneered the counter lady. As a sensitive child it all starts to seem too much. I slipped into depression around then and have struggled with it since.
It really takes quite a while for a NZer to start to see the true picture of their country. My whole family is here and so it is home in that sense. This in itself stops one from the self analysis process – if I lift this rock and find something horrible underneath, what will I do with that information? Leave this country when all my family live here? Easier to just not look under the rock and carry on with all the horrible bits bobbling around in the background.
Even as a child I knew there were major problems in NZ with the Maori. One of my parents, wracked with liberal guilt etc, took up the Maori cause, determined that us kids should learn Te Reo, tried to get down with the local marae. My feeling is the local Maori thought she was strange and bizarre for wanting to become part of a culture that she had no claim to.
As I go older I saw more and more of the Maori anger, hostility, contempt for white society, violence, feralness etc. And realised that “you can’t talk about that in NZ.” In a North Island town I lived in, the main street was scary because of rough aggressive Maori hanging around spitting on the footpaths whenever a white person walked past and asking for money. Let alone the gangs of young feral Maori boys, shoeless and looking like they hadn’t seen a mothers care in years. Yet, nobody wanted to hear about it. “You can’t say that about Maori, they are disadvantaged, they have a different culture blah blah”. Meanwhile the news filled up with stories of horrific child abuse perpetrated by Maori.
I think this whole entitled Maori thing is going to destroy NZ. The upper North Island is already a violent and unstable place because of it. The treaty settllement has been taken on as an excuse for appalling behaviour, as if bad treatement by the white man justifies living in a feral uncaring way. I have heard of Maori students that have been beaten up by others because they were achieving high grades or “speaking white” and this was a threat to the rest of the Maoris at that school. Underachieve or we will knock you down to size seems to be the story.
I am with a non-NZ partner. Most if not all the NZ men I met were emotionally stunted and fixated on rugby and cars. Yes, there are some nice people in NZ but fundamentally they are a bit odd, grim and struggling and unable or unwilling to dream of better. Or if they have “made it” thrusting this fact in your face with their brand new performance car and house in the newest subdivision. We are now in a position to leave NZ, and I am finally seeing what my country is really like. The hostile driving culture is only a reflection of the hostile culture in general. Offices I have worked in are incredidbly hostile and anti-intellectual. Conversations centre on mortgages and cars and all has a tone of bitter resignation mixed with arrogance.
We want to buy a house and send our children to good schools. but we are not willing to try and do this here. In order to buy a house we would have to massively overextend ourselves financially and be willing to fix up a house to a proper standard with insulaltion etc. And all this on lower than low salaries. It is probably getting to this point of “do I want my kids raised in this country” that has been the real eye-opener.
Anyway, this is all a bit of a ramble, but it has been a real life saver to find this site.
A few months later they left an update
We got out of NZ last year and are in Oz, it is great. It was more expensive, stressful etc than we imagined but life here feels like life not like survival. Australians have a very optimistic go-getter view which is extremely different to NZ.
With some perspective I now think of NZ culture as fairly brutal.
Yes there are some nice things but they are dragged down all the cr-p, and that is just demoralising day after day. Best wishes to everyone still trying to make their way out.
In the NZ headlines today
Teen in sinister sex attack at Northland home(Ruakaka)
Party host survives gun blasts
Woman kidnapped, dragged behind a car in Tokoroa
Man slashed in glass attack
Four arrests after armed robbery pursuit
Men jailed after shootout near school