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
13 thoughts on “New Zealand Culture is Brutal, Something is Seriously Wrong”
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I am a 14 year old kiwi born and have lead a pretty sheltered life. Reading all these horrible stories has made me look at New Zealand in a different way. But remember – you can’t put everyone in NZ under one stereotype. We aren’t all cruel, dumb people. There is always going to be people who are rude in every country, but there are also a whole lot of good people. Open up your hearts a bit and let in some kindness. You may not know the full story about someone so look at both sides.
This is easy for you to do in your own culture because you are Kiwi. I will say that most Kiwis blindly follow an old-modeled English “Government” system and tend not to assert their rights or make changes to the corruption in the system. The media wants to pull everything out of the US to make it look bad so Kiwis will fear and hate America and Americans and feel better about living in NZ. If you did not have any social welfare, it would probably have to be the worst Western country to live in. Stupidity is everywhere in the society- in Government, in academia and in the civil and criminal legal system. The people are very arrogant. Sure there are some nice people but they tend to be blind followers and allow the corruption to happen all around them as long as they can have their own life. The pakeha culture will act nice to your face then stab you in the back at any given moment. And sorry to say this but even nice people protect the corruption – they are so used to it that it has become normal. Unless you are white – English, Scottish, Irish, S African, Canadian – you can have a hard time esp if you are a single woman and straight. Liberal sexual attitudes are also everywhere and young girls can have sex and get birth control as young as 13 or 14. Some ecome sex workers before 18 and some people in NZ are proud of sex workers.Very few have self-respect. Look at John Key’s daughter. This is all normal. A large portion of the population is bi or gay too so you can even experience sexual aggressive behaviour from women if you are a woman. Many people have ghetto mentality and the kiwi women can be super controlling and act like know it alls. Its not a nice culture to live in. There is also a shortage of men and educated men with careers usually take jobs elsewhere as the pay is so low in NZ. Cost of living very, very high and many people are super tight with money. The next time i leave i wont be coming back ever- contaminated water and pesticides being used eveeywhere. A very hardcore stoic race and unhygienic culture. My biggest mistake in my life was immigrating to NZ. People are self-centred and cold 80% of the time. Shrewd people. Cheap people. Prejudice people. Not my kind.
You should ask everyone this not just Annie. See that is exactly NZ – ageist culturally racists and sexists. They only care about other Kiwis full stop. Fish cant see water nor discrimination. It happens everyday in NZ.
It’s denial and no culture of accountability. Kiwis are passive-aggressive and follow that “harden-up” mantra to a tee. If confronted, they cower or they’ll get aggressive and throw ad-hom attacks.
Even though I was born here, as a mixed race woman there’s no welcoming feeling. Kiwis politely smile to your face and proceed to stab you in the back. Mean-spirited people.
New Zealand could be a great country, but the locals’ arrogance over what could be seen as normal or insignificant overseas is…pathetic.
I’ll stop here before my post spirals into black hole status!
Wow, she has posted my thoughts almost exactly.
Im also and NZer, and while I like my country on a sort of base level, I can clearly see the horrific issues here and can’t identify with kiwis AT ALL. So much needs to change and I fear it never will.
Non-governmental youth assistance associationss looking for voluntary donations, are becoming a problem in NZ
(huge dollops of sarcasm, should read: gangs extorting people are commonplace)
Khushi Joshi, a chef from Ghazal Indian Cuisine in Glen Eden, was attacked by a gang of youths on Monday night.
Owner Gary Smagh said Joshi left work at 10.45pm to walk home. A couple of minutes later Smagh’s wife saw him fall to the ground as the youths surrounded him and screamed for help.
Smagh and his wife ran out and took Joshi back inside then called the police. Smagh said the whole incident happened in less than a minute.
Joshi told Smagh he was approached by one boy armed with a screwdriver who pushed him to the ground and then told him to “hand over what you’ve got, or I’m going to f… you up”.
I would just say … have this happen – just once – and the business owner needs to seriously think … about driving their workers back to their homes, AT A MINIMUM
Every Indian I’ve met in NZ has been polite and friendly. Kiwis just hate anyone more intellectual than them (which is everyone) and have alot of suppressed hostility. It all comes out on the weekends when they’re ‘on the piss bro’ and become racist, neanderthal tossers. I’ve been in NZ for 7 years now, I’m from the UK and am only still here because of family commitments. Anyone who hates it here and is thinking of leaving, GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN.
Interesting reads… i do see the things stated above and i am not a New Zealander… i moved here for a better life for myself and my children… but these things do worry me.. for such a small population to have such major social issues really bothers me and what bothers me even more is that with all this talking, nothing is being done about any of it. Food for thought really!!
There’s no need to do anything about it. It’s a lot easier to influence the reported crime figures to show that crime isn’t a problem in New Zealand. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11230189
Petty crime is a prob but many kiwis are not educated enough to engineer sophisticated crimes. I have had many things stolen in NZ. Less people less crime. Less people there seems to be more dumb people too as smart people who stay are generally corrupt and smart people that are educated and good generally move overseas.
Stats in NZ have a lot of flaws so they are not definite and only half the truth -shortage of police makes crime harder to detect and manage for a start. NZ police are arrogant and weak. If someone falsely accuses you of something it is like the black south – they can hold it against you without any evidence if they do not like you or you defend your rights. It is a very very corrupt police system and the police have poor discretion skills and can be very rude. If you see drugs and report it they wont even believe you – that is how bad it is.
Very well written piece. I suffered extreme violence at home and at school by emotionally stunted New Zealanders.
Yes, I am very different because I read philosophy and psychology. It seems ironic that because of my appalling up bringing in New Zealand both at home and school this made me think that there must be a better way. This gave me the impetus to take off two years and I read any factual book I could read and that is when I discovered philosophy, I read every philosophy book I could find and then hunted second shops for particular works I was interested in. In my younger days I was a typical Kiwi and would scoff at philosophy, psychology, history and the like but after reading for two solid years I knew I had to get out and that was over twenty years ago and I have never regretted one single day.
The only ongoing issue I have is dealing with the remainder of my family back there, they have never moved more than a mile from the family home and the blinkers are still on. I absolutely despise going back there for any type of family event, it is just too stressful and the whole family dynamic is dysfunctional. There always seems to be an issue that can never be resolved. I went back two years ago for a family event that could not be avoided, the rest of my family don’t know it yet but that was the last time ever I will be returning.
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