Time to Leave Queenstown

Welcome to our series of Migrant Tales, first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.

Today’s story was sent in by a British migrant from London who has been living in Queenstown for two years.

I have also been in New Zealand for just over 2 years and I also hate it. We moved here from London with 2 children to get out of the rat race and find a better quality of life. Unfortunately, I have not found it to be a better quality and rather a significant degradation.

We live in Queenstown which is beautiful. There is no traffic and we feel safe. We go skiing in Winter. But that is about the end of the list of pro’s.

The list of con’s is unfortunately quite a bit longer. The biggest for me is the sense of isolation and loneliness. The people are not very friendly. I never realized how unfriendly and unhappy New Zealanders could be. The only friends I have made are other expats. But I really miss the friends we had in London. I definitely think the quality of friendships that I have left trump any that are on offer in New Zealand. People are just so insular, judgmental or downright strange.

I have started thinking the problem is me but all I can hold onto is that I have managed to make many great friends over my lifetime in other countries. There is a severe lack of opportunities in New Zealand. Any previous work experience is not valued here. I am a well qualified professional with great interpersonal skills but since moving to New Zealand I have come to doubt myself and have little confidence after a number of run ins with locals. The tall-poppy syndrome is alive and well here.

We are financially well off and were happy, contented people before we moved here. But the culture here is very petty and close minded. Somehow everyone is cut down to size. I have become very depressed over the last 2 years. The impact on my mental health has been very difficult. I want to get out but given that I am so down, am overwhelmed by the idea of a big move again. Even though I know it needs to be done to save myself. We always had big concerns about moving here and were very naïve when we thought lets just give it a go and if it doesn’t work out we can leave. We underestimated how debilitating the process of it not working out would be.

I really wish we had never come here. There is 2 years of my life I will never get back and who knows how much longer while we remain in this ‘stuck’ state. I became aware of this website over a year ago but pushed it away. I didn’t want to believe all the negativity. I am normally a positive person and believe you make your own luck. But I am afraid that I am in agreement . If someone reads this it may help them not to make the same mistake we did. I can’t wait to get out of this god forsaken place.

13 thoughts on “Time to Leave Queenstown

  1. Wife and I returned from a trip to Queenstown a few days ago. Absolutely loved it. Met lots of nice people (Tourists) but I did wondered what it would be like to live there. It seemed to good to be true but I wasn’t in a position to see what you all have experienced.

  2. It really makes me sad to hear that many of you have had such a negative experience in New Zealand. I do wonder if the country is raged about so much, and there is such a big hype for people to have an expectation of. It really disappoints me that you have felt that Kiwis are rude, narrow-minded individuals. Born and bred Kiwi, it angers me to hear that no one cared for any of you. I’m not sure if it is the fact that you moved to a place such as Queenstown that has such a large population of tourists etc that people are arrogant for that reason, or that you didn’t get to experience better places in NZ. I really hope that if this is the case, you do try to see the rest of New Zealand and experience some better, more hospitable people. It is interesting reading this, as my partner has been offered the opportunity to move there and live, so we would be relocating from mid-North Island, makes me think twice about it if that IS what they are like down there.

    • I find it quite disappointing too, as a kiwi I’m appalled at how some people have been treated here. I’m in the same position as you Roxanne, my partner has been offered a role in Queenstown with quite good money. I am concerned about the cost of living down there though, and whether we would really be in any better position compared with here in Auckland. From the sounds of it, accommodation doesn’t seem too good and as much I’ve liked visiting Queenstown for holiday, spending whole southern winters in a single glazed damp home is not desirable in the slightest. And full time employment seems slim if you’re not in the tourism industry, nothing suitable for me in my field, so it’s looking unlikely we’ll make the move…

  3. Interesting! I moved to Queenstown in 2013 with my family – full of hope. Originally, I thought I had landed in heaven. Boy was that a mistake. The quality of much rental housing is appalling: many cold, damp, single-glazed. The landlords care very little about you the tenant and rental prices are crippling. It is sheer profiteering. You can get by, but you can never get ahead because the cost of living is so high. It’s a place where the rich get richer by completely screwing-over tourists and non-homeowner residents.
    I feel now that my eyes have been opened to how things really are. Sure, it’s a nice place to visit, but forget it if you want to forge a life here. My advice: don’t migrate here. If you are already here – go back to your home country and be content. Middle-Earth is a myth, as is the notion of New Zealand as some ideal destination. Don’t fall for the hype.

  4. I have fully agree with all the comments , although i have lived in New Zealand for 15 years and the Country is indeed beautiful in places ,but Kiwis are indeed a very odd,strange, unfriendly people , very inward looking and narrow minded , i have worked and lived in over 40 different Countries including Scotland , France ,Somalia ,Yemen, Nigeria , would rank Kiwi’s at the bottom pile extremely odd people . Friendly to ones face when they want money or business but try get invite past the front door !

  5. I’m English born & totally agree with both the main story & the comments. Kiwis love to kick a person when they are down, whilst giving themselves a pat on the back, no doubt congratulating themselves on how fair-minded they are! There are few, if any, limits to their self-righteous sadism! They are consummate backstabbers, innuendo is there main weapon of choice in cutting someone down to size, unless they are physically bigger than their current target, in which case they will add intimidation into the mix. They love to fill people with doubt & break them from the inside out! They almost always stick together, if you have a dispute with one of them(it doesn’t matter one bit who’s right or wrong- the Kiwi involved could BBQ new-born kittens for breakfast) they will always close ranks against you… “The Pommie Bastard”)! Just remember for every enemy you know you have in NZ, there will be at least 10 more you do not know you have, such is a measure of their depraved innuendo! There are exceptions(diamonds amongst the filth), but they are few & far between. Plus, I’ve wasted 25 years(the best years) of my life down here in Dunedin(the true “arse-hole of NZ”- Invercargill holds this title for many Kiwis, but it’s got nothing on Dunedin)! For the Brit’s & others thinking of immigrating here, please note that this nation is: FOOL’S GOLD!

  6. Grown up overseas , attended schooling and early years in ‘NZ’ . realized quite quickly that nz society is built on propaganda (that everyone believes) , ther is very little sincere generosity of spirit.

  7. Hear what you are saying and agree with your thoughts and the experience you’ve had. Try 10 years wasted…..

  8. New Zealand sounds exactly like Canada. Coast to coast there are no jobs. None whatsoever. The job ads are for jobs that don’t really exist because they’ve been handed to recommended connections behind the scenes. In fact the job ads are in place just so corporations can maintain an aura of transparency in the eyes of the public. You’ll be convinced of this when you read the overly cumbersome and highly unnecessary long list of requirements for the jobs. Then you’ll realize that there is no way these requirements could not have been designed to fit a specific person’s qualifications and to discourage any other applications. In the event that you do apply to any of these scanty ads and try to contact the company about it, you’re treated like a stalker. Canada is the land of evil. Hell itself.

  9. what i have read is exacly the same way i have felt here for the last 6 years..but in 9 days time we are off back to the uk ..to see our old friends again .and to actually laugh again…so who ever you are bite that bullet and go home.Ive had depression and have put on so much weight due to drinking..my only friends are english..kiwis forget it..they never invite you round it has always been us..such a horrible place to be…roll on the uk ..so take heart and leave this place..i will never return and only keep the kiwi passport to go and work in australia one day..do it now move back

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