Continuing our series of Migrant Tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.
Today’s tale was taken from a closed expat forum.
This story is told by an American emigrant who has lived in New Zealand for 10 years and is finally having to leave to save their sanity
Hi All,Man, I need some validation and support. I’m from the US, came here thinking I’d have a better life, etc, but I’m not joking when I say I cannot physically live here anymore.
After 10 years I have no friends, I have no money. I’ve worked my butt off, but every dime has gone into living.
In regards to friendship, being from the US I was raised with values that say if you offend someone and you know you have hurt them,you go to them apologize, try to make it right and ask for forgiveness. In turn they hopefully see your sincerity and forgive you and you move on with the friendship.
Here, I’ve been deeply hurt and saddened to hear the words, “I have made a decision to dislike you the rest of my life”, and “it’s not my problem”, and “if you don’t leave I’ll get a police order”, or “I hate you more than my parents”, “you are an American, I have the power, keep your mouth shut”. I have heard these things over and over and over. In my experience, they believe this. To them friendships mean, “I like you as long as you do and say everything I tell you to, agree that as an American you are arrogant and must be silenced, agree to drink, do drugs, watch rugby, have no goals and complain about the world”.
I am shocked, I mean deeply shocked. Yesterday I had a “meeting” with my supervisor and boss at work. There was a dispute over pay. At the end I ended the conversation, got up and left and said “Obviously I’m completely wrong and you are always right”. There was no honest discussion at all whatsoever. Zero. It was as if all the leadership and communication skills I learned in the US and have totally taken for granted was completely minimized and discarded.
Also, I can no longer live in damp, moldy, rotted houses. Last night I woke up from a deep sleep having a coughing fit because the room was so cold and damp. I have lived in a new house, but still there was no central heating, so the heat had to come from a oil heater which heated only that room, so I changed to a heat pump, had to move my bed downstairs into the lounge to sleep under it and then got a huge power bill. I never ever had issues with my health before and now I find myself being so careful to try to stay dry, to and to sleep with my face under the covers to try not to breathe the dampness.
At first I felt like it was good for me to experience a new culture, however now I feel like this place is destroying me. I feel like who I am, how I feel, what I think is unwanted, and that I cannot grow. The US has it’s own issues, but at least I’m allowed to grow, make mistakes and learn from them and have people around me who may or may not be my friends, but who at least share a common sense of patriotism, and who would never say to me “I’ve decided to hate you the rest of my life”.
I’m serious, this isn’t funny, this isn’t an exaggeration. My employment ends in September and I’m going home. I’m done trying to change the very fabric of who I am to live somewhere that while gorgeous is draining the very “me” out of me.
Does anyone out there understand?
I know if I stay here every dream, ever goal, every piece of hope will be put in a cage and will stay there the rest of my life. I’ll never become who I was born to be.
30 thoughts on “New Zealand Is Draining The “Me” Out Of Me”
You’re not alone. I don’t get a good vibe from new zealand either. Originally from Canada I have a hard time not disliking this country. I want to leave as well.
“agree that as an American you are arrogant and must be silenced, agree to drink, do drugs, watch rugby, have no goals and complain about the world”.”
Im and NZer and this is exactly right. THEY EVEN DO IT ME. Yes you read that right, they treat their own people like scum yet when they put on a front of caring about the ‘the average kiwi struggling to get by’.
They sap the culture out of everything. Not all, but a lot. I work for a volunteer English teaching agency with many members who love other cultures so not every kiwi is like this, but if even I’m tired of them there is definitely a huge issue. I’ve even been told to leave if I don’t like it. Someone suggested to me that I bought my wife because she is not from NZ.
NZ people are weird. Like they are deathly afraid of being near another human being. Have you been on the bus? They slide to the furthest corners, and if the buss is full, when a seat becomes free they dash for it like you have a contagious disease. I no longer consider myself one of these people. I’m just some guy who lives here lol.
I understand you, sir. And God knows your pain and what you experienced was similar to the isolation Jesus Christ experienced. You certainly went through the great spiritual growth. Thanks for sharing your story. I lived in NZ for 18 years. God bless you.
wow my husband and I are in the same position. My husband a very happy outgoing person that everybody likes as soon as they meet well not in NZ, he has become depressed and a shell of his former self. If only such beautiful scenery had nice people in it, they are bullies, rude, devoid of any humour or personality in fact bloody boring and arrogant for no real reason. We are from the UK and are getting out of here as soon as possible. I too have been bullied at work purely for my accent and so has my husband I hate what they stand for as people, the sheep have more personality than them. If anybody reads this from the UK DO NOT MOVE TO NZ you will love the country but the people will treat you like crap and it is not paradise no way houses are disgusting, the education is appauling and the people seriously are like something out of a zombie movie there is something seriously wrong with them
[Deleted. No ad hom remarks permitted, thank you. Admin]
i FULLY AGREE iF i NEVER HAVE TO SPEAK TO A RUDE AND ARROGANT KIWI IN MY LIFE AGAIN IT WILL BE TOO SOON I have tried to live there for 10 years The woman are the worst as the law overprotects them and they can complain and the man is always guilty. After 10 years I want nothing to do with them
I wish I could meet you. I’m a 5th generation New Zealander and I’ve been treated like the worst dirt on Earth. I have a more English accent compared with most New Zealanders and the cruelty I have endured most of my life by my fellow Kiwis (whom I feel not related to at all) has made me feel suicidal at times. I don’t know how to get out of here.
These words couldn’t ring more true for me! I’m in the same boat.
Agree with all that is mentioned.Selling up and leaving after 7 years. I have become something I dont like, too hard! I only trust other immigrants! I hate what this country has turned me into and I feel sorry for the people here who know no better.
That is one of the many reasons we left, too. The level of anger in people there. And we became angry people, too. When we finally arrived home, it was like taking a chill pill. Yet, reading the hype, you would think New Zealand is the chillest place on earth. There is an undercurrent of desperation in New Zealand, due to the hard living and isolation. This comes out in drinking, drug use, aggressive driving, “anonymous hit” type interpersonal aggression, and vengeful actions that are difficult to catch. High arson rate. High suicide rate. High flight rate. Read between the lines!
There is such a high level of anger and aggression here. You often hear Kiwis say they are the friendliest people in the world, but it’s a crock! They are among the most stressed, angry and depressed people in the world. Bullying here is an ordinary way of relating – whether at school or in the workplace. We are selling up and leaving after more than 20 years. My husband is from here – his parents were fleeced in one of the many “Mum and Dad Investor” schemes, and he is even a harsher critic of the place than I am.
Agreed about the housing, how at 36 after living in NZ for only 3 years (the rest of my time in the UK) can I suddenly develop asthma and get bronchitis regularly every winter when there have never been any medical occurrences before? Shoddy housing, that’s how. Little insulation, limited heating, mould spores on windows from excessive condensation, no double glazing etc etc. I survived 11 years there, I will miss the beach and the warmer weather but with a 4 yr old there was no way I wanted him schooled there. I also couldn’t believe how constantly sick all winter the kids got in NZ either, something which us far less apparent back here in the UK.
I also was penalised for my hard working ethic being told to sit down & slow down on more than one occasion, but that’s a different story ….
Glad to be back in Blighty since July and hopefully for good.
“the only difference between illusion/reality in the States or GB vs. here is that there’s enough bad news about those two places easily findable that people know PR when they see it, whereas for NZ most people really do seem to think that the illusion is the way everyone lives here.”
New Zealand is what being in a cult is like. The financial drain, struggle and pressure to keep up appearances about how great it is, in order to suck more people in – to take the weight off of yourself” or something on those lines.
The honesty thing, true.
Not keen on [especially] Americans, true.
Glad you made it out.
Yep, i’m with you on that one. I think being English is almost as big a crime as being American if you liver here in NZ. I hate it. Bigoted, racist narrow minded views that sap the very energy and life out of you. And as for housing, I’d be better of in a bloody tent, and it would be a lot cheaper too. Yeah, come to NZ for a great lifestyle, one of asthma, chest infections, pnemonias, drinking water from disgusting tanks that have been drained in to from your roof, nice bit a possum poo with your water madam?? Kids have never been as sick as they have here, and don’t even get me started on the health care here (I work for it and its appalling). You may have beautiful scenery but NZ also has very well kept secrets and is not quite as clean and green as it claims to be. My advise, if you are going to move here from the UK, Dont.
New Zealand is overrated.
Before i found this page, I am already having 2nd thoughts about NZ.
I no longer want to migrate there.
I’ll spread this page all over the net to discourage potential “victims”/immigrants from ever coming to “1st World wannabe” 3rd world NZ.
NZ is for cows, not for professional immigrants.
and to the Americam guy – I feel very sorry that you had those terrible experiences and hope that everything works out for you. Kia Kaha.
woah guys! you all seem to have had a bad time. On the other hand, we are friends with an English couple who moved to Taranaki, and they CANNOT BELIEVE the closeness of the community, the kindness and thoughtfullness of complete strangers (who helped them out for no return), and they love it. So please don’t tar us Kiwis all with the same brush. In every country there are the skiters, backstabbers, bs artists – no more here than anywhere.
We’re glad that your friends love it. Of course, what they say in private may be different to what they’ll tell you.
Migrants in NZ quickly learn to say what is expected of them, mostly because of a desire to fit-in and to be accepted.
Our other readers may have more to say about Migrant Speak
Very true. Until I found this and another site, there were no outlets for how I felt or could vent/express.
I would assume that there are others out there that are unwilling to express themselves openly [after all, we’ve still got to live here, at least for the time being]. Me personally, I do not want to offend the Kiwis that I am friends with, and Kiwis in general do not take criticism well, so that leaves out the rest, they wouldn’t listen anyway.
Truer words were never said about NZ, P Ray.
It’s 100% skite, b.s. and backstabbing.
PRay and Ren, that is so true. I even had a Kiwi tell me that once, “how to argue back with people if they give you sh*t”. If they say ABC to you, just say CBA”, he advised. So it’s a patented technique with them.
Thanks for that. Thats just awful! It sounds like you have been enduring some really abusive relationships especially at work. I think there is a lot of that in Auckland. Unhealthy work climates etc. I want to get out asap but I cant afford it. Abuse does suck your soul out huh? But its not you its their crap. so many people are emotionally immature and cant communicate! you did well to survive and get out.
Many NZ-ers have the unique ability to react to observations/points of view from immigrants in a way that makes out the immigrant to be the one who is maladjusted.
E.g. if you speak out against racism, YOU’RE RACIST; if you speak out against crime, YOU DID IT; if you speak out against relational aggression, YOU’RE UNTRUSTWORTHY.
When they get to university, it is even worse: the lying you encounter there is immense. People qualifiying in art history will tell you they’re doing blood analysis; people qualifying in early childhood education will say they’re doing neuroscience; people qualifying in Social Sciences will tell you they’re doing Mathematics.
Basically, if someone is not a staff of the university, it was almost guaranteed that if you were a migrant asking them questions about life in NZ or themselves, you’d be lied to. Close friends are few and far between and even some of those would take you for a ride if they could.
International Students are routinely told that they can’t sue anyone in NZ for a wrongdoing, which is patently false.
Other questions about accommodation, jobs, rights and entitlements are either omitted or deflected.
And when immigrants cave to this environment, I don’t think it’s possible to fix the damage.
Excellent reply P Ray, it’s all part of the fitting-in that’s required of migrants in NZ.
Wow , Didn’t realise all this existed myself until I went overseas, and realised how very dysfunctional we are.
Moving to my husbands country of Morocco next year.
As I have woken up.
Kiwi born and breed,
Dysfunctional is the word. Today, once again I witnessed my daughter and granddaughter being snubbed and ignored in a park where they were playing. There was another mother and young child playing and my daughter committed what appears to be a crime in this country. She said hello and smiled in a friendly manner only to have the woman and child look at her and my granddaughter who is only 2 yrs old, as if they were vermin. They turned their backs and walked away. My daughter has been in NZ for 18 months now. She has had this happen time and time again and has not made one single friend despite trying really hard. Why are kiwis such cold, unfriendly people. How can children grow up to be kind, decent people when this is the example they have. No wonder the bullying is so bad in NZ.
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