This Is Why I Didn’t Like New Zealand

Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales, first hand accounts of the immigrant experience of New Zealand taken from locations around the  net.

Today’s story was first published on the Leicestershire Blogger who looks at New Zealand through the eyes of a young British traveller that arrived in New Zealand with high expectations and a work visa only to find New Zealand was a “green desert”


I have shocked more than a few people when I have told them my least favourite country that I had been to was New Zealand. At the time of writing it was one of 3 countrys (the other 2 being Egypt and Vietnam) that I would never go back to.

I had 3 main problems with New Zealand……………

#1 – Most people from the UK like the country because it is a cleaner, less populated and warmer version of being back home. I on the otherhand disliked it for this very reason. After spending a lot of time in Asia I found out I liked being in countries where you are being bombarded by sights, sounds and smells you don’t get back home. This was probably the reason I didn’t enjoy Australia as much the second time round. I’m sure that there are many parts of Europe that are just as scenic as New Zealand but without having to travel to the opposite side of the globe.

Across the North island between Auckland and Napier most of what I seen out of the bus window was endless farmland, sheep and pine forest plantations. Green desert was one phrase I once heard describing the country. Almost everyone will respond to this with “don’t judge New Zealand by the north island the south is a lot better”. The reason I didn’t go to the south island was problem number 2
#2 My travel motto on my first virtual tourist page is “travel is about people not places”. When going backpacking alone the people you meet are just as important as the places you go. One type of traveler you meet a lot are the young (18-23) gap year types. Obviously they tend to do a lot of drinking and partying that I have no problem with. On the other hand these people can be very predictable. In Thailand everyone of these people has done or is going to do the exact same itinerary. Hang around on Khaosan road, go to the full moon party then hit the beaches on Ko Phi Phi. While there is nothing wrong with what they are doing it just seems that everyone of these people you talk to is the same person playing the same old broken record over and over again.

In New Zealand this type of traveler forms a far higher proportion of the people you meet than in the likes of Thailand. The country is very popular for activities like bungee jumping which does not interest me in the slightest. I can’t see any attraction with it at all and wouldn’t do it if it was offered free let alone pay the best part of half a weeks wages to do.

I know the country invented the sport but it was openly on offer in several countries I went to like Thailand. The way the other travelers went on you would would think New Zealand was the only country on earth where you could do it. The subject seemed to enter every conversation I had with people in every dorm room, common room and bar. If I had 20 dollars for every time I was asked why I wasn’t going bungy jumping I wouldn’t have needed to look for employment in the country.

These people very quickly got on my nerves, whenever I mentioned what I had done like seeing wild oran-utans in Sumatra all I ever got was blank looks. There was a lot of the childish “I’ve done it why are you not doing it” mentality. One was bragging in a bar about how he had done the Nevis high wire to someone who had “only” done the lower bungy jump in Taupo. One even said to me “you can’t possibly leave New Zealand without doing a bungy jump.

I knew the closer I got to Queenstown on the south island the more of these unbearable, obnoxious idiots I would have to put up with. As a result I wrote off going to the South Island, this combined with what I wrote in #1 meant I had enough of the country within 2 weeks of arriving. The only thing stopping me from going back to Auckland and getting the first flight out of there was the fact I had a work visa. If I could find a job and leave the country with more money than arrived with then it would make visiting the country worthwhile. This brings me on to problem number 3
#3 As soon as I arrived in Napier I started looking for work at the typical backpacker jobs like fruitpicking. The first impression I got from the newspapers and the internet were that there were “loads of jobs”. I started sending off e-mails to local farms that were on backpacker employment websites. I soon started getting e-mails back telling me that there was no work available. Work was being advertised that didn’t actually exist, I walked past one farm that advertised “workers wanted” outside on the same day they sent the “no work available” e-mail.

Talking to others who were in the same situation I soon heard stories of people who had been searching for work on the internet and come up with nothing. Some and been promised work and it never happened, others had been promised 3 months work that finished within a couple of weeks.

The rest of my quest to find employment is covered in the other entries……………

23 thoughts on “This Is Why I Didn’t Like New Zealand

  1. Although we are in for outdoor sports , love to visit Queenstown.. But skipped the bungie gump.. Having seen al the tourist exidents.. I wouldn’t want to risk my life really… There are dozens of people that die on their forestry jobs Alone in new Zealand so that tells me nz doesn’t care much about the safety of people.. So no I wouldn’t trust them with my life. This might be a reason why kiwi’s don’t do it as much as the tourists do because they might not be informed about the worst safety standards here from the OECD.

    • Sad to say that is very true, most of the young Hong Kong people who moved here from 1994-1997 who attended WELTEC or Victoria University have either moved back to Hong Kong or gone to places like Japan, Australia, the US or etc, there is no career future in New Zealand at all, I am already looking at leaving once I graduate with my Bachelor in IT and head back to Asia as careers in New Zealand are very limited

  2. I have lived in NZ for nearly 10 years, originally from the UK and have been on the same rollercoaster of emotions about living here that most people commenting on this site have been on. I guess my only advice is that you have to get into the same groove of thinking that exists here and try not to readily compare the life that exists here with what you had in other countries. I used to get so angry with constant comments from my NZ work colleagues about how rubbish the UK was when they were on their OE and how rude and lazy English people had been to them when they worked in Britain and ” that would never happen here, we’re so friendly and hard working” and it goes on and on. It’s important not to be defensive but learn to accept this as it comes from a national pride that is so entrenched and passed on from generation to generation that you never get anyone to see differently. To be honest, aren’t we all a bit like this underneath as we hold values dear to our hearts that we feel are being disrespected or attacked in a subtle or obvious way. It can be mild, it can be really strong and as an immigrant you can feel so got at and criticised that some have left. I don’t hate NZ, it is beautiful physically and the people when treated right will respect you eventually. It’s just they have had a different upbringing, different education, believe in different cultural and economic values and see life differently and the sooner you get to know what they believe in and whether you feel you could live the same life but maintain your own values, you will be able to decide if you want this for yourself or whether it will destroy you.

  3. #1: Sounds like heaven on earth to me. I liked my little american hometown a lot more before the endless seas of grass became mazes of concrete and people started immigrating by the thousands. If that’s what new zealand is like, I’m definitely moving.
    #2: Yeah I can understand how that might put off outsiders who haven’t assimilated into the local culture. Mind you, there are obnoxious idiots like that in every country.
    #3: Good thing I don’t fruitpick for a living.

    • #1. Plenty of American hometowns are beautiful and not a maze of concrete. In fact, as an American, I have never lived in a maze of concrete. Or at least, not since big-city Uni. This is a misconception, and one reason why Americans are lured to move to New Zealand. That America is “strip malls and gangs” and New Zealand is some “opposite kind of place”. Pure, clean, etc. Bullsh–. Places like Albania, Waziristan, and so on are the opposite of America as well. Does not mean you would want to live in those places. Don’t be fooled by the fake statistics. They may speak English in New Zealand, but they hide their Second World status very well.
      #2. I lived in New Zealand for years and was quite assimilated at the local level. I had married into a Kiwi family, which was its own special misery. NZ culture has “rough edges”. Think “Top of the Lake”. Not everyone finds it easy to fit in or has their (even modest) expectations met by the place.
      #3. Even highly skilled migrants have problems finding jobs. Self-employed tradesmen run up against their own set of problems. Sometimes the promise of available jobs does not fit the reality on the New Zealand ground, as the old poster indicated. Sometimes the jobs are low-wage or bullying is encountered at a level not acceptable in the home country, or there is no permanence, or the cost of living makes life too hard to be worth it.

      New Zealand is a pretty place to visit, for a few weeks. Or at least, some of its coast is. Fjords and bushy bits here and there. Not so much the endless km of sheep fields and dingy little towns with their foursquares and pukeko statuary. As a place of residence, it is not acceptable for those of us accustomed to warm dry homes, variety in scenery, a culture of intelligence, and affordable food.

    • Please never come to nz for work. There is nearly none… Besides kiwi’s are very rude and rasist especially against amaricans. I thought I was tough but after years residing here. . it is finally getting to me. I am often struggling to keep it all together. Rasicm and bullying could happen on a weekly basis and it really damages your confidence. Best would be to come as an tourist first and see how you like the culture here and mentality. Sure awasome scenery but the same can be find in Europe and more. Besides you can make much more money there and life is a lot cheaper there

    • Please don’t be fooled.. Try to read more American experience s on this this. And you’ll soon find out you wouldn’t like it much.

      Most people struggle to find work..locals and working holidaymakers alike. You may find a job in the dairy industry or horticulture but this is very heavy labour and if you don’t have an van to sleep in you might have to share the “accommodation” with 20 other Chileans..

      Besides kiwi’s are very racist towards Americans and can be very rude.. Have lived here for years and I thought I was tough but I am struggling to keep myself together now. It will eventually get your confidence down sooner or later. Safe yourself the misary . you can find the same and nicer scenery in Europe, asia and australia. And you will get paid much better and the cost of living will be much and much lower so you have the chance to see it all !!

      If you still want to come here.. Best would be to rent an campervan to drive around the island some are quite cheap and I think you get a better deal then the hotels. They are overpriced for what you get.

      The conservation campsites are very cheap and you may find them on the most beautiful places in new Zealand.

  4. Well I’m not hiding behind anything – typical of kiwi cowardice to come out with the crap we see above. This commentator is absolutely spot on with EVERY assessment of disgusting kiwis and their vile, disgusting country. As for the term “whinging Pom” let me tell you, I have NEVER EVER met a kiwi anywhere that isn’t constantly 100% moaning all the time. ALL THE TIME. Not that many of them travel in the first place – the horrid, vile little country’s inbred population is one of the least-travelled in the world. Just because a very few of them go back-packing (and that’s not really travelling, getting constantly drunk on pre-prepared tourist trails with like-minded buffoons) they think that they are great travellers. For a pack of thin-skinned, arrogant cowardly whiners, kiwis are impossible to beat. Anywhere.

    • You are hiding behind an internet pseudonym (and please forgive me if that is not a pseudonym). So am I, actually.

      That’s strange. I myself have NEVER met a Kiwi who is “100% moaning all the time. ALL THE TIME.” I have met some people who complain a lot. But perhaps they/we all just complained a lot to you? (We have a evolved a hive mind here in New Zealand, you know, so we do things like that – gang up on particular people with all our moaning.)

      What is “really travelling” according to you? I was under the impression that travelling was travelling was travelling.

      Inbred? Everyone is inbred to a degree. Are you suggesting that New Zealanders are on average especially inbred? If so, I doubt it. New Zealand has a relatively racially diverse population compared to, for example, Japan, Korea, China, Ireland, Iceland, Poland, etc. Many/most New Zealanders have ancestry from multiple countries, and not rarely from countries that are quite far separated from each other. I suggest that you are being facetious.

      As an individual who overstates his/her case to the degree of coming across as very angry, hyperbolic, and perhaps not tended towards rationality, you do quite well, I think.

      I understand this traveller’s first point. For this same reason I don’t have a strong interest in travelling in, for example, Australia, Britain, America, Canada, and much of Western Europe (that’s not saying I wouldn’t enjoy it – it’s saying I don’t have a strong interest).

      I also understand the traveller’s second and third points. Many/most tourists are indeed here, at least partly, for the extreme sports/adrenaline experiences. I can also well imagine that one might more frequently than in New Zealand meet “non-typical” persons as a tourist in Thailand.

    • Sure.. This is why most kiwi’s don’t know of the first world standard countries out there and what they are missing out of..

      And what a shame that is. . exactly what their government wants eye ?!
      Keeping everybody dumb. Time to wake up new Zealand !! For many of you do you really Like to freeze and get sick in cold damp homes and pay a fortune for it every year ? Even have your children dying from these conditions.. And relay on government support for the rest of your life ? Hanging around..watching how the tourists snap up your properties and the prices go up every year ? When will you take control of your country again ? They are desiding for you. Believe me I have even lived in other 2nd and world countries and it was better then here. Besides the people looked a lot happier too.

      • It’s true about damp homes I went to wallpaper a room which happened to be the 12 yr old daughters room in the house, the walls were black with mould and I could get the smell as soon as I walked into the house.
        What gets me is my English buddy’s who pretend to their folks back home that they’re “living the dream” truth is they could never afford to move back home , I left nz two years ago and I could never integrate there its like stepping back a 100 yrs in time, I found the Maoris easy to get on with than the white kiwi

      • [Deleted, don’t troll. This isn’t Facebook. Don’t agree with it? don’t read it. Admin]

  5. Anybody who wants to change anything in New Zealand or improve life for themselves or others is described as ‘whinging’ by the New Zealanders. As a Canadian I can confirm that this stigma of whinging doesn’t just apply to ‘Poms’ but to anybody who has the initiative to try to implement change. If you malign any attempt to change things in this way then people will remain inactive / silent and the country will just stagnate instead of evolving. Throughout history ‘whinging’ is what has led to improvements in conditions for workers, education, health etc.

  6. don’t feel bad for not liking or wanting to bungee jump. I have lived here for almost 8 years now and have not done it once. I have never done it and would never.and I don’t care who knows it.:)

  7. the business suit dressed employment agent told me the ‘sky is the limit’ sending me to work for telescum nz. you get high pressure slavery inside at low pay, and after you manufacture billions of dollars for them, you get dumped and them robbing your dignity and credits using any excuses. they will send you to so called counselling services that in reality is just another scam to charge you money. they will not honour written policies or contracts, and just fire or terminate anyone using any excuse like restructure. if you did no crime, they will invent some accusations and keep falsifying records until you either have to spend a fortune taking them to court or have a mental breakdown. new zealand is not a land full of sheep. it is full of snakes and fox. if you honestly are not there to take advantage of them as they like to accuse you of ‘stealing their education’ ‘stealing their jobs’ ‘you are not welcomed we do not like you’, there is NO reason you should make yourself injured or unhappy by being there. your contribution to their country will never be honoured or remembered. dont even think they like to party with you. we do not live in a united globe where everyone is happy and friends with you. WHY bother risking ripped off by English speaking kiwis that mistreat you? until their 3 million kiwis add you on facebook and send you kind words every year, dont even think they will give you a break or leave you alone. DONT COUNT ON THEIR POLICE, LAWYERS OR COURTS TO PROTECT YOU. They are all there to rape you!

    • If you did indeed manufacture billions of dollars for a company unknown to me called “telescum nz”, in high pressure slavery at low pay, you must be one of the most productive workers I’ve ever heard of.

      Indeed, we do not live in a united globe where everyone is happy and friends with you.

      Was it ONLY English-speaking Kiwis that mistreated you? Did none of them speak another language? If it was only English-speaking Kiwis who mistreated you, do you think there is a positive correlation between speaking English in New Zealand, and mistreating people?

      It’s actually about 4.5 million Kiwi’s nowadays.

      I have never raped anyone in my life, and I’m definitely not planning on it.

      More seriously, it sounds like you’ve had a rough time. That is sad. It also sounds like you’ve been deeply scarred by this rough time. That is also sad. (And I’m being serious.)

      • Actually, saying “rough time” sounds somewhat pathetic on my part. I rather now say “It sounds like you’ve been mistreated (by New Zealanders?).”

        I should also summarize the point to my earlier message (which contained some sarcasm – it was hard not indulge in reply to such an obviously overstated case) as: Don’t overstate your case. It may hinder the acceptance of any valid point(s) you have to make.

        • The only thing that sounds pathatic to me is a bunch of kiwi’s living in an extreme rough country in almost total isolation separated from the civilized world.. No wonder so many people are so angry and have gone mad here..

        • You sound very much like my aunt and uncle They emigrated to NZ over 30 years ago.They then became the obnoxious, arrogant insufferable people imaginable.I eventually fell out with them and have not corresponded with them for several years. I’m not suggesting that all Kiwis are like them but some of your posts in here resemble their attitudes greatly

      • I was the most productive typing over 100 words per minute and speaking multi computer and human languages, setting up systems that cough out product and services in mass to the whole market while marketing was at war in all sales channel, all the customers and orders fell from the sky like a big snow storm, and confirmed by references from colleagues in writing and staff assessment. however, I cannot believe you don’t know what telescum is or if you notice something they refer to as telecon the place that everyone internally and externally were bitching about whether it is about the Extra product or the Xt product?

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