New Zealand Is Like A Postcard, “There is no sense of history or magic here”

Continuing in our series of Migrants’ Tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience in New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.

Today’s tale is taken from an immigration forum, it’s a thread started by a Kiwi returning to NZ with her husband after being away for eight years.  In it she tells of how the NZ she once knew has gone and why she no longer likes it there.

The work life balance she used to have in the UK is gone, they work hard to make ends meet but the family has little disposable income. The scenery is not enough, even for a Kiwi.

We’ve also included some responses that other people made to her observations:


We are nearly at the one year mark, and as someone else said if we knew then what we know now we would never have come.  I am a kiwi who had been living in UK for 8 years before moving back here with my Scottish hubby & 2 wee boys (1 & 2 at the time).  We came out and did a 5 week visit 18months before we moved and decided that it would be the best move to make for our boys – so they could grow up somewhere sunny with lots of space and more relaxed than in Britain.  And whilst things might be better here for them it certainly isn’t for us.  The New Zealand I used to know is long gone, and I have found that I really don’t like it here now.  The weather is fantastic but that’s about it.

New Zealand is a beautiful country but it is a bit like a postcard.  There is no sense of history or magic here.  I have also been astounded by how environmentally un-friendly it is.  And the kiwis we have spoken to (and particularly farmers) really don’t seem to care.  The UK is certainly making more of an effort to clean up.  NZ seems to keep trading on it’s past reputation.

We are desperately missing the family, friends and support networks we had in UK. Didn’t realise just how much of a support network we had until it was gone We have the house we always dreamed about having but it turns out that isn’t enough.  I’d rather live in a box and feel happy and content again than, stay in our 4 bedroom dream and feel the way we do We are both working the same hours we did in Britain and even though we have a similar size mortgage we have very little disposable income here.  Things are just SO expensive.  And our work/life balance which we thought would improve here is worse than ever.

Add to all this a husband who is longing for the Scottish mountains (and yes, there are mountains here but they are by no means as accessible as over there) we have decided to move back.  It has been a very hard decision as my parents and sister live here and close by.  But this time we have to do what is best for all of us, not just for our boys.  If we are happy, they will be happy.  We gave up everything to come and try a new life over here, but it turns out NZ is not the place for us after all.

So my only advice would be to follow your heart.  I had SO many doubts about coming over here and really wasn’t sure it was the best thing for us, although my head said it would be best for our boys.   Just wish now that we had listened to our hearts instead of our heads and saved ourselves so much unsettledness & expense.

  • “All I can say is do what you feel is best, people will say that you have not given it long enough but only you and your husband will know how long is enough for you to decide.I actually emigrated to NZ with my partner and 2 children last year and after 6 months we realised we had made a really big mistake.  We had given up so much in the UK to start a new life in NZ only to end up feeling very disappointed.We are now back in the UK and I can say we are all much happier.  We are now just looking for a house and waiting for our furniture to arrive back from NZ!!!  Please no not get me wrong, NZ is a very beautiful country and there are things that I miss about it, especially having the beach on our doorstep and the cleanest parks I’ve ever seen.Although it has been a very expensive experience I do not regret going to NZ, if anything it has made me realise that the UK is not all that bad!!!  It may have it’s problems but where hasn’t!!
  • “NZ IS a bit like a postcard with no depth now you point it out. I really do miss the history of the UK too.Yea I work on a farm and know what you mean about the ungreen thing.Parks over here are a bit magical to me, they remind me of The Secret Garden … all immaculate and empty, just the way I like it. I think, you do what you feel is best for you and your family, don’t listen to other folks opinions on what you should do as their life experiences are going to be completely different to your own.”
  • I agree that the cost of living seems expensive but I thought it was just me forgetting what the UK was like. Though to be honest I’ve always thought it was expensive here so don’t know why I’m trying to kid myself lol.Families seem to get looked after better in the UK.
    I miss child benefit [Sad]
    Family tax credit is all well and good but if you get given too much you have to pay it back and we hardly qualify for anything now anyways but we still can’t afford to live comfortably half the time.
  • “We have been here for 6 years, are settled & happy, but we sometimes wonder why.We had eveything going for us as migrants… made a bundle on the UK house, $3/pound, easily transferrable professions, wife a Kiwi so plenty of family etc etc. However in many ways all we have done is recreate our UK life in Auckland…. many of West London’s hassles but few of it’s advantages.The ‘NZ lifestyle’ is a bit of a myth, most people are too busy going to work, taking the kids to sports events, maintaining the house etc etc to have a ‘lifestyle’. Without realising it we have become accustomed to 2nd rate goods & services.This was brought home to me last year on the way back from a holiday in the UK. I asked my sports mad, not-at-all-interested-in-shopping 9 year old son what he’d liked most… expecting him to say Legoland or Emirates stadium, or something similar. His answer? “Tesco’s” ! So much stuff, so much choice, so many new cars in the carpark !Good luck with what ever you decide but only you know that and you will know deep down if you feel NZ is for you or not.  Each person is different and has a different opinion of NZ!! “
  • “Before we came I only ever read 1 or 2 complaints about living here, and it is pretty certain that it isn’t for everyone. we came for a visit and loved it, but living here and a holiday are very different ( couple of friends have also said this to me)
    It does take a while to settle in, problems you had before often follow you. there are lots of things i love about NZ but there are lots I don’t like.once my husband is working and we have 2 incomes i will feel happier, i also dislike my job, but am looking for something else.
    i think on the whole it takes a while, for some it takes longer and for some it just doesn’t work at all. it is important to know that it is normal to feel like this and talk to other people going through the same thing.”

One thought on “New Zealand Is Like A Postcard, “There is no sense of history or magic here”

  1. We have lived on and off in nz for the last 15 years and have loved it. Its got its problems for sure and I agree that the kiwis are in denial over many things. We lived in farming areas and found the people fantastic. Unbelievably kind and generous. I would never bring up my kids there though. Too much hostility and cruelty among the youth.
    Something has gone wrong and my teenagers suffered enormous emotional trauma in nz due to bullying and isolation.

Comments are closed.