What’s It Like To Live In NZ?

What’s it really like to live in NZ? We all know about the scenery and the rugby, the hot springs and Lord of the Rings, but what’s daily life like?

This section is divided up into two sub-sections, use the drop down menus in the header above, or click on the links. to see the content of :

SS1: What Kiwis say about NZ

SS2: NZ Life

Both of which may be read in conjunction with any of our Migrant Tales, which give a view of New Zealand through the eyes of immigrants.

21 thoughts on “What’s It Like To Live In NZ?

  1. I have lived in New Zealand for five years.. I am originally from UK…New Zealand is a second world country… Its not third world, but its definitely not 1st world!!! NZ has a modern banking & communications infrastructure & bureaucracy is relatively efficient, but that is because NZ is so underpopulated… There are reasons why so few people live in NZ; there is next to no significant industry but farming… This means that there are very few jobs available, unless you wish to be up to your knees in animal manure & mix with a bunch of redneck farmers??? Once you are living in NZ you realise what an extremely isolated & backward country it is compared to western Europe or north america… Yes, you can fly to Australia or pacific islands relatively easy from NZ… However, if you wish to fly to europe, north america or any other modern country it becomes very expensive & a major task… Resulting in new immigrants feeling isolated & trapped in a second world country that is New Zealand… The NZ government will persuade new immigrants to emigrate to NZ by saying that there is a skills shortage in your particular trade or profession in NZ… Do not believe all you believe about the NZ points system for NZ… Once you spend a lot of money emigrating to NZ you will arrive & find that there is a lot of nepotism & employers will always choosse a New Zealander over a new immigrant despite you having better qualifications or experience!! Thankfully I am leaving New Zealand in the near future… Its got some pretty scenery, but thats about it!!

  2. http://www.belizefirst.com/rules.html We moved to New Zealand wanting to live the “expat lifestyle”, but it definitely was not as advertised. Researching other places to move (and definitely, reading on the Internet and visiting do NOT give you the information you need, to move to New Zealand or ANY OTHER COUNTRY!) I was reminded of our time in New Zealand reading the Belize experience above! Minus the armed mob that scared these people. The other things are very true, though, of New Zealand as well. Just not quite as bad.

  3. James Smithins, I admire your candor. That is something that many a Kiwi is loath to admit.
    As it is with most post-modern social democratic states these days.
    Some say that NZ is 10 years behind [put country name here], but in some ways, it is ahead, especially in regards to the “entitlement mentality”. Nearly every thing bad is being blamed on some kind of “disadvantage” that was unjustly perpetrated. Individual responsability is highly discouraged, as the schools teach in a collective consensus model. So, the things that made NZ great, as with most other pioneered countries, are being socially engineered out of them.

  4. I was very surprised to note that cost of health services was the major complaint of UK migrants to NZ.

    and was amused by this –
    “you won’t be too surprised to hear that most migrants from the UK do stay in New Zealand. NZ Immigration research suggests that just 16% of 90,354 migrants from the UK who were granted permanent residence in New Zealand between 2002-2008 have since left. When you consider that some of these migrants would not have intended to stay, and that some perhaps had to return for unforeseeable reasons such as family illness, 16% is not too bad!”

    The number of people who leave because they know they will not be able to stay sane enough to obtain permanent resident status is not considered. And how about the ones who obtain citizenship and then bugger off to Oz with passport in hand? I suspect they chose the chronological slice with the prettiest figures.

    • Hi getmeout a here, we are from UK & lived in NZ 4 years with our kids. We now have permanent residence in NZ, but there is no way i want to live all my life in NZ. Compared to UK, USA & western europe New Zealand is still a developing country & the general attitudes of most New Zealanders is shockingly backward and narrow minded. The isolation of New Zealand has resulted in a nation of people who appear friendly & open to new ideas & new people from other countries. However, the reality is once you get beyond the superficial friendliness and sham openess. You discover a population of isolated & retarded ‘village idiots.’ (UK term). Both Auckland & Wellington are worth visiting for a holiday & the people in the two cities are more .like the general population of UK & western europe. However, the rest of NZ is small town, run down & populated by bigoted, xenophobic ‘village people.’ You may as well live in Wales, but at least in Wales you can travel to rest of UK, USA or europe relatively easy. The ‘hobbit’ like population of NZ are at the edge of the world & have become like a great land of retarded village idiots. Do not be fooled by the publicity New Zealanders really are like those scary, ugly Orcs! People from UK do emigrate to Spain, France, or USA, Canada. Forget emigrating to NZ, they are nothing like Brits or anyone else for that matter.

      • Never a true word spoken. You can blame the corrupt governments of past and present. But the truth is NZ is corrupted by greedy politicians, not unlike the Hitler regime.!!!! I know, my family’s been there and had to beg steal and borrow to get out. Six years in NZ would be equivalent to ten years in purgatory. John Key and his cult of followers live the highlife at the expense of the citizens. That is why everyone is desperate and tight, not to mention on drugs because the true realities of life in NZ is unbearable. 100% PURE NEW ZEALAND BULLSHIT!!

        • Hallo , greetings from the Netherlands. I am aware of the cost of living in NZ versus the income levels in NZ. Let alone the soaring house prices , one can rather say ballooning prices. When I returned to the Netherlands after having lived in NZ and fled to Switzerland , where I have saved a considerable lump sum of money , I have built a new house here. Bear in mind that I was in the top income bracket and also my partner brought in income.Top income here means belonging to the 1% in NZ or even better. The house price in NL was 450.000 euros. I tell you that despite our favourable financial position , I felt like I did not make a wise choice to live in “such an expensive house” . The average house price in NL is 245.000 euros. The building quality is endlessly better than in NZ. Reading the NZ Herald , I put this in contrast with what is going on in NZ as to the cost of housing versus the income levels in NZ. I am utterly convinced that there is a whole media facade working in NZ to cover up the ensuing deep suffering of most people when they assess their real lives : A life of constant nagging trepidation about changes that may affect the ultra britle balance in their finances , as long as INTEREST rates stay LOW. Luring people into thinking that a 600.000NZ$ house is an ” affordable” house is a first degree crime , and for those who buy into it an ultimate act of desperation.If I were in that circumstance in NZ . I would not enjoy any single moment of this touted ” most beautiful place on earth”. ( I just return from Chile and see how grotesque this idea really is , but that’s another story..). I wager to assert that at the end of the day there is bitterly little left for the nice chattels of life that really do constitute the essence of their so overly touted ” lifestyle”. It is one pernicious unrelenting destructive force that eats into your daily happiness. In my case in the light of how arrogantly the NZ system has thrown my and my partner’s qualities and life planning in the waste bin , cold , boorish , mechanically , parochial , shortsighted , and inhumanely , I feel no pity or any compassion to this NZ that was destined to bestow this sour fate upon themselves through their inherent cultural voidness , of which the ubiquitous infantile greed is one of the foremost prevailing traits.Moreover the suffering has actually just begun , imagine when foreign investment starts becoming weary of bubble NZ what will happen to those sillily overleveraged households . A sad thing to see is how Auckland’s bubble money flows into new bubbles into the rest of NZ , thus artificially overdevelopping regions in the hope of the ponzi scheme to endlessly continue. Those who will benefit are the sharks that are a typical element of the NZ bust and boom tapestry of failures and who can claim to be the aristocratic kleptocracy in collusion with the boys of any government or counsil and let’s not forget the real estate mafia. . The NZ populace is not to be envied at all seeing through all the misty euphoria that seems to have engulfed this country.When I still lived in NZ with my partner , we repeatedly said ” NZers would sell their mother for a dollar” if they could live what they felt is the purpose of life: Walking around in shorts and flip flops and asserting in regular intervals that ” she’ll be right” , as long as they can vaunt an infantile interpretation of the ” high life” without working. Essentially consuming and showing off the qualities that were designed and contrived outside NZ , through thinking processes and cultural evolvement that NZers themselves frown upon when it comes to recognizing them for immigration selection purposes.This country is so boorishly petit…..but that’ not the real problem , many countries are petit and boorish ..what makes it so petulant is this callous anglosaxon full fledged superior self image , whereas reality is so closeby to see that core features are mediocre at the best and often subpar .

  5. As a sixth-generation kiwi it shames me to say this, but its true. Kiwis have become lazy, dishonest, greedy and frankly, incredibly stupid. We have become addicted to government handouts and blame immigrants for problems we don’t want to take ownership of. We cling to an image of “Friendlyness” that we haven’t lived up to since the end of the second world war. Once we were farmers, warriors, inventors, painters and poets. Now we are just a bunch of in-bred whiners claiming immigrants are taking our jobs while we happily claim sickness benefits and dole payouts. It makes me utterly furious! There is no person in this country, proud Maori included, that didn’t come from another place. The only difference is when we came here. I would advise all immigrants: Don’t come here. This is NOT a happy country. Maybe one day New Zealand will be better, but now we need to put our house in order, and until then.. it’s just a nasty, dangerous little country.. for EVERYONE.

    • What can I say James. I arrived in NZ last June (2011) from Germany since I was thinking Western Europe including Germany are becoming so decadent. But it only took me two days after having arrived in NZ to realize over here its even worse and I suddenly had big hope again for Germany. NZ infrastructure, technical standards as they are carried out are decades behind. Most People want to become Lawyers, Real Estate Agents etc.. Drinking seems to be the national sport just after Rugby. Crime rates are astonishing high. Young generation is mostly under educated. So I must -sadly- totally agree with you James. Its a disgrace since there is so much potential.

      • @ Michael Dennler re. technical standards. You may like to read our infrastructure stats and facts page, which details some of the shortcomings with New Zealand’s infrastructure. e.g.

        Extensive damage to modern buildings in Christchurch after last February’s earthquake is a “wake-up call” for the construction industry. Stefano Pampanin, a professor in civil and natural resources engineering at the University of Canterbury, told commissioners the extent of damage to Christchurch buildings built after 1970 was a concern. New Zealand needed to address the same seismic design issues the United States, Europe and Japan had faced for decades, he said. (March 2012)

      • @ Michael Dennler re. infrastructure andtechnical standards.

        You may like to read our infrastructure stats and facts page, which details some New Zealand’s infrastructure shortcomings.


        Extensive damage to modern buildings in Christchurch after last February’s earthquake is a “wake-up call” for the construction industry. Stefano Pampanin, a professor in civil and natural resources engineering at the University of Canterbury, told commissioners the extent of damage to Christchurch buildings built after 1970 was a concern. New Zealand needed to address the same seismic design issues the United States, Europe and Japan had faced for decades, he said. (March 2012) source

        In an AA/Transport ministry/KiwiRap survey none of the roads in New Zealand were found to have a 5 star safety rating and only 5% of the roads were awarded 4 stars. 39% were judged as 2 stars meaning they had major deficiencies such as poor alignment and roadside conditions. Roads for which the entire length of highway was rated at the lowest safety rating of two stars included SH24 and SH39 in the Waikato, SH17 in Auckland, SH58 in Wellington, SH62 in Marlborough, SH71 in Canterbury, SH8B and SH88 in Otago, SH98 in Southland and SH67A on the West Coast. source

      • Appearantly there is not ” so much potential” , if not it would be different in its perceived qualities. This sort of statements comes from people who are unable to let a lie die. Admittedly that is difficult , it has cost me precious lifetime.

  6. Get a life Jorge! Yep, maybe people can fly to Mexico and by their Day of the Dead figurines. Sure, they’ll get them cheaper but add on the flight cost. Business is business Jorge.

  7. I was surprised to see figurines for Day of the Dead being sold in an international gift store in Auckland, as everything else is in New Zealand being pitched as something special and unique and therefore worth paying many times more than actual value (as everything “Kiwi” is). They wanted about nine times the actual value. Not knowing, you might pay for that. Or some stupid tourist maybe. No Kiwi would pay that. They do know value for money here and squeeze the money to get all the juice out ! haha The problem is that when you move to New Zealand and then cannot leave shortly after because of contract or no more money, you are bleeded by everyone all the time, because that is the way of here. But it is harder to leave than to stay because of moving cost and cost of living and the debt you may have borne for living expense.

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