JT’s Interview

Leaving NZ? share your exit interviews here

Leaving NZ? share your exit interviews here

I’m originally from Taiwan arrived in New Zealand in 2006 for my kiwi partner. I entered the country with a working holiday visa then applied residency through partnership. I came here after dropped out of my first year of university. I wanted to have a break from study so I worked for a year under the working holiday visa. I was living in Auckland at that stage and mainly working at cafés due to my slightly inadequate skill in English. When I first arrived in Auckland I actually had a pretty good impression about the place. However, after many problems with landlords where tenancy tribunals only benefits crazy landlords…, lack of job prospects. It was very difficult for me to find a good employer who does not take advantages of a foreign worker. The minimum wage was $10.50 per hour in 2006/7. I had to live with that in Auckland, while my partner was also under paid for his first graduate job.

Due to the high living cost of Auckland suburb and the lack of career prospect, I decided to go back to study so I moved to South Island to study… for cheaper living cost, but crappier housing anyway. And I hope that a NZ degree would help with my future. However, it didn’t help because my degree is a BA and in NZ art degrees are under appreciated (let alone lack of teaching resources). After I finished my undergraduate degree I then qualified to apply for citizenship, which only took me three month to get it—I can have duo citizenship so why not!

For me the only good thing about NZ is the natural environment. I came from a small, overdeveloped, and crowded country so I felt that it’s great to indulge in an ample living space. Other than that I really missed good food, good shopping, good public transport, and sophisticated cultures where I could not enjoy these in NZ. I think I would still come to NZ, but I would stay probably only 2 years not 7 years! And I would not go to university here. It was a waste of time and investment. I decided not to waste more money on higher education. I have witnessed enough of people that they would continue postgraduate studies just because they can’t find jobs in NZ. I refuse to make the same mistake.

I struggled to find work after graduated and the only way for me to get an average graduate job is through my kiwi partner, sadly and ironically through the old boy’s network… at his work. It’s really not what you know, it’s who you know. Nevertheless, I’m not the only one who has the problem… my partner has been unhappy with his jobs. Leaving the low pay rate problem aside, the workforce here is extremely inclusive and I believe that (if you are lucky and if you are a kiwi) it takes at least 10 years of time for job promotions by hearing some of the stories from my partner’s friends and relatives.

I really had enough of living in NZ. Ranting starts now sorry… I hate to say this but I felt really not welcomed here. I don’t know where is the hatred coming from towards Asians?? I often get bad attitudes from kiwis (i.e. terrible customer service, disingenuous friendships, verbal abuse from strangers etc.) People here seemed to have very low tolerance towards foreigners. My experiences in Auckland was a mixture of good and terrible, in Dunedin it has been ok only within the university environment, I didn’t live in Christchurch and Wellington long enough to judge, but I do noticed that there’s a slightly higher Asian employment than the deep south. I often get strange and unfriendly stares when I go out with my kiwi partner. People looked at us as if we are disgusting. Well, it only took me nearly 7 years to overcome and I really don’t care how close minded people are here. Endless frustrations… not to mention that it is extremely hard to make kiwi friends.

The hardest part was to convince my kiwi partner to leave. I thought I would be stuck here forever until I got my kiwi passport. I am not proud of being a kiwi citizen nor do I need it for travelling. We are planning to go to UK for two years of working holiday and see how it goes from there. I really hope things will get better from now, we’ll be leaving in less than 2 months and I do not wish to come back!!

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One thought on “JT’s Interview

  1. Thanks for sharing your story. Many immigrants are not properly warned about this type of situation dominant in New Zealand, before making their decision. I wish your partner, though he is an European New Zealander, has happy life with you outside New Zealand. Peace.

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