Living in New Zealand – Personal Experiences

Here is a selection of living in New Zealand experiences submitted by our readers. No glossy brochures here. These are real stories, warts and all, written by real people.

Maraetotara FallsMike: Newport Beach, California to Napier (2,400 words)
I get asked a lot why we decided to move to NZ. I don’t have a great answer… or rather, I don’t have a short answer. Nobody here can believe that I don’t have a Kiwi partner or some other family already here. We are not the only Americans in Hawke’s Bay. There are something like 300 of us, but I have yet to meet…

Kapiti IslandLaura: Pacific Northwest, USA to Waikanae (1,290 words)
We lived in Wellington for a while when we first arrived, and it reminds me of a smaller version of San Francisco. In general, New Zealand has a lot in common with the laid back, liberal West Coast vibe that I experienced when I lived in Portland, Oregon. But we have much more sun here…
AucklandJohn: Vancouver, Canada to Auckland (855 words)
But the impetus for the move was a job for me at the university. I assumed there would be local candidates, so when I got the email for an interview I was surprised. When that went well I shifted my thinking and starting working on getting my documentation for a Skilled Migrant Category visa submission…
Southern AlpsBozeman: Montana, USA to Christchurch (1400 words)
The years we spent living in Bangkok, Shanghai and Hong Kong were fantastic up until it came time for the kids to start school. Although very vibrant and great places to work, we just couldn’t see bringing up children in a big, polluted city. 70-hour work weeks were also not conducive to raising a family…
On the beachBrigid: San Francisco, USA to Auckland (1380 words)
We wanted a simpler life and more access to beaches etc. We had a great life back in CA, with wonderful friends and great jobs but we knew if we didn’t go for it, we’d always regret and wonder what if. We viewed our move as an adventure and we figured if we hated it we could always move back…
Napier, Hawkes BayRuth: Cotswolds, UK to Hawkes Bay (1989 words)
We left Heathrow in the snow, freezing our fingers and toes off and very shell shocked after so many emotional goodbyes and landed to the sound of cicadas and a wall of heat in Auckland. Seeing husband again after 5 weeks apart just added to the slightly-drunk-but-actually-jet-lagged feeling of unreality that the…
North Shore Beach and Houses, AucklandAlison: Edinburgh, UK to North Shore, Auckland (1518 words)
I enjoy living in Milford but we cannot afford to buy a house here. Although we are earning good incomes in New Zealand, because of the high rent we don’t have money for any luxuries. We manage with one car. I plan to start working full-time soon when my youngest starts primary school and then our…
Christchurch SeaJames: Cornwall, UK to Christchurch (1047 words)
What I liked best about New Zealand is the pace of life and scenery. The lack of keeping up with the jones’s that makes it enjoyable to concentrate on the more important things in life. The friendliness and helpfulness of most people we met. The lack of health and safety (they seem to trust your judgment…
Auckland North ShoreAstin: Singapore to Auckland’s North Shore (2112 words)
We wanted a quieter pace of life, away from the crazy rat race in Singapore where work almost totally dominates your life. We were tired with the tried and safe method of living in a country where everything is efficient like clockwork and rather boring. There is no great scenery in Singapore, awfully hot weather…
Christchurch road junctionKiwiMaggie: Christchurch NZ, then USA to Blenheim (1038 words)
Research, research look and think closely. Come here first for a few months… look for work first and see how you go. You may say oh I can’t do that, it is not affordable … can’t get off work for that long. Nor is coming here lock stock and barrel thinking its going to fit into place. yeah you expect a few hick ups…
Auckland BoatsNadia: Durban, South Africa to Auckland (832 words)
The first thing I noticed when we arrived in Auckland was the wooden houses. I was amazed to see sheep and cows in the city. People think that in SA we have elephants in our back yard, but we have to actually go to a ZOO to see them. I noticed the difference in price. Things seemed cheaper. What I noticed most, was the friendliness of kiwis. The weather would have to be the one thing I found…
Wellington CityStephen: From York, UK to Wellington (1618 words)
Our reasons for leaving the UK were probably similar to a lot of people and generally included overcrowding, work/life balance, outdoor lifestyle etc. Looking back now, we surprised ourselves with the speed at which we made the move. It was only a few months ago that we decided to give it a go and now we’ve …

Leanne: From Warner Beach, South Africa to Auckland (931 words)
One has an experience-rich lifestyle here, we feel like we are actually LIVING, as we have so much freedom due to not being so restricted by what, where and how we spend our recreational time, as we did back in SA due to the constant concern for safety. This is a great country for families with young children…

Mish: From Cape Town, South Africa to Newton, Auckland (1500 words)
I don’t own a home yet, still renting. Compared to South Africa, rental and house prices are extremely expensive – especially coming over with South African Rands. Houses are not as spacious and are built close to one another. It takes a bit of adjusting (mainly privacy) when a plot is split into 3 so you have 3 houses in one section…
Alison and Matt: From Lincoln, UK to Auckland’s Franklin District (1347 words)
We live a very healthy life style here! Fresh fruit and veggies are in abundance and there seems so much more to choose from! We have all joined the local Yacht club, the two older children are learning to sail and the younger children crew the patrol boats. The children do far more sports at school and the school has its own outdoor pool which is used to its limits!..
Richard and Olivia: From Colchester, UK to Wellington (2241 words)
We just bought a one-bedroom flat in need of some doing up for the equivalent of about 90,000 pounds. Obviously, considering it’s 20 minutes’ walk from parliament, that’s fantastic compared to London, but I think the days of buying a six-bed mansion with the equity from your UK property are behind us now…

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More Experiences of Living in New Zealand
A selection of more living in New Zealand experiences submitted by our readers.