8 must-knows before you even THINK about moving to New Zealand

Read before you get on that plane!


old bungalow
It may look charming, but chances are it’ll freeze parts of your body that you didn’t even know existed.

The Land of the Long Dark Cloud

1. Colder Inside than Outside

New Zealand is a country abundant with low build-quality houses, with minimal or no insulation. Most houses also have issues with dampness. In the summer you can feel too hot, and in winter you’ll be chilled to the bone.

If at all possible, hold out for a modern, insulated house – unless of course it’s one of the leaky ones.

2. A garden shed masquerading as a family home

Turning up the heating might temporarily add a degree or two of warmth to the garden shed you now call home, but just wait till you get your first electricity bill. It’s then you’ll wish you’d paid attention to point 1.

If you’ve bought a garden shed masquerading as a family home, you can insulate it, double-glaze it and install central-heating to make it equivalent to a home in another developed country. It will cost plenty of money, but until you’ve lived (and frozen) in one of these old New Zealand houses, you can’t truly appreciate the value of these improvements.

If you’re renting a shed, you’ll either need to foot the huge fuel bills or, as Kiwis will say to you: “harden up and put on another jumper” (or a coat!). Buying and running a dehumidifier will most likely be the fastest, cheapest way to make your home a bit more comfortable.

3. Not for the Faint Hearted

New Zealand is geologically active, so you’re at risk from earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

Gold Coast, Queensland

The Gold Coast. More Kiwis live in south east Queensland than live in Dunedin!

4. Voting Against New Zealand – with their feet

Hundreds of thousands of people have moved from New Zealand to Australia. Since New Zealand’s population is less than 4.5 million, that’s a lot of people voting with their feet for Australia and against New Zealand. Every New Zealand citizen has the right to live and work in Australia.

The hordes fleeing the country induce regular outpourings of angst in the media. Short of Australia legislating against New Zealanders, or New Zealand introducing North Korean style legislation, New Zealanders will continue moving to Australia, where the mining boom has steadily pushed Australian wages to among the highest in the world.

5. Homesickness

The number one reason we’ve seen for non-Kiwis leaving New Zealand is homesickness, usually bound up with missing loved ones. If you have very close family or friends you will miss dreadfully when you move to New Zealand, do think carefully before moving because…

6. Price Gouging on Flights

New Zealand is a long way from anywhere else – obvious, you may think, but a lot of people forget about it until they actually get here, then they find it’s too expensive to visit family and friends back home every year. People from the UK and USA complain that it’s much cheaper to buy return flights into NZ than out of NZ – watch out for that if you’re making plans.

New Zealand sun - before/after

Be careful out there, or you too could suffer from microwaved skin.

7. Wrinkly New Zealand

New Zealand will make you wrinkly before your time. The summer sun is very strong – much stronger than people from Europe (including the Mediterranean) or North America are used to. Sun-screen is a must, or your skin will be damaged. You can see skin damage on a lot of born and bred New Zealanders, some of them not especially old. Sunglasses are also a must, because cataracts are a real risk too.

8. New Zealand will drain your bank account

The cost of living for all too many grocery and consumer items will be higher than you are used to. The huge economies of scale that are present in many countries are absent in New Zealand. Expect your shopping bill to be higher than it was and to have fewer choices in nearly every store than you’re used to. Furnishing and equipping a home will also be expensive.

A light in the darkness

Too negative for you?… there are other plenty of positive views too. Here’s one:

Vineyards in Marlborough, NZ

Vineyards in Marlborough, NZ

We have been here over eight years.

I love this country, because it’s beautiful, our lives are so completely different to what I had experienced in the UK, I am my own boss, we have children here now, I make my own award winning wine, my wife gets paid to work with horses (her absolute dream job), we often barter for produce, our kids go bare foot in school, I fish and dive, you can ski an hours drive away, you can have a whole beach to yourself, I get to have a BBQ on Christmas day, teenagers say good morning to me, business is done on a hand shake,… our small and modest home is the best I ever owned, I feel like a rich man in everything except money… Read More


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