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Thread: Are NZ people really nicer than Americans? what about values?

  1. #1
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    Default Are NZ people really nicer than Americans? what about values?

    Hello all,

    My name is Liora, we are an Mexican-Israeli family living in Hawaii, needing to decide whether to move back to San Francisco or to Wellington, my husband has job offers in both places. To me, the most important things are the people and the values my children will grow up with. I understand everybody says people in NZ are really nice. I would want to please hear from Americans and/or people that lived in America - are NZ people really nicer? For example, in the US many times people tell you when they meet you - "lets have dinner together" without ever meaning it... you have to plan play dates for your kids very formally and days ahead of time...I get cold stares when people hear my accent...Coming from a hispanic/Israeli culture I am looking for warmer people who really know how to make friends - will I find it in NZ?
    And values - is it really the case that in NZ the values my children will learn in school/society are not all about getting to the best college/university so they get the best job and then the best house? Is it really different?
    any input will be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by liora; 1st March 2011 at 10:47 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
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    As a New Zealander living in the US it's my opinion that New Zealand is a lot more relaxed than the US. I would say that New Zealand is alot more friendly than the US and most people will say what they mean rather than saying what they think you want to hear. I dont remember formal play dates in NZ, and there is no doubt that NZ is more multi-cultural in more populated areas. The larger cities have far better manners and tolerance of other cultures although I think that if fair to say of the US also.

    Both countries are fine but its more about the people you meet and socialize with and there are cases of ignorance and rudeness anywhere you go in the world.

    I would say NZ sounds like it might be a good fit but there are so so many other factors to consider. Socially my preference is for NZ but I am biased and my generalized statements are not ment to offend!

    Bevan

  3. #3
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    Welcome to the forums Liora!

  4. #4
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    Manks is offline Serial procrastinator and general busybody
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    I spent 2.5 years in New England prior to moving to NZ. I think that both nationalities can probably be accused of being superficial at times, as a way of being "nice" but I think you find it less often here than in the US. I find Kiwis a much more straight talking bunch. If they don't want you over for dinner, they won't invite you! So if you do get the invitation over here, 99% of the time it is genuine.

    There is no tipping culture here, so the helpfulness you get in places is meant, not an attempt to get you to part with more money. That being said, this means the service culture may not be what an American is used to. It's much more Caribbean in attitude (get used to "island time" )

    I just think NZ has more warmth - just look at the country's reaction to the earthquake.

  5. #5
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    Hello and welcome.

    It's hard to judge something like this for someone else. Are you in a position to make a recce trip to see how YOU find it?

  6. #6
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    Hi Liora-
    Our family has been in NZ for only 2 weeks but we LOVE it and already can't imagine moving back to the States. We are a multi-race family with 3 children we've adopted (Indian, Korean and African-American) and 3 biological children. We do get questioning looks but we did in the states too. Everyone so far has been very friendly, helpful and truly interested in us. We love the laid back living, especially at the schools where kids can be kids. Our oldest daughter is quite a bit ahead of her class here, which stinks for her but is a huge benefit for our younger kids.
    We are from Kentucky and Louisiana and are accustomed to very warm and friendly people. We've spent some time in California before moving over and it's like night and day. I find people here very friendly.
    Some things have been a shock. Food prices for one. But if you're coming from Hawaii, I'm guessing it won't be as shocking for you and probably very similar in CA. Business hours here are much shorter too but that goes with the "work to live, not live to work" mentality that drew us here.
    We left the States for several reasons but many revolve around wanting a simpler, less rat race, more quality family time lifestyle. We were tired of collecting crap and keeping up with the Jones'. In fact, except for my dog and my own bed, I really don't even need that 40' container. (No, of course the dog in NOT in the container! Haha. Just saying that's all I really miss.)
    If you're looking for laid back, friendly, real people, to me, there's really no question. Especially when the options are San Francisco or Wellington.
    Best wishes,

  7. #7
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    I'd say given your nationalities/heritage, you'd find people friendlier in NZ than the US. My OH is 1/2 Mexican and the treatment here is so much different than the US when it's noted at all (and it frequently was in the US despite him not really being that obviously non-white). NZ does have it's own brand of racism, but it's different than the US. Not that that makes it better in any way but it's a reality to consider. We're from the West Coast having spent time in the Bay Area and Oregon.
    NZ people aren't really more socially progressive than somewhere like San Francisco. The government tries, but the people are...well. It's best to think of the country a bit like an agricultural country town. There will be tractors, mucky boots and what some might consider uncultured people (I'm saying that with tongue firmly in cheek as it's a complaint I've seen but something I like). However, the mindset is different than the US. You can get away with being more casual in social settings.

  8. #8
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    Being non NZers nor American...I would say it's plus and minus. As Yokomist said, "There are cases of ignorance and rudeness anywhere you go in the world." absolutely agree with this.

    As I stated above, I am not NZers nor American, yet I have the privilege to live in both countries for sometimes now and experience both cultures and ethics. I would say, that American can be over done it when it comes to greet or say something. And NZers can be so damn cold and reserved at times.
    For example, if you show new stuffs. American might respond...oh my god, that is the most beautiful thing that I ever since in my life. In contrast Kiwis might say oh that's cool. or smile and say nothing.
    Another example, when you say thank you, most americans would replied no problems, ur welcome and stuffs. In NZ, they might not respond that word at all (not always, they use cheers), but I have seen many being silent. Because, it's not a big deal.

    Again, that is just my opinion, others may think differently. I am not here to offend anyone just delivering my thoughts.

    However, generally speaking...Kiwis are much nicer people. They can be cold n reserved, but they are quite genuine. About your background, not to worry I think. NZ consist of many races and cultures. Your kids and yourself would be just fine fitting in here.

  9. #9
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    I had to laugh when I read Xanctus's post about "Thank you" in NZ and not getting a "You're Welcome!" in response. Given that I was raised in NZ, it was never expected to get a reply to "Thank you". After moving here to the US my wife indicated that it was rude not to say "You're Welcome" after being thanked.

    Now I have this nagging feeling that someone thanking you in NZ is more genuine because nothing is expected in return. I kind of feel like sometimes the use of "Thank you" here in the US is just about the thanker getting the gratification of the reply.

    I guess its just the different cultures and social interactions at play. But people should not feel like there is less niceness in NZ because of it not being verbalized. But I do agree that in NZ people might seem less nice to a new-comer, but in time you will understand the different dynamic.

    Bevan

  10. #10
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    Hi...

    My own (very personal view point) slant having been born in the UK, lived in Florida for 12 years and then here in NZ for 3 years now, is that there is really no fair comparision; it's like asking whats the difference between an apple and a fejoa or which has the better wood, or the best taste.... it cannot fairly be done (I feel).

    What struck me about living in all three places is how each "country" and therefore the (majority) of folk, culture etc that live there resonated differently within me... I loved certain parts of Florida, I miss bits and aspects of the UK, I even miss having the access to parts of Europe, but it comes down to your prefered lifestyle choice(s), and what resonates clearly in you. What are you looking for?

    You ask the question on here about whats it like to live/work/play/eat/travel in NZ and you'll get as many different answers as there are members I suspect!!...OK, maybe stating the obvious there, but it comes down to what you and your family feel and think. It's a hell of a move to come here as folk will (again) testify and gladly share their experiences with you.

    I'm with the wise JandM , if you can come here for a recce and a feel for NZ as a place, the trip will give you a sense of resonance and put "stuff" into prespective more.

    What ever happens... good luck!


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