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Thread: "What shocks foreigners about living in New Zealand long-term?"

  1. #1
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    Default "What shocks foreigners about living in New Zealand long-term?"

    An opinion piece on Stuff today (that seems to have used this forum for research - in the article, clicking on "blogs" leads one back here)
    When foreigners decide to stay in Aotearoa long-term, several things shock them as the months go by about what life as a Kiwi is really like. After talking to dozens of new residents and scouring expat blogs and social media groups, these are the most common themes.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/li...aland-longterm

  2. #2
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    That's a pretty good summary. I've found my opinion on 6 has changed. I found it difficult to make friends with Kiwis at first but not so much anymore.

  3. #3
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    I disagree with #1 (the public transport where I come from is MUCH worse!), and to an extent #6, but the rest are fairly accurate.

    The only unpleasant shock I really had was how difficult it was to do anything outside office hours. I was expecting banks, post offices, government offices etc to be closed after office hours, but I wasn't expecting nearly everything else except bars/restaurants to be closed! GPs, shopping malls, pharmacies, mechanics, hairdressers, etc. Where I come from, all of those would be open til 8pm at least, usually 10pm for shopping malls. I was also shocked that I needed to make an appointment several days in advance if I wanted to see a GP, except for the 'after-hours' doctors, of which there is only 1-2 in each city which necessitates a 3+ hour wait.

    Aside from that, everything else is good really, and I'm very happy in NZ. And of course, the 'shocks' one receives depend entirely on where they were from. Coming from a Southeast Asian country, things that shock me might not shock immigrants from the UK or Australia, and vice versa.

  4. #4
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    They left off the shockingly poor standard of driving!

  5. #5
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    Yup, but no miracle to me. Kiwi sit in powerful cars built for normal roads and normal drivers. The majority of them would probably suffer from a heart attack after they hit the gas.

  6. #6
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    "Most surprising to foreigner is the average Kiwi's perception of Asian people, which can go from dismissive and stereotyped at best, to downright racist at worst."

    No comments on this so far? If that's how things are, I won't be hanging around too long.

    Too simple of a comment, though. For eg, 'Asian' means different things to different people. But is one thing I would worry about bringing my wife and daughter down there, regardless of perceived origins.
    Last edited by Asteger; 12th May 2016 at 01:37 AM.

  7. #7
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    A comment like that is dismissive and stereotypical of *the average Kiwi*. What is one of those, for goodness' sake? When I think of all my lovely Kiwi relations being lumped together like this with people to whom neither they nor I would give the time of day...

    I HOPE some of our many members of Asian origin can give you some reassurance. I hope for their sake, too, that it's not that way.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    I HOPE some of our many members of Asian origin can give you some reassurance. I hope for their sake, too, that it's not that way.
    +1

    Just looked back at the article and at '#6' of the list of 7. Here it is again, the whole thing:

    6. IT'S HARD TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH KIWIS

    Despite Kiwis being friendly to strangers, foreigners find it hard to convert interactions with New Zealanders into actual meaningful friendships. Kiwis can come across as clique-y and disinterested in making new friends, and expats often find themselves befriending other expats instead.

    Most surprising to foreigner is the average Kiwi's perception of Asian people, which can go from dismissive and stereotyped at best, to downright racist at worst.


    The final comment was the one that jumped out at me, but was oddly tucked in towards the bottom of the article, not even the first point in #6. Not sure if this was because the writer was cautious about bringing it up or hadn't fully thought it out (which is also suggested by the typo 'foreigner'). Would be good to hear some feedback on it, though.

    (By the way, J&M, I wrote 'If that's how things are, I won't be hanging around too long' - I meant in NZ, not on ENG if that wasn't clear. )

  9. #9
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    The last point - I did understand what you meant, thanks.

    As several people have noticed, a lot of the material for this opinion piece seems to have come from this forum. My guess is that the writer went trawling for posts from people who had something to complain about. As when looking at tabloid papers, there's the need to think, 'What will attract attention?' and the answer certainly won't be a post from somebody saying that everything has panned out just how they expected, or better. You are doing a lot of looking around the forum yourself, and you can judge the proportion of 'make it work' people to those (few) who expect someone else to make it work for them. When it comes to making friends, and I don't just mean in NZ, I think a lot depends on the nature of the person who is trying to do it. I reckon we all meet people that we HAVE to get along with in a limited work or social context, but who we know inside would NEVER be a friend of ours if they were the only other person on a desert island.

  10. #10
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    The 'making friends' thing might have to do with the fact that the people who are classed as 'Kiwis' in this article just don't see the need to make friends that much any more. If you have lived somewhere for a long time, and know a lot of people, and have lots of good friends, it is not that you need to fill an empty space. They haven't just waited for 'us' to arrive, I guess...
    If I look back I think it might have been similar for me- I had 'my' friends and although meeting new people is always interesting, there isn't that urge to befriend someone.

    Does that make sense..., just my interpretation.

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