More Living in New Zealand Stories


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A big thank you to everyone who has shared their impressions of life in New Zealand so far.

We would love to hear your story too.

More Experiences of Living in New Zealand

Here is a further selection of living in New Zealand experiences submitted by our readers.

Shelly: From Hilton, South Africa to Auckland’s North Shore (988 words)
We pay $440.00 a week, and we live in a very cute traditional wooden house with 3 bedrooms, open plan kitchen, fairly small dining area, lounge, toilet, shower and laundry and a separate bathroom, as well as a lovely garden and double garage (which we need to store some of our furniture in as we can’t fit it all in the house!). The house has a wooden deck running around it and the lounge and main bedroom open onto the deck…

Annie: From Laguna, Philippines to Wellington (1117 words)
Just that one has to keep an open mind about New Zealand. It’s not perfect, but one’s perspective about it can make it so. We’ve made a serious leap of faith when we came to NZ, since we have no family or other relatives here, we had only a beginner’s knowledge of life in NZ…

Kymberley: From Farnborough, UK to Tauranga (753 words)
Tauranga has a fairly constant temperature all year round. No snow although only a 4 hour drive away to snow if you’re into skiing, lots and lots of sun. We could afford to live near the sea. Beautiful scenery, little traffic and fairly safe for the kids…

Dan: Plaka, Brooklyn, New York, USA to Auckland (594 words)
Most things are simply much easier and cheaper here. Trips to the doctor don’t entail two hours of paperwork and a $40 co-pay. Most hassles can be squared away fairly quickly with ONE phone call (no automatic messages sorting your call by options. one person always answers as if they have been waiting for you.). Day care is cartoonishly cheap (and we get a partial reimbursement!). For such a small country, the infrastructure is wonderfully developed and there is a healthy sense of civic duty among people to chip in and keep it that way…

Shelley: Richards Bay, South Africa to Auckland (603 words)
Auckland is far safer and the pace is slower. It is clean and services are generally good. The weather is not great but not as cold as we thought and the summers are great. There is a lot to do here and there is definitely a better attitude towards older folk…

Tom: From London, UK to Auckland (442 words)
My weekly shop price has been slashed in half, fuel is cheaper, rent is cheaper. There’s too many people on these reviews writing contrary to this – I can’t work out how they’re spending their money…

Laurence: From Sydney, Australia to Havelock North (422 words)
You can drive around Havelock North in the middle of the day and there are no traffic jams! Lovely. The people in this town are very friendly and aren’t out to get you. It’s very laid back compared to Sydney. I also let my children go out riding without fear of them being mugged or attacked…

Charlie: From Vancouver, Canada to Auckland (568 words)
In the end, we will not stay in New Zealand. In New Zealand, you get paid, and you get mandatory holiday leave. There are no other benefits for most employees. The housing-to-wage ratios don’t stack up. The costs of daily items are exceptionally high. There are few events of interest, no quality museums or performing arts, and certainly nothing that resembles an “urban” life…

Mike: From London, UK to Wellington (480 words)
We only stayed in New Zealand for 1 year. For us, it was the wrong country. However, I had plenty of work colleagues from the UK who loved it. Go, if you like fishing, camping, hiking and barbeques. Don’t go if you’re expecting to be wealthy and enjoying frequent meals out or up-market holidays…

Alison: From Stratford-on-Avon, UK to Tauranga (686 words)
I live on the outskirts of Tauranga where my neighbours are kiwifruit or avocado growers. They’re not so close that I can hear them through the wall (we’ve mostly detached housing over here). I have a big back garden and two acres of paddock. There aren’t many differences between Tauranga and Stratford other than Stratford has more history and Tauranga more shops (but the population is very different, there are 106,000 here but it doesn’t feel like it).

Marcus: From High Wycombe, UK to Wellington (476 words)
I have found that it is hard to get people to spend money here on anything they think (often mistakenly) that they can do themselves – in my case, they frequently do not see the value a professional brings to the project, thinking that they can do just as well with a $300 camera from Harvey Norman as I can with 10 years’ experience and $50,000 worth of kit!

Julie: From Birmingham, UK to Queenstown (426 words)
I thought I had done my research before coming to NZ but nothing could had prepared me for the real thing, think long and hard and talk to lots of ex-pats before taking the plunge…

Melanie: From Newark, UK to Gisborne (710 words)
We actually came out on a tourist visa and tiki toured for three weeks across the North Island. Once we settled in Gisborne, Neil had found work within 24 hours and within 48 hours had his work visa! Any trades are so desperately sought after that if you have this experience you will be snapped up…

Zena: From Cape Town, South Africa to Auckland (865 words)
New Zealand teachers work very hard compared to what I was used to in South Africa. It was strange to see that it was very normal for kiwi teachers to spend an entire weekend and school holiday at school planning and preparing their lessons!..

Nerdy: From Kent, UK to Christchurch (713 words)
The stoicism can grate at times as they put up with a lot. For instance they have little or no insulation, pitifully small numbers of double glazed windows and non existent central heating. The Kiwi mentality is if you are cold put on another jumper. Still cold? Do some star jumps…

KT: From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Palmerston North (751 words)
I was only able to find voluntary and casual work in my first couple of years here. I did attend many interviews for retail and office work, but was not successful. It was only in my third year here, when I had decided to return to education, that I finally found regular employment…

Martie: From Windhoek, Namibia to Wanganui (699 words)
No snobs here who are concerned that they must be seen driving the right cars, living in the right suburbs, shop at the right supermarkets and know the right people with the right qualifications!..

Sanne: From Rotterdam, Netherlands to Hastings (585 words)
The houses are pretty cold in winter. But that will eventually be sorted. (for us anyway) Because I don’t know too much about Pacific / Maori cultures, I find them a bit scary at times…


The Gouws Family: From New Germany, South Africa to the Hibiscus Coast (950 words)
Hubby was offered a job in NZ and we thought and thought and thought … and thought and finally decided that that would be an open door to take advantage of. Within 4 months our house was sold, affairs wound up, paperwork in order, good byes said and a further 2 months down the line we began our new adventure in what I often refer to as the Land of Milk and Honey…

Barry: From Huddersfield, UK to New Plymouth (588 words)
New Plymouth, where I now live seems more open and less claustrophobic, and the people seem more easy going, plus parking in the town is really cheap…

The Hart Family: From Wiltshire, UK to Invercargill (1327)
The people definitely live up to their name as being the most friendly people in the world. The lifestyle is laid back and another great thing I like is the fun attitude to kids and learning, the UK seems to be losing that with the expensive kid pursuits…

Michelle: From East Yorkshire, UK to Whangarei (508 words)
I work longer hours for less pay and conditions of service but I am not as stressed as I was working in the UK and I don’t feel I have to prove myself all the time. My employer has been very appreciative of my skills and abilities which really does make a difference, something which UK employers take for granted…

Kat and Bob: From Immingham, UK to Invercargill (2002 words)
We now own a brick and roughcast house with tin roof and 8+ acres/barns – 2 horses, chickens, a duck and a turkey and 60 sheep, we live off the Bluff Highway on a gravel road, views of Bluff harbour, & hill, Omaui hills…

Jean: From Beijing, China to Auckland / Hamilton (1315 words)
We both like sports and outdoors, so the easy access to nature and recreational facilities was attractive. Another reason was we thought it was a family friendly country with very good healthcare and education system, and there would be great support for families with young children…

Ganasons: From Penang, Malaysia to Paraparaumu, Kapiti Coast (822 words)
The weather, although initially was too cold for us, is a lot more pleasant than the heat and humidity we had back in Malaysia. When we went shopping, just being served was considered good service in Malaysia and we were initially taken aback when even supermarket cashiers greeted you. Taxi drivers that do not rip you off just because you look foreign. No one here I know judges you buy the size of your house or the type of car you drive…

Sue: From Queensburgh, South Africa to Mount Eden, Auckland (572 words)
I feel appreciated at work, I also feel comfortable with what I own and where I live as people are not terribly materialistic. It is quite a nurturing environment for young families. I love the libraries – really great. I enjoy the parks – live near Cornwall Park – it is the best…

Alex and Sally: From London, UK to Miramar, Wellington (780 words)
We live in a house with a 180 degree sea view yet 5 minutes from work. Everything is close, partly due to the geographical quirks of Wellington. The bush is 15 minutes away. Wellington is one of the best places I’ve ever lived despite the wind and quakes. You can’t beat it on a sunny day (which isn’t as rare as some people may think)…

Louise: From Pretoria, South Africa to Auckland’s North Shore (658 words)
Houses in Auckland are also smaller and often almost on top of each other, with a lack of privacy, compared to what we were used to. But that depends on where you buy, because we managed to find a very private place that borders a bush area…

Ian: From Huntingdon, UK to Wellington (548 words)
Living in Wellington, our cost of living is high compared to anywhere 30 mins outside the city. NZ housing is not as insulated or efficient as UK, but is amazingly diverse and getting better all the time…

Dianne and Paul: From Leighton Buzzard, UK to Tauranga (993 words)
Quality of life is much better in NZ but you must weigh up the pros and cons of leaving family and friends behind and moving to a much laid back life and sometimes finding that this can be frustrating…

Laura: From Burnley, UK to Nelson (677 words)
My husband found work easily as an electrician even though he had to do extra training. I on the other hand, 14 months down the line, still have not found a job in childcare and will have to retrain even though I am a qualified nursery nurse with special needs experience and was told that I would soon get a job. Soon after our arrival the govt changed their policies in childcare making it impossible to work here…

Ruth: From Edinburgh, UK to Rotorua (935 words)
There is a real feeling of space, and you can see out the lake and the caldera rim from most points. The people are very different too – there’s almost a 50% Maori population in Rotorua, high compared to other parts of NZ..

Carol: From Southend-on-Sea, UK to Temuka, South Canterbury (481 words)
The first year was hell and I fell into the yo-yo category, going back to England for a month half way through the year. I needed to touch base with old friends and make sure I’d made the right move. Coming back was much easier and I’ve felt more settled recently…

Marie-Claire: From Langport, UK to Wellington (635 words)
I love the Kiwi hospitality – you’re friends with people you’ve met once, and you’ll get invites to dinner, days out on the boat, nights at the beach house at that same meeting. There’s little snobbery, basically if you’re ‘a good sort’ you’ll be well liked…

JS Kern: From Canada / Scotland to Auckland (651 words)
My income from writing isn’t steady, so I still need to work outside the home. With no difficulty at all, I have found several interesting and temporary jobs here – from telephone interviewing to ballot issuing officer. Even with few or no qualifications, English-speakers will quickly find work…

James and Ann: From Chorley, UK to Hamilton (704 words)
Well, we expected a rise in our standard of living but we have to say that over the years, the NZ prices have risen like housing, food, fuel etc. In truth, we had a better standard of living in the UK as wages were higher, and certain things here we find have to be paid for which were free in the UK…

Tyler: From Vermont, United United States to Wellington (1097 words)
Conservation land covers almost one third of New Zealand. I can take a 40 minute train ride (for NZ$10) and start hiking from the station into a wilderness of rainforest, craggy mountains and alpine herb fields. Or I can take a bus for 15 minutes and sit at the beach! I love backcountry huts! When hiking, you really don’t need to take a tent, as there are fantastic public cabins with bunks, mattresses, and stoves spread throughout NZ’s conservation land…

Rynette: From Pretoria, South Africa to Auckland’s North Shore (684 words)
In Rome we have to do as the Romans! Take time to observe the people and their ways before you allow yourself to become negative about any situation. A positive attitude is better than lots of money to secure acceptance!..

Karl: From Birmingham, UK to Auckland’s North Shore (1088 words)
The standard of driving is poor! Good clothes and shoes are expensive. Choices for certain items are limited. NZ houses are poorly insulated and do not ‘breathe’, they therefore suffer badly from being cold and damp and have condensation problems…

Atul: From Bombay, India, to Hastings Hawke’s Bay (601 words)
My children are having a very relaxed life as the education system here stresses more on practical teaching than rote, medical system is much better, I am deriving more job satisfaction. Our health is better due to an almost pollution free climate…

Veronica: From Chelmsford, UK to Christchurch (939 words)
Moving to another country is always hard because of leaving people behind but it is a tremendous adventure. Just be prepared for the bad days and on them try to take an overall view of things. Things are different, some better and some worse, that’s what we have come out here for…

Amin: From Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia to Dunedin (602 words)
The biggest struggle would be change, especially if your culture is different from the western one…

Henry: From Bristol, UK to Wellington (674 words)
It is scruffier. The people seem less affluent. It all looks a bit ‘rough around the edges’. There is a make-do / bodge it mentality to building design and repair. Whole towns can appear ‘lower socio-economic’…

Paul: From Manchester, UK to Christchurch (590 words)
Our standard of living is similar but probably on a slightly lower level here than in UK. We don’t seem to have quite as much free money, but very close…

John: From Dehli, India, to Auckland (195 words)
I was told about high quality life, good average income and good facilities from govt to residents…

Evelynne: From Maybole, UK to Wellington (261 words)
Wellington is fairly small and compact, but with being the capital, has lots of cultural advantages, not least of all Te Papa, and a thriving café life. I work outside the town in an industrial estate, and despite taking 40 minutes or so by bus, the commute is relatively painfree, unlike London…

Kay: Oregon, USA to Christchurch (375 words)
Sometimes it is hard to create new relationships as NZ is quite a small place and many people go through life with some of the same circles of people they have known since youth. Don’t give up though, there are other people looking to incorporate into the community and meet others as well. Getting involved with local organisations and events will help you to get to know people much faster…

Omelio: Plaka, Crete and San Diego, USA to Palmerston North (437 words)
Make sure you have patience for immigration permits and don’t get too annoyed with everything and everyone being so PC but apart from that if you want pretty cheap living, beautiful scenery, friendly people and lots of opportunity, New Zealand is really great…

Keith: From London, UK to Auckland (356 words)
Still getting to know Auckland and there is so much to do and see in and around the city on the weekends. If you’re in any way into outdoor stuff like walking, cycling and tramping, NZ is one of the best places to be…

Stella: From North Yorkshire, UK to Auckland’s North Shore (468 words)
NZ has a safe atmosphere. It’s OK not to lock up, the neighbours are friendly, people are polite, relaxed and happy. They have a fabulous pre-school concept known as Playcentre, where parents get together to raise kids as a co-op. This is a great way to make friends. There is so much space, the beaches are near, the sea is warm and clean…

Matt: From Zagreb, Croatia to Wellington (309 words)
I couldn’t find a job. All companies I contacted request kiwi experience and I do not know how to obtain the kiwi experience if I do not start to work somewhere…

Val: From UK/South Africa/Germany to Temuka, South Canterbury (381 words)
Bring everything with you. The container is not more expensive than replacing things here. There is a limited choice on furnishings etc. Preferably come for a holiday first. There is a big difference between North and South Island, people need to know which lifestyle they want.,,

Peter: From Durban, South Africa to Havelock North (313 words)
The houses are just plain shoddy, the roads are terrible and the drivers, generally, are inconsiderate…

Jaramillo: From Medellin, Colombia to New Plymouth (436 words)
For us, New Zealand is a nice children-friendly country and we wanted that at the time we wanted to move to a new place. We love the fact that NZ remind us of the times we had when growing up back home in many positive aspects. Its natural beauty reminds us of our beloved Colombia. We regard NZ as an easy-living country…

Tasneem: From Mumbai, India to Christchurch (407 words)
Even if I take two buses to and from work, I’m not that stressed out because the whole trip just takes a little less than an hour. Back home, it takes me 3 hours to work, and 3.5 hours back home…


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