Living in Auckland

What were your reasons for emigrating?

Mid-life change of pace. Looking for a more relaxed pace in a culture of diversity and openness.

What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?

Climate and natural features.

Name: Charlie
Age: 42
Occupation: Executive
Number Emigrating: 2
Emigrated from: Vancouver, Canada
Moved to: Auckland
When did you arrive in NZ: February 2007
My Story Written: January 2009
Daily Commute Time: 9 minutes
What differences have you noticed between your NZ town and your home town?

I love NZ outside of Auckland, but Auckland is remarkably bland and uninteresting. In fact, Auckland is actually quite depressing.

What do you like best about New Zealand?

The climate, outdoors, hiking, camping, and beaches.

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Central Auckland
What don’t you like about New Zealand?

Cycling and walking (made dangerous by appalling driver behaviour – Kiwis drive on the footpaths!), the racial tensions/failure to celebrate diversity, the surprisingly conservative values, the lack of engagement in public society, the desire to blame and complain to government for problems even though there is no willingness to participate in the political process, and the exceptional hostility toward foreigners.

What do you miss from your home country?

Diversity, a willingness to recognise problems and challenges – and finding a way to fix them. Being able to bike – safely. And walk in the city – safely. And go to the park, with my dog – where they had dog water fountains. And take the dog on the city bus. And have the bus come frequently. And be able to take my bike on the bus. And have bike lockers and a shower at my downtown office building. And have neighbours who would talk to me rather than ask, “Why are you here?” when they hear my distinctly different accent.

How easily did you find work in New Zealand?

Immediately. Easily. It was a good job, but I also had good qualifications.

How does your working life in New Zealand compare with your previous work experiences?

People are less well-behaved at work. They are more likely to say inappropriate things about “other people” than I have previously experienced. Lunchroom conversations at a larger employer might include complaints about Fijians, homosexuals, Samoans, and, of course, Asians. Most workplaces are somewhat smaller and more technology-restricted than I have previously experienced.

How much do you plus partner earn in New Zealand:


How much did you pay for your house:

$600/week – The house is very nice. It’s close in, but my complaint is that the house is in a CBD fringe neighbourhood that feels “outer suburban.” I’m 5 minutes from the CBD, but the neighbourhood streets are so disconnected and there’s almost nothing of interest within walking distance. There’s a great park for the dogs, but there’s nothing “urban” like a pub or restaurant. It’s really strange being so close to the CBD yet near nothing at all within walking distance.

How does your standard of living in New Zealand compare with your previous country?

The salary is clearly not commensurate to the cost of living. Some things are cheaper. Most are much, much more expensive. And everything is far, far less interesting (until you leave Auckland – but then the focus is on “tourist” activities).

How does your quality of life now compare with your previous country?

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. Crime and vandalism are high (compared to North America). People drink a lot, but I think that’s because there’s nothing else to do except on weekends when people can get out of Auckland to enjoy the beach, nature, or – just getting out of this crappy city.

Do you have any other personal experiences or observations that would be useful for people considering immigrating to New Zealand?

If you’re single, you should not come here. If you are gay, you should not come here. If you are married with school age kids and have a university education and are bring over lots of cash, New Zealand might work for you.

Should I Move to New Zealand?

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

Would you like to share your own experiences of living in New Zealand? You can do this at My Story. Or you can read more more personal experiences.

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