From Bristol to Wellington

What were your reasons for leaving your home country:

Tired of UK way of life. Overcrowding, noisy neighbours, lack of values, weather, wanted a change. New Zealand looked and sounded good.

What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand:

The opportunity came along.

Name: Henry Johnson
Emigrated from: Bristol, UK
Moved to: Wellington
When did you arrive in NZ: Feb 2003
My Story Written: August 2004
What differences have you noticed between your NZ town and your home town?

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’.

What do you like best about New Zealand?

The life-style. Cafes, eating-out, beaches. Warm, sunny winter days.

What don’t you like about New Zealand?

The wind and rain and cold (there is lots of it – don’t be fooled). The attitude towards immigrants. Power cables ! The lack of respect for the countryside – graffiti, dumping cars, rubbish. Cars and traffic jams – it is certainly not all about open roads ! The All-Blacks. Televison. Sand-flies !!

What do you miss from your home country?

Pubs. Decent curry. Soccer. Politeness. Political correctness. Television. Deciduous trees (Autumn). Christmas.

How easily did you find work in New Zealand?

I came over with a job. My wife and daughter have struggled. Levels of pay are shocking. Most casual jobs pay about $10 per hour [update: the legal minimum wage is now considerably higher] – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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

It is like going back 20 years. Workers are more laid back, untidily dressed and not as hard-working. Tea breaks are long though !

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

It is definitely lower. The cost of living is about two thirds to three quarters of that in the UK but wages are a lot worse – about 50%. Some things are cheaper, e.g. petrol, food, houses (mostly made of wood, high-maintenance, no decent central heating or double glazing). Some things are about the same, e.g. furniture, electrical goods. Some things cost more, e.g. books, clothes, internet, CDs, travel (rip-off). Income Tax is much higher and you have to pay for all of you medical visits, scripts and medication.

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

On the whole it is better. This is not the case for everyone. If you like scenery, walking, eating out then this is the place. There are more things to do, visit, look at.
If you like TV, sport (other than Rugby), curry, pubs, travelling – don’t come.

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

Decent work is very hard to come by. A lot of positions are filled by word of mouth. Previous experience (for non-qualified people) seems to count for nothing. You need at least a degree to do anything. They will take a 21 year-old with a degree and no experience over a 45 year-old with no degree and 20 years experience. Crime is not as low as is made out. A lot of it just goes unreported or un-policed. The death toll on the roads is just awful – kids driving at age 15 does not help. I have had a laser shone in my eyes by ‘pranksters’ whilst driving home on two occasions now. I have also witnessed lads throwing fireworks out of moving cars at pedestrians. Police over here are more interested in collecting traffic fines than reducing real crime. Pay is diabolical – and I mean diabolical.

The ‘tall-poppy’ syndrome that is talked about can be translated to ‘jealous Kiwi’. The concensus is that every ‘Pom’ that comes over has got loads of momey. The term ‘whingeing Pom’ doesn’t exist – Kiwis should listen to themselves! Poms tend to stick together. Kiwis just don’t let you in.

New Zealand is not anything like it is portrayed by the NZIS. There is a lot of hardship and poverty. There is a lot of racism and the Brits are not well-liked.

Rugby – it doesn’t matter how many times the All-Blacks lose, they are still the best team in the world !

Netball is big down here (sigh…).

There is a lot of racism. It is a mixed culture but the Maori do not like the white and vice versa. There are always claims by Maoris for ‘rights’ to this and that. My daughter was thrown off a train once by a Maori claiming that whites do not belong in New Zealand. It is not the happy cosmopolitan mix that the NZ tourist board promote.

Be aware – emigrating to New Zealand is a one-way ticket. Once here, and all of your capital is gone, you cannot afford to go home.

Read more recent UK to NZ Reviews

Hawkes Bay – Ruth
North Shore, Auckland – Alison
Franklin District, Auckland – Alison and Matt
Christchurch – James
Invercargill – The Hart Family
Invercargill – Kat and Bob
Tauranga – Kymberley
Tauranga – Dianne and Paul
Wellington – Richard and Olivia
Wellington – Stephen

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