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Customer Discussions > Travel forum

Is NEW ZEALAND really a good place to live?

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Showing 1-25 of 198 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 14, 2008, 1:43:05 AM PDT
With rising fuel prices, food prices, the ever-so-tempting 'Big Brother Country' Australia looming over us (which for the record pays a lot better), and with terrible crime, gang and drug problems that resemble places like, oh I don't know, South L.A., is New Zealand really a great place to live? I'll tell you what I think. Living in NZ myself and growing up here, I can quite easily say it's an awesome place: Great scenery, lovely warm summers, great sporting pride (Go the All Blacks! (National rugby team - look it up on Wikipedia)), and nothing too dangerous here at all whether it be animals, or natural disastors or even 'smaller' problems like racism. NZ is a great place - no doubt about it, we're a really relaxed bunch of people living in what we all refer to as paradise. Puting to one side my thoughts on NZ, take into consideration people living in South Auckland (New Zealand's major city). They are prodominantly Maori (Native New Zealand) or Polynesian (People from the Pacific Islands). South Auckland is notorious for youth gangs, P labs, crimes and particularly murders, which for a country of only 4 Million is at a rediculously high rate. Here's why I believe it happens.

The Maori's Aotearoa (New Zealand) was a couple of hundred years ago, flooded with European people (not all at once obviously), and ever since then they have had trouble over land and race. The Islanders as we call them, often come to NZ to bring up their family in a more western environment and or because most of their relatives all ready live here! A lot of the time they don't know english, so can't get a good job or education, they tend to have many children who then go and steal or get lost on the streets of South Auckland (Because it is a cheap place for them to live) and then get involved in gangs and the like, feeling they are more 'accepted' under their arms. This is a similar case for the Maori.

However, it is not only the Maori and Pacific Islanders that get invloved with this (I say this for fear of being called a racist). Allthough there are a lot more European New Zealanders living here, many still get into similar situations.

It seems every night on the 6 'O Clock news, the main headlines are of another murder or two, rising food and oil prices (which may I add, will not help the already struggling Maori and Polynesian communities), and generally all things possible going down hill. I know rising food and fuel prices are a problem globally, but because New Zealand is so small, yet with SOOOO much ingenuity and potential, it is costing too much to ship overseas and make here - Why do so when it can be made HEAPS cheaper in China. It's so frustrating for us.

NZ is also a very proud sporting nation, with our national rugby team - the All Blacks being ranked Number 1 in the world. However, recently the Rugby World Cup was held in France. We lost. In the Quater finals. To France. In front of a crowd on 90, 000. It was sooo devastating. It was the headline on the news - and the only thing on the news that night, and I think the team's fans lost a lot of faith in the All Blacks. Our fantastic players are being signed off to high-paying clubs in France and Japan. I think New Zealand sport is going downhill from here on in. We definately have the talent - we're probably the best sporting country according to per capita in the world. Our stars are going over seas (as well as normal citizens) and we just don't have the money for the facilities.

To give you an example, New Zealand's most sought after meet and other foods, are much cheaper to buy in say London then half the world away back here in NZ.

I'm writing this not only to discuss this 'issue' but to warn travellers (after all this is under the travel section), that although New Zealand has stunning scenery as portayed in the Lord of The Rings trilogy and in the Narnia films, and is far, far, far less crowded than almost anywhere, we are, as a nation, moving towards some dark times ahead and are now up there if you look closley enough with crimes of New York, South L.A., Detroit and London to name a few. Just take this into consideration when you next visit NZ.

It used to be considered a crime to leave for Ausrtalia of all places, and I'm a proud New Zealander, but I don't blame the 500, 000 NZ's now living in Australia.....I really don't.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2008, 9:17:18 PM PDT
Alan Turing says:
I can only give the Australian perspective.

New Zealand is a stunningly beautiful country and the people are wonderfully warm and welcoming, even if they have a chip on their shoulder with regards to us. For Australians we find the weather somewhat confining, cold & wet, and most of the beaches are unusable except in the north of North Island.

You only had to wander the streets of Rotorua or watch the TV to see the country is a two track culture and we were stunned by the viciousness and frequency of some of the crimes for such a small country. It appears the jails are filled almost entirely with Maoris and Islanders, probably due to their macho culture and the way they have lost their purpose since the Europeans came. You have to remember the Maoris were very violent to each other before the white man came and took the land, so dispossession is not all of the story.

For Australians who like to think of New Zealand as the sister country, it is surprisingly like Shelbyville is to Springtown, oddly familiar but strangely different in language, customs, attitudes and food.

Speaking of food it ranges from terrible to terrific, but mostly just barely keeps its head above junk. This is not to denigrate the peak top restaurants, just that they are not the common standard, nor is there that broad availability of small good restaurants and cafés across a wide spectrum of nationalities that we have in Australia's larger cities.

A strong contributor to this and the general standard of living is NZs relative expensiveness, due both to it being on the tail end of a long economic chain and its 15% GST on everything. We were most astonished at the number of warehouse style supermarkets, which still had high prices. Simple breakfast cereal was all imported from Australia and twice the cost. Local bargains however were some of the fish and the fresh mussels dispensed live in virtually all supermarkets from tanks with salt water fountains. They were a treat but overindulgence soon lead to surfeit, especially as we were not in the position to make our own sauces and the commercial varieties were extremely salty and sugary. A very English taste, as was the soft mushy bread. They obviously didn't get enough Vietnamese refugees with baking expertise.

Other impressions: many small but well established and serviced towns; considerable distances between places despite it being a small country; excellent unpaved roads (how do they keep dirt roads so smooth?); excellent but not cheap wines, lots of expensive specialty food; a thriving publishing industry for such a small population; a rail system that seems to specialise in falling off the tracks both literally and financially; great beer, musicians and pubs; terrific youth hostels; a million dangerous, fun, expensive things to do; crappest TV I have ever seen; best ads I have ever seen (definitely take your toilet breaks during the shows); endless stunning scenery in every direction; and most of all a population that thrives on its ingenuity and can-do attitude.

NZ had its chance to be part of Australia when the Australian States federated but it thought it could do better on its own. In many ways it has achieved remarkably well going its own way, but I caught the feeling of an ageing nation (its youth tends to leave), that has seen its best days. If they at least went for currency union I would be over there much more often, but always as a visitor. I could not imagine living there, freezing my arse off with a beanie on my head and always worrying, powerless to affect looming economic and social change.

I'd be like most New Zealanders waiting for the chance to cross the Tasman to get to the warm, sunny prosperous side.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2008, 11:12:33 PM PDT
Yeah thanks Alan.

As I said - I really don't blame the youth moving off to Aussie, but whether you like it or not, your always gonna be a kiwi and so it really dissapoints me that things have come to this. Hopefully one day we can get things back under control before youth-catching gangs like the Killer Bees control it for us...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2008, 12:50:13 AM PDT
I don't want to talk about all the issues raised here but I must object to the two posters comments on crime. I am disturbed by the falsities and distortions in these posts and the influence they might have on those not from New Zealand who may stray upon them. The notion that crime is running amok in New Zealand is one that is quite prevalent in the media today, but it has little factual basis. Criminal offence rates have been going down since the early 1990s (Yes, admittedly some segments of violent crime are going up, but only incrementally and nowhere near enough to justify such despair). If you don't believe me, refer to the statistics yourself:

What I find especially hysterical is the assertion that we are becoming on par with "the crimes of New York, South L.A., Detroit and London to name a few". I will allow anyone from New Zealand who has been to these various cities to meditate on the monstrous absurdity of this attempted comparison. The only times I feel somewhat unsafe in the larger cities of New Zealand are when I am walking alone on the major drinking nights, but this unease is probably felt by all westerners in cities throughout the world.

Of course New Zealand has its problems, and is by no means the utopia of `milk and honey' as some earlier national myths would have you believe. It is overly pessimistic, however, to think that we are entering a `dark time'. If anything, the one thing that should be bemoaned about New Zealand is the paucity of its media outlets (especially television and newspapers), which consistently give superficial and alarmist analyses of social issues in New Zealand and have a large cause in the current panic about crime. (Because we are a small country, crime is also massively over-reported) As for the Australian posters follow up remarks, their remarks on the topic are much of the same (not to mention the basic factual errors they make - GST is 12.5, not 15% !)

To all the prospective tourists - Feel safe in coming to our country, and rest assured you are unlikely to stumble on to a gang drive-by shooting in your visit! Be patient with the more insular of our citizens, and remember that there are many decent people here that will be willing to show you hospitality.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2008, 1:44:06 AM PDT
Thanks Geoffrey. I suppose I was a little harsh on old NZ and probably over reacted. I'd like to point out to any non-New Zealander, that although I talked about the negatives, I was mainly trying to say that NZ is, aside from these things, still the best country (that's obviously my opinion) in the world. I will also admit that everything the previous poster said was true.

Kia Kaha New Zealand!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2008, 11:34:32 AM PDT
While I'm replying specifically to Stephen's post, my message is actually a response to the tenor of the whole series. I'm an American, but I have spent several years in Australia and New Zealand cumulatively while managing telecom and broadband internet projects in joint ventures with local carriers like Telestra and Telecon New Zealand. My observations are based on personal experience 'colored' by extensive reading.

A few observations: First, I have been desperately in love with both Australia and New Zealand all my life, and I leaped at the opportunity to spend extensive time there. The people are magnificent, and the landscape is just incredible. However, I see some disurbing parallels among most of the countries of the 'Developed World". Every major "First World" country has a small, but vocal minority who complain and shreik nonstop about the plight of some 'minority'. In the U.S. it's the Blacks and the Hispanics; and we have completely lost our freedom of speech when talking about any minority. As incredible as it seems, even after 9/11, Muslims are considered persecuted minorities! The people who do this are the self proclaimed "Elites", the Media and the Academics. In America we call them "Liberals". In the U.K. and Australia (And New Zealand?) they're the Labor Party (?) leadership. (If I'm wrong, please correct has been a while since I have been forced close to home due to a chronic disease.) Regarless, these are the "Hate America", "Hate Whites", "Hate Conservatives", "Hate Christians", etc crowd. I've found that, during 30 years of working in 78 countries, nobody who actually works for a living hates anybody!I have never had any problems with 'real' 'normal' people. Additionaly, I've never seen any oof the horrible problems and disasters reported by the media. Much of it is exaggerated or just fabricated.

Now to my point: If I could move to either country, I'd do it in a heartbeat. However, I'm retired, which does not make me a good candidate. I DO have some things going for me; I am retired from a senior position in a large, high tech company (Cisco Systems) and I have two graduate engineering degrees, along with teaching experience at the university level. Given my 'radical' political views, I am not welcome at universities in the U.S. because I'm not a Left Wing Nut Job. We are on the verge of electing a totally incompetent, unqualified, dishonest man as president simply because the 'Elites" (Aided by the stupid...those on the dole, in school, and mentally deficient!) think it is time that a 'minority' became President of the United States. We don't even drill for our own oil! But we cannot criticize him because it is considered 'hate speech' to criticize a minority. I have seen some of the same in New Zealand pertaining to the Pacific Islanders and the Maoris. As one of the previous posters stated; the Maoris burned most of the forests in New Zealand in search for the Moa, and then hunted them to extinction when they burned out their habitat. Just try to mention that fact to the 'Elites" in New Zealand!

So, after all this, my final point is that the people with common sense, those who actually work for a living and make the country function are starting to scream out that they've had enough. I will continue to travel to both Australia and New Zealand as often as I can, and I'd be honored to have either country take me in. I'd do my best to earn the right.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2008, 9:47:11 PM PDT
Hell, I'm kind of surprised an american replied to this discussion - I didn't know many americans knew where new zealand was!

Cheers mate - I'd allow you to stay in my home any day!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2008, 9:29:23 PM PDT
Spoila says:
After reading your post i raised my eyebrows somewhat forget the stats,and in a few words for the population the violent crime rate is shocking,New Zealand is a nice place to live all the same but dont be fooled by the travel brochures as all travel brochures have the nasty things airbrushed out.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2008, 7:20:50 AM PDT
C. Sproat says:
so really you are using this travel forum about New Zealand to get on your soapbox and rant about Liberals in the US....right?
perhaps you could re-consider using all the same tired cliches from your right-wing playbook....its getting pretty old.....

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2008, 10:11:22 PM PDT
Who're you talkin' to mate?!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2008, 10:49:14 PM PDT
M. J. Duncan says:
I absolutely loved New Zealand when I visited there on holliday. They were the nicest people. I am from the United States and have nothing but great things to say about the Kiwi's, just an exceptionally nice group of people. Does anyone over there want to adopt me? I am mostly housebroken. Cheers :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2008, 9:29:09 AM PDT
Karen says:
This discussion caught my eye because my husband and I intend to visit New Zealand for 3 months next winter. It was an interesting discussion - many problems are the same no matter what country- until Mr. Donahue's rants about the US started. Seems to me the discussion was about New Zealand, sir. And I hope the people from New Zealand and Australia participating in this don't think that he represents American opinion. I daresay he's in the smallest minority and that his views are "radical" - radically right wing. Fortunately, our country is turning away from them in getting back on track. Now let's talk more about New Zealand!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2008, 1:42:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 27, 2008, 1:48:27 PM PDT
I fell in love with New Zealand watching outdoors shows like the American Sportsman growing up. Peter Jackson's use of the majestic countryside in the Lord of the Rings merely clinched it for me. Id love to visit one day and tour both Islands.

I read recently where the Immigration Service won't let older overweight people in so I guess we won't move there. We do know a couple who moved there to work with the Presbyterian Church set up a school for disadvantaged Maori youth. They love it but their support needs are about $5000 a month US.

I learned in Second Life online to my chagrin not to mess up and refer to someone from OZ as a Kiwi.

As far as Crime its the same everywhere really. We have the same problems here in Charlotte and when we were in Sweden a few weeks ago we were stalked by a gang of unemployed youths(though it was hard to be scared of kids who sounded like the Swedish chef on the Muppet Show). Whats the solution? I don't really know. I think a lot of it has to do with education being more focused on self esteem than learning how to read, communicate, or do math and reasoning problems.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2008, 2:10:34 PM PDT
AB says:
If NZ a great place to live? Only if you want to live in a cupboard, with three million people with chips on their shoulders and 20 million farting sheep ...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2008, 5:30:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 27, 2008, 5:40:39 PM PDT
Sorry - I know this is an open discussion, but New Zealand is not like living in a cupboard - whatever you mean by that. Apart from the bad things I mentioned in the first post (and I now regret exagerating on some of those problems), New Zealand is a great place to live - we've got a REALLY relaxed culture and are overall a really freindly bunch of people. Also we've got 4 million people living here - not 3 million, and the sheep joke is getting old - it only started because people were curious about the fact that and thought it funny that (a few years back) we only had 3 million people and like 60 million sheep.

In reality, New Zealand is just a small country at the bottom of the planet. However if you actually come here and even better live here, you'll see, overall, we're coping with the problems just fine thank you very much.

We're absolutely fantastic at sport (at one stage world champions at rugby, cricket, netball and softball), we dominate in the sailing area of sport and overall have this great love for the outdoors and sport - it's just a shame with the current siuation that all our talent is going else where.

To the people (mainly americans) that are used to the big cities and bustling crowds, I invite you to come to New Zealand and experience something completely new - a relaxed, detatched country in some ways, that still seems to keep up with the rest of the western world.

I just ask you to keep in mind that in many ways it is by no mean perfect, but in even more ways, is as close as you'll get to perfect.

You cannot truly know what I'm talking about until you have visited New Zealand - and have not just visited it, but EXPLORED it - literally explored it.

I challenge you to take time out of your life, may it be for a couple of months, or even a year...or even better - until the the day you die.

The title of this discussion is a question: "Is New Zealand really a good place to live?". Well, even though I started this conversation, I'm going to answer that question.

Yes. New Zealand is a GREAT place to live.


In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2008, 4:55:46 PM PDT
RTG says:
This is an interesting topic to stumble upon since we just returned from living in New Zealand for about a year. We lived on our sailboat in a small town in the Northern Part of the North Island. I was born in New Zealand but grew up in the US, while my wife is from NY. Just thought I would give you some background on us so you know where our opinions are coming from.

It is a pretty country with a diverse geography. We did a lot of traveling by car and covered most of both islands. If you are in the US, I would not recommend traveling to NZ. If you apply the price of airfare ($1200 + pp) you can see much of the same type of scenery in the west cost of the US. Rent an RV (that is the same way you would see NZ) start at the Grand Canyon, end at Yellowstone and you have seen sights greater than any we witnessed in NZ.

I did get a good chuckle about the comments that kiwi's are friendly. Have to disagree with that one. If you have an American accent you will get lots of dirty looks and snippy comments, unless you have your wallet out, tourism is the #1 industry in NZ and they love that tourist dollar. As soon as I would mention I was born in New Zealand the attitude of the locals would do a quick 180 and then the 'friendly' side would come out. Then the US bashing would begin. They get a heavy dose of anti-America on the News and Newspapers and the FOX news channel plays there 24/7 so you can understand why the US is not their favorite country. Funny, the same guy who owns FOX also owns a big chunk of the NZ media and his recipe of scare um and sell um is applied in NZ just as it is in the US.

We seriously considered living in NZ and did a lot of research about the country. As far as living there, we did not consider crime a problem, the problem is the economy. Kiwis are heading for the same economic crisis that the rest of the world is finding itself in. The interest rate is very high and so are housing prices, cost of goods and services, and fuel. They are quite isolated and almost all of there goods have to be imported. The rising cost of fuel will really hurt the NZ economy. One alarming item that was happening while we were there is NZ signed a free trade agreement with China. First country in the world to do so and soon the Chinese goods will overwhelm all of the local manufactures. There is a significant 'brain drain' of Kiwis moving to Australia and a serious shortage of Doctors and Nurses. Finally, the NZ dollar is inconsistent and subject to large swings in value.

The houses were okay, new construction was average in quality and lot sizes are typically small but that is no different than anywhere else we have traveled. Transportation was terrible. The roads are narrow and drivers lack common sense and do not match there driving style with the conditions of the road. They are not aggressive drivers (I used to commute in the bay area) they are just careless drivers. Everyone drives and the traffic in Auckland is awful and was even a problem in the small town where we lived.

If you are a US citizen you will have a tough time gaining residency unless you have a particular skill that the government deems desirable. They are looking for Doctors, Engineers, and people will skills in the dairy industry. You must also be in good heath to gain residency. If you have medical issues that need constant medical attention you do not want to live in NZ. We found the health care system to be overburdened and doctors seemed quite preoccupied with how little they were earning in NZ.

Finally the weather. I grew up in Arizona and California and enjoy sunny, warm days and mild winters. We found NZ cold and wet. We were living in the winter-less Northland which means it does not snow, but that doesn't mean the weather is nice. Think Washington state without the snow. The summer was short and still had lots of rain, think Washington State without the sunshine.

Well, that is my 2 cents. I have a feeling my opinions will not be all that popular with the Kiwis, and I am sure they can point out all the great things about the country. The original question was 'Is New Zealand really a good place to live' and I would answer that it is no better than anywhere else we have been, and the condition of the economy was enough of a concern that we decided not to live there.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2008, 9:03:19 PM PDT
Yeah thanks mate.

I suppose you're right in many ways - and this is an open discussion, but it still hurts me as a kiwi to hear that!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2008, 2:24:12 PM PDT
B. Danielsen says:
I have not been to NZ, and I have no unique knowledge of the crime rate there. However, I think that refering to objective evidence is frequently useful. I suggest referring to the following web site:

Notice that New Zealand's murder rate is lower than Denmark's, Norway's and Finland's. It is one fourth of the US rate.

Using another source, cosider the following wikipedia item:

Here NZ is again lower than Sweden or Finland, but slightly higher than Denmark and Norway. Again the rate is much lower than the US.

News outlets thrive on violent crime and bad news. If a violent crime has not occurred recently, the news will give an update an old crime or report a bombing on the other side of the world.

Obviously there are other violent crimes besides murders, but statistics on these crimes are probably much less reliable since almost all murders are reported. A dead body is difficult to overlook and is ususally reported by authorities even when the crime is not solved. Muggings are more frequently ignored, particularly when the victim is drunk.

Anyway, New Zealand may have flaws, but the crime rate seems to be of minor importance on a national basis. I am sure that there is an undesirable area in the nation's largest city. This is true in almost every country, but i doubt that readers of this post are likely to move to NZ' highest crime area.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2008, 1:10:57 PM PDT
Bookgirl says:
I think I'll add my 2 cents. My son (American) has been living there three years and we have visited him three times. I love that country, the beauty of it all and friendly people. Granted, NZ has it's flaws, and it's not cheap to live there. My son lives in Wellington in a v. small studio apt. But for him it's not about living in luxury that matters. He likes the country and the attitude of the people. He went there not knowing a soul, made it a point to go there and not try to find American's and get to know NZrs. He has a wide circle of friends, mostly NZ'rs but also many other countries. I envy him.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2008, 3:55:54 PM PDT
keepitreal says:
I'm from the US and spent a month in NZ 13 years ago. March was a good time to visit as the tourist season is coming to an end. I loved it. I did not notice anti-Americanism at that time. That's a long time ago, though. However, I'm from Texas and at the time, Dallas was one of the most popular shows on NZ tv. Every time I spoke outloud, all eyes and ears were turned in my direction and I became somewhat self-conscious about my Texas accent. People wanted to know if I was there for the Country Western Singing festival? Did my daddy own an oil well? (I'm female). Where was my cowboy hat? :-) Kiwis reminded me a lot of the people from my home state. Friendly, loyal, hard-working, outgoing, great story tellers with a huge sense of humor, especially about oneself. I especially enjoyed the time I spent with your native Islanders, Maoris. I did find the scenery very similar to California. I enjoyed good weather most of the time. I even enjoyed the "bad" weather. As a solo traveler (I spent much of my time hitch hiking and riding the train and buses, backpacking and camping solo), I felt quite safe and met people from all over the world. Though I'm a US citizen through and through, love my country deeply, and do not wish to live in any other country, I felt a strong kinship and friendship (many of us have the same ancestral backgrounds) with NZers and hope to visit again some day.

Thank you NZ for one of the most memorable, rewarding, and wonderful experiences of my life.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2008, 11:59:04 AM PDT
A Brown says:
Hello all. My wife and I are considering doing a "working holiday" in NZ for a year. We are from the US and have never been to New Zealand. Reading through all the posts, a lot of them kind of scare me, I guess since New Zealand is often painted as a "perfect" land. But, I bet it would be a lot worse what people would say about the US (regarding crime - high, economy - bad, people - many really nice, many not). I was hoping for some more specific advice about our plans. We want to experience a different culture, work, and of course see the sights. Is the weather really cold? Don't think my wife would like that. Should we consider Australia instead? We've talked about going to Europe, but worry about the language barrier in trying to get real jobs (we're both engineers). Of course we would try to learn whatever language, but probably not well enough, and that's where NZ came in. Any suggestions and/or advice would be appreciated!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2008, 2:32:46 PM PDT
Bookgirl says:
Adam, I posted up above. My son went there one year a working holiday visa (BUNAC) program. You might look it up. He loved it so much and then applied and got another year, and then got another year. So now he has finished his third year and is trying for permanent visa. He's 30 and single and lives in Wellington, which is a great city for young people I think. Always lots of things going on, right on the water. It kind of reminds me of San Francisco in the way it looks. People walk everywhere or take buses and trains. My son went to England for a study program during college and then back to Europe after college hoping to live there, but ultimately came home. He lived in K.C. for several years working in advertising, got bored and did research on NZ and went down to NZ. I wouldn't have been as pleased if he had gone back to Europe. I have been to see him three times and I would love to live in that beautiful country with really friendly people and no language barrier. Kiwi's have a beautiful accent I think, different than the English or Aussie accent. Also, look at for another website. This website is for people trying to immigrate there permanently, but has lots of information. Since you have engineering background you probably would have no problem getting jobs. My son had worked all kinds of temp jobs there (business) and is now working permanently for the city council of Wellington. Yes it does get cold at times when a southerly comes in but we get our share of crappy weather in the states.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2008, 5:11:34 PM PDT
RTG says:
Hello. The best place to find the rules and regulations for an extended stay in NZ is Lots of info and they are pretty good at responding to email if you have questions. You can get a 90 day visa very easily and once there you can apply for an extension for up to a year for a fee as a tourist. If you want to stay for a year then you will need to show that you can support yourself through bank statements so take some copies with you.

If you are interested in working in NZ you will need to apply well before you leave. The application process is quite lengthy costs around $2,000 per person and will require a medical exam as well as a background check. Background check is pretty easy, the FBI can proved the necessary information by filling out a form and sending in your fingerprints. Takes a while to get the info back so make sure you allow enough time.

We looked into the process while we were in NZ and my wife was thinking about migrating. She has high blood pressure and if you have any medical conditions they will require additional testing and medical exams. Overall I would plan for at least a year to complete this whole process.

Just as a side note, we have traveled quite a bit over the past few years on our sailboat at it is very difficult to work in a country without being a citizen. We planned to work along the way and had very little luck. Every country we visited had rules to protect jobs for their own citizens and the penalties for employers if they would hire you. The only exception we found to this was for Medical professionals and students. Everywhere we went there was a strong demand for doctors and nurses.

When you ask if the weather is really cold it depends on your definition of cold. South Island has a short summer and gets a real winter with snow and ice, North Island is often gloomy and cool to cold year round. The cloudy weather was fine for us the first few months we were there but after a while it started to wear on us. During the month of April we had 5 days of sunshine during the whole month (yes I started counting the sunny days) and we decided that good weather was more important to us then we thought it was.

Not trying to discourage you from visiting NZ, but these are the realities we encountered while traveling there. I really liked Australia, better weather and friendlier people, but we only spent a month there and lived like tourists so I can't really comment on what it is like to "live" there. I have noticed quite a few comments on this tread from people who visited for a few weeks and loved it. In my opinion anywhere you go as a tourist (and by tourist I mean you do not work and take tours, eat out, sight-see, etc) you will probably have a good time. Interesting how nice people are when you are spending lots of money. I spent 2 weeks in Cleveland and loved it but I wouldn't want to live there....


In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2008, 12:04:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2008, 12:12:50 AM PDT
keepitreal says:
Garney, I came home literally with pocket change and a few kiwi coins. I did not have a lot of money to spend which is why I camped and used youth hostels. It's unfortunate that your experience wasn't what you hoped it would be but there are others who found a different experience than you did and not just those of us who were there for a few weeks (you must have missed those other replies). I met another US traveler who visited New Zealand and remained there working as a waitress. When her visa was about to expire, she would head to Australia for a short trip then re-enter NZ with a new visa. I had sunshine most of my trip while in the North Island, much of which is tropical. I also traveled to the south Island and sea kayaked in sunny conditions in Milford Sound. Shortly after that, the weather turned cold and wet and I hoped aboard a train and headed north taking the North Island ferry (after a great time in Wellington) to warmer and sunnier conditions. I know a lot of folks who had a similar experience to mine. Sorry yours was a disappointment and you missed a real treasure.

I wanted to add mention of the day I spent with a Maori family. I was hitch hiking (destination, 90-Mile Beach) and was picked up by a nice young Maori couple that wanted to take me to meet their family. Long story short, I spent a day at the beach hunting sea urchins with the family, and later having some beers with the family at their favorite meeting and party place, then back at their home for several rounds of pool. At the end of a long day, the mother and father of the young couple drove me a long way back to my camp location. A treasured experience that cost me not a single dime.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2008, 3:37:36 AM PDT
RTG says:
I guess it is posts like the one above that keeps me coming back to this board. The subject of the thread - "Is New Zealand really a good place to live" and I seem to be one of the few people who are actually addressing the topic. If you take the time to read my posts you will see that I am sharing hard earned information that my wife and I learned while actually living in the country and dealing with the locals and government.

In addition I am a native Kiwi and have been in the country numerous times for both short and long stays. I have seen NZ evolve for better and worse over several decades. You say that I have missed a real treasure and I say that in your 30 day trip you didn't even scratch the surface.

Since I have just returned and spent lots of time dealing with "helpful" immigration, MAF, and local government officials I guess I am in the mood to do a little NZ bashing. I think I have earned the right since I have spent a significant amount of time and money in the county. It is very easy to find people who have visited the country and loved it, but hard to find someone who has actually investigated and gone through the process of migrating to the county. I have tried to bring up points that need to be considered when you are thinking of living somewhere, not just going on a holiday.

There is a lot of NZ hype in the world these days and some is deserved and some is not. Our small group of sailors called it Hollywood South since every town/destination seems to have a grandiose marketing spin right out of Tensile Town. For example the "Worlds Best Bathroom" is in Kawakawa, I urinated there and it was nothing special or "The Southern Hemispheres largest hot water waterfall" in Rotorua that has the flow rate of a garden hose. The Hot water Waterfall is in the same park as the "Active Mud Volcano", unfortunately it looks like a pile of..... mud and sure wasn't all that active. And it goes on and on.....

Finally, you state that you met a US traveler in NZ that would simply leave NZ when her visa was about to expire for a quick trip to OZ and then return with a new visa. I wish that were true since it would have been of great benefit to my wife. According to NZ immigration policy a US citizen is only allowed to stay in NZ for 9 months and can stay up to 12 months under special circumstances. Once you have stayed your 9 months you must leave the country and you are not allowed to return for a 9 months, if you stay 12 months you are not allowed to return for 12 months. The policies are quite strict and NZ has several layers of government. I urge anyone who is truly interested in migrating to NZ to spend some time on and try to get as much of the process completed before leaving your home country.

For the post from Adam Brown about a "working holiday" I would like to mention that there is a Working holiday visa you can obtain. It seems to be aimed more toward students than working professionals since the age limit is between the Ages of 18 and 30. Since you and your wife are were both engineers I assumed you were older than 30, but that may be a false assumption.

Cheers Robert
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