7 things I loved about living in New Zealand is a blog detailing some of the excellent qualities of New Zealand. I lived in New Zealand for 18 months and had one of the greatest chapters of my life there. Even today, I still strongly advise other travellers to visit New Zealand when I meet them and often go on a huge rant about how good it is.
Some quick facts:
Size of New Zealand: 268,000 square kilometers’
Population: 5.1 million
National languages: English and Maori
GDP Per person (Capita): $48,000 USD in 2022
Major industries: Tourism, Dairy and Services Sector.
Things I loved about living in New Zealand
The People and culture
The first thing I noticed about New Zealand was how relaxed the people were and how willing to have a chat they were. People would stop to take the time to give you directions or have a talk at the bus stop. Similarly, as an Australian I was very impressed with the representation of Maori culture in New Zealand. Everywhere signs are written in Maori and public services all offer bi-lingual service to customers in English or Maori. This was very impressive as an Aussie, as we are far behind in this area.
The scenery and nature
New Zealand scenery is stunning. Its one of the things I loved about New Zealand, but everyone else loves too. In the North island you have rolling green hills, volcanoes, white sand beaches. And in the south you get jagged mountain ranges, lush forests and turquoise blue lakes and glaciers. Driving in New Zealand you will pass a variety of landscaped like rolling deep green hills, fields of sheep and grey towering mountains.
The social system and lack of beurocracy
I found that compared to living in the United States, Canada and even Australia that dealing with the public service sector was incredibly smooth and easy. To get a Tax-File-Number (what you need to pay Tax when your employed) I just walked to the Post Office and got one. When I needed a bank account open, I walked into the Bank and opened an account (as a foreigner) within 20 minutes. To get a phone plan, same thing very easy. Two other examples stand out. When at the end of the financial year you can do a Tax-Return, New Zealand send you your return automatically. They give you the money back you over-paid in tax. Secondly, when I had to get a police certificate ( I needed to prove I had no criminal record for my employer) it was done in a few minutes and mailed out to me promptly. Likewise I had occasions with New Zealand police who were helpful and always pointed me in the right direction when I was new in town.
The pace of life
New Zealand, especially in the South Island, has not been as affected by the rapid pace of life change that the rest of the world has felt in the last 20 years. Yes, there is still a lot happening and going-on in New Zealand, but there remains a chilled out and relaxed atmosphere to the way people go about their lives which I enjoyed. When I first landed in Christchurch I remember going for a walk to find a shopping complex and there was next to nothing open. It was about 6pm on a Sunday and the shops all like to close around 5pm. In Australia this used to be the case 15 years ago but not anymore. Now shops stay open late and you can do a grocery shop at 9pm at night in most cities if you wished, but I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Christchurch and other towns in New Zealand for that matter; weren’t all in some rapid open-all-hours type of consumer system we had everywhere else in the west. Most of the South Island was like this and spare Auckland, the pace of life in New Zealand was very relaxed.
Work life balance
Relating to the above point, there was an awesome culture of work to live in New Zealand. This constant ‘hussle to get ahead’ culture didn’t seem to have infected the Kiwis like it has most other places. And for good reason. Why hussle-hussle-hussle all the time when all you need is available on your doorstep? Most people I encountered in New Zealand would come home and then ride their bike, go for a run, go hang out at the lake or stroll through town to meet up with friends. There wasn’t the need to escape the everyday like other people feel in other countries because the everyday life was rewarding and fulfilling. The Kiwis seemed not to have attached so much importance or ego to trying to be flashy with money or impress others, they just liked to have fun and spend time outdoors.
The peace and quiet
It is so easy to access places of solitude and peace in New Zealand. Hiking tracks, quiet beaches, silent forest trails. Every time I was craving seclusion I found it in nature quickly. The roads aren’t crowded and there are hidden camp grounds and a plethora of places to have a getaway. Like-wise the New Zealand towns are very tranquil; people don’t honk their car horns, play loud music from their homes or be disruptive. It seems that the people in New Zealand value tranquillity and don’t want to disturb it.
The cleanliness and safety
New Zealand is clean! You will see or hear the expression “be a tidy Kiwi” on hiking trails or on advertisements, encouraging people to keep the landscape clean. Culturally New Zealanders don’t litter or throw or toss rubbish on the streets or out of car windows like in some cultures and countries. I also found New Zealand to be very safe. I never once felt threatened walking home alone at night and were I lived I can’t even recall hearing of any crime.
New Zealand is a truly amazing country and one I will continue to enjoy visiting. The views expressed in this blog are obviously subjective to my experience and others may feel differently.
I hope this blog helped one person.
If you are looking to head to New Zealand maybe check out these companies to help you plan a flight, some accommodation or a tour:
For booking accomodation try Booking:
For booking flights try SkyScanner:
For van and car rentals try Go Rentalz:
For getting around New Zealand try KiwiBus:
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