Surprises and shocks hit newly arrived expats in New Zealand

Published:  12 May at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
For decades, New Zealand has been attracting UK expats to its shores, many drawn by its supposedly quintessential British feel, even although shocks as well as pleasant surprises can catch the unwary.

Famed for its friendly, English-speaking peoples, its stunning scenery and its superficial similarity to the UK, New Zealand is a popular choice for working expats as well as British retirees. However, just like other emigration destinations, some aspects of Kiwi life may well baffle or even shock new arrivals.

Without a doubt, New Zealand is well up there in the list of first world countries, offering all the conveniences of home in a beautiful setting. However, one aspect of life is sure to shock – the convoluted public transport system. Basically, it’s impossible to live in comfort in Kiwiland unless you have a car, as train and bus travel outside Auckland and Wellington is expensive, slow and infrequent.

Ownership of a car may well give you the freedom to explore the spectacular New Zealand scenery at your leisure, but culture shock sets in again on your first visit to a petrol station. Fuel here is very expensive, especially if you’ve recently arrived from the USA. In fact, you’ll soon find that everything is expensive in New Zealand, even necessities such as electricity and the many foodstuffs actually produced in the country.

On the bright side, Kiwi administration is efficient, fast and trouble-free. It’s quite possible for new arrivals to set themselves up with electricity, gas, bank accounts and more in just one day, leaving the rest of the week free to marvel at how much time’s been saved. The downside comes when you realise that, in spite of the cold winters, central heating is an unheard of luxury. Kiwis, it seems, heat the room they’re using rather than the whole house.

Just as in Britain, it’s tough to make close connections with your Kiwi associates and neighbours, however friendly they may seem. Most expats give up in the end and confine their socialising to local expat groups. The real shock is finding that New Zealanders’ opinions of Asian peoples range between stereotyping or dismissing them to straightforward, in-your-face racism!

Perhaps this distressing syndrome is linked to the average Kiwi’s supposed sense of inferiority over the country’s place in the world. However, even although many expats believe New Zealanders are jealous of larger, more powerful countries such as the USA, the truth is that most are convinced they’re living in the best country on earth.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive