Often seen as little more than mini-Australia, at best, New Zealand is actually a country that has plenty to recommend it on its own terms. Here are 8 reasons to consider moving to New Zealand, along with a couple of points to keep in mind before doing so – all based on the thoughts and recommendations of people who have actually moved there:
- It’s seriously beautiful. An obvious one, this, but for good reason. New Zealand offers some of the most incredible natural beauty on the planet. Everyone and their grandmothers know that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot there and it’s not hard to see why: the country’s exquisite vistas proved to be the perfect real-world setting for Tolkien’s lush and wondrous Middle Earth. If you’re a nature lover, New Zealand is an obvious choice for you but it’s so beautiful that it’s sure to win over even some of the most industrialized city folk.
- Terrific weather. Despite having a number of quite different climates thanks to its long, strip-like shape, New Zealand’s weather is largely very moderate, with the summer never getting too hot and the winter never too cold.
- A laid-back, easygoing lifestyle. This is an especially big point for people wanting to live in a first-rate, developed country but want a less hectic lifestyle than they might find in, say, the USA, the UK or Israel. The life-work balance is far more favourable to the former than most developed countries and the country’s rich, natural setting is especially perfect for everything from quiet, outdoor relaxation to scenic hikes to death-defying extreme sports.
- Amazing coffee and cuisine. New Zealand’s brunch culture promises great food to go along with its excellent quality of life but even better is the quality of its coffee – including but not limited to their “flat whites”, which were developed in New Zealand before becoming a worldwide alternative to the more familiar cappuccino and latte drinks.
- Very low levels of crime and corruption. Setting itself apart from both developing and many developed countries, New Zealand has very low level of crime, even less violent crime and “laughably low” levels of political corruption. People coming from places like Johannesburg or Los Angeles will immediately note just how much more relaxed people are in terms of their own security, while one of the more recent political “scandals” involved a bribery case centred around… get this… 900 sheep!
- Super friendly people. Between New Zealand’s low population (the idea that there are more sheep than people is a myth – but not a far-fetched one) of 4.5 million people in a country larger in size than Great Britain, its cultural propensity for unpretentiousness and its laid back lifestyle, it’s hardly surprising that its natives are considered some of the most welcoming and friendly in the world. Read some first hand experiences here.
- High quality education and health care. As part of New Zealand’s commitment to giving everyone a fair chance, New Zealand is known for an extremely high level of education that stretches all the way through to the tertiary level. Similarly, their publicly-funded healthcare is both free for residents and of “first world” quality.
- An egalitarian, multi-cultural population. As a very young country (it was only colonised late in the 19th century) New Zealand has little of the “old world” biases that plague so many countries. As such, the divides between classes, races and ethnicities are much less pronounced than most major countries and a real sense of equal opportunity for all pervades its culture. Some critics believe that Aussies and Kiwis just like to believe that and in fact it is all rubbish (read this book to learn more).
It’s not all good news, however. Here are a couple of points to keep in mind before moving there:
- It ain’t cheap. New Zealand is marginally less expensive than Australia, it’s true, but that’s not saying much: its high quality of life comes with a relatively steep price, especially on imported goods. To save on some costs when you first move there, it’s probably also not a good idea to rely on the expensive banking system there but to convert your money first through a foreign exchange company who tend to be quicker, cheaper and more dedicated than any of New Zealand’s major banks. Plus, they also help you set up a private bank account once you have settled and will hold onto your money until then. An exampel of such company which is becoming increasingly popular in NZ is World First Australia. They have quite a well known advertising campaign that you can view here.
- Occasional second-rate services. In particular, New Zealand does not have the best public transport with people living in even its biggest cities generally relying on their own cars to get around. New Zealand’s small population certainly takes the sting off this, though. What might be perhaps less forgiveable is that the internet in New Zealand is generally considered to be some of the worst in the developed world – sometimes even falling before some Middle Eastern and African countries.
These are small prices to pay, though, and are generally possible to transcend if you do your homework. Those looking to make a home in a country with a temperate climate, plenty of natural beauty and an exceptionally high quality of life, could seldom do better than New Zealand.