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23 things I’ve learned my first month in New Zealand

New Zealand expat

I can hardly believe  that it’s been over a month since I stepped off the plane in Auckland. Well a month and a half now as I’m back in Europe for work and my poor blog took a backburner for a week. My bad. It’s been 30 days of ups and downs, highs and lows, everything you might expect from a big move abroad.

New  Zealand has been everything I wished for and more. It’s almost hard for me to articulate my feelings and emotions so far on this adventure. That being said, it takes a lot for me to be at a loss for words. Born an overly verbose person who has trouble shutting up at the best of times, I’ve spent the past few weeks contemplating this big transition abroad and how best to share it with you all in the least wordy way possible.

Reflecting on my first month in New Zealand, if I had to sum up my experience in one sentence, it would be, “wow, that was a learning experience.”

New Zealand expat

Let me just tell you, I’ve learned a whole hell of a lot. From improving my kiwi slang vocabulary to acquiring some profound life lessons, the old adage “you’re never too old to learn something new” has never been more true than my first month down under.

Check out 20 things I’ve learned during my first 30 days in New Zealand

1. New Zealanders are the friendliest people in the world

Before I bought a one-way flight to Auckland, I had heard mysterious rumors of the friendliness of the kiwi people. And over the years when I was backpacking around the world, I often met people from New Zealand, and I was struck by how kind they were. That being said, I was not prepared for just how friendly and sweet EVERYONE is in New Zealand.

And I mean EVERYONE! Not even exaggerating.

New Zealand expat

From the shopkeepers to the bartenders to the average person walking down the street, if there is one thing you can always count on in New Zealand is just how lovely and friendly everyone is.

Moving abroad is scary. Moving abroad to a new country without knowing a single person is absolutely terrifying. However, picking a place with super friendly people has made all the difference.

If I don’t leave New Zealand in a year a completely changed person, I don’t even know myself.

2. What Kiwi really means

Kiwi is the name of people from New Zealand as well as New Zealand’s flightless bird. Kiwis as we know them in America are called kiwi fruit. This is an important difference, as I’m sure you can imagine, especially if kiwis are your favorite fruit.

New Zealand expat


3. Driving on the left is fun, until you get to a roundabout, then it’s terrifying

If I die in a road accident while living in New Zealand, there is a 80% chance that it happened in a roundabout. While in general I think there are a more logical way of directing traffic, it doesn’t make going through them in the wrong direction any less scary. I pretty much scream every time I go through one here, especially the ones with double lanes.

New Zealand expat

4. The more sheep than people rumor is not false

So the rumor that there are more sheep than people in New Zealand is not exactly false, as I quickly found out. After leaving sprawling urban Auckland, the complete lack of people took me by surprise. Driving down to Wellington, I would drive for ages and sometimes not see other cars.

Once you get outside of the cities in Wellington, you quickly realize that there are just not a lot of people about. New Zealand really is the end of the world. And yeah, there are a lot of sheep. Everywhere.

But now that spring is here, all the lambs have been born which means adorable, fluffy, baby sheep EVERYWHERE!

New Zealand expat

5. New Zealand is freaking expensive, but not as expensive as Australia

When I was packing for New Zealand, I made an executive decision to leave my hiking boots at home. I figured I since NZ is such an outdoorsy place, I could pick up a nice pair once I got here. My old ones needed to be tossed and I didn’t want to waste the luggage space.

What a stupid decision, my god!

I went to go buy hiking boots in Wellington, and the pair I wanted was 450 NZD – that’s roughly 375 USD which is roughly twice as much as back home.

New Zealand expat


Because everything is virtually imported to NZ, things are expensive. For example, I usually drop around $80 on my weekly groceries.

But then I went to Australia and realized NZ was cheap in comparison.

Looks like I’ll be hiking in my running sneakers!

New Zealand expat

6.  NZ has the worst internet in the entire world

No, I am not exaggerating. I’ve had better internet in Africa. In Jordan. In rural Turkey.

When I first heard rumors of shoddy internet in NZ before moving there, I laughed it off. I thought those stories were not up to date or relevant any more. Boy, was I mistaken.

As I understand it from my tech friends, NZ is literally at the end of the under-the-ocean-magic-internet-cable. Literally, it’s the last stop for internet, which means it’s really bad, really slow, and really expensive. It’s also limited. LIMITED!! I didn’t even know limited internet was a thing!

Without a doubt this will be the hardest challenge I have to overcome this year.

New Zealand expat


7. There are a lot of foreigners in New Zealand 

New Zealand is an amazing, empty place. I think one of my favorite things about this country is that it’s so remote with so few people. That being said, there are a surprising amount of foreigners to be found around the islands.

NZ has a very open working holiday scheme which means many people from around the world can come and easily get a visa to work and travel around the country. Also NZ is a popular travel destination. Pretty much everyone I’ve met has NZ on their travel bucket list.

This means there are lots of foreigners around town, which for me is both a positive and a negative. Negative because I want to go native and fit in with the locals which can be challenging, but also awesome because I get to make friends with people from all over the world.

New Zealand expat

8. But no Americans in NZ

That being said, there are NO AMERICANS IN NEW ZEALAND. Fellow countrymen, where are you?

This past month (ok, month and a half) I have flown to NZ from the US, and I have flown from NZ to Europe. From San Francisco, Auckland is a 12 hour direct flight. From Wellington to London, it took me approximately 40 hours of travel time and 4 flights.

How many Brits have I met so far on my journey? Dozens. Germans? A million. How many Americans? One.

What the hell?

Expect a lengthly post about this phenomenon shortly.

New Zealand expat


9. Rent is per week not per month

Completely random but for those curious-minded folks, apartments are listed with rent prices per week not per month. It’s a confusing but interesting phenomenon which somehow makes the extremely high cost of living more palatable.

And speaking of apartments, they are called flats like in the UK and the deposit is called a bond. Speaking English is hard.

10. Getting the bill in the restaurant

The first time I went out for a meal at a sit-down restaurant in New Zealand, I was surprised by several things. Firstly, the food is phenomenal. Seriously, there are some damn good restaurants to be found in this part of the world. And don’e even get me started on brunch.

However, at the end of the meal I was confused. When were they going to bring the bill? We sat and waited and waited and waited before getting the attention of someone to bring the check. Quickly they explained that you pay at the register and not at the table. Soon I figured out this was standard around NZ.

Can anyone explain this to me?

New Zealand expat

Instead of having the waiters bring you the check, it’s standard for you to get up when you’re finished and head to the register to pay directly.

This is not universal but I’ve definitely encountered it way more here than anywhere else in the world.

11. Likewise, you usually have to go up and grab a jug of water and cups

Same goes for water. Most of the time they don’t bring water to you, even if you ask. They have sinks or jugs set up for you to grab it yourself.

I haven’t decided how I feel about this yet. It’s an internal struggle between my inherent laziness and my urge to be in control of everything. First world problems.

New Zealand expat

12. The brunch culture will blow your mind

Hi my name’s Liz, and I am addicted to brunches.

Heavy pancakes. Crispy French toast. Fluffy poached eggs smothered in decadent Hollandaise sauce. Swoon.

One of my favorite things about home was brunching with friends on the weekends. One of the things I hated most about Spain was the total dearth of brunch spots to be found. Lucky for me, NZ is the best of both worlds and has an amazing brunch scene. Everywhere.

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13. NZ has the best coffee in the UNIVERSE

In addition to a great foodie scene, there is a thriving cafe culture which means awesome coffee all the time.

I have not had a disappointing cup of joe since I arrived which says a lot considering I’m the world’s biggest coffee addict.

And just like there are new words for everything in NZ, I’ve learned a lot of new coffee vocabulary too. For example, when I get a nonfat or skinny latte, here they call it a trim latte. Makes me feel so classy.

Same goes for a flat white, a type of espresso coffee in New Zealand. A new favorite.

New Zealand expat

14. Wellington is actually the coolest little capital in the world

I talked before about how much hype Wellington was getting and how it initially put me off living there. But then I arrived and fell head over heels in love with this city.

Proudly named the 2011 Lonely Planet “Coolest little capital in the world,” the buzz around town actually lives up to expectations. In short, Wellington rocks, and I am so so SO happy I decided to make it my home.

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15. Everyone in Wellington knows someone who works for WETA or the Hobbit

Sometimes I have to remind myself that not everyone is as big of a nerd as me, and they don’t realize that part of Wellington’s fame comes from the fact that it’s home to WETA, the design studio behind the Lord of the Rings.

Now with the Hobbit franchise in full swing, WETA employs tons and tons of people, which means when I go out at night, there is a good chance I’ll meet someone somehow associated with the project. That is, if they ever leave the studios.

I think you can imagine my reactions when this happens.

New Zealand expat

16. Finding Peter Jackson has been harder than I thought

One month into my time in Wellington and I have yet to find and shake hands with the most famous son of New Zealand (apart from Sir Edmund Hillary), the man, the myth, the legend – Peter Jackson.

Of course I count this as a giant failure. Luckily I still have 1o months to go.

Anyone can make an intro for me?

New Zealand expat


17. Windy Wellington lives up to its name

Wellington is nicknamed “Windy Welly” and let me just say, a more accurate epithet never existed.

I’ve been to some windy places over the years, but nothing could have prepared for Wellington. Most days it’s just average level of winds that will mess up your hair and might blow your skirt up. However, in just a month I’ve witnessed some wind storms where I thought the world was ending.

I’m talking wind that will blow your clothes clean off. One week we had 140 km/h winds for three days. I couldn’t leave the house. Those are the moments where you realize you’re living at the end of the world.

New Zealand expat


18. Earthquakes

My first week living in Wellington we had an earthquake. I had gone out for a wine tasting that evening, so it’s safe to say I was pretty sloshed by the time I rolled home a few hours later. Climbing into bed, I was closing my eyes when the room started to shake. My hopes that it was just a big gust of the famous wind were dashed when my roommate popped his head in to check on me.

I’m from Virginia. We don’t get earthquakes. I don’t know how to react.

I know there are more and more bigger earthquakes happening in New Zealand, and let me just preface this by saying I am SO not ready for a big one.

In fact, they are so prevalent, many Kiwis I’ve met have an earthquake app on their phone that let’s them know about them. Can I just stick with Candy Crush?

New Zealand expat


19. No drunken behavior

I learned real fast my first month in NZ that I had to bring my passport out with me to the bars to show ID. I haven’t had to show ID to go out drinking since living in the US, let alone bring my passport.

NZ is also pretty vigilant about drunken behavior. They don’t let belligerent people in bars and will kick you out without a second thought.

New Zealand expat

One of my last nights in Wellington I was out at a bar with friends and while we were waiting for drinks, a group of young drunk guys were getting rowdy on the dancefloor. Suddenly, I saw one of the bouncers head over to kick him out. Causing a scene, eventually the guy picked him up and carried the dude out on his shoulders. The kid was so waster he was high-fiving and cheering everyone on his way out. Hilarious.

20. The wildlife is slightly different from what I’m used to back home in Virginia

New Zealand expat

New Zealand expat

21. Shit happens and you can’t plan for everything

So basically I’ve had the worst luck in the entire world my first month in New Zealand. I legally cannot write the specifics so far, but let me just say there’s a reason I’ve not been online as much as I meant to. My first month was a struggle, but I’ve been trying to make the best of it.

Something bad happened which I’m trying to deal with that’s costing me a lot of money.

If anything, it’s been a good lesson on trying to look on the bright side and be positive. Fingers crossed it will all work out for the best.

New Zealand expat

22. No matter where you are in NZ, you are approximately 15 minutes from somewhere spectacularly beautiful

New Zealand is ridiculously beautiful. No matter where you are in the entire country, you are likely a stone’s throw away from a place that will make your jaw drop open in awe.

This is probably my favorite thing about NZ. I need beautiful landscapes and lush natural spots to feel comfortable and at peace. Lucky for me, New Zealand has that in strides.

New Zealand expat

23. I already love New Zealand to pieces and I never want to leave

Only a month in and I can already see myself settling in NZ permanently. It already feels like home to me.

My whole life I feel like I’ve been searching for that special place where I can settle down. Maybe it’ll be New Zealand.

Have you ever been to New Zealand? Is it on your bucket list? Ever transitioned abroad before? What’s something you learned in your new country?

**I’ll also mention my friend Matt of Backpacking Matt who is based in Queenstown now runs an awesome site called Planit NZ which can help plan and book your trips to New Zealand and save you money. Matt helped me out a lot before coming – tell him I sent you and save 5%!

New Zealand expat

950 Responses to 23 things I’ve learned my first month in New Zealand

  1. jason November 10, 2016 at 3:11 am #

    hi! I imagine you are going to have a spike in traffic this week 🙂 I’m curious if you can talk now about #21? You mentioned something bad happened, but couldn’t go into specifics?

    • Liz November 10, 2016 at 9:52 am #

      I got screwed by a backpacker car dealership in Auckland

      • kirby mankovsky November 10, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

        Can you tell us about the weather and jobs?

        • Dogu November 10, 2016 at 6:36 pm #


          And the all important skills shortage list: (it gives you bonus points on immigration applications if you’re one of those)

          As for the weather, it REALLY depends on where you are. As Liz stated in her blog, Wellington is absurd in its wind. Auckland can be all four seasons in a day (and my next statement is based on my experience of that city). The more inland towns are a bit more stable, but since nowhere is that far from the sea we don’t have the stabilising effect of a large land mass. So some summer days are cold, some winter days are warm, many are a combination of everything. But the total temperature swing over the year is far less than the northern hemisphere experiences.

      • Catherine Foster January 11, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

        Re Point 21 … Please please please do not buy a car from these creeps. I’m a local and it’s a well known rort. I’ve rescued young travellers broken down on the roadside … and it’s so hard to get your money back. Go on Trademe like we do. Do not buy from a private sale unless you know your stuff! For no more money you will be able to buy from reputable second hand dealers who must by law provide a three month warranty. Get the AA to check it out for $100.00 … buy Japanese or Korean… no other. $3-4000 NZ will get you something roadworthy (it must by law have a Warrant of Fitness (WOF) less than one month old) and hopefully reliable. You’ll be able to sell it on Trademe when you leave for about the same as you paid for it. Please don’t say you haven’t been warned!

  2. tom November 11, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

    NZ is great, I moved here in 2008, have bought a house and have a good job. Everything is expensive, but you can buy online in the states and get it delivered relatively inexpensively.

  3. Joseph November 12, 2016 at 4:40 am #

    Jobs? What jobs? hahahahahaa….if you are a foreigner, that is a JOKE….groceries, the 2nd most expensive in the WORLD — and housing; they are basically shacks.

    lived here for 9 years….people are not exactly friendly either. So alot of what you read is put out to enhance immigration — the govt makes ALOT of money off of immigrants – then when you get here, you can’t find work. Nice.

    • Cassie Rubin November 20, 2016 at 1:16 am #

      True. And me and my family have lived here our whole lives. And we still have to rent a house because we’re right in the middle where my parents earn too much money for the government to help us buy our own house, and then they also say we don’t earn enough money to try buy one on our own. So all in total we’re stuck. And then I see foreigners complaining about how they brought a house, yet it was expensive. Well at least they have their own house while me and my family are struggling and working hard to even get there. And work is a whole other level . But thank gosh thats easier to deal with our housing problems.

    • Leelee December 1, 2016 at 8:04 am #

      So Joseph, then move back to where you fell out from. Not sure where you live, but perhaps a shack is all you can afford. As for jobs, get some qualifications. Yes it is expensive, but it is also a choice you made to move there or are you a refugee?

      • Tamara December 8, 2016 at 4:19 am #

        We are looking for a temporary relocation from Canada to NZ. My husbands a journeyman carpenter with many years experience as a superintendent (Site manager). Wondering if he will have a hard time finding employment since we are foreigners?? We have two girls 13 and 7, is the education comparable to Canadian curriculum? We are hoping to connect with someone from NZ to ask questions and maybe help guide us. We are considering heading down to NZ for 2 weeks to look for work and a place to stay, then coming home (Canada) to get things settled here before the big move. Any advice is appreciated!!

        • Sally Glass December 27, 2016 at 9:32 am #


          We raised our three children in Christchurch for 10 years before leaving and we now live in Boulder, Colorado. Read everything Sarah wrote as I couldn’t agree more with all she had to say, well written and accurate on my view. I am married to a kiwi and when I first arrived from England I was a bit shocked how direct people are. They are kind but seriously not sweet or particularly polite and people seem much sweeter in the US but I can see that it often a veneer. Kiwis what you see is what you get. It is a wholesome upbringing but now we are visiting from the US my kids find it all a bit boring and certainly the job opportunities and pay much better overseas.
          We air b and b out our dairy cottage and a family from Canada just stayed for a couple of weeks to suss things out like you. That is what I would suggest, come over rent a house as much cheaper and you get a feel for kiwi life. We rent our 4 bedroom cottage in 10 acres for $65 USD a night so don’t stay in a hotel or motel as crappy and expensive. This is not a sales pitch just go to air a&b and you will find many deals and come over to see what you think.

        • Sally Glass December 27, 2016 at 9:39 am #


          One thing about education, it is good and a higher standard for sure than America (not sure about Canada). Very strong on English and literature. They also stream kids here which helps, up to 7 levels in high schools. Smartest in the top stream and dumbest in the bottom. My kids lept a year up on moving to the US so you may find your 13 yr old a bit behind in some areas but at that age she has time to catch up.

        • Sally Glass December 27, 2016 at 9:40 am #


          One thing about education, it is good and a higher standard for sure than America (not sure about Canada). Very strong on English and literature. They also stream kids here which helps, up to 7 levels in high schools. Smartest in the top stream and dumbest in the bottom. My kids lept a year up on moving to the US (my son two in math) so you may find your 13 yr old a bit behind in some areas but at that age she has time to catch up.

        • Mark Mitchell December 28, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

          Hi, I would not worry about your children’s education in NZ very high standards. You will be surprised how many Canadian Teachers are here in Australia and New Zealand. I am unsure about jobs you will have to check with the Immigration department. Historically I have served in Canada with the Royal Air Force at Goose Bay.

        • Catherine Foster January 11, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

          Your husband’s occupation is on the Dept of Immgration’s want list. You should be able to emigrate if you want to. Building boom in both Auckland and Christchurch so no shortage of work but rents are high in both these areas

    • Matt December 28, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

      You obviously haven’t been to Dubai, I’ve lived here for 13 years in the UAE I spent 1200 aed on shopping last week ref groceries cleaning products. Im not talking full trolley I’m talking one half full trolley….$490 NZ converted, so saying you have the second most expensive groceries is not true I’m afraid…there are places that are far more expensive….unfortunately 🙁 . I’m going to NZ in Feb moving from here, I’m extremely apprehensive, no! I’m ….. my pants as temps here are far higher….

  4. Cliff November 12, 2016 at 10:05 am #

    Yes please, more info regarding weather? And the schools in particular in Wellington? We have a 5 yo, in Kindergarten here in the states, but we had talked about NZ briefly before family. Now we are seriously debating a life transition to slow down (I’m early retired at 40, Wife works part time at 34) and make being with our son and dogs the priority. In light of recent events here, and the clear exposure of half this country being the kind of people they seemingly are, we’d like to start over somewhere better, and with a more positive upside.

    • Kathleen November 23, 2016 at 8:00 am #

      Us too! I have reasearched lots of countries but keep coming back to New Zealand. We are hoping to raise our three children in a place where the highest elected official is held to a higher standard of behavior than our 5-year-old. Best of luck to you and your family!

    • True Kiwi November 23, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

      Cliff, the weather in NZ is like someone stated previously very changeable with 4 seasons in one day not uncommon even in the middle of summer or the middle of winter. Remember NZ is 2 long narrow Islands (plus a small one called Stewart Island ) & surrounded by massive oceans. Today it’s been up to 32C degrees in parts of the SI & over in the Hawkes Bay which is hot for our spring. Usually the weather is good from early January until middle of May then it gets colder& lots of rain,that’s why NZ is so green looking but generally its better than the UK.You can get burnt very quickly from the ultra violet rays even on cloudy days in the spring & summer as we are very close to the hole in the ozone layer plus our skies are very clear & free of pollution

  5. Annmarie November 13, 2016 at 3:36 am #

    We are also looking into relocation opportunities after our election. Hoping to network with expats and locals as I ramp up these efforts. Thank you for the candid and honest blog post. It is an invaluable tool when you want to understand where to begin…what to think. I am a technical writer and wondering what job prospects look like for my field. Thanks!

    • mia November 14, 2016 at 4:52 am #

      I’m here doing the same thing. This election has me looking to move and I have never considered leaving in my life. But, I suppose my home will be wherever my family ends up! Best of luck to you!!

      • Kaylee January 2, 2017 at 10:52 am #

        We are doing the same, planning to leave the states Summer of 2018 after I finish my undergrad degree.

    • Catherine Foster January 11, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

      Go on Neighbourly. You’ll be able to connect with locals in the area you want to live in. Go on the Dept of Immigrations want list to see if your qualifications are wanted … all trades, IT, teaching, medicine (must get local certification) engineering etc you’ll have no problems … education is good but in Auckland and Christchurch where the jobs are rents are very high and houses competed for ferociously

  6. Mike November 16, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

    Dying to hear more about the thing you can’t talk about 🙂 Can you at least tell us if it’s something we should be aware of, or just a total fluke you had the misfortune to experience?

  7. SS November 26, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

    Lol I just have to laugh at the fact that I am not the only one looking at New Zealand after the election here in the U.S. I do have a question, do you know much about any tiny home communities/movements in New Zealand? And…in comparison to the U.S…what is the government there like? Would one say it is a progressive country?

    • Sarah December 12, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

      I am a New Zealander. That is funny because I want to move to the US. I would say NZ is progressive, yet there are aspects of the cultural psyche which make it curiously backward in some ways. The blog mentioned the internet for one. Communication is another. In the US, people, both men & woman, are expert communicators, this is not so across NZ, especially in more rural areas, down south. We just, in general, are not as proficient in clear communication styles, men especially. We also have something called ‘ The Tall Poppy Syndrome’ where it is unseemingly to be seen to rise to high or be too driven. This is not within all subgroups such as immigrants, but it is very real in NZ. But this is changing, especially in big cities such as Auckland. I do not know re the tiny home communities but in general there is definitely a feel that you can live as you choose. The idea of the American dream is not present in NZ. So you create your own life, and community. The expectation in society to have things is alot less than in the States. Of course in the bigger cities & in some sectors it is still there. For instance, you could have an old VW car, with Greenpeace stickers and be considered way cooler than having a lifestyle that supports a Merc SLK. As a kiwi, I grew up with the freedom to clarify & follow my own dreams. It was in LA that I heard first hand an American father tell his kid that his life must follow, college, meet a girl he likes marry- work in a corporation and produce. It was fascinating. I felt like I was inhabiting a hallmark movie. Very nice family, and not knocking the advice but you would not be a conversation expressed so openly in NZ. A big reason for this is because you used to be able to have a relatively good life with not a lot of money. Good free state education, cheap university ( college) loans, and free health care. Water fro the tap and not high expectations for material possessions and incidentally beauty/good teeth or fashion. But things are changing in part with NZ becoming much more international. Another big deal in NZ, is that we are influenced by the UK and we speak our mind. The author is in my opinion not quite correct to say we are sweet. People are genuinely kind and good, but we are not sweet. There is a difference. So if something needs to be said the content is the important thing, not the way in which it is delivered. So people can be tough, or harsh in imparting their opinion. It is not personal. It is valued, strong thoughtful discourse. This is, from my experience, in real opposition to the US. In America people are very considerate to be kind to one another, and it is socially unaccepted to undermine kindness/respect in expressing your viewpoint. So the worst example of this is one can end up having inane conversations which are very superficial because of the risk to state an opinion which may offend another. However, this kindness in communicating and Americans’ ability to communicate is what I find delightful. To desire material success and express this openly is refreshing, again as mentioned often very different in NZ. As a culture, we generally find this off putting as we are more reserved in expressing it. Some NZders may disagree but that’s because we have no problem disagreeing. Nearly every NZ der was against the ridiculous-ness of Trump, and I mention this because we see things more in shades of gray and intellectual depth, not simplistic black & white. Trumps showiness goes against our grain. Boxing woman in to an ideal also is foreign to us.

  8. gary November 30, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    It is great that so many of you are leaving the US. For the sake of my children, I hope all of you leave. My wife and I were considering leaving the US if the election had gone the other way. Some of you are now proclaiming Castro as the George Washington of Cuba. Really? Over the past 60 years the George Washington of Cuba has been able to established the 1956 Chevy as the automobile to achieve for above average Cubans, aside from the fact that the USSR provided financial aide to Cuba to the tune of 3 billion USD per year until the USSR folded. I have to ask….what in the hell are you people drinking?

    • Liz December 1, 2016 at 9:43 am #

      By all these “you” people you’re talking about do you mean us educated, rational people who aren’t racist?

      • gary December 5, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

        Yes, by “you” people, I mean all of you that think you are the anointed ones. By “you” people, I mean all of you that believe all others on the planet that do not share your views are racists. By “you” people, I mean all of you that believe laws only apply when you feel they are appropriate. Ironic, but racism will end when all of “you” people have left for the moon.

        • gary will never be happy being a selfish bastard December 8, 2016 at 3:54 am #

          yikes. this gary person is disgusting.

      • True Patriot USA December 25, 2016 at 6:05 am #

        See that’s what’s wrong with Americans these days. When the shit hits the fan you cowards ship out but when things are good and fine as wine you’re happy to live in the land of opportunity. Fuckin A man. Trump is a damned idiot and so is Hillary, but so was Bush and damn near all of our Presidents. Where has the American principal gone? People worship criminals and make them famous, racists come to power, talk of race wars. Wth is wrong with you people? Why can’t we all just unite and try to get along or at least unite enough to FIX our problems instead of leaving like a pussy. Do us real patriots a goddam favor and stay gone. We don’t need people who’d ship out when the country needs them most. And neither does any other country. It’s selfish and fucked up.

        • Monroe0626 December 29, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

          This is so beautifully said! Applause!!!

        • J.YO' January 24, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

          And I DO mean this, I am considering living in Christchurch. What is your personal opinion on how N.Z. is, er… a “superior” government than that of the U.S. :Your true, heartfelt opinion?. -J.YO’

        • jenniferyoung January 24, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

          And I DO mean this, I am considering living in Christchurch. What is your personal opinion on how N.Z. is, er… a “superior” government than that of the U.S. :Your true, heartfelt opinion?. -J.YO’

      • Brad January 20, 2017 at 4:15 am #

        Very well said, Liz.

    • Gary closet case December 13, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

      Gary, you mention USSR like anyone against trump is for Russia. Meanwhile Russia is thrilled Trump won. Why are you trolling a travel site anyways for young people when you sound like an angry old man? Go back to watching Fox News throwing crappy beer cans at the tv and blaming others for everything.

    • Joan December 16, 2016 at 7:38 am #

      Gary…you are just the “ugly American” that I need to get away from. I hope your new dictator doesn’t blow up the US. It hopefully will survive.

    • Mark January 8, 2017 at 8:07 am #

      Trump is 1000x better than evil Obozo

      • Deb January 11, 2017 at 2:37 am #

        Dude you`re rigging high

  9. Peter Zalkalns December 3, 2016 at 1:34 am #

    HiIm Peter curently living in Latvia, grew up in Boston()MA) planning on moving to NZ, I was thinking of putting all my stuff in a 40′ container shipping iut there, then when I get there looking around to find a place/are to live. If I could find a modest plot of land with a nice view of nature I would drop my container there and live out of it until I converted it into my home. I am an architect/chef/writer, and have been a “nerd” since before it was kewl, so I would look forward to the posibility of working for Weta. Any more tips for me, is the internet just bad or really hopeless, I watch alot of tv by streaming it thru my computer, is that even realistic there, is that also sooo expensive?

  10. Pete Zalk December 8, 2016 at 11:22 pm #

    PLEASE RESPOND, SOMEBODY! Hi Im Peter currently living in Latvia, grew up in Boston()MA) planning on moving to NZ, I was thinking of putting all my stuff in a 40′ container shipping iut there, then when I get there looking around to find a place/are to live. If I could find a modest plot of land with a nice view of nature I would drop my container there and live out of it until I converted it into my home. I am an architect/chef/writer, and have been a “nerd” since before it was kewl, so I would look forward to the posibility of working for Weta. Any more tips for me, is the internet just bad or really hopeless, I watch alot of tv by streaming it thru my computer, is that even realistic there, is that also sooo expensive?

    • Sarah December 12, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

      Yes, I watch everything online and I have unlimited internet. It is not bad in large cities. In smaller isolated spots it can be horrendous, cafes or restaurants do not automatically have internet and because we are small there is less competition so things are always more expensive than the US. Our telecommunication service providers are expensive, as is power. Most NZ ders don’t necessarily know how much cheaper it is in the States so they just don’t know. We don’t have Walmart, or Sephora or even Zara. I come to the US all the time, in fact I am in LA as I write. Examples, berries,in Trader Joes are super cheap- produce can be expensive in NZ, especially organic. But in general because our soil is more fertile you don’t necessarily need organic. I don’t buy organic in NZ & everything tastes amazing. In the US, things don’t taste as fresh and I often buy organic, bc it is cheap. You can get super cheap clothes for a professional wardrobe. Even lulu lemon is more expensive. In the US you can dress/ present yourself & shop cheaply with clever planning. Obviously, these examples won’t help you, Peter. I don’t really recommend what you tentatively plan because land is the beauty of NZ & it is expensive. Such things are highly regulated here, but I have no knowledge base to help you specifically as you can see by my example. Rent is super expensive and if in a position to buy then recommend that option and maybe subsidize by renting out rooms or Airbnb.Although I doubt you want that, you probably want to live somewhat a little off the grid, easy to do in NZ, but there are many ( good) regulations that you need to abide by. Expand your research, as said I do not know anyone to help you as my nature and lifestyle is very different to yours but get online there are people that will assist.Things are expensive. Builders are maybe a first stop. Check out how much a houses costs to build ( I have no idea!. The quality of our houses are much below the norm in the US, in my opinion. An example of this is lack of double glazing. We simply all freeze in winter. So you in your container would be a liability in the cold winter months of June/July. Plan a trip Jan- to March after you have done more research. I know you live in Latvia & my responses are in comparison to the US, but I have traveled across Europe also and it is different from there as well. We do not have two economies like in some poorer nations in Europe. So on the street is a different economy than in the shops I mean. Example, you exchange money only through banks or foreign exchange businesses which all offer the same very bad rates. Excuse my rambling response.

    • Catherine Foster January 11, 2017 at 9:08 pm #

      You’ll do fine. Of course you can stream internet… I don’t know where she got that from… some rural backwater I guess. Nz is expensive and wages modest. Go on Dept of Immigration website to see if your skills are needed … all trades, IT, engineering and medicine… and yes chuffing but that is low paid. Depending on your age you can work for up to a year (30 and under) Clothes Etc super expensive comp to The States. (4million not 400,000,000 people) if you register as an architect with the NZIA you will be able to build your own house but otherwise you won’t … you must be a registered Lcensed Building Practitioner … land can be cheap but not in the areas where there are jobs … same as anywhere. Rent before you commit … it’ll take you 2 years to even begin to know the f you can settle. People are superficially friendly but hard to get further with… like anywhere I feel you have to prove it is yourself . Good luck

  11. Devienne December 10, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    I miss New Zealand soooo much. If travel back and forth to the US was not so expensive, I would totally move there. There has never been another place that I’ve traveled where I have felt so…. whole. :-/

  12. Anna December 13, 2016 at 7:00 am #

    Dang! Now I want to go to NZ, if only for 14, 20 & 22. Looks like it’s going on the travel bucket list for 2017/2018! 🙂

  13. Peter December 16, 2016 at 8:11 am #

    again PLEASE RESPOND, SOMEBODY! Hi Im Peter currently living in Latvia, grew up in Boston()MA) planning on moving to NZ, I was thinking of putting all my stuff in a 40′ container shipping iut there, then when I get there looking around to find a place/are to live. If I could find a modest plot of land with a nice view of nature I would drop my container there and live out of it until I converted it into my home. I am an architect/chef/writer, and have been a “nerd” since before it was kewl, so I would look forward to the possibility of working for Weta. Any more tips for me, is the internet just bad or really hopeless, I watch alot of tv by streaming it thru my computer, is that even realistic there, is that also sooo expensive?

    p.s. I hope that G guy is not from NZ might have to rethink my options if he is at all typical of a Kiwi? I left the U.S. of A. almost twenty years ago because my family got our farm back after Latvia got her independence back, but with The United States of Europe stagnated somewhere between the modern culture of America and the production centers of Asia, not to mention too close to Putypant’s sphere of unforseeable potentially very negative influence… Besides, though I grew up in Massachusetts, here in LV it gets down to -30something every Febuary, humans are tropical animals, I am drawn to someplace more moderate.

  14. Simsam December 21, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

    I am amazed at how many people have the same idea to go to NZ. I know that right now I cannot leave America, but one day settling in NZ seems like right up my alley. I have only ever seen pictures and tried to learn a little about the culture, etc. I have this really peculiar affinity to the life of a shepherd, and might like to move there and raise sheep. Who does that? Lol, me, i guess. Anywho, hopefully I can visit in 2018. I really want to go!

  15. Scott McKenzie December 22, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

    Stumbled upon this blog quite by accident. Have been giving serious consideration to retiring to NZ (a thought held for years). Plan to keep busy at least on a part-time basis even in retirement if for no other reason than to enjoy down time. Suspect several obstacles might well present given my profession (PA-C/Psychiatry) as in the US access to prescribing, professional liability, etc are relatively clear. If reciprocity exists I’ve not encountered resources as of yet. If anyone has knowledge, it would be greatly appreciated.

    • Monroe0626 December 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

      Unfortunately, retiring there might not be an option. For jobs, NZ really only allows you to apply for jobs as an immigrant up until the age of 55. You cannot come into New Zealand saying you want to work on part-time basis.

      • Scott McKenzie January 20, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

        My goal really was enjoying the extended possibility of your amazing homeland. Any professional activity would have been merely a lark or an ad hoc activity. I’ve resources enough to not be a drain regardless of locale. Many thanks for the information!

    • Catherine Foster January 11, 2017 at 9:15 pm #

      Your qualification will not be recognised unless you do whatever the very strict registration process is… illegal to work in your field otherwise. Yes reciprocity but very strict and expensive requirements to practice. And depending on your age doing that mightn’t be possible at all… sorry they don’t want oldsters who might eventually cost the (free) health system money. Have you thought of house swapping? Living modeslty on your pension but staying based is n the US. If you’re rich … think millions… no problem…. go on Dept of Ummigration website for details

      • Scott McKenzie January 20, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

        I can indeed appreciate what you say. Qualifications do indeed vary even here in the states. Not a lot but some. Winding up my stay on this planet within the boundaries of your amazing country was the only consideration I had in mind. I’ve enjoyed decades of professional success and enjoy a modicum of wealth commensurate with such. I do thank your for the information! Always best to ask!

  16. True Patriot USA December 25, 2016 at 6:22 am #

    It’s unfortunate that so many Americans are leaving the country because of a President. Don’t come back in 4 or 8 years when that idiot leaves office. If you’d bail when your country needs you the most you don’t deserve to live in this country. If you’re planning on moving anywhere it should only be because you want to experience something new, not because you’re a coward. The US is the best place in the world to live. For many reasons. But oyr high crime rates in our urban areas and our expensive housing and shit makes it hard to see that. I’ve looked at a lot of forums with a lot of famous places but I’ll always pick America as my home. We have a lot of culture here, from all walks of life and all parts of the world. It’s truly a beautiful place. But we also have selfish, greedy, cowardly and truly ugly people here. Some of them within our government but the beauty of our government is that we are the ones that decide if they stay in power or not. We have the strongest military, the most money, etc and if Americans weren’t fucking cowards nowadays things would be AMAZING here. If Americans would vote and fight for the things they believe in and stop feeding into the bullshit the media tells them and actually do the damn research themselves we’d have an amazing life here. We already do. Our cities are visited more than most cities in the world. We attract people from all around the world! In San Francisco you’ll always meet someone from some other country, as well in evry other major city. That alone is worth fighting for. As well as a lot of other things. Our country is fucking great! And no one man or woman will ever change that. You cowards that chose to leave should stay gone. You’re no American! You’re a fucking coward! They don’t call it the home if the brave for nothing🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

    • Matt December 28, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

      People have a life, one life and if they wish to leave because of the desire for a new and fresh start then that’s their choice, your coming on here using explicit language and calling people nasty names does not endear you to the position of someone who thinks relationally. I left the UK 14 years ago because I was sick and tired of the rain, the misery and the constant bad news. I’ve lived in Dubai for that time and now I’m going to another adventure in NZ. These people are leaving not just because of Trump but because they want change, what would you have them do, stay and fight for what? The US will be the same after he’s left office, you aren’t all freedom fighters you know, you are a huge multicultural country. Yes lots to offer good for you but last time I looked this blog was about NZ….NOT America. As for your blog, may I suggest if you do start one to take lots of deep breaths as you will find lots of differing opinions on yours and others…opinions…peace up 🙂

    • areyouevenreal January 11, 2017 at 7:30 am #

      I’m definitely taking a screenshot of your little episode for hilarity.

  17. True Patriot USA December 25, 2016 at 6:26 am #

    Anyway I have a question for the owner of the blog. How do you manage to afford all of your trips? I want to make my own blog myself and was thinking of writing a book but from what I’m told from successful authors and bloggers it’s a lot of work and you have to have a lot of time on your hands if you want to be successful in doing it. I know this isn’t that type of blog but any advice would be appreciated.

  18. Monroe0626 December 29, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

    These Americans wanting to leave America just because of the election are just ridiculous and overcrowd NZ’s immigration for those of us who have considered moving for years and have made the necessary steps in achieving protocol. First of all, you are going to need nothing short of a Master degree, unless you want to do heads-on, architectural work in areas like Christchurch because of earthquakes. Agricultural is another big thing. I highly doubt most of these Americans writing would be happy settling down in the South Island with herds of sheep. Two years ago, I made the decision that I wanted to move to NZ, so I did my research and realized that it gets harder the older you get. NZ will really only take you until you are 55 to be a productive, working immigrant. You can’t just come here and think you will get a job as an administrative assistant in an accounting firm… they have their own kiwi to fill those roles. If you want to do anything administrative or medical, you need at least a Master degree. I went back for mine in Library Science, since that is on their Skilled Migrant List. They don’t have a heavy need for librarians, but they would like them.

    New Zealand anticipated the crybabies of America over the election (who ever would end up winning) and in October 2016, raised the points needed for immigration to even consider your letter of interest. Before, it was only 140, now it is 160 points. In addition, you need to take a host of English tests to prove that you can speak, write and read fluent English. For instance, an immigrant who is 30 and wants to work in Queenstown will get more points on applying for a work visa than someone who is 50 and wants to live in Auckland.

  19. Ash lane January 3, 2017 at 12:52 am #

    My grandma used to know peter jackson (before he got famous), she also dated sean connery while she was still living in singapore; im not lying. I know heaps of people who know people that worked with (sir) peter jackson.

  20. Z from Nam January 6, 2017 at 1:14 am #

    Wow. A lot of bad talks from all you Americans. For an instant I forgot why I was on this site in the first place…..

    Anyway. I live in Namibia in Southern Africa and have thought about moving for a long time. Just to experience something different. We lived in Cape Town for a while and loved it. I was always drawn to Australia and New Zealand. We have two kids ages 6 and 9. So which will be best for us to raise a family, NZ or America? Would not want to live in a big city in the US though. I like a good combination of city life and tranquility……

    • Deb January 11, 2017 at 2:39 am #

      The US is screwed. Pick NZ

  21. Crystal January 7, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

    Not wanting to move because of the election, honestly the candidates are a reflection of the majority of the population. I want to move because it looks beautiful, the weather sounds like my kind of place, and I like the simple life with only the essentials. One of the hardest things about living in the US is the constant disappointment of being surrounded by people that care more about what they have and what they can obtain than living in the moment and having respect for one and another, not to mention being a vegan here, at least in the particular area I live in, is greatly frowned upon. We are looking for a place that can finally feel like home. I hear that the simple living and vegan lifestyle is not only easily able to maintain there but there are actual communities built around those values and it is widely accepted. Is that true?

  22. Mark January 8, 2017 at 8:14 am #

    FunnyI am a New Zealander, and I am moving to the US soon. Thank God D Trump got elected and this nasty liar Obozzo is leaving the WH in a few days. Lets make US great again like it used to be back in 70s nd 80s. John Wayne is looking down from above and probably swearing at Obozzo for almost destroying great US of A in just 8 years. Bush sr and Jr with horny Billy C. were not much better. Last good president of US was Ronny.

    • Brad January 20, 2017 at 4:18 am #

      You are an ignorant Fascist.

  23. Syd January 23, 2017 at 10:26 am #

    Hi Liz,

    Stumbled on your blog while researching working visas in New Zealand. I’m a Canadian citizen considering taking some time off here in Toronto and New Zealand was one of my possible picks to apply for working visa. Anyway, how hard is it to find a job there and how expensive are we talking about in terms finding a place to stay?

  24. Kaytea January 23, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    Hi Liz and Hey New Zealanders!
    Thank you Liz for making a blog, I enjoy reading it!
    I will keep following ;-*

    Original locals of New Zealand, I would have some questions..

    About the personalities of your people:
    so people are kind, but very straightforward and honest, did I get it right?
    As a Finn, who plans to travel there to work for some months, I am curious to know, how different will the basic communication be from what I grew up with.
    For example, I don’t know if I would survive in US, because I cannot understand why someone would smile and talk nice to my face, but be cruel behind. I guess I would end up with lot of not-really friends (cause I’m so blue eyed) or maybe be lucky and have lotsbof friends and learn to be more positive.
    Or like when I lived in Germany I experienced, the people can be very arrogant, cruel and harsh, even in customer service, if you don’t know the language, or just for being like that. And that’s also a bit over my comprehension. I want to move back there in some point, but as I am getting more and more sensitive by age, I am not sure, do I want to deal with that. I am used to kind people, at normal life situations. And in closer relations to people (work, school etc) you can find unnice people, but then usually the feeling is already mutual, and we rather just avoid to communicate with those people.

    So what do you think? Will I enjoy my time in NZ socially?

    Another question.. How do you feel about the Work&Holiday people coming to your country?
    And about hippies?

    I am thinking to fly around endFeb/midMarch –> is this a stupid time to fly in, as we would be getting more close to summer and you guys are moving towards winter? Will I have a chance to enjoy a real summer feeling (comparing to our normal Finnish 10-20 degree summers…) there?

    The reason I didn’t fly earlier, is that I fucked up my physical health partially, so I need to wait it to heal and be able to carry a backpack and to bare the flight and possible physical work… , do you think I can even find any workanholiday work on the fall/winter season, when I know I won’t be able to do fruit picking or carry things over 15-20kg? Should I postpone?

    And one more question: do you have techno In New Zealand? 😀

    I would love to hear all thoughts,
    Also from you Liz!

    With kind regards,


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