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Old 01-09-2011, 09:56 PM
 
625 posts, read 1,294,978 times
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Hi All,

Musing about NZ again - when I was younger I really thought it would be a great place for me. I love the ocean, and the mountains, was impressed by what I've heard and read - the peaceful and friendly culture, the work-life balance, the role indigenous people still play in society. My wife spent time in Christchurch in college and liked it as well. I can't think of any one place in the U.S. that has as much to offer as NZ in the way of scenery and quality of life (so I'm told ...) and everyone I know who's visited or worked there speaks highly of the country. At the same time, in my 30s I've gotten used to a lot of things about North America as compared to when I was younger and perhaps would've more easily transitioned.

Well, now I am thinking of a big move in a couple years' time and thought I would explore NZ again. I am drawn to Auckland in part for job opportunities (I am in urban planning) but wouldn't mind living elsewhere. It appears I would have enough points in a skill-shortage occupation to qualify to move and search out a job. Anyway, I had a few questions:

Any Americans living in NZ - how has your experience been? I would guess it is difficult getting a foot in the door career-wise? Would I be advised to pursue some sort of certificate in NZ just to get a little bit of local context and a few connections? I've read other thread that anti-Americanism is on the rise - does this influence or limit your personal or professional interactions; has it subsided with the end of the Bush presidency? Any cultural differences that were particularly difficult to deal with? Are people generally accepting of the growing multi-culturalism (my wife is Asian-American)? We enjoy organic food and I bicycle to work - will this be a normal thing to do or will it be strange?

I know we'll hear a few obvious things like the material standard of living is lower - this is not a big concern to us, I've lived outside of the U.S. and personally find the U.S. lifestyle overly focussed on big houses, cars, material things, and work. If we couldn't afford a modest house on a middle-income salary, that might be a concern.

Thanks in advance ...

Last edited by docwatson; 01-09-2011 at 10:33 PM..
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Downeast
826 posts, read 873,322 times
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docwatson (I attend merlefest in Wilksboro, NC yearly),

I do not reside in NZ. I have a partner who is a Kiwi and have traveled to NZ at least once, if not twice or three times a year for the better part of three decades. I would like to address some of your concerns, if you don't thi8nk me qualified as a non-resident, please ignore and move on. my feelings will not be hurt. Remember (disclaimer) these are my experiences, yours (dear reader) may vary.

Would I be advised to pursue some sort of certificate in NZ just to get a little bit of local context and a few connections?

I would become familiar with a document called The Treaty of Waitangi or in Maori: Te Tiriti o WaitangiTreaty of Waitangi there are multiple on-line resources to assist in your understanding of this document. I am not familiar with the intricacies of your profession, if it were me I would attempt to find the professional association connected with it in NZ and begin a dialouge.

I've read other thread that anti-Americanism is on the rise - does this influence or limit your personal or professional interactions; has it subsided with the end of the Bush presidency?

Again, this may be one person's experience, and I do not wish to discount it. I have never encountered this, in fact quite the opposite has been my experience. The people of New Zealand are amongst the friendliest I have met in my travels. As I am somewhat older than you, I can assure you people from other cultures have been hating Americans long before President Bush (Sr. & Jr.), sorry to break the news to you. If you don't act like a "know it all" and make statements such as "the way we do it in the states" you will get along fine. The good people of New Zealand are quite content with their lifestyle, and don't need American consultants to assist them in "fixing" things that are not broken.
Of course I have cultivated numerous friendships over the years, so I may be relating experience obtained in a "sterile" environment. As my wife's family lives near a steel plant, I did hear some discussions about a tax imposed on Kiwi steel entering the US, and the workers disdain for the tax, they were intellegent enough to understand I was not personally responsible for the overseas policies of my government. One experience I will relate is I was at a horse race on the Queen's Birthday, and an old fella with a Victoria Cross on his suit (think Congressional Medal of Honor) approached me and said "thank you sir" and I asked him,"for what?" He replied that if it wasn't for the US, Japan would've invaded NZ during WWII. I assured him he didn't need to thank me for anything as I wasn't born until well after WWII, he said he knew but would continue thanking every American he met until the day he died. Again, these are MY experiences, your mileage may vary. In my experience, people are quite fond of Americans as opposed to being an American in europe.

Any cultural differences that were particularly difficult to deal with? Are people generally accepting of the growing multi-culturalism (my wife is Asian-American)? We enjoy organic food and I bicycle to work - will this be a normal thing to do or will it be strange?

In the spirit of honesty I must admit that have heard comments directed towards Asians in New Zealand. It is generally limited to driving skills. I have never seen open hostility.I would not view these comments in the same vein, but I'm not Asian either. Being of Irish lineage, I would say the statements were akin to "The Irish like to drink on St. Patty's Day" and not racist. It is unfortunate, but stuff like this exsists the world over, I would not view it as a deal breaker.I am also Native American and look it, so I am familiar with racism at it's finest.After all, I'm an Indian-it's ok to disrespect our culture. Organic food abounds, no genetically engineered foods are allowed in the country, nor is nuclear power, you will noltice the commitment to this when you land in Auckland. There are signs everywhere urging you to dispose of any fruit,or honey related products you may have on your person, the penalties are severe for not doing so.Riding a bike is very normal. I believe you will like Auckland. I don't. It is too big for me. There are things I like about Auckland, like getting a sandwich at the White Lady, or a meal at the Asian food court but I'm a country boy. Keep in mind, it is larger than Boston or Atlanta. If memory serves me correct, New Zealand is the approximate size of California. The population is around 4 million? Of that number 3 million live in Auckland proper.
I hope this helps!
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:15 AM
 
9,410 posts, read 12,936,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwiluver View Post
Of that number 3 million live in Auckland proper.
The population of Auckland is approximately 1.4 million.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Downeast
826 posts, read 873,322 times
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If memory serves me correct, New Zealand is the approximate size of California. The population is around 4 million? Of that number 3 million live in Auckland proper.

Sorry for the mis-information, it was not my intent to provide faulty statistics. I was going from memory, I should have looked it up. Are we talking all the way to the Bombay Hills and across the Nippon Clipon?
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:44 AM
 
9,410 posts, read 12,936,543 times
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We're talking about the Auckland region from Orewa to the Bombays.

I think the actual city part of Auckland has around 450,000 people. It's fairly big.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Downeast
826 posts, read 873,322 times
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According to Wiki we're both wrong.

The Auckland metropolitan area is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with a population of over 1.4 million residents, 31 percent of the country's population.

I ain't trying to argue, I just felt it was larger than half a million. You are from there, I have only visited 30-40 times.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:29 PM
 
9,410 posts, read 12,936,543 times
Reputation: 20297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwiluver View Post
According to Wiki we're both wrong.

The Auckland metropolitan area is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with a population of over 1.4 million residents, 31 percent of the country's population.

I ain't trying to argue, I just felt it was larger than half a million. You are from there, I have only visited 30-40 times.
I'm sorry, I am not wrong at all. I clearly stated Auckland had 1.4 million people and the actual city itself had around 450,000. See both of my previous posts.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Downeast
826 posts, read 873,322 times
Reputation: 879
It appears I've misread your posts, please accept my apoligies for stating you were wrong, it was only I who was wrong, you are correct.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:50 PM
 
9,336 posts, read 20,693,915 times
Reputation: 4533
Quote:
Originally Posted by docwatson View Post
Hi All,

Musing about NZ again - when I was younger I really thought it would be a great place for me. I love the ocean, and the mountains, was impressed by what I've heard and read - the peaceful and friendly culture, the work-life balance, the role indigenous people still play in society. My wife spent time in Christchurch in college and liked it as well. I can't think of any one place in the U.S. that has as much to offer as NZ in the way of scenery and quality of life (so I'm told ...) and everyone I know who's visited or worked there speaks highly of the country. At the same time, in my 30s I've gotten used to a lot of things about North America as compared to when I was younger and perhaps would've more easily transitioned.

Well, now I am thinking of a big move in a couple years' time and thought I would explore NZ again. I am drawn to Auckland in part for job opportunities (I am in urban planning) but wouldn't mind living elsewhere. It appears I would have enough points in a skill-shortage occupation to qualify to move and search out a job. Anyway, I had a few questions:

Any Americans living in NZ - how has your experience been? I would guess it is difficult getting a foot in the door career-wise? Would I be advised to pursue some sort of certificate in NZ just to get a little bit of local context and a few connections? I've read other thread that anti-Americanism is on the rise - does this influence or limit your personal or professional interactions; has it subsided with the end of the Bush presidency? Any cultural differences that were particularly difficult to deal with? Are people generally accepting of the growing multi-culturalism (my wife is Asian-American)? We enjoy organic food and I bicycle to work - will this be a normal thing to do or will it be strange?

I know we'll hear a few obvious things like the material standard of living is lower - this is not a big concern to us, I've lived outside of the U.S. and personally find the U.S. lifestyle overly focussed on big houses, cars, material things, and work. If we couldn't afford a modest house on a middle-income salary, that might be a concern.

Thanks in advance ...
your best bet would be to find a forum targeted toward immigrants to NZ who have done what you want to do and learn from them. Do a google for move2nz.org and for a completely different viewpoint expatexpossed. get both viewpoints.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:57 AM
 
53 posts, read 136,654 times
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With an Asian wife, expatexposed would be a good site to double-check before you come. Auckland would be a good fit for you, with its higher Asian population.

Most Americans with good jobs that I know of here brought them with them, offshore income. The other ones are unemployed, part-time employed or working in jobs like grocery store packing or retail clerking. I am sure local certification would make some difference, but getting a foot in the door might be difficult with the job climate the way it is. Networking is critical to landing a job down here. Volunteer for a few years maybe and hope you can get something, if you don't go down there with a contract in hand.

Yes, comments aimed at Americans down here do tend to make you think about what you say or just not say it at all. Your behaviour does change. It makes you not want to take chances on befriending people, because you are just waiting for the comments to start coming out once the politeness wears off. More often than not, they are just "surface-friendly" and aren't interested in a deeper relationship, but there are some lovely Kiwis hiding in there and it takes awhile to dig them out.

No, the anti-Americanism has not subsided with the Bush presidency. Think "nation of people who have watched too much Michael Moore". You get harangued in that Michael Moore-y moral supremacist kind of way, "Americans are eating too big a piece of the world pie, you suck, you are walmart-izing the world" etc etc

Cultural differences - they do exist. We found ourselves missing the warmth of Americans, their willingness to self-disclose and hold diverse and interesting conversations. We also found they didn't have much of a clue down in NZ about what living in America was like. Their media reprints the worst of America, and that's what they believe. Even intelligent people. They seem to want to believe the worst of America and as one well-known commenter said, "not give credit where credit is due".

As for health foods, I think you will find enough of those, though you may not like the prices...as for bicycling to work, the safety and wisdom of that decision depends on the road. One person I knew who had biked in both countries thought that Kiwi drivers were not as considerate of cyclists, more likely to drive too close or clip them.

Still, it is a beautiful country, and many people seem to be looking into moving here. Some of them will stay, and do all right, and like it.
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