The Pros and Cons of Living in New Zealand
In interaction with many who are reading this blog because they are moving to NZ, much of the feedback has been people wanting to know about what can go wrong. I get this, it is human nature to worry about what could happen and fear the worst. People are looking for some comfort, and to try and be prepared for it. I was the same when I made the change to living in New Zealand.
The truth is, there will always be things that are not as good as before or that you would like to change. I have realised this I try my darned hardest not to dwell on the negatives. Despite this commitment, or maybe because of it, I am sharing this post about the pros and cons of living in New Zealand to represent what has been good AND bad about my move from the UK to NZ. This way, hopefully I can put your mind at ease and give you a little perspective.
This post will compare my life in London and my life here in Wellington, NZ, in terms of the pros and the cons. As always, I really hope its useful or interesting to some. Here we go…
The Pros of Living in New Zealand
Having been living in London in a shared house in Brixton, where I had a room in a 4 bed house and was paying 650 pounds a month, almost anywhere would probably seem cheap. But, I think the rent here in NZ is reasonable and fair. It has been fantastic to be able to save more money and not just shove every last penny into the pockets of the corrupt London housing market! So this is a definite bonus for me.
It might be really obvious but its super exciting being somewhere new. Getting to explore a new city and country, where everything you do is something new is great for me. This is why I came here and its definitely a reason to stay. NZ is huge and there is so much to discover.
I haven’t been anywhere in the world where I have been places so remote and untouched that are at the same time super close to the city. With not that many people or roads you can reach places that almost feel like you are the first there. This is a rare thing to have so close to home and certainly something harder to find in the UK. I love this and it means that no matter how mundane working life can seem at times, you can always get out into the wild and feel reality again.
A Quieter Life
There is definitely a slower pace here in NZ. Which, when I was 22 I would probably have hated. Back then I wanted the parties and the music (which I do have a pang of yearning for occasionally) but right now quiet is perfect and exactly how I want things to be. There is less traffic, less insane travelling and commuting to work, less need to be constantly on the go. I get home around 5 O’Clock and have time to do all the things I enjoy. Cant complain at all.
I don’t know if this will make sense to anyone else. But I found in London, there was a real pressure to be something and someone. People always ask you what you do for work and it seems like a priority. I guess this is because so much about life in London revolves around work. But in NZ, it seems like people don’t care or at least put much less emphasis on it. There is no entrenched status thing like there is back in the UK. People dont care if you are a lawyer, a a plumber or a shop assistant. Everyone is the same, and I think this is brilliant. I felt it was the same in Aus. This pressure to be “successful” in the eyes of society is something I have gladly left behind.
Financially Better Off
This is without doubt different for everyone and I am conscious of this. But for me, I am better off here than I was when I was living in London. A combination of cheaper rent, better pay and less expenditure have meant I am able to save a little bit of money week to week. This, I am so grateful for.
Better and easier banking
Everything seems to run more smoothly in NZ. I signed up with a bank and it was opened the same day. There is paywave everywhere and on internet banking your transactions show up immediately. My HSBC mobile banking app from back home is sooo slow and things dont show up for days. I just dont get this, why is the technology so slow to catch up back in the UK?!
Better Work/Life Balance
This relates to the quieter life, but here in NZ, there is undoubtedly a better work life balance. I work much less of the time and because Wellington is small, I can get home much earlier. The pace is slower, people are generally more relaxed and everyone is in it for the right reasons. People are not stressed to the highest degree like they are back in London. This is how I like things to be.
Ok…The coffee back home in the UK is RUBBISH. Those huge COSTA Americanos and giant lattes are just terrible. I’ll take southern hemisphere coffee any day of the week. I am spoilt for choice in Wellington, which is a coffee mecca, but everywhere in NZ follows suit. Smaller coffee, silky milk, local roastaries. SO good.
Room for Entrepreneurship
By this I simply mean that not everything has been done already. There is room for more businesses, unique ideas and new places to go and people are keen for them. For example in Wellington, if you wanted to open a cafe this would be the perfect place. I feel like in some other places there would be more risk. I think this really relates to this blog, there seemed to be room for it, it hadn’t been done yet. Back in London or in Aus, there would already be about 20 people doing it I’m sure. This gives me hope that I will be able to achieve things that are new and exciting and that are useful to people.
The Cons of Living in New Zealand
Missing Family and Friends
This is huge and almost goes without saying but being on the other side of the world from family and friends is really hard. Not being able to nip up to York for a cosy weekend by the fire and spending time with my most loved people is something I miss very much. I managed to get home for Christmas which was brilliant. I think I will have to try and get home at least every 18 months in order to not go crazy with doubt. My only consolation is that if I did live in the UK. I would likely not live in the same city as my fam anyway and sometimes months would go by without seeing them there too. They are visiting in November. I cant wait.
Why are all the music festivals in New Zealand on NYE?! I miss having festivals to go to on a regular basis. I miss having great music to go and see and great places to go dancing. NZ just doesn’t really have this.
New Zealand is very very far away from everywhere. Apart from the Pacific Islands and East Coast Aus, everywhere takes hours and hours to fly to and therefore costs a fortune. Non of the cheap flights and countless destinations of Europe. My childhood family holidays in Spain and Greece are some of the most memorable times of my life. Along with flying to Canada and Dubai and South East Asia fairly easily. London was the centre of the world. New Zealand is the opposite.
Quality of Housing
I have talked about this a little bit in a previous post but the houses in NZ, (in my opinion) just don’t compare with those back in the UK. They are poorly heated, flimsy and damp. They are still livable and look beautiful from the outside, but they are just not what Im used to from back home.
Access to Cheap Things
Here in NZ there isn’t really have the same range of products and things available to you. For example, I just bought a new camera and ended up getting it shipped from Hong Kong as it saved me half the price. You have to pay a lot for things that you can be found for much cheaper back home. There also isnt as great of a range. This is fine though. It means the money stays in the country which I guess is a good thing. Also it stops me shopping!
History and Culture
This one is hard to explain. There is just an amazing feeling of history that I get when I am home in the UK, that I don’t feel in quite the same way when I am in NZ. It doesnt help that I am from York, one of the oldest cities in Europe. Growing up in York, with access to so much heritage and culture was something special and I will always be grateful for this. New Zealand is such a newly inhabited country, which has its own amazing benefits and a beautiful Maori heritage. But I feel there isn’t that unique historic vibe that I am a part of. (and I also cant explain it very well, clearly)
So those were my pros and cons of living in New Zealand. I could only find 6 negatives, but 10 positives so I think that says a lot for lil NZ. My home will always be my home and it is a part of me. But for now, NZ is ticking more boxes.
Thanks for reading 🙂 Have a scoot around the blog and see if anything else is useful for you.
If you are reading this because you are moving the Wellington or NZ, you might like the following posts:
Peace and Love