What to expect when you make New Zealand your home

Wednesday, 12 Feb, 2020   /   Sarah Millard

Here's what to expect when you make New Zealand your new home

At Zag, we are constantly searching for people that are passionate about what they do, and share our cultural values. We love that we are a diverse bunch; in fact our people hail from over 20 different countries! And one of the most common questions we are asked when someone takes the leap to move to New Zealand, is...What's it like? 

If you want to know the answer to that, read on. 

 

We are the first to see the sun here in NZ and that’s a pretty big deal, probably something we take for granted. As I wake up with the sunrise, I take a minute to check the weather (something we are obsessed with here apparently). It’s a beautiful, clear day so I set out on my morning walk with my very eager dog. It’s warm with the birds chirping in the breeze, the sun now making its way lazily into the electric blue sky. We amble through the streets as the world wakes up. People wander out of their houses in their pajamas to put the rubbish out, they give us a nod or a friendly wave. We’re lucky here, we are close to hidden bush walks, lush green reserves and clean beaches, yet so close to city life. The dog bounds into the water for a swim and we wander back home. The streets are humming now with a gentle liveliness of people going about their business heading to work or school. It’s safe and I have no qualms with being out on the streets or in the bush on my own. Something that many international colleagues find rather peculiar at first.

As I head to work, traffic can be slow. I listen to podcasts and take the time to learn something new or use this as my time to chill out (relax), have time to think about my day. Others take public transport such as ferries (which you can’t beat on a sunny morning), trains and buses. Kiwis (New Zealanders) can be chatty on public transport and often people make ‘travel friends’.  Some like to keep to themselves and read a book.

 

Life at Zag

Once at work, there is warm idle chatter in the kitchen as colleagues make their morning coffee and have their breakfast. I overhear discussions about weekends, activities, kids’ adventures, DIY misadventures, fashion and of course, what’s for lunch. There are jokes and laughter with people poking fun at each other. It’s nice that people here are genuinely interested in how you are or what the kids are up to. They are kind and caring and are interested in knowing the ‘whole you’. Something I haven’t stopped to really appreciate until writing this.

During the workday, information flows effortlessly around the office. People are chatting and solving the problems of the day, others are in meeting rooms for some quiet time to get their work done. There is a sense of teamwork and common purpose. People tend to work toward compromise and finding the best way forward.

 

The New Zealand lifestyle

In the weekends we get out and about or potter around home with friends and family. There is always something to do. In summer you might go to the beach or fish off the wharf with the kids, go camping, visit some vineyards or go walking or tramping on our vast array of forest walking tracks or Rocky Mountains. In the winter, you might visit the snow and go skiing or sledding. If the outdoors isn’t your thing our cities are always buzzing with events, movies in the park, food festivals, cultural festivals and concerts. We Kiwi’s are well known for getting our hands dirty with a little Do It Yourself (DIY) work so sometimes it’s just a weekend at home in the garden.

 

What my colleagues say

I asked some colleagues recently what they found interesting or weird (in a good way) when they moved to New Zealand, here’s what they had to say;

  • They drive on the left.
  • The beautiful nature, it's out of this world.
  • Kiwi culture is based on openness, trust and mutual respect. People are always willing to help!
  • Crime levels are low. People respect each other and cars actually stop at pedestrian crossings.
  • The sun goes around the wrong way.
  • Work experience is very much valued here instead of what school you attended or what course.
  • If you're coming from northern hemisphere having Christmas in middle of summer is just plain weird.
  • Kiwi English: it'll take you a couple of years to get used to it!
  • People referring to their significant other as their partner. I would have thought this is a business/tennis partner instead of a boyfriend etc!
  • The obsession with sausage rolls, which I am very partial to.
  • People are a lot more approachable and open - I used to find it strange that people on the street would just start chatting to you, but now I love it (and do it myself when I go back to Germany and people look at me like I'm crazy!)
  • The fact that the entire country pretty much shuts down over the Christmas break.
  • People say thanks to the bus driver. They walk around in barefoot. They have drinks at 4pm on a Friday, people are very focused at work.
  • Pedestrian Crossings - In South Africa they are not really adhered to and motorists do not watch out for pedestrians, I nearly took out a few the first couple of times I drove around.
  • 'Bring a plate' to a party doesn't actually mean that you bring your dishes (means bring something to eat).
  • My daughters are yet to see a Kiwi Bird (they thought these would be everywhere).

 

New Zealand really is a great place to live and work, having a balanced lifestyle is something that comes naturally here. If you’re interested in relocating or want to know more about living here, click here to read more on working in New Zealand

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