When it comes to moving abroad, there are few more popular countries for a native English speaker to emigrate to than New Zealand.
The nation is renowned for its progressive attitudes, high quality of life and astonishing views, as well as adopting a friendly attitude to outsiders.
The South Pacific paradise isn’t without its faults, however, but with prior planning, these minor changes can be quickly adapted to, allowing a move to the country to go off without a hitch.
Pick Your Place Carefully – Seasonal Shifts
New Zealand is an island nation in the Southern Hemisphere, split between two main islands and a large number of other smaller islands.
When it comes to picking a place to make your home in New Zealand, there’s a wide range of choices on the table, though the vertical nature of the country can have a significant impact on what the seasons hold for you.
If you pick somewhere to live on the South Island, the longer of the two, then the average temperature gets lower the further south you get. On the extreme most southerly end, the island is prone to frequent rain, which comes from clouds forming off the distinctive mountain range of the Southern Alps.
If you settle for the North Island, however, then the temperature can reach tropical levels during the summer, owing to the island’s northerly latitude.
Pack Warm if You Pick an Older House
Owing to New Zealand’s climate and its position on a fault zone, many houses are made primarily of wood instead of brick, which can entail its own problems when it comes to heating.
In older wooden houses in particular, you might have to fork out an additional sum on top of the initial costs in order to put in insulation, or else end up spending the winter season (June to August) wrapped in a blanket.
This situation represents one of two options when it comes to standalone property in New Zealand; the other choice is to spend more to get a modern house, at the benefit of already having adequate heat-trapping materials in place.
As mentioned above, New Zealand is located on fault lines between the Earth’s plates, which means that the country is prone to earthquakes. The last significant quake was in 2011 in the city of Christchurch, but rebuilding efforts have been ongoing since then and earthquake-proofing is a top priority across the country.
In the interests of minimising damage as much as possible, the New Zealand Earthquake Commission has a simple to understand ‘Fix. Fasten. Forget’ scheme, which aims to keep residents and their property safe by making sure that heavy and valuable objects don’t go wandering when a quake hits.
On the human front, it’s also worth checking the GetThru site, which offers key advice on the human front.
Massive earthquakes in New Zealand are a fairly rare occurrence and repair work afterwards can be arduous, but with the proper preparation, quake-readiness and response can become just another part of daily life in New Zealand.
Tip 4 – Relax!
Whether it concerns business deals or buying something down the shops, attitudes in New Zealand do differ from other parts of the English-speaking world.
New Zealand is known for the social bonds in its communities, and being invited out for lunch or an evening barbeque with the new neighbours and colleagues is commonplace.
Despite this outgoingness, however, New Zealanders are also known to be ‘open but respectful’, which translates to not sharing too many personal details or asking for them in casual conversation.
As in the UK, it can be customary in some households to remove shoes, although this is by no means a universal practice across the country. All in all, New Zealanders certainly aren’t looking to alienate those immigrating to the country, so if in doubt about social standards and niceties, just ask!
Watch Out for Wildlife (Mainly the Kea)
While most of New Zealand’s indigenous species are fairly easy to co-exist with, one exception is the Kea, a mischievous parrot that has been called the ‘Clown of the Mountains’.
The Kea is an endangered and protected species in New Zealand, but the birds’ behaviour sometimes puts them at odds with residents, mostly due to their curiosity.
One of the main issues is the Kea’s tendency to investigate objects with its beak, which can lead to frustration and bafflement among visitors when they come back from a trip in the countryside only to find their cars ‘vandalised’ by an unknown perpetrator.
Fortunately, Keas are a friendly and colourful resident of the South Island overall, and just need to be watched when around to ensure that they don’t engage is a bit of beak-work with a car aerial or your possessions.
Kea populations are solely confined to the South Island and are particularly prevalent along the Southern Alps mountain range.
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