Being an expat in New Zealand can be a little daunting – after all, it’s a long way from anywhere (unless you count Australia). Thankfully, Aotearoa is quirky and charming – and there are plenty of reasons to fall in love with it. We’re going to take you through our ten favourite things about being an expat in New Zealand.
1. Wellington is the coolest little capital in the world
Despite being fairly nicknamed “windy Wellington”, New Zealand’s capital city is a busy, artistic place. From the world famous WETA studios (where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were created), to the historic Cable Car, Wellington never disappoints. As a cheeky side-note, OrbitRemit is actually based here!
2. Rugby – a way of life
Rugby is a bit of a phenomenon over here – the Kiwis are world famous for the sport. New Zealand is home to the All Blacks – the world’s finest, and possibly most famous, team. If you’re in New Zealand, it’s almost impossible to escape.
3. Seismic activity
New Zealand lies on the boundary between the Australian and Pacific Plates. Sitting along these plates are a number of large faults – which means that New Zealand is pretty prone to occasional earthquakes. While these aren’t always fun, you get used to them pretty quickly and they become quite a unique little quirk.
One of New Zealand’s most fascinating natural wonders revolves around its geothermal activity. In particular, areas such as Rotorua (pronounced: Ro-To-Rue-Ah) are home to huge warm mud pools and geysers. You can find some more information on the best areas here. Just be careful – Rotorua smells of sulphur, so you may want to practice holding your breath!
5. Maori Culture
The Maori are New Zealand’s indigenous culture and have a great influence on kiwi life. Maori culture is fascinating and there is no shortage of maraes (meeting places) or hongis (nose press) riddled throughout the country. This also ties really well into Rotorua – which is a cultural centre for Maori.
6. You’re always 30 minutes from somewhere amazing
From the Beehive in Wellington, right through to the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand has plenty of landmarks. Not only this, but there are many natural wonders – from Mt Ruapehu if you’re into skiing to Fox Glacier in the South Island.
7. Kiwi food (Kai)
New Zealanders are famous for the pavlova, seafood (especially paua and crayfish) and kumara (which is a sweet potato). Hangi – which is traditionally a Maori method of cooking using a pit of heated stones, is a favourite.
While English (along with New Zealand Sign Language and Maori) is spoken in New Zealand, you’ll get used to the little quirks. Corner stores are called dairies, jandals are called “flip-flops” and alcohol is called “piss”. While quite similar to Australia, New Zealanders call cooler boxes “chilly-bins” instead of “eskis”. You get used to it pretty quickly, don’t worry.
While the geography is nice, New Zealand is the native habitat of a number of exotic creatures. The kiwi (our national, flightless bird), the tuatara (a lizard-like reptile) and the kaka (which is like a parrot) are all standouts in a selection of uniquely New Zealand animals.
10. Farming for miles
Two of New Zealand’s key exports are milk and beef. This means that farming is a huge deal over here – you’ll find miles and miles of dairy farms dotted along the countryside.
And there’s nothing quite like the stench of cattle or the feeling of uncut grass on your Skellerup gumboots.
We’ve taken you through our favourite things about being an expat in New Zealand. What are yours? It’s probably worth noting that OrbitRemit is another of our favourite things – we do great exchange rates on the NZD to a wide range of currencies. Check out our calculator to take a look!