Anyone who has seen New Zealand’s stunning mountains or idyllic coastline will not be surprised to hear that it is still one of the most popular destinations for UK expats. There are over 300,000 Brits currently living in New Zealand and that number looks set to rise as the NZ Government continue to encourage skilled expats to come and help ease the skills shortage. If you’re thinking about throwing yourself into Kiwi life, here are our top 10 reasons to move to New Zealand.
1. Spectacular Scenery
New Zealand’s dramatic landscape is renowned the world over. The unique combination of glaciers, active volcanoes and endless lush green hills has long drawn tourists and expats, not to mention quite a few filmmakers. Spectacular mountain ranges make up the backbone of both the North and South Islands with placid lakes scattered through the valleys. You can hike across a glacier, climb a volcano or take a selfie with an active geyser. If you think Australia has the monopoly on beaches, rest assured that the New Zealand’s vast coastline also provides plenty of opportunities to swim, surf and sight-see, including the incredible 90 mile beach situated in the far north of the country.
2. Rich Culture
New Zealand’s fascinating indigenous culture has undergone a strong resurgence in the last fifty years as the government has sought to redress the social imbalance of colonial times. Even the national flag is changing to reflect this change with the final design likely to include the silver fern, a powerful Māori symbol. From traditional artwork and folk tales to the world famous Haka, Māori culture is now woven into all aspects of New Zealand’s cultural identity. The country’s diversity is also apparent in the cosmopolitan cultural scene with events celebrating everything from Chinese New Year to Diwali. There are even some unique festivals you won’t find anywhere else on Earth such as the many Māori Kai food festivals and the Tremains Art Deco Festival in Napier.
3. Outdoors Lifestyle
If you enjoy the great outdoors, New Zealand could be your ideal destination. It is possible to lose days, weeks or months hiking, kayaking and cycling your way around this incredible landscape. For adrenaline junkies, there are the pristine slopes of the Remarkables to ski and incredible Rangitikei rapids to raft your way along. If that’s not enough, don’t forget New Zealand was the birth place of bungee jumping and still boasts some of the most scenic and exhilarating jumps in the world. To enjoy the country’s beautiful scenery at a slower pace, head to one of the many National Parks and get back to basics with a few days camping, fishing and walking against this spectacular backdrop.
4. Room to Breathe
With 10% more landmass than the UK and less the 10% of the population, New Zealand certainly isn’t short if space. As well as boasting acres of almost untouched wilderness, this low population density means that New Zealand will continue to have room to grow and prosper. As the population grows at a steady, comfortable rate and expats continue to move there, New Zealand will provide space for the homes and facilities they need. While people used to joke that New Zealand was one of the only place on earth where people are outnumbered by sheep, this enviable population density is one of the best reasons to move to New Zealand.
5. Plenty of Jobs for Skilled Expats
The strong economy and unprecedented demands of the Christchurch rebuild project has created a skills gap across New Zealand. The Government has implemented several measures to make it easier for expats to move to New Zealand to take up jobs that cannot be filled locally. Agencies such as Skills in Demand are identifying skills shortages and actively publicising which roles are being recruited where. If you work in a sector currently in demand, it can boost your points score as a skilled migrant or allow you to apply for a temporary work visa. If you are working in a ‘long term shortage’ area, you can gain a work to residence visa which allows you apply for residency after two years.
New Zealand’s sub-tropical climate is generally warmer and drier than the UK. The east coast of the North Island in particular boasts long, warm summers and comparatively mild winters. The country’s lush green landscape is testament to the fact that New Zealand receives a substantial amount of rainfall yet figures are still lower than those of the UK. This pleasant, moderate climate means that you will be able to spend more time outdoors at the beach or park and you’ll almost certainly won’t need your umbrella quite as much, just don’t leave it behind completely.
7. Multicultural Society
With around a quarter of the country’s 4.4 million inhabitants identifying as immigrants, New Zealand has become a melting pot of European, Asian and indigenous cultures. In cities such as Auckland, you will find a dazzling array of international cultures from China and India to Egypt and Iran. Waves of immigration have shaped this friendly, tolerant and welcoming nation. British expats are well represented in almost every town and generally integrate easily and happily into their new neighbourhood. A recent study by Massey University has identified New Zealand, and Auckland in particular, as ‘super diverse’.
8. ‘The Coolest Little Capital in the World’
Too often overshadowed by its larger, northern neighbour, New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, has worked hard to establish its own character and culture. When Lonely Planet listed it as one of their top five cities to visit in 2011 and named it ‘the coolest little capital in the world’, Wellington had truly arrived. Proud to be the country’s ‘creative capital’, it is home to the New Zealand National Ballet, Symphony Orchestra and Museum. Wellington is also the main base for the production companies behind The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, making it a must-see for Peter Jackson fans. Wellington’s quirky personality truly shines during its many year round festivals celebrating food, music and art in the heart of New Zealand.
9. Great Food (And Wine)
While New Zealand may be remote and relatively small in stature, it punches far above its weight in the culinary world. Auckland’s food scene rivals any city in the world from Asian-inspired street food to high end dining from renowned chefs such as Peter Gordon and Jenni Murray. Wellington comes a close second with food festivals and street markets to tempt and inspire any would-be foodie. The increasing popularity of New Zealand wine has also made it one of the top producers in the world. There are several wine producing areas to visit including the famous Marlborough region which you can explore independently or as part of winery tour.
10. Unique Wildlife
Finally, moving to New Zealand will give you a unique opportunity to get to know the country’s diverse array of fauna. The iconic flightless bird, the Kiwi, has become a national symbol and is now a highly protected and much loved creature. New Zealand’s coastline and surrounding waters are home to several species of seal and whale, including the majestic sperm whale, which can be seen off the east coast of the South Island. New Zealand even has no fewer than three native species of penguin, the most well known of which is the adorable colony of blue penguins, the world’s smallest species of penguin.
If our top 10 reasons to move to New Zealand has inspired you, click here to find out how we can help get you there.