New Zealand | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com Trip Ideas, Itineraries, Maps & Area Experts Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:56:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 https://deathstar-650a.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-moon_logo_M-32x32.jpg New Zealand | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com 32 32 125073523 Being a Woman in New Zealand https://moon.com/2016/04/being-a-woman-in-new-zealand/ https://moon.com/2016/04/being-a-woman-in-new-zealand/#respond Wed, 13 Apr 2016 19:01:02 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=38761 There’s a lot of good news when it comes to being a woman in New Zealand. Generally, women are educated, well treated, and respected in New Zealand. But the picture isn't all rosy. They face the same challenges as women in the US and Canada with compromises to their careers as primary caregivers and the pervasive danger of violence against women.

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There’s a lot of good news when it comes to being a woman in New Zealand. The country has twice been run by women, and they’ve been able to vote since 1893, but the good news extends beyond politics. More than half of the students enrolled in tertiary (college and university) education are female. So Kiwi women are at least as educated as their male counterparts. In fact, 87 percent of Kiwi women complete the highest level of high school, compared with 67 percent of men.

87 percent of Kiwi women complete the highest level of high school, compared with 67 percent of men.Generally, women are well treated and respected in New Zealand. Discrimination on the basis of gender is illegal. Open harassment is unusual (except perhaps in a pub full of extremely drunk men), and in most places it’s safe for women to walk the streets alone, even at night. Common sense should always prevail, however, and accepting rides from strangers carries a certain risk.

Woman holding a business card with the flag of New Zealand.

Photo © Micha Klootwijk/123rf.

The picture isn’t all rosy, though. There are still problems with violence against women in New Zealand, particularly domestic violence. Police calls for family violence (which would include spousal abuse and child abuse) average about 200 per day.

Women are also at some disadvantage in the workplace, particularly if they have children. Most women in New Zealand work outside of the home. Some do take time to raise their children without working, but fewer and fewer families can afford to get by on one income. The government does provide some subsidies for families with children under the “Working for Families” scheme. Most families still rely on the mother to take primary responsibility for raising children, often at the detriment of her career. Many women compromise by working part-time while their children are young, coincidentally during their prime earning years. Mothers also have more difficulty getting executive positions, since they are unable to devote as many hours to the workplace. Of course, none of this is news to women from the United States or Canada, who face many of the same challenges.

Women in Power

Being the first country to grant women the right to vote back in 1893, New Zealand features women in a lot of powerful roles. The country is doing well on the equality front by global standards: According to the United Nations, New Zealand ranks fifth in the world for equality for women. This includes areas like education and pay rates.

Women in Politics

Two women have held the position of prime minister so far in New Zealand, and around one-third of parliament is female.

Wellington is now on its third female mayor, Celia Wade Brown. She took over from Kerry Prendergast, who held the position from 1995 to 2010. Fran Wilde started the trend in Wellington: She was mayor from 1992 to 1995.

Other female mayors around the country include Lianne Dalziel in Christchurch, Annette Main in Wanganui, and Julie Hardaker in Hamilton.

Women in Business

Ann Sherry—the first female CEO of a bank in New Zealand—ended her reign at Westpac Banking in 2007. Banking is still a pretty good place for women, with ASB Bank choosing Barbara Chapman as CEO. Theresa Gautting spent seven years at the head of Telecom (now called Spark), New Zealand’s major telecommunications provider. However, in the private sector women are still underrepresented on boards of directors, making up just 12 percent in private companies in New Zealand. The public sector is doing better, with their boards sitting at 42 percent female.


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Living Abroad New Zealand.

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Talking Cricket in New Zealand https://moon.com/2016/04/talking-cricket-new-zealand/ https://moon.com/2016/04/talking-cricket-new-zealand/#respond Fri, 08 Apr 2016 19:02:20 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=38762 To most North Americans, the rules of cricket are rather mysterious. After all, a single match can last for five days! But playing can be good fun, and even watching might enthrall you after you’ve figured out how it all works. Here’s a brief overview that may help you follow the conversation in the local pub.

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A game can run anywhere from an afternoon to several days, and one player can score over a hundred runs in the course of a game!Cricket can be an intimidating sport if you haven’t grown up with it. After all, a single match can last for five days! But playing can be good fun, and even watching might enthrall you after you’ve figured out how it all works.

There are different types of professional cricket matches, with some running as one-day events and others as five-day events. New Zealand’s team is generally among the 10 best in the world, but they’re not quite at the top of the list.

A game of cricket in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo © Aloysius Patrimonio/123rf.

A game of cricket in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo © Aloysius Patrimonio/123rf.

The basic skills needed in cricket are similar to those in baseball. You have to hit the ball with a bat when you are on the scoring side and be able to throw and catch the ball on the defensive side. However, the bats are a different shape, and there are no padded gloves.

You Call That a Bat?

To most North Americans, the rules of cricket are rather mysterious. A game can run anywhere from an afternoon to several days, and one player can score over a hundred runs in the course of a game! Here’s a brief overview that may help you follow the conversation in the local pub:

Innings: In cricket the teams do not switch between offense and defense throughout the game. In most cases, there are only one or two innings per team. That is the team’s turn to score runs. So one team scores all of its runs for the match, then the other team tries to score more runs when its turn comes up. An innings (even the singular form ends with s) ends when 10 out of the team’s 11 batsmen are out, or “dismissed.” The batting lineup does not repeat as in baseball.

Bowler: There is no “pitcher” in cricket. The person who throws the ball is a bowler. He must throw overhand and his arm must be straight when he releases the ball. Usually the bowler bounces the ball off the pitch, because this makes it harder to hit.

Overs: When a bowler has thrown six legal pitches, this is called an over. At this point he has to let another bowler take over. The new bowler stands at the opposite end of the pitch from his predecessor, and he bowls to the other runner. Bowling usually rotates between two players, and they can be relieved and replaced when they become tired.

Scoring Runs: Two runners are playing at any one time. One is the batsman (the one batting at the time) and the other is a nonstriker. They stand at either end of a long strip of earth with a wicket at each end. This is called the pitch. When the batsman hits the ball, the two runners will both run, exchanging places at either end of the pitch. If they reach the opposite ends, a run is scored. If they manage to run back and forth several times, they can score multiple runs on one hit. Runs can also be scored by hitting the ball to the boundary of the playing field.

Wicket: This is a set of three wooden stumps, topped by two crossbars called bails. The batsman stands in front of his wicket to bat. If the bowler gets the ball past the batsman and knocks over the wicket, the player is out. There are no “three strikes” in cricket! When the defensive team gets a batter out, by any means, they are said to have “taken a wicket.” If a wicket is knocked over while the runners are still running, the player who was supposed to arrive at that end will be “run out.” The wicket can be knocked over by the ball, or by a player’s hand holding the ball.

Fielding: The 11 fielders are placed around the elliptical field to catch the balls after they are hit. One is placed behind the wicket, and he is known as the wicket keeper. Only the wicket keepers can wear gloves to protect their hands when catching the ball. All other fielders use bare hands. The bowler is the only other player with a set position. The other nine fielders may position themselves anywhere on the field (with certain restrictions).

Game Timing: There are two ways for cricket matches to be set up. One involves limiting the time each team plays. The other is to play for a specific number of overs.

Test Matches: In first-class international cricket competitions, matches are played over five days, with each day broken into three two-hour sessions. There is a lunch break between the first two, and a tea break between the second and third. Each team has two innings to play each day. If the last day’s innings aren’t finished by the end of the allotted time, the match is called a tie, even if one team was significantly in the lead! Finally, everyone wears white so the red ball is easier to see.


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Living Abroad New Zealand.

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New Zealand’s Social Climate https://moon.com/2016/04/new-zealand-social-climate/ https://moon.com/2016/04/new-zealand-social-climate/#respond Fri, 01 Apr 2016 19:01:22 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=38741 New Zealanders are generally a good-natured bunch. They enjoy a climate of social tolerance and political stability, but they also enjoy a good debate and love to complain about their elected leaders as much as the rest of us. Kiwis see themselves as proud underdogs and good global citizens, generally lean left and liberal, and have a healthy sense of humor when it comes to their country and their culture.

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New Zealanders are generally a good-natured bunch. They enjoy a climate of social tolerance and political stability, but they also enjoy a good debate and love to complain about their elected leaders as much as the rest of us.

Despite their isolation, Kiwis consider themselves good global citizens.New Zealand is a decidedly classless society for the most part. Anyone who puts on airs of superiority is quickly brought down to earth, and even the most powerful members of society are pretty accessible. This is not to say that everyone has the same lifestyle. There are very rich Kiwis and very poor Kiwis, but the vast majority have a comfortable, modest lifestyle. In some areas you may manage to find a bit of snobbery where things like which school you attended matter. Overall these leftover attitudes from the British old boys’ club are ignored or actively discouraged. To gain respect in New Zealand you have to be someone who has worked hard and overcome the odds to succeed.

While fiercely proud of their country, Kiwis still suffer from a kind of inferiority complex. They are somewhat overwhelmed by the big guys “across the ditch” in Australia. Their self-image is one of the underdogs, the little guys struggling to prove their worth to both themselves and the world at large. Kiwis love a local success story, but sadly, they tend to only celebrate their own heroes once their achievements have been recognized outside of New Zealand. When a Kiwi does accomplish something that garners international attention, the whole country takes ownership of that achievement, whether it’s the All Blacks winning the rugby World Cup or director Peter Jackson winning an Oscar.

Thousands rally for action on climate change around New Zealand. Photo © Rafael Ben-Ari/123rf.

In November 2015, thousands rallied for action on climate change after the golden toad went extinct. Photo © Rafael Ben-Ari/123rf.

When it comes to internal affairs, there is continuing conflict between government and Maori leaders over land, resources, and other details of the original treaties drawn up when the British colonized the country. These conflicts are generally political in nature, and although they may involve public protest, they almost never lead to any kind of violence. In fact, New Zealanders love a good protest. Farmers will march on parliament to protest trade restrictions, parents will protest the closure of a school, and if anything appears to threaten the cherished landscape or protected areas, there will be protests galore! Again, these tend not to escalate into violence; as often as not the two sides will end up drinking in the same pub later that evening.

To the average American, the politics in New Zealand will lean further to the left than you may be used to. It was one of the first countries in the world to come up with a pension plan for seniors and has many other government-funded social programs. The main areas of political debate are taxation, education, and health care, so you will probably feel at home hearing leaders argue those issues.

You may also find social attitudes in New Zealand more liberal on average than in the United States. When it comes to their attitude toward homosexuals, Kiwis, like many other nationalities, have a wide range of views. These views were widely debated in 2005 as the government introduced “civil unions,” which gave gay or lesbian couples a way to register their relationships to receive some of the same benefits as marriage in New Zealand, and again in 2013 when same-sex marriage was legalized. For the most part there is a very live-and-let-live attitude toward gays and lesbians, with the loudest dissent coming from the Christian right and some rural communities. A gay Kiwi actor or politician is unlikely to make headlines because of his or her sexuality, and being openly gay or lesbian does not necessarily close doors professionally in New Zealand.

Despite their isolation, Kiwis consider themselves good global citizens. The country is committed to participating in worldwide efforts to address global warming. New Zealand also sends troops to join UN peacekeeping forces. It currently has soldiers deployed in Africa, the Middle East, the Solomon Islands, South Korea, and Afghanistan, among other locations. Kiwis love to travel, and many of them decide to live in another country for at least a little while—they call it OE (overseas experience). Many go to Australia, where they can live and work without a visa, and a good number of others move to the United Kingdom, especially London. So while they are from a small country, the people of New Zealand generally have a good understanding of the larger world in which they live.

Kiwis have a healthy sense of humor when it comes to their country and their culture, although they take more kindly to self-mocking than they do to being mocked by outsiders. They are quick to have a go at their stereotypes, and like the British they prefer a dry, sarcastic, and slightly over-the-top brand of humor. Their favorite target is their closest neighbor, the Australians, with the British (or “Pommies”) coming in a close second. Americans may also take a bit of good-natured ribbing for being a “Yank.” It’s just the local way of bringing you down to earth, so don’t take it personally.


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Living Abroad New Zealand.

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Weather and Climate in New Zealand https://moon.com/2016/03/weather-climate-new-zealand/ https://moon.com/2016/03/weather-climate-new-zealand/#respond Tue, 29 Mar 2016 15:01:06 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=38737 Parts of New Zealand boast that they can offer “four seasons in one day.” That may sound a little daunting, but for the most part New Zealand weather is temperate and influenced mainly by the ocean air currents and the mountains. And since New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, spring goes from September to November, summer from December to February, autumn from March to May and winter from June to August.

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Parts of New Zealand boast that they can offer “four seasons in one day.” That may sound a little daunting, but for the most part New Zealand weather is temperate and influenced mainly by the ocean air currents and the mountains.

Clouds over the mountains near Queenstown in New Zealand. Photo © Dmitry Pichugin/123rf.

Clouds over the mountains near Queenstown in New Zealand. Photo © Dmitry Pichugin/123rf.

Being in the southern hemisphere also means that the warmest areas of the country are in the north and the coldest areas are in the south.It’s important to remember that New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere. This means that its seasons are opposite those in the United States. Spring goes from September to November, summer from December to February, autumn from March to May and winter from June to August. Being in the southern hemisphere also means that the warmest areas of the country are in the north and the coldest areas are in the south. The seasonal differences have more to do with temperature than rainfall, as New Zealand doesn’t really have dry or wet seasons like more tropical countries do.

North Island

The far north of the country has a subtropical climate. Summer days tend to hover in the high 70s to low 80s, and even over the winter the temperatures are generally pretty comfortable. The region gets lots of sunshine and is a favorite vacation spot. The rest of the North Island is more moderate, with average temperatures only varying by about 15°F between the warmest and coldest months. Snow is only common in the mountains over the winter, and in summer it’s rare to see the temperature top 85°F.

South Island

The top of the South Island gets the most sunshine of any region in the country, with an annual average of over 2,300 hours. Again, the temperatures are moderate and snow is very rare.

The west coast of the South Island is affectionately known as the “wet coast,” as the prevailing winds from the west blow clouds into the Southern Alps mountain range, causing them to dump their moisture on coastal inhabitants. This makes the areas to the east of the mountains, such as the Canterbury Plains, some of the driest land in the country. The mountains themselves have extremely changeable weather; overzealous hikers are often caught unprepared in sudden cold snaps or unseasonable snow.

As you head south the weather does grow colder. Frost and snow are common in the Otago and Southland regions over the winter, and the area around Queenstown gets some of the best skiing and snowboarding conditions in the southern hemisphere. Overnight temperatures often dip below freezing even in coastal cities like Christchurch and Dunedin. In summer the south is generally mild and occasionally hot, but not often humid and sticky.

Stewart Island

Overall, the climate on Stewart Island is not that different from other parts of the country. What sets it apart is the fact that it can be very unpredictable. Being a small island, any change in wind direction can bring in a different weather system almost instantly. So while you can expect comfortable summer days in the 60s and 70s and cool winter days in the 40s or 50s, you have to be ready for any weather at any time.

As you can see, it’s important to be prepared for anything when you plan a day out in New Zealand. While the average conditions are easy to handle, things can change quickly with a shift in wind direction, and you may just get to experience those four seasons in one day, ready or not!


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Living Abroad New Zealand.

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Buying Property in New Zealand https://moon.com/2016/03/buying-property-in-new-zealand/ https://moon.com/2016/03/buying-property-in-new-zealand/#respond Fri, 18 Mar 2016 19:02:27 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=38765 Buying property in New Zealand is a big investment. While the process itself isn't much more or less complicated than elsewhere, there are a handful of unique considerations to be made. Here are explanations of leaky liability, cross-leases, and common terms used in reference to housing and real estate.

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Buying property in New Zealand is a big investment. While the process itself isn’t much more or less complicated than elsewhere, there are a handful of unique considerations to be made. Here are explanations of leaky liability, cross-leases, and common terms used in reference to housing and real estate.

A typical small town house in rural New Zealand. Photo © Gina Smith/123rf.

A typical small town house in rural New Zealand. Photo © Gina Smith/123rf.

Leaky Liability

Generally speaking, the newer a house is, the less likely it is to need major repairs. However, this generality doesn’t always apply to houses and apartments built in New Zealand between 1990 and 2005. During this time, a combination of factors allowed faulty building materials to be approved without proper testing. Poorly treated timber was used in framing; it subsequently allowed moisture to penetrate the wood, which has caused rotting frames and leaky buildings.

During this time, a combination of factors allowed faulty building materials to be approved without proper testing.This was a widespread problem—some estimates put the number of affected homes at over 15,000. The government introduced a resolution service for people affected by the problem, through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

If you are considering buying or renting a house that may have been built during the affected period, check carefully for signs of moisture damage on the walls, ceilings, and floors. Ask the agent or landlord whether there have been any leaks, and if you are buying, check the land information memorandum (LIM) to see whether any claims have been lodged or repairs have been done. If you are buying an apartment, check with the body corporate to see if there have been reports of leaks, and if they have been repaired. Ask what the repairs cost and how owners were charged. If new problems arise, does everyone pay an equal share, or does the affected owner pay his or her own costs?

Not only are leaky homes expensive to fix, they can also ruin your possessions and make the house unlivable. The faulty materials have since been taken off the market, so anything built now shouldn’t have these issues. Anything built before 1990 or after 2005 should also be fine, although many older homes suffer structural damage eventually. With so many homes affected, however, owners are keen to dump these problem properties, so buyer beware.

Half a Property?

Traditionally, New Zealand houses were built on quarter-acre lots so that everyone had a large garden to enjoy. But as cities have become more densely populated, the demand for housing has inspired many homeowners to subdivide their lots into two sections using a cross-lease (or X-lease), so that a second house can be built on what was once the backyard.

These subdivided properties create “infill housing.” This means that although an area has been completely developed, new properties are built in the leftover spaces, increasing the population. Living in one of these homes means sacrificing a backyard, and often living very close to your neighbor.

If you are buying a larger property, it is a good idea to find out whether you would be allowed to create two sections from it, as this can raise the value of your purchase. The local council determines where it will allow these divisions, and on which sections.

If you are buying a property on a section that has already been subdivided, apply to the local council for a land information memorandum (LIM), which will tell you whether the division was legally done. If not, you could run into a legal ownership nightmare later on. If you are buying the cross-leased portion of the section, you are actually buying a 100-year leasehold on the land, rather than a freehold title.

The closer to a major city you live, the more likely you are to find sections that have been split this way. If every section on the street has been subdivided, you might find that traffic is heavier than the street was designed for, or that there are a lot of cars parked on the road. These factors will all affect the value of your home in the long run.

Housing Terms in New Zealand

Reading a real estate listing can sometimes seem like trying to crack a secret code. Here are some common terms and abbreviations you’re likely to come across.

Housing Terms

  • cottage—small house with 1-3 bedrooms, usually older
  • villa—old Victorian house, more spacious than a cottage
  • bach—holiday home (sometimes also called a “crib” on the South Island)
  • apartment—condominium unit in a multiunit building, usually a high-rise
  • unit—part of a multiunit dwelling, usually low-rise or semidetached
  • carport—a covered parking spot for a car, not a garage

Real Estate Abbreviations

  • ac—air conditioning
  • BBO/BEO—buyer’s budget over/buyer enquiry over (minimum asking price)
  • bir—built-in closet (the “r” here stands for “robe,” short for wardrobe)
  • bv—brick veneer
  • det—detached
  • elhws—electric hot water service
  • ens—ensuite bathroom
  • f/furn—fully furnished
  • gge—garage
  • ghws—gas hot water service
  • GV/QV—government valuation/quotable valuation
  • ldr—lounge/dining room
  • neg—negotiable
  • osp—off-street parking
  • pa—per annum
  • pmth—per month
  • pw—per week
  • rf—roof
  • s’out—sleepout cabin
  • tf—timber frame
  • ww crpt—wall-to-wall carpet

Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Living Abroad New Zealand.

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Why Move to New Zealand? https://moon.com/2016/03/why-move-to-new-zealand/ https://moon.com/2016/03/why-move-to-new-zealand/#respond Tue, 15 Mar 2016 15:02:50 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=38735 Why New Zealand? That's the question author Michelle Waitzman was asked most often as she prepared to move there from her home in Toronto. Here she talks about the reasons why she chose New Zealand, reasons why others might make the same choice, and what she loves about her new home.

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Why New Zealand? That was the question I was asked most often as I prepared to move there from my home in Toronto. The answer is not a simple one. This country calls out to many of us, for a variety of reasons. For me, it was the clean air, scaling back to a smaller city, and enjoying a healthier, more active lifestyle. For others, it’s an escape from the rat race or a safe place to raise their children. Whatever the specific reasons are, people usually move to New Zealand for a lifestyle change.

Horses on pasture. Photo © Michelle Waitzman.

Horses on pasture in New Zealand. Photo © Michelle Waitzman.

People usually move to New Zealand for a lifestyle change.New Zealand’s first immigrants came from Polynesia. The Maori settled in this cool, southern land they called Aotearoa (The Land of the Long, White Cloud). For centuries they had the place to themselves, until European whalers and sealers arrived and made themselves at home, too. So began the long and tenuous coexistence of New Zealand’s two dominant cultures—British and Maori.

Kiwis, as the New Zealanders call themselves, are generally a very friendly bunch. People here value humility and resourcefulness. When you’re this isolated from the rest of the world, you’ve got to help each other out. That’s what being a Kiwi is all about.

Living in New Zealand has many advantages. The unemployment rate is low, it’s a comparatively safe country to live in, and there is a great attitude toward finding balance in your life. On top of that, the scenery and recreational opportunities are unbeatable! Mountains, beaches, forests, lakes, rivers, glaciers, and even active volcanoes make this a fascinating country to explore.

Urban lifestyles in New Zealand are also more laid-back than in larger countries. With just one city of over a million people, this is not the height of cosmopolitan living, but there are plenty of shops, cafés, theaters, and restaurants in the main centers to keep you busy. You’ll have everything you need, even if you can’t necessarily find everything you want.

Moving to New Zealand probably won’t make you a millionaire or propel you up the corporate ladder. Instead, you’ll find yourself eventually slowing down to the rhythms of the South Pacific. It’s a place where one person can still make a difference, and people are willing to give just about anything a try, especially if someone says it can’t be done.

Without a doubt, moving to New Zealand changed my life. It allowed me to go for a hike in the bush without getting into a car first. I stopped having pollution-induced headaches. I paid more attention to when local produce was in season, instead of relying on imports from thousands of miles away. And perhaps most importantly, I fell in love with another immigrant who was looking for the same lifestyle change as I was. By most accounts, my immigration story was a success.

Your story will be different from mine, but with a bit of luck and the right attitude, you can also find your happy ending.

What I Love About New Zeland

  • Going for a hike in the bush without driving anywhere first
  • The tui, a bird that sounds like R2D2
  • Skiing on an active volcano
  • Having friendly conversations with complete strangers
  • Not hearing about “smog warnings”
  • Going to the beach on Christmas Day
  • Seeing people walk through town in bare feet
  • Watching the All Blacks perform a haka before every rugby match
  • Sir Edmund Hillary (the first person to climb Mount Everest) is on the $5 note, not a politician.
  • People politely asking where I’m from, because they don’t want to insult me by guessing wrong.
  • Even though it is a small country with little international influence, its leaders are not afraid to take an unpopular stand on an issue, even if it contradicts their closest allies.
  • Every time there’s a warm, sunny day, everyone goes outside, no matter what.
  • There are cities where 15 minutes in the car is considered a “long commute.”
  • Seeing dolphins or penguins in the harbor now and then
  • Stopping at the local dairy for an ice-cream cone after a “tramp” in the woods
  • The national animal is a bird that sleeps all day and can’t fly.
  • Kids are still allowed to climb the trees in the schoolyard.
  • Your boss would find it strange if you didn’t use all four weeks of your vacation time each year.
  • It will take me many, many years to try all of the local wines and decide which ones I like best.

Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Living Abroad New Zealand.

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Unique Plants and Animals of New Zealand https://moon.com/2016/03/unique-plants-animals-new-zealand/ https://moon.com/2016/03/unique-plants-animals-new-zealand/#respond Sun, 13 Mar 2016 19:01:13 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=38740 Back before humans showed up in New Zealand, the islands were isolated from contact with any other landmass for millions of years. This gave the native wildlife time to develop in some unique ways. Learn about the unique New Zealand plants and animals that have managed to survive the arrival of humans and non-native species, and ongoing preservation efforts.

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Back before humans showed up in New Zealand, the islands were isolated from contact with any other landmass for millions of years. This gave the native wildlife time to develop in some unique ways. New Zealand has only one kind of native mammal, a bat. On the other hand, there was once a huge variety of bird species thriving in the predator-free country, many of them having evolved into flightless birds because they had no need to fly away from attackers. This left them defenseless once the predators arrived.

A rescuer holds a kiwi bird in New Zealand.

A rescuer holds a kiwi bird in New Zealand. Photo © Duncan Davidson/123rf.

The possum population has gotten so out of hand that they actually outnumber sheep.When the first Maori settlers arrived and introduced animals from other Pacific Islands, many of the native species began to disappear, hunted into extinction by either human or beast. The arrival of European immigrants made the situation even worse. They brought their pets with them, not to mention farm animals like sheep and cows, as well as game animals to hunt. Today the native species continue to struggle against introduced pests such as the possum (originally brought over to farm for fur), the rabbit, and the rat. In fact, the possum population has gotten so out of hand that they actually outnumber sheep. The government has declared war on these fuzzy, unwanted immigrants, using specially targeted poisons in forests with large possum populations.

Some of the unique New Zealand species that have managed to survive the onslaught (so far) include the flightless brown kiwi, which has become the national symbol; the world’s largest parrot, called the kakapo; and the world’s heaviest insect, the weta. New Zealand remains a great location for whale-watching, and its waters are also home to orcas (killer whales), several kinds of dolphins, fur seals, sea lions, and the adorable little blue penguin.

A native New Zealand paua shell rests on a rocky South Island beach.

A native New Zealand paua shell rests on a rocky South Island beach. Photo © pilens/123rf.

Another icon of New Zealand wildlife is the paua. Paua is a kind of abalone found in New Zealand, and the seaweed and algae on which it feeds give it a vibrant blue and green mother-of-pearl shell. The shells were traditionally used by the Maori to decorate wood carvings, but now they are popular for making jewelry and are sometimes referred to as “sea opals.” The meat of the paua is prized as well and often made into fritters.

The native flora of New Zealand has also taken a beating since humans arrived. The Maori burned native bush to help them hunt the large (and now extinct) flightless bird called the moa. Europeans cleared huge areas to create pastures for their farm animals. Native trees like kauri and rimu were harvested extensively for building materials and furniture.

Despite all of that, there are still many areas of lush, green parkland in New Zealand. Cabbage trees and tree ferns such as the ponga have become as emblematic of the country as the kiwi itself. Ferns can be found just about everywhere, with over 160 species native to New Zealand. Over one-third of the country is now protected as national parks or forest parks. The Department of Conservation oversees the use of these areas, so any logging or clearing has to be specifically approved.

Pathway through dense temperate rainforest tree ferns in New Zealand,

Pathway through dense temperate rainforest tree ferns in New Zealand, Photo © Dmitry Naumov/123rf.

The government takes protection of the country’s ecosystem very seriously. It has strict biosecurity measures aimed at preventing new species of just about anything from entering the country and posing a threat to the native wildlife. This applies to plants, and fines are routinely issued to people who try to enter the country with something as seemingly innocent as a piece of fruit or a sandwich. So remember not to pack too many snacks when you fly into New Zealand.


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Living Abroad New Zealand.

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The New Zealand Lifestyle https://moon.com/2016/03/new-zealand-lifestyle/ https://moon.com/2016/03/new-zealand-lifestyle/#respond Thu, 10 Mar 2016 18:05:32 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=37400 What will life be like for you in New Zealand? That answer is as individual as you are. Whether you’re off to become a banker in Auckland, a student in Southland, or a farmer in Marlborough, there is a good chance you can find a lifestyle that suits you.

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New Zealand offers a lifestyle that is generally more relaxed and balanced than life in big American or European cities. Outside of Auckland, long commutes to work are unusual and traffic gridlock is practically unheard of. People have leisure time to spend with their families, and neighbors actually get to know each other.

While the urgency of American life may seem to be missing, New Zealanders get things done their own way—with quiet determination and a steely commitment to do whatever it takes. They call it “mucking in,” and it’s as much a part of New Zealand life as beer and rugby. You’ll rarely hear the phrase “that’s not my job,” as people here are not hung up on those details. Instead they will focus their efforts wherever they are needed most and get on with it. This attitude applies both in the working world and in the community, where people often fix their own homes and take on other community projects.

Rugby and beer are a winning combination in New Zealand. Photo © by David Blaiki, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Rugby and beer are a winning combination in New Zealand. Photo © by David Blaiki, licensed Creative Commons usage.

As with other Western countries, people in New Zealand are marrying later and having fewer children than they have in the past. At the same time the number of single-parent families is increasing, as is the number of unmarried couples living together. The number of married couples without dependent children is also on the rise, mostly due to baby boomers whose kids have grown up and moved out.

Kiwis take full advantage of the natural features of their country. They have a very high rate of participation in a range of outdoor activities including hiking (which they call tramping), mountain biking, skiing/snowboarding, boating, surfing, and gardening. Team sports like rugby, cricket, and netball are also popular at a grassroots level. You won’t find many couch potatoes in New Zealand.

Even in the big cities, the great outdoors are easy to access. Auckland is practically surrounded by water and boasts one of the highest rates of boat ownership in the world. It’s easy to see why they call it “The City of Sails.” Sailing is popular all over the country, from the local hobbyist to the Olympic level. Auckland played host to the 2000 America’s Cup yacht races, taking its place among the sailing capitals of the world.

While people in New Zealand may be laid-back in their daily lives, they have also garnered a reputation for going to extremes when it comes to entertaining themselves. It is the birthplace of bungee jumping, with a variety of jumps now available all over the country. New Zealand is also a hot spot for other extreme activities like jet-boating, skydiving, and white-water rafting. The latest invention for the thrill-seeker is “Zorbing.” A Zorb is a huge, bouncy plastic ball that you can crawl inside of and roll your way down a hill, becoming totally disoriented. Kiwis may seem to have gone a bit over the top with this stuff, but remember it was a New Zealander, Sir Edmund Hillary, who first made it to the summit of Mount Everest with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay back in 1953. Hillary is New Zealand’s idea of a national hero, someone who sees a goal that others consider impossible and goes for it anyway—a true trailblazer!

New Zealanders often go to extremes while entertaining themselves. Photo ©

New Zealanders often go to extremes while entertaining themselves. Photo © Rich McCharles, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, and mountain biking may not be considered extreme by comparison, but they are all popular among New Zealand’s youth. Even the grown-ups are reluctant to stop participating in the sports they grew up with, so don’t be surprised if some of the surfers you see are sporting a few gray hairs!

When it’s time to sit back and relax, the average Kiwi will head to the local pub. Once almost exclusively the territory of men, particularly in rural areas, pubs now welcome women, although they may still be outnumbered. In the not-so-good old days pubs used to close at 6pm, causing a dangerous bout of binge drinking after work. The early closing laws have been abolished, but the problem of binge drinking remains one of New Zealand’s biggest social challenges. Drinking and driving is also a problem, particularly in smaller towns and cities where there is no reliable public transportation late at night.

Buying alcohol outside of pubs and bars is also quite easy. Even your local movie theater can provide you with your favorite drink to enjoy during the film, although the combination of wine and popcorn may take some getting used to! Shops and supermarkets are able to sell wine, beer, and sometimes premixed drinks. So if you run out of beer in the middle of the big game, you only have to pop over to the corner store, or “dairy,” to restock. For spirits and a larger selection of wines, you will need to head to a “bottle shop” (liquor store). If you’re eating out, it may be worthwhile to check if the restaurant is “BYO;” if it is, you can bring your own bottle of wine and for a small corkage fee they will serve it to you there. You can save a few dollars compared with buying wine from the restaurant, and you’ll be able to choose any bottle that you like. The legal age to purchase alcohol in New Zealand is 18, but parents and legal guardians are permitted to provide alcohol to minors under their care.

If the phrase “New Zealand cuisine” doesn’t bring anything to mind, that’s not surprising. The country is not known for its culinary style. The Maori stayed well fed historically by hunting birds for meat, fishing, and eating kumara. When the British came, they brought their own brand of bland, meat-and-potatoes cooking with them. Until very recently, the staples of the Kiwi diet were meat pies (just called pies here), fish-and-chips, and of course lamb. With the influx of immigrants from other cultures, there is now more to choose from at the supermarket. Indian and Asian ingredients are easy to find in the major cities, and ethnic and fusion restaurants serve up some distinctive dishes. A wide range of imported fruits is now available in stores, although they can be expensive. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are of excellent quality, but you’ll have to pay attention to what is in season at which time of year.

Cattle near Egmont National Park in New Zealand.

Cattle near Egmont National Park in New Zealand. Photo © Dave Young, licensed Creative Commons usage.

New Zealand’s strong dairy industry means that fresh milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream are widely available and of excellent quality. You won’t find a lot of imported cheese, but you will be able to find the domestic version of all the most popular overseas varieties including cheddar, mozzarella, brie, blue, feta, edam, and Colby jack. Ice cream is popular all year long, and domestic brands like Tip Top and Kapiti are sold alongside international names such as Mövenpick and Cadbury.

So what will life be like for you in New Zealand? That answer is as individual as you are. Whether you’re off to become a banker in Auckland, a student in Southland, or a farmer in Marlborough, there is a good chance you can find a lifestyle that suits you. There’s no doubt that any move of this size will be a shock to your system, but it may be just the shock you’ve been looking for. It’s a small country with a big heart, so open yourself up to a new world and a new life in New Zealand.


Excerpted from the third edition of Moon Living Abroad New Zealand.

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New Zealand’s Prime Living Locations: Auckland https://moon.com/2016/03/new-zealands-prime-living-locations-auckland/ https://moon.com/2016/03/new-zealands-prime-living-locations-auckland/#respond Wed, 09 Mar 2016 20:07:59 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=38763 Once you’ve committed to making your move to New Zealand, choosing a place to live is probably the biggest decision you’ll face. Living in Auckland is popular because it offers the widest range of cultures, employers, and products in New Zealand.

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Once you’ve committed to making your move to New Zealand, choosing a place to live is probably the biggest decision you’ll face. New Zealand is roughly the same size as Great Britain or Japan, so you can’t expect to have the same landscape, climate, or work opportunities in every part of the country.

Aerial view of Auckland suburbs. Photo © pstedrak/123rf.

Aerial view of Auckland suburbs. Photo © pstedrak/123rf.

The North Island is somewhat more cosmopolitan, but if you’re looking to get away from it all, it may not be the best choice.New Zealand has a wide range of towns and cities, some bustling with business and others enjoying life at a snail’s pace. You need to find the region or city that best suits your needs and the lifestyle you’re hoping to achieve.

To begin with, there is the matter of choosing between the North and South Islands. The South Island is less populated and has more spectacular mountains, but with a sparser population there is less development and infrastructure. The North Island is somewhat more cosmopolitan, but if you’re looking to get away from it all, it may not be the best choice.

I recommend making a list of what you’re looking for in your new home. Include things like the types of work that have to be available, activities you’d like to do (such as skiing or sailing, which depend on being in an appropriate place), conveniences you consider important (such as shopping malls, multiplex cinemas, or fitness clubs), and what sort of climate you’re comfortable in. Then as you consider your options, it’s easier to see which places meet your needs.

Auckland

The majority of immigrants end up settling in Greater Auckland, which is no surprise considering it houses about a third of the country’s population. But for some newcomers, living in a city of over one million inhabitants almost defeats the purpose of moving to a small country. Immigration New Zealand would prefer newcomers to be spread throughout the country, so to stem the flow of immigrants into the city, they award extra points on visa applications for moving anywhere other than Auckland. You can improve your chances of being granted residency by accepting a job or starting a business outside of Auckland, but for many, Auckland will still be the best option.

Maps - Living Abroad New Zealand 3e - Auckland

Auckland

Living in Auckland is popular because it offers the widest range of cultures, employers, and products in New Zealand. The latest figures show that more than half a million of the city’s population of 1.4 million were born in another country. Due to the sheer number of consumers, many items are available in Auckland but difficult to find in other parts of the country. This can be especially important to immigrants, who are sometimes looking for familiar items from home. Many Muslim immigrants settle in Auckland for the greater availability of halal foods, and Jewish immigrants find the same advantage when looking for kosher foods (although they are still difficult to find). Other ethnic groceries are easier to buy in Auckland as well, making the transition easier on Asian, Southeast Asian, and European immigrants.

The comfort of having other immigrants from your homeland around is something that attracts a lot of people to Auckland. It is large enough to have significant multicultural communities, so that immigrants don’t feel alone. If hanging out with other expats is important to you, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a group of them in Auckland no matter which culture you’re from. There are, of course, immigrant communities in other parts of New Zealand, but they are smaller and more scattered.

If you are from a smaller town or city, Auckland can be overwhelmingly large. This is a big, sprawling city, and many compare it to Los Angeles (although it’s not as huge) due to the fact that most residents commute in and out of the city daily on a series of congested highways. On a more positive note, Auckland is almost surrounded by stunning bays and extinct volcanoes, making it one of the most scenic large cities in the world.

Most national offices for New Zealand companies are located in Auckland, as are the New Zealand offices of many multinational corporations. So for employment, it is by far the largest pool to draw from. The only industries for which Auckland doesn’t offer the most opportunities are primary industries like agriculture, forestry, and government.


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Living Abroad New Zealand.

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Moving Your Pet to New Zealand https://moon.com/2016/03/moving-your-pet-new-zealand/ https://moon.com/2016/03/moving-your-pet-new-zealand/#comments Fri, 04 Mar 2016 20:02:54 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=38764 It’s hard to say goodbye to a pet, but it can be very complicated to immigrate to New Zealand with one. Before you make a decision about bringing your pet with you, ensure you're well-informed and take all of these issues into consideration.

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It’s hard to say goodbye to a pet, but it can be very complicated to immigrate with one. Before you make a decision about bringing your pet with you to New Zealand, take all of the issues into consideration. You’ll need to start the process up to six months before you move, ensuring that your pet has the proper medical clearance. The long journey could be very hard on some animals, particularly older ones, and then they are going to be stuck in quarantine for a month after arriving in New Zealand. All in all, moving your dog or cat to New Zealand is likely to cost several thousand dollars.

Moving your dog to New Zealand will cost you.

Moving your pet to New Zealand can be complicated and expensive. Photo © Eli Duke, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Certain breeds of dog have been banned in New Zealand, and if your pet is one of these, you will not be allowed to bring it into the country.Before you even consider moving your dog or cat, a visit to the vet is necessary. Your pet will need up-to-date rabies shots, a microchip, and certain blood tests required by New Zealand. The Ministry for Primary Industries is in charge of animal imports and can give you all of the forms and details. A rabies test must be taken at least six months before the animal comes to New Zealand, and the test will be repeated before the animal can leave quarantine.

There are only five approved quarantine facilities in the whole country, so you’ll have to arrange a place for your pet and pay the boarding fees, which run $15-50 per day depending on the facility and the size of your pet. Because of this quarantine rule, your pet will be met at the airport by a ministry official and taken directly to quarantine. You’ll be able to visit with your pet during the 30 days of quarantine, but this can still be a pretty traumatic period for a dog or cat to endure.

Certain breeds of dog have been banned in New Zealand, and if your pet is one of these, you will not be allowed to bring it into the country: American pit bull terrier, Dogo Argentino, Japanese tosa, and Brazilian fila. Crossbreeds containing those breeds are also banned.

Dangers to Your Pet

Your pet should be quite safe in New Zealand. Rabies and other diseases are well controlled here. Keeping your pet’s shots up to date should take care of most major diseases. Your pet may occasionally suffer a bout of fleas, but this is easily treated.

Many dog owners in New Zealand allow their dogs to walk off leash. This is not officially encouraged, but it is not often prosecuted unless there is an attack of some kind. This means that your dog is always in some potential danger from other, aggressive dogs. If your cat is an outdoor cat, it will also be exposed to more aggressive animals.

One major danger to dogs in the bush and parkland areas is a poison used to control the possum population. The poison is called 1080, and it takes the form of green pellets. If your dog eats any of these pellets or tries to eat a dead possum that has been poisoned, it can be fatal. There is no antidote to 1080, so keep a close eye on pets in the wilderness.

Buying a Pet in New Zealand

Keeping pets is common in New Zealand, so you’ll have no trouble finding an animal companion for your family after you settle in. Dogs and cats are the most common pets. Buying from reputable breeders is the best way to be sure you’re getting a healthy, well-bred pet. Animal shelters, like the SPCA, have dogs and cats waiting for adoption. Puppy mills do exist in New Zealand, so it’s best to avoid buying a dog or cat from an unknown breeder or pet shop.

Cats are often allowed to wander outside, but it is up to you whether you would prefer to have an indoor cat. With the way people drive in New Zealand, I’d be pretty keen to keep my pets off the streets! Along with dogs and cats, you will be able to purchase birds, fish, and other popular companions. Snakes are not permitted in New Zealand.

Dogs must be registered annually, which costs anywhere from $50 to over $100. Registration is done at the regional level, so check with the regional council where you live for its fees and regulations. Domestic dogs must also get microchipped. Rules and fees differ for working dogs on farms and for special needs dogs.


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Living Abroad New Zealand.

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