Moving to New Zealand – The people & country

Haere Mai and welcome to New Zealand. Situated in the south-west pacific, approximately 1,500 kilometers east of Australia is one of the world’s most beautiful country, New Zealand, also known as Āotearoa.

With picturesque mountains overlooking breath-taking glaciers, subtropical forest, vast coastlines, and rich culture all within easy reach it’s understandable why New Zealand is a top destination to move to.

New Zealand, which includes two main islands, the North and South, as well as several smaller islands, has an unmatched quality of life and ranks highly in education, health, economic independence, and civil liberties.

If you are considering a move to New Zealand, there are some things you should know;

New Zealand’s History

New Zealand has a rich history that reflects both our Māori and European culture.

Archaeologists state that humans did not settle in New Zealand till 1250, when people from Eastern Polynesia arrived by canoe. Once settled these Eastern Polynesian people became the indigenous New Zealanders known as Māori.

The arrival of the first Europeans did not take place till 1642 when the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman anchored his ship in Golden Bay on South Island.

By 1830 there were increasing numbers of British settlers arriving in New Zealand and many large-scale land transactions taking place.

With many settlers acting disorderly the British Crown and 540 Māori Rangatria (chiefs) signed The Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, an agreement established to help protect Māori and their culture while giving the Crown the right to govern New Zealand.

Today, Āotearoa is home to five million people and is an independent and sovereign country, although the country’s monarch is still the one ruling the United Kingdom.

Te Reo Māori

Te Reo Māori is the native tongue of Māori New Zealanders and one of the three official languages of New Zealand. 

The Māori language is considered a national taonga (treasure)and is undergoing a revival to ensure that Te Reo remains a living language here in New Zealand. 

With the revitalisation efforts in full effect, you will commonly hear Teo Reo being used in everyday conversations. We recommend that before you arrive in Āotearoa, you attempt to learn some basic Maori greetings.

The Kiwi accent

To newcomers, how New Zealanders speak English might take some time to get used to. Kiwis speak very fast and in just a couple of words, a Kiwi can sound American, Australian, and South African.

Those planning to move over there should forget what they know about vowel sounds. For example, “i” sounds a lot more like “ugh,” which means phrases such as “fish and chips” sound more like “fush and chups”.

The farmland

Sheep vastly outnumber the people of this country – there are six sheep for every one resident of New Zealand! As the world’s largest lamb exporters, sheep farming is one of New Zealand’s more significant industries, with more than 16,000 sheep farms across the country.

Kiwi Slang

On top of their distinctive accent, Kiwis have developed their own unique slang.

For example, the cooler or cool box is known as “chilly bin,” cling film is called “glad wrap,” flip-flops are “jandals,” shorts are “stubbies,” and holiday home is “Bach.”

Learn a selection of kiwi expressions that are used everyday!  

New Zealand’s beautiful landscape

Āotearoa is simply breath-taking – national parks take up almost one-third of its territory, and you don’t have to travel far to experience their beauty. One of the most spectacular protected national parks is undoubtedly Wai-O-Tapu (“Sacred Waters”), situated on the North Island. It’s an area dotted with hot springs, well-known for their colourful appearance.

Another natural beauty is the Milford Sound fjord, located within the Fiordland National Park in the South Island. It’s one of the country’s top tourist destinations and home to many dolphins, penguins, seals, and whales. It’s no wonder that it was called “the eighth wonder of the world” by the famous English writer Rudyard Kipling.

NZ on set

Due to New Zealand’s diverse landscape, top-tier talent, and advanced technology, New Zealand has become a popular location for the film industry.

Āotearoa is the backdrop to popular films The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, Avatar, and King Kong.

Many of these filming locations are available to visit, including the popular tourist attraction from The Lord of the Rings – Hobbiton.

New Zealand is a hotbed of tectonic activity

At times New Zealand can be a little shaky. Situated on top of the Ring of Fire and many fault lines it is not uncommon for New Zealand to experience earthquakes.

But don’t panic, most people don’t even notice majority of the Earthquakes, and New Zealand has multiple safety precautions in place, in the event of a major quake.

The weather: Four seasons in one day

Although very close to Australia, which is well-known as one of the world’s hottest and sunniest countries, New Zealand has an entirely different climate.

Being surrounded by coast, New Zealand on a whole experiences mild temperature all year round. However, the weather is extremely unpredictable, and many places experience what locals’ joke is four seasons in a day.

There are some exceptions, the top of the North Island, known as The Bay of Islands, often experiences subtropical weather and is nicknamed the ‘winterless north.”

On the other hand, the bottom of the South Island regularly reaches temperatures of negative 10 degrees Celsius!

As a rule of thumb, the further south you head the colder it gets!

Keep safe in the sun!

Due to New Zealand’s low pollution levels and a hole in the Ozone layer, New Zealand experiences stronger UV radiation through sunlight that other countries.

It is essential to wear sunscreen daily when heading outside in the New Zealand summer, even on a cloudy day!

Kiwi’s love their sport

Writing about New Zealand and not mentioning rugby would not be right. Kiwis go crazy over the game – it is the national sport and the country’s national rugby team the “All Blacks” have won the Rugby Championship sixteen times as well as three Rugby World Cups.

One of the most interesting things about the All Blacks is that they begin each of their international games with the performance of “Haka,” a traditional ceremonial Māori dance used to their pride, strength, and unity.

We hope that you have found this article insightful for moving to New Zealand. If you’re considering moving to our little patch of paradise, get in touch with New Zealand Van Lines! We’re equipped with the expertise, experience, and resources to make your relocation experience an enjoyable and stress-free move down under.

Request a free moving quote today!