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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

New Zealand: Nature, Leisure, and Romance

For families and outdoorsy people, New Zealand hits the spot, but the high cost of living is a drawback.

The isolated island-country in Oceania used to be a British colony until the 20th century, and is still today a member of the Commonwealth. As such, it should not come as a surprise that the Brits are the largest group of New Zealand's expatriates, making up 31% of the total expat population.

Expat Statistics 2015

Expat statistics for New Zealand - infographic
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Well-Being in Wellington

Many respondents have come to New Zealand in search of a better quality of life; 23% list this as the single most important reason for their relocation, while globally less than half (9%) say the same. Whether expats have found the high-quality life they were looking for is open to interpretation, though, as New Zealand only ranks 25th out of 64 countries in the Quality of Life Index.

As one might expect, New Zealand excels in the Leisure Options and the Health, Safety & Well-Being subcategories of the index, ranking fifth and eighth, respectively. More than half of the respondents (53%) find available leisure options to be very good, a lot more than the worldwide 32%. Expats apparently struggle with getting around, however, as 41% give a negative score to the country's transport infrastructure. Since globally only 23% of their colleagues feel the same, this also explains New Zealand's drop in the Quality of Life Index somewhat.

Settling in in New Zealand, on the other hand, seems to be exceptionally effortless; the country makes it to the second place in the Ease of Settling In Index, surpassed only by Mexico. Four out of five did not have much trouble getting used to the local culture, and 77% feel more or less at home in it (vs. the worldwide 60% and 61%, respectively).

New Zealand's gorgeous nature also seems to provide a good environment for romance: 18% of the surveyed moved to the country mainly to live in the homeland of their partner, and 11% because of their partner's job or education. Furthermore, 73% say that they are in a relationship, more than ten percentage points above the global average of 62%.

No Need to Work around the Clock

Work life in New Zealand receives generally favorable reviews from the participants, as the country ranks eighth in the Working Abroad Index. Expats are particularly happy about their work-life balance: more than three-quarters (78%) rate this factor approvingly, while globally only 61% share this feeling. Expatriates with a full-time job in New Zealand also work two and a half hours less in a week than the global average (42.4 vs. 44.9 hours/week).

While the extra free time as well as the high job security - New Zealand ranks 12th in the latter subcategory - are appreciated, conditions for pursuing a career in New Zealand are not among the best in the world. Career prospects in the country are regarded positively by 56% of the expats, exactly the same amount as the global average.

Pricey Properties

Kiwis, as the locals call themselves, might be used to paying a fortune for their apartments and estates, but expats certainly are not: over three-fifths (61%) are unhappy with the affordability of housing, which clearly exceeds the worldwide average of 42%.

Not only housing is expensive, though. Ranking 44th in the Cost of Living Index, New Zealand is among the pricier destinations in the world. Around the globe about half of the participants (51%) are happy with the cost of living in their respective host country. In New Zealand, however, only 35% of the expats consider the costs of living in general to be reasonable.

The living expenses might be lofty, but the other side of the coin is a prospering and stable economy. Over four-fifths of the respondents (82%) are pleased with the economic conditions and none of them regard them as very bad.

Kiwis Care about Kids

Bringing family along to New Zealand is not a bad idea, as the country ranks as the fifth best in the Family Life Index. A majority of expat parents in New Zealand find childcare to be widely available (66% compared to the global 45%), even if costs are met with slightly less enthusiasm: only 39% are pleased with the affordability of childcare. Children's education receives favorable ratings, both in terms of options and quality, ranking 8th and 10th out of 41 countries, respectively. Overall, the majority of expat parents in New Zealand (65%) has opted to send their kids to local state schools, followed by local private schools (25%) - note that multiple answers were possible here.

Further Reading