I live in Wellington, New Zealand, but born in South Africa. My wife and I migrated to NZ in 2010 due to a number of reasons. Since living here, we have come to realise just how much we were missing out on while living in South Africa. Read on to find out why I choose to stay here, why I love it here, and why I will remain here as long as I can. New Zealand is an immigrant country. For 400 years immigrants have steadily re-homed themselves and their families on the two islands that make up this wonderful country. Immigrants have made this country their home in the hope of a better future for themselves and their children.
The reasons why these families left their countries may vary, but the reasons they picked New Zealand – and continue to stay – are very similar. And I’ll try to encompass them below.
Your opinion is your own, and you have the right to speak your mind. It may not be correct. It may not be agreeable. But you are allowed to have an opinion nonetheless.
Atheist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, it doesn’t matter. You are free to believe what you want.
There just seems to be a general respect for you as a person. Who you are, the way you want to live, what you want to believe in. Regardless of what your stature is?—?toilet cleaner or CEO?—?you are respected.
I can walk around a shop without feeling like the shop attendant is watching my every move with suspicion. I can test drive a car without feeling like I’m signing my life away.
When phoning a call centre, the usual “Please provide your name and account number” is sufficient. I don’t have to provide 500 answers to other security questions.
New Zealand has consistently been in the top 3 most peaceful countries since it was founded. Ok, well definitely for the last 5 years. With it topping the list twice during that period. ’nuff said.
4) Community and family driven
Many initiatives and events seem to be community and family driven. Local councils actively implement and maintain parks, walks, and community areas to benefit the people.
Communities really get behind and support local initiatives such as school fundraisers or charity events. It feels good when I’ve actively been involved in a local initiative. Something I never had the opportunity of in South Africa.
New Zealand is known as a ‘Green’ country. It continues to push the envelope when it comes to environmental concerns. Recycling options are standard wherever you go. You are not frowned upon when you want to become more self-sustainable, or when you are looking at options to further decrease your carbon footprint.
6) Quality of life
All amenities are available, and actively maintained. Public transport works. Schools are amazing. Crime is low. There is not a lot to complain about at all.
I never got the sense of patriotism for my birth country. After being in NZ for almost 3 years, I feel more patriotic for this country than South Africa. There seems to be an unspoken bond between the people that live here. It might be the location, it might be the earthquakes, but there is just something that brings us together as a kiwi nation.
The people of this nation seem to be the first priority. The government is approachable, and have the sense of being ordinary human beings.
To give you an idea – I’ve seen John Key, the current Prime Minister, casually talking on a morning talk show, attending a sheep shearing contest, and on the red carpet at The Hobbit premiere (complete with him wearing elf ears).
I get the impression that my voice matters.
Although there area a multitude of other reasons I choose to stay in New Zealand, these were the highlights.
Don’t get me wrong, NZ is not without it’s problems. But it is most definitely the country for me, my family, and our future.
[Featured image: Flickr user Domen Jakus]