Life in New Zealand - Surprising Wins and Fails, Hits and Misses



The licorice is amazing. God knows why but New Zealand has superb licorice.


The cheese is appalling. There's Tasty, Mild, Colby and Edam. And they taste identical. Calling this stuff "tasty" should be a trade descriptions issue.

Maori culture is strong
(the same cannot be said for the indigenous people of Australia and North America)


Leaky home syndrome is the term given to the many houses built in the 1990s that are not weatherproof (due to monolithic cladding) and affects around 100,000 houses (Consumer, Oct 2002). Toxic mould leads to health problems and water logging leads to structural damage. Not good.

Cars are reasonable value. Although there are no NZ-made cars, Japanese imports are right hand drive and reliable.


Mullets are popular in New Zealand. The "business in the front, party in the back" hair style is everywhere. This dude has taken it even further, with the ginger mullet.

Life expect -ancy at birth in New Zealand (80 years) is better than in most of the world, including the UK (79 years) and the US (78 years).

(the best life expectancy in the world is Japan, at 83 years, and the worst is Swaziland, at 40 years)


No central heating - one of the biggest shocks to immigrants is that virtually no NZ houses have central heating because there's no gas supply. Most homes are heated using stand-alone electric heaters and wood burners. There's no thermostat keeping every room at a cosy 20°C.

The best coffee in the world. I haven't been able to work out why, but the coffee roasters, the coffee shops and the baristas of NZ are epic.


New Zealand has superb fresh produce and amazing fusion food.

Unfortunately, it also has the "sausage sizzle". This is a pet food grade sausage in a slice of nasty white bread.

Beautiful, empty beaches. OK, not really a surprise hit for New Zealand, but the beaches really do take your breath away.

I live next to the beach in suburban Christchurch, and take a walk on the beach every morning. Somehow it manages to look different every day and look beautiful every day.


"Hoons" is kiwi slang for kids that show off in uninsured, noisy cars. All the cities are plagued with weekend boy-racers going round and round and round.

Tragically, boys being idiots in cars = deaths. The death of several teenagers in one car is a common news story.


Kiwi Ingenuity. It's everywhere.



Long Haul
Flight Tips

Jet Lag Remedies
How to minimise jet lag on your next long-haul flight

New Zealand Television
How to get great TV and skip the adverts.

Words Describing New Zealand

Funny, Strange and Bizarre images of New Zealand

Christmas in New Zealand
A winter festival in the middle of summer?!?

Vegetable Gardening in New Zealand is so easy!

Top 10 Things to Pack in your Hand Luggage

12 Tips for Driving in New Zealand

Shocked by England after 5 years in New Zealand

New Zealand People described in just 5 words!

Top Tips for Shopping in New Zealand

New Zealand Media
So Bad it's Good

4 weird things you need to buy for your new life in New Zealand

The shocking failure rate of emigrating

Visiting England after five years in New Zealand

Gay New Zealand
Is New Zealand gay friendly?

Consumer Magazine mystery shoppers find disturbing high street practices

Shockingly bad New Zealand statistics
What they don't tell you at the New Zealand Expo

Great New Zealand Statistics Where New Zealand does really well. Some will surprise you.

Strange New Zealand Statistics

Christchurch Earthquake Photos
My house, neighbourhood and the local welfare effort.

Examples of offensively cynical New Zealand advertising

Life in New Zealand - Surprising Wins and Fails, Hits and Misses

Top 5 lessons I learned about emigrating
Thinking of emigrating? Read this first.

Top wine regions of New Zealand
Some of the best vineyards in the world.

New Zealand reduces incredibly high suicide rate

How did New Zealand reduce the incredibly high suicide rate?

New Zealand's wonderful wine
Not just sauvignon blanc

2 Missing Nutrients in the New Zealand Diet

Driving Dangerously
One of the highest road fatality rates in the world.

Banking in New Zealand
Excellent ... but expensive.

Quick questions and answers:

Where is New Zealand?
Population of New Zealand?
Basic Information and Country Facts about New Zealand