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

1 Buy a dehumidifier

An astonishing 45% of NZ homes suffer from problems associated with moisture (Source: NZ Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority). And high moisture levels are associated with health problems including asthma, eczema and headaches.

A dehumidifier makes an enormous difference to most NZ houses. Homes become healthier and less expensive to heat.

The official line from EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) is to “address the source of the moisture problem first” but the real problem is the poor build quality of NZ houses. They are poorly weatherproofed, poorly insulated, single glazed and poorly ventilated.

This one purchase improved my quality of life in New Zealand more than anything else. I know that sounds daft but it's true!

2 Buy a fleece jacket

As the weather forecast above shows, it can go from very hot to very cold in just a few hours. Here, the temperature in Christchurch fell by a whopping 19°C, from 25°C in the day to 6°C at night. Down the road in Ashburton, it was even more dramatic, falling 22°C, from 26°C in the day to 4°C at night.

Even more bizarrely, the weather forecast on the left predicted a hot day ... with snow showers. So keep a fleece handy!

3 Buy storage jars for the kitchen

The weather that's attractive to us is also attractive to bugs and mice. It took me a while to figure it out, but you have to be super careful with packets of food or the bugs will have a feast. And invite their mates.
Fresh fruit and vegetables seem to be fine. Anything in the fridge is fine.

But flour, cereals, uncooked spaghetti and even dried herbs get infested unless they're in airtight containers.

So buy lots of storage jars for the kitchen.

Bizarre Tip: Glass containers are healthier and better for the environment but plastic containers do better in an earthquake.

4 Get sunscreen and hats

The New Zealand sun is strong, even in winter. I've heard it's due to low pollution and less ozone. But the bottom line is you can burn in minutes and New Zealand has the highest rate of skin cancers in the world.

The health campaign message says “slip, slop, slap and wrap” (Slip on a shirt, Slop on the sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Wrap around sunglasses)

It makes sense to protect yourself.

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