Questions and answers: why New Zealand is a good place to live in

"10 (või rohkem, kui sa pidama ei saa) põhjust, miks Uus-Meremaa on just SINU arvates väga hea koht, kus elada ja 10 (või vähem, kui neid lihtsalt pole) põhjust, miks Uus-Meremaa ei ole see kõige parem koht elamiseks. Kniks. :)" Ave

"10 (or more if you cannot stop) reasons why YOU think New Zealand is a very good place to live and 10 (or fewer if there aren't that many) reasons why New Zealand isn't the best place to live. Cheers :)."

I will list them in the order of importance, to me personally.

Why New Zealand is a very good place to live in

1. I like it here. I know, it's not really an answer, but... to me, personally, it's a combination of things which in a nutshell mean that I fit in here. I feel that in most ways I am able to just "be me" without having to contort into some... role of what the people around me expect me to be by an age x, y, whatever.

2. Freedom. It's got to do with its history and its physical remoteness and the fact that it is so ethnically diverse, but I find that New Zealand doesn't set many expectations on what a person "should" be like in order to live without the fear of stigmatization or persecution. The right of speech is upheld, criticism of the government is tolerated (even if not welcomed), there are many allowances to various religious practices. Same-sex couples (and marriages) are relatively common and I believe that within a decade euthanasia will be legalised.

3. Safety. In big cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch it is a little different already, of course - I think big cities come with a certain amount of crime by default - but when I was backpacking around New Zealand in 2009 and then living in Wanaka until 2012, in most places people didn't even bother to lock their cars or houses. I could regularly see people leave their bikes, prams and scooters outside shops, cafes and libraries without much fear of them being stolen. I often talk to passersby, make friends at children's playgrounds, loads of people hitchhike. Crime exists, yes, and even violent crime, but generally speaking - it is a safe place to bring up children.

4. Scenery. I could write about The Lord of the Rings and upload many photos of the places I've been to, but the bottom line is that New Zealand is so intensely packed with various forms of scenic beauty that it's almost ridiculous. South island - especially the bottom of the south island and its west coast - is basically mountains speckled with some towns and a scattering of farmland and the fact that it remains this way is both a nod to conservationist and to how difficult such a landscape is to tame, engineering-wise.

5. Outdoor accessibility. Kind of related to point 4: on the south island there is SO MUCH SPACE and so few towns that even from Christchurch which is a big city (360k people, if I remember correctly?) it's relatively easy to get out and go places. There is 27 000 km2 of national parks on the south island alone.

6. Healthcare. New Zealand has a public healthcare system and though for many appointments and procedures there are extended waiting times, (generally speaking) personnel are qualified, approaches modern, drugs accessible and hospitals well-equipped. And patient's choices and autonomy are respected.

7. Friendly, approachable people. I think it's got to do with a low level of crime, with an Australian kind of a manana attitude, with the scarcity of urban living, with an abundance of foreign travellers and migrants in the country at any given time - and many reasons more - but I find that New Zealand is a very easy place to talk to people and hang out. Making friends among locals is a little more complex than that, but when it comes to migrants, especially recent migrants - in New Zealand it is rather easy to make friends.

8. Education. As my children are 1 and 4 then I am not in the schooling system with them yet, only preschool, but I can see that there are very varied approaches to education available - and there is a lot of discussion around approaches, which in itself says to me that the system is adaptable and versatile. Public schools are zoned by people's home addresses (we are zoned for three schools of which I'll need to choose one) and private and semi-private schools are mostly zone-free, but can have hefty tuition fees. I'm still ambivalent about what I think about the size of schools though. Year 1-8 students are mostly in primary schools with rolls of around 400-500 students, but high schools (Year 8-15) can easily be over 1000 students each. I assume it would be kind of like going to university was for me, that everyone goes to their classes and has a separate schedule, but at this stage I simply don't know. Yet.

9. Standard of living. It depends on what I compare it to, really, but all in all I think New Zealand is a place where almost everyone can have an acceptable standard of living and an income. As I backpacked around New Zealand in 2009-2010, I worked mostly on farms and vineyards earning either minimum wage or close to it ($13-$15 an hour), but even with the minimum wage I was able to spend only 50% of my time employed and the rest I could use for travelling. I lived in backpacker's hostels, did a lot of hiking, paid off a credit card debt which I used for coming to New Zealand in the first place and had enough money to then travel home or go to Australia or whatever. Basically, got by, and had some left over. And if I had spent more of my time employed, I probably would've saved even better, though I would've travelled less.

10. Free time - a time off work commitments - is valued! Of course working is important, and it's nice to have a career that feels fulfilling, but! all in all it seems that in New Zealand people approach work as just something that has to be done, rather than a lifestyle in itself. People make time to enjoy themselves. They go camping, have Friday night fish'n'chips, a lot of men hunt or fish, houses often have large back yards, parks have picnic areas with tables, there's almost always people at children's playgrounds... Basically, here it is expected that I get to have time off work, and to enjoy myself, and do things. Kind of like I remember a French friend saying to me how bad it was when a French government wanted to make their 35-hour work week longer and how people marched streets to oppose the stuff.

***

Sorry, I haven't got time to finish it off. The Girlie has just woken from her afternoon nap. I guess I'll come back to the reasons of why it's not a good country to live in at some later time!

3 comments:

  1. I knew it! I´ll tell you this - on one day(in a couple or a couple more years, it doesn´t even matter) I will come to New Zealand too. And I will let you know ;)
    P.S. I won´t be changing my mind about it, no matter what you say about, why it`s not a good country to live in. But I might have to push the date for flying a little bit further into the future, when I calculate the cost of our whole family`s planetickets. :)

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  2. Mu abikaasa unistab juba aastaid kuidas ta müüb Eestis oma ettevõtte maha ja hakkab Uus-Meremaal farmeriks. Ma veidi veel kardan neid maavärinaid, aga põhimõtteliselt olen juba ta ideega päri :)

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  3. And P.P.S. "I could write about The Lord of the Rings and upload many photos of the places I've been to" - Please-please-please do!

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