Reasons to move to New Zealand
New Zealand has made it onto screens worldwide of late, sadly the story starts for all the wrong reasons — a massacre which would take the lives of 50 people — but the story would not end there and placed New Zealand on the map for all the right reasons as well.
For amid a national (and international) tragedy, the Kiwis would band together in solidarity to show the world how things are done. In the aftermath of a terror attack the country would illustrate a profound sense of camaraderie and empathy. People from all walks of life would join hands to pray to their respective gods; a call to heal the broken, restore the peace and allow each man, woman and child their place in the sun.
Mere days after the attack Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the banning of all military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles as well as the parts used to convert such weapons. Multiple weapons have already been reclassified as ‘military-style’ which will make them harder to acquire in the interim until the legislation has been formally passed. It is important to note that this is not an example of draconian gun control, but rather a demonstration of the swift action and intent at harmony which underscores a New Zealand governance and its society.
5 Reasons to immigrate to New Zealand
If the abovementioned news is not cause enough to urge you towards considering the island nation as your new home, then perhaps some further prompts to intrigue the global traveller in you.
For who would not want to live in a country which simply keeps on giving?
1.Resilience in action
New Zealand’s resilience in the wake of disaster has been demonstrated multiple times before the terror attack of March 2019.
One particular example which awes the world is certainly the Christchurch Restart Mall or Re:START Mall as it is publicly known. On 22 February 2011 an earthquake struck New Zealand’s South Island. It was centred 10 kilometres from Christchurch. Though it measured 6.2 on the Richter scale, the earthquake caused widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure and claimed 185 lives.
In the aftermath of the earthquake New Zealand immediately jumped in to restore homes, businesses and infrastructure, the result being a series of temporary structures from where businesses affected by the earthquake could generate an income while the city was being rebuilt. The temporary structures — mostly container homes — would become a beacon of hope for locals and a demonstration of resilience and ingenuity to the rest of the world. Originally listed as the world’s ‘most bizarre sight’ by Lonely Planet, tourists flocked to the area to catch a glimpse of the business district. Though the mall has since closed doors, its legacy lives on.
Other sites affected includes the ChristChurch Cathedral which was badly damaged in the quake. Following the cathedral’s destruction, the structure was reimagined by architect Shigeru Ban who created the transitional Cardboard Cathedral. The Cathedral has become a tourist attraction of note in the years following its erection, and though it was meant as a temporary structure, it still stands to this day.
These are but a few examples of New Zealanders banding together to rebuild their society after tragedy. As South Africans we know a little bit about tragedy ourselves and are aware of how difficult it can be to rise from the ashes of devastation to start a journey of healing. It is therefore no surprise that South Africans flock to New Zealand in droves to make a new home in this most resilient of countries.
2. Nature lovers, behold!
According to various sources, of the non-botanical species (or animal kingdom) in New Zealand, only 5% are human. And with a population of approximately 4.7 million, New Zealand is also one of the most sparsely populated in human terms.
If you’re a nature-lover, you’re in luck, since this means you’ll be spending the bulk of your time in the company of nature.
But you needn’t worry about being surrounded by so much ‘nature’, as there’s hardly any way in which the creatures in New Zealand can harm you. The nation has no snakes and only has three creatures capable of causing harm (all arachnids), yet these spiders are extremely reclusive and avoid areas with human activity or “high traffic” zones where large creatures wander. This means you can explore the wild outdoors without meeting with harm.
But what else draws the nature enthusiasts to New Zealand? Quite a bit, actually. In fact, the country has some of the most unique sites in the world, including:
- Black Sand Beaches
Due to the country’s locality and abundant active and inactive volcanoes, much of the land had been formed from volcanic eruptions. The black sand beaches throughout New Zealand are formed from a mixture of volcanic sand and iron oxide which gives it such a distinct dark colour. Some of the most iconic black sand beaches include Piha, Karekare, Bethells Beach, Muriwai, Ngarunui Beach, Hot Water Beach and Back Beach.
Talking about those volcanoes, New Zealand has quite a few of them. As South Africans, volcanoes truly are novel and unusual sights to behold. Most of the volcanoes are located on the North Island, including: Kaikohe, Whāngārei Volcanic Field, Little Barrier Island, Auckland Volcanic Field, Mayor Island, Rotorua, White Island, Whale Island, Tarawera, Tongariro, Ōhakuri, Taupō, Ruapehu and Ngāuruhoe. The largest active volcano is Ruapehu and it has erupted several times in the past century, the last time being 2007. In addition to the volcanoes serving as majestic backdrops for hiking and photography, there are also a myriad of geothermal springs in these regions.
- Clearest water in the world
The Climate, Freshwater & Ocean Science institute, NIWA, reported that Nelson’s Blue Lake in Nelson Lakes National Park has the clearest freshwater ever reported in the world. The clarity of the lake has only been rivaled by saltwater sources like the Southeast Pacific waters. The lake has a visibility of 70 to 80 metres.
- Endemic animal life
In addition to the natural sights to behold, there are quite a few unique animal and bird species which are only found on New Zealand. The most renowned of these species is the kiwi bird, which is also the national symbol of New Zealand and the informal collective noun for New Zealanders is “kiwis”. But there are other unique species as well, such as the Maui dolphin, tuatara, little blue penguins, morepork, hooker’s sea lion and kereru (New Zealand wood pigeon).
- Kaori Trees
And who will not stand in awe of the majestic kaori trees which have been alive for millenia? Tāne Mahuta, or ‘Lord of the Forest’ as he is known, is the oldest kauri alive today and estimated at between 1 250 and 2 500 year old. The story of Tāne Mahuta encapsulates the local myth of creation: Tāne was born to sky father Ranginui and earth mother Papatuanuku and through his birth interjected their marital embrace. This sent his father to the skies and clothed his mother in vegetation. Tāne himself would become the father of the birds and trees of the forest.
Such is the magic of the New Zealand natural world, even the boulders are a sight worth seeing.
3. ‘ŉ Bok vir sports’
The Afrikaans saying ‘ ŉ Bok vir sports’ (a person who enjoys merriment) is truly applicable here, though we may have applied a more literal meaning here — for New Zealand is truly a country for sports enthusiasts.
Not only has New Zealand been one of SA’s foremost competitors in Rugby and Cricket over the years. South Africa and New Zealand competed in their first ever rugby test match in 1921 and our first cricket test series in 1931/32. Any citizen of these respective countries can attest that it’s been a battle of wills, wits and brawn ever since.
Rugby and cricket aside, New Zealand caters to a highly eclectic mix of sportsmen and women. In fact, you may even go so far as to say that the Kiwis are a bit fanatic about their sport. Take, for instance, the fact that they have more than 400 golf courses in the country — more courses per capita than any other country in the world!
They also constructed the world’s first commercial bungee jump from Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown and invented the sport of Zorbing (rolling down the hill inside a giant plastic ball); a testimony to the adventurous spirit of the nation. Not adventurous enough? Well, you can always opt for a bit of hydro jetpacking if you’re up for it. Indeed, you can take flight with a water-propelled jetpack if you’re tired of the dull and dreary ‘normal sports’.
Then there’s the New Zealand rural games. The annual event showcases a range of interesting and somewhat unconventional sporting events aimed at preserving the legacy of rural heritage for future generations. Events in the games include:
- Skellerup red bandal racing
- Tree climbing
- Speed milking
- Wool fadge Racing
- Russian egg roulette
- Cowpat tossing
- Gumboot throwing
- Speed shearing
- Wine barrel racing
- Olive stone spitting
- Wood chopping
- Coal shoveling
- Speed fencing
Then you have the array of watersports to look forward to. Since the country is surrounded by ocean, you will never be further than 118 kilometres from the ocean (and there are numerous fresh water sources in the country as well). The country has a rich maritime history which translates to its love of watersports, whether you enjoy rafting, sailing, kayaking, surfing, diving, snorkeling, paddleboarding or diving, there’s something to suit your fancy in the waters of New Zealand.
4. A Safe and Uncorrupted Haven
When it comes to choosing a place to immigrate to, safety is one of the top concerns for South Africans. For no matter your rosy outlook on life, there’s no denying that crime — and violent crime in particular — is a major concern for those still living within SA borders. Not only is the crime traumatic, both physiologically and psychologically, but it affects productivity, business, income and our livelihoods.
If you are looking for a place where you don’t need to look over your shoulder, where you don’t need to fear walking around in the dark or leaving your family alone at home. A place where you don’t need to have guards to look after your car when you make a quick stop at the bank and don’t have to watch your wallet when you exit that bank; a place where cash in transit heists won’t claim your hard-earned-money on the way to its destination, then New Zealand is certainly a country you should consider.
True, no country is crime-free, but would you rather choose to live in a country which is one of the top 10 safest countries in the world (New Zealand = 2), or one which did not even make it to the top hundred (South Africa = 125) on the Global Peace Index.
Another ranking placed New Zealand at spot no.10 and South Africa at 101 on Global Finance’s Safety Index for 2019. It’s important to note, however, that Global Finance takes into account factors such as natural disasters or risks thereof as well. New Zealand’s proximity or, in actual fact, location on top of various volcanic structures and the ‘ring of fire’, it’s inevitable that some indices may place it at the lower end of the scale. The fact remains that residents’ security risk in terms of crime is far lower than you could ever expect in South Africa.
If a safe home is what you’re looking for, then it’s clear that you needn’t look further than New Zealand. But it’s not only safety you’re concerned with, is it? For the word ‘corruption’ sets most saffas off when mentioned — whether in casual conversation or heated debate — and for good reason. No matter your political view, it’s undeniable that corruption is rife in South Africa.
It’s almost impossible to imagine a country where corruption hasn’t infiltrated all sectors and where leadership is not motivated by the purses of cronies, and yet this is exactly what New Zealand represents.
As the second least corrupt country in the world, New Zealand stands in stark contrast to South Africa’s rank of 73th. It’s also important to note that New Zealand has slipped but one place since 2010 whereas South Africa has systematically measured more corrupt over the years, slipping 18 places since 2010.
Transparency International director for New Zealand, David McNeill, stated that the lack of corruption can be attributed to the citizens who, “understand what a fair go is, and nobody likes to see corruption where resources are transferred from the many to the few.” The conclusion being that the public hold their leaders accountable for their decisions and the lack of corruption can be attributed to societal norms and values.
Though Transparency International does not claim that the countries ranking low on corruption are corruption-free, the fact remains that New Zealand is far more transparent when compared to South Africa.
5. Life imitates art imitates life
When one thinks of famous artworks, the mind is most often transported to the hubs of Europe and Americas and the artists whose names have been jotted down in history books — the Da Vincis, Picassos, Kahlos, Warhols and so forth.
Indeed, New Zealand may not have produced as many famous individual artists to the world as are found elsewhere, but the country’s love of art is so deeply ingrained and embedded in its identity that the art permeates almost every aspect of New Zealand life.
Aotearoa — New Zealand’s traditional Māori arts — encompasses all forms of cultural artistic knowledge passed down from generations, from music, carvings, art and storytelling to reciting the whakapapa genealogies.
Throughout the country both traditional and modern artistry are evident in anything from artefacts, interior design and trinkets to architecture, jewellery, clothing design and the history found within museums.
Some of the unique Māori artforms include:
- whakairo: carving
- kowhaiwhai: rafter patterns
- raranga: weaving
- tukutuku: lattice work
- ta moko: tattooing
- waiata: music, song and chants
- haka: dance
- taonga puoro: traditional musical instruments
- karanga: traditional call of welcome
- whaikorero: oratory
- mau rakau: art of weaponry
The art is particularly noticeable in the maritime crafts and intricate carvings found on the hulls of such vessels. Then there are the jewellery and decorative pieces sculpted from paua shells (New Zealand abalone) and pounamu (nephrite jade, bowenite and serpentinite).
What’s clear in all art — whether tangible or intangible, wearable, practical or merely for viewing pleasure — is the symbolism and symbology which represents the country’s heritage and history. The koru being one of those most vivid and pervasive symbols in New Zealand.
The spiral form depicts an unfurling silver fern frond and represents new life, growth, strength and peace, the essence of the symbol is captured in the words, “Ka hinga atu he tete-kura – ka hara-mai he tete-kura”, which means: “As one fern frond dies – one is born to take its place”. The silver fern, of course, is a national symbol of New Zealand and its people as well and can be found on flags, clothing and other national symbols of the country.
Other symbols and designs include:
- The pikorua: the ‘twist’ representing the path of life and bond between loved ones
- The toki (adze): representing strength and tradition.
- The manaia: a symbol representing the messenger between the living and dead
- The tiki: representing the first man in Māori myth
- The matau (fish hook) representing prosperity and safe travel over water
If you’re a lover of aesthetics, it’s therefore unfathomable that you will not feel right at home in New Zealand when surrounded by so much manmade and natural beauty.
Why not move to New Zealand?
It is clear that New Zealand is a country of pride, peace and beauty and that this identity shines through all aspects of life within its borders.
It is also one of the favourite spots for South Africans relocating abroad, which means you are likely to find familiar accents and faces when landing on these shores. Be sure to chat to Jenny and the the folks at MoveToNewZealand.net for all your immigration advice.
If this is your choice destination as a prospective emigrant, remember that Rand Rescue can assist with all aspects of your financial relocation — whether opening bank accounts, converting your currency or assisting with your financial emigration and the encashment of your policies in South Africa.
What’s more, Rand Rescue’s head office is also located in New Zealand so we’d be happy to assist you remotely or in person — whichever option suits you best.
For more information, simply leave your details below and we’ll get back to you.