I did a report card for Thailand (http://bertbrandon.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/thailand-report-card.html) and thought it would be fun to do it again for New Zealand. While I spent quite a bit more time in Thailand than I did here, I still feel that I 'get' New Zealand and been here long even to have formed an honest opinion. Final grade is done by my own Math skills and not all categories are weighted equally.
New Zealand is renowned for its beef, lamb and wine. They also export all of these things so getting them in your home country isn't that difficult. Main food staples here are pies and fish and chips. No complaints about food, not outstanding either.
I'm not sure how people live and save money here. Rent and food at my lodge was $820 a month to live in a national park with nothing other to do than go up the mountain. Living in Queenstown or Auckland would be even more expensive. Internet isn't widely available and costs a lot. I also understand that New Zealand is an island very far from other countries and they need to import many things. This would be my biggest complaint about life here.
You can look at this one of two ways. New Zealand is far from the rest of the world, is remote and adds to the small country charm. Beautiful islands are only a short flight away to places like Fiji or New Caledonia. The other side of the coin would be New Zealand is extremely far away from the rest of the world, excluding Australia but who would want to go to Australia? Going on vacation will obviously cost a fortune if you plan on leaving the country. I find it somewhat endearing but couldn't possibly live this far from the rest of the world.
This winter season has been the worst for snow and skiing conditions apparently in the last twenty years so I can't just base it on this season. I like that NZ has four seasons and was nice to experience winter again.
People that live in New Zealand are great. Similar to Canadians in being very polite but people here are much more approachable and will invite you into their group more easily than in Canada. The people are definitely one of the things I've enjoyed most about life here.
The only time I had a problem was one hobbit of a man wanted to fight me in Queenstown. Never been robbed or felt unsafe while here. Murders I have learned happen more frequently than I thought but no country is free of crime.
Taking money out of the equation, there are tons of adventure activities to do. Bungee jumping, sky diving, scuba diving, mountain biking, rugby, snowboarding, hiking, fishing, climbing glaciers, white water rafting, tons of things to keep you occupied if you can afford it.
The best way to get around NZ is just to buy a van for five thousand dollars, drive it until you leave then sell it. Flights are pretty easy to get and aren't priced that high. I use a bus company called Naked Bus that will take you almost anywhere around New Zealand. Also have many tour companies that take large groups around to the more popular destinations.
No question about it, it is breathtakingly beautiful.
Yes there are parties in Queenstown but even there it wasn't anything worth writing home about. Auckland is average and no parties to speak of in my village. Definite weak point.
Health Care: A
I'd rather not know that NZ had a good health care system and that when you get hurt ACC covers everything for you. Being sick or getting hurt here, you will be taken care of/
New Zealand is very clean, has tons of rubbish and recycling bins. Seems like keeping hiking trails and the mountains here in good condition is important to the government. There was just an oil spill on the other side of the mountain that just goes to show that accidents will happen anywhere especially when dealing with fossil fuels.
I'm sure there are beautiful girls here. I just have only seen about 10 in five months and they were probably tourists. If you come here to fall in love, I wouldn't hold my breath. Not a NZ strong point and let's leave it at that.
Overall quality of life: B+
Raising a family here would be great. Growing up here would be amazing but living here as a teenager until the point you want to settle down wouldn't be ideal to me. That is why tons of Kiwi's go to Australia for work and to live a bit faster pace life. You could do worse that have to spend the rest of your days in this beautiful place, I just find it too similar to life in Canada and Canada holds a special place in my heart.
Final grade: B
If you came here with more than ten thousand dollars for about two months, you would certainly have a different perspective than I do. However, I'm just a normal guy doing normal things in different countries and this is how I saw NZ. I'm glad I came here and got to experience it. I am also glad to be leaving to a hopefully more exciting lifestyle and getting back into teaching. I can't help comparing NZ to Canada and the edge just goes to Canada. Thanks for having me New Zealand!
"Move to a new country and you quickly see that visiting a place as a tourist, and actually moving there for good, are two very different things."