New Zealand Visa & Migration Specialists

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living in new zealand

Anyone who moves away from their country of origin will find that life in another country has some distinct differences. Those differences may be part of the attraction to your new country, but we wager that there are a few things you may not know. The following is a list of six things to know if about living in New Zealand, and making it your new home.

6 Interesting to Know about Living in New Zealand

1. The sun here puts out some of the highest levels of UV radiation in the world.

You can quickly get sunburned if you are living in New Zealand. It is not only beyond being painful but also increases your chances of skin cancer. It is wise to apply sunscreen on a daily basis and make sure you reapply if you spend much time outdoors.

2. People living in New Zealand drive on the left.

If you are from the UK, Australia, India, or any other country that used to be a British colony, this will be normal to you. However, new residents from other parts of the world will need to adjust to the orientation of the driver’s seat in our vehicles as well as driving on the other side of the road.

3. Police officers do not carry guns.

Though there is some debate about arming beat officers, rest assured that this policy is because it is rarely necessary for officers in New Zealand to use deadly force. Instead, the police force in your neighbourhood will use Tasers and pepper spray to deter crime and subdue perpetrators.

4. The legal drinking age is 18.

The laws here strictly prohibit the sale of alcohol to those living in New Zealand who are under 18 years. However, it is legal to provide alcohol to a minor if you are the parent or legal guardian and do so in a responsible manner. In this context, “responsible manner” means that you supervise the consumption, provide food, and ensure that safe transportation is available. You must not force the use of alcohol by declining to offer non-alcoholic beverages.

5. Spanking is against the law.

In New Zealand, it is unlawful to use physical force on a child for any reason, including discipline. There are also strict laws against domestic violence that include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse by a member of the family.

6. We don’t like saying no.

New Zealanders are generally very friendly if a bit private, and hesitate to say no to requests. This can be odd for those who are used to more straightforward communication. You may get a “not sure” or “not really” rather than saying “no” right away. “Yeah, nah” means “probably not,” while “yeah, right!” means “definitely not.” WorkTalk is an excellent resource for anyone new to New Zealand who struggles with effective communication, especially in the workplace.

While this is not an exhaustive list of cultural and factual points to learn about New Zealand, it can give you a jump start. Because Kiwis are so friendly and welcoming in general, in most cases, it is okay to ask for guidance if you are confused about anything.

We look forward to seeing you here!