First image: Mitre Peak in Fiordland National Park. Let me stop you right there. It only looks like this on 5 days of the year because Fiordland has one of the highest rainfalls in the fucking world. You'll also be treated to 9476530995646 sandfly bites while you're peering through the drizzle and fighting 4773557895693 busloads of bitchy tourists for the same shot. Next.
Rob says: It does need more people here. Fuck off with that shit, Rob. You're here precisely because we are relatively empty. If there were more people, I doubt you would have qualified for entry. With only 4.something million people, we're still dying of disgusting waterborne diseases that are a result of overcrowding and shit environmental practises. So packing more punters into this already mismanaged biosphere sounds like a great idea. Beer and travel are expensive. Ya but they should be, for obvious reasons. I recently paid $28/kilo for green beans and $6 for a cucumber. It's the middle of winter, Rob. That's like whining about the price of whores in jail. The weather, house prices, salaries and traffic vary massively. Almost like we're not some sort of homogenous theme park with hobbit greeters.
Graeme says: It's great for Brits/they feel immediately at home. He says in a piece relating the many differences between the UK and NZ. No, you probably won't feel particularly at home, because although we're largely white and say mum, the Brits I know are the first to tell you how different we are. It's not inconceivable that immigrants will be blamed for pressure on services and housing. Too late. NZ really is as far away from family and friends as you can get. No shit. You're welcome.
Bob says: Consider NZ if you want to add adventure to your life. Not sure if serious. I run a tennis group and get people from 20 different countries. They're almost all white, though, aren't they Bob? Maori represent about 10% of the population and have impressive spiritual and social values. Bob, you slippery bastard. The worst parts of living here include the poor infrastructure. Earthquakes and volcanoes might be a challenge too. Touché re the infrastructure. It's either victorian or inadequate in some other, more contemporary way. Earthquakes- no more than half the other places in the world. Volcanoes? Last time one erupted someone had to move a sheep from a paddock down the road from it, but we're not Hawaii and no one is checking for lava in their garden. Geological perception fail.
Andy says: Auckland in particular is an ethnically diverse and exciting city with many beautiful parks and beaches, which are never packed in the way an English beach such as Bournemouth is. I wonder why everyone from another 'ethnically diverse' place who comes to live here bangs on about how much they love that ethnic diversity. Andy is from England which, last time I looked, is stuffed to the tonsils with people from everywhere else. Why is diversity cool here? Interesting, isn't it?
But he's right about the beaches, they're great and generally depopulated because everyone's working three jobs to pay for their house. There is crime here, and terrible congestion at times. There's a fuck-tonne of serious crime in NZ and a lot of it goes unreported, just. like. everywhere. else. Congestion? See: Auckland. In Dunedin, people lose their minds if they have to wait 20 seconds to turn the corner.
Steve from Puhoi says: everything Steve says is awesome.
Hayley says: I was shocked at the culture difference. To be fair, though, skimming Hayley's input makes me think she's surprised by most things.
Kim says: Be prepared to slow down and say hi in the street. Pretty sure I saw this in LA and KL too. Aotearoa, the north part of NZ... *Gongs Kim loudly for specious usage* Learn enough te reo Maori to be comfortable in Maori settings. Why, tho? Virtually no one does, including most of the people who identify as Maori. 95% of locals are woefully uninformed re maoritanga, so you should feel right at home not knowing what the fuck's going on during a pōwhiri. Multicultural means eating Thai food here.
Does any of this sound familiar? New Zealand is full of problems and secrets and greatness and woe, just like everywhere else. The beaches are great, as long as most people stay the fuck off them. Isolation is not an exclusively geographical phenomenon. You can die from a poverty-related illness here. You can be a flaming queen without being beaten to death, or just be a little bit weird and be totally ostracised. You can live in a penthouse and know you're a failure. You can grow your own carrots and feel like a billionaire.
Mitre Peak doesn't care and most of us who live here never bother going to see it anyway.
All pics: the G & their sources.