The slower pace of life, the safe communities, people’s mutual respect and a more civilized way of life that many people outside of New Zealand used to know in a bygone age are still to be found in New Zealand.
It is a country that, despite its wide open spaces, has access to almost every modern convenience imaginable, and provides innumerable leisure activities to suit all needs. Thus it is not hard to see why so many people consider New Zealand an ideal place to buy a second home
, or put down roots, or raise a family or just start a new life.
But be warned: all is not perfection in this paradise for a newly arrived immigrant. There are a lot of small tasks that need doing and some major ones too. There is an adjustment phase for those settling in for the long-term that can be stressful, but this is true of any country if you’re an immigrant. Once that phase is out of the way (it usually lasts up to 2 years) then you’ll be at ease to enjoy all the above mentioned benefits of life in New Zealand.
The major cities of New Zealand
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city with over 1.4 million residents. This represents over 31% of the total population of the whole country and could be compared to Dublin’s relationship with the rest of the Republic of Ireland. In terms of size it is similar to Dallas in the USA and Birmingham in the UK. Auckland will continue to grow and grow fast and there are many good reasons for this. It is a prime centre for commerce, entertainment and education for New Zealand and the point of reference for many important developments in these fields for the country. Auckland is the principal point of arrival and subsequent residence of many immigrants.
Climate and pastimes
Auckland enjoys a temperate climate; summers are typically warm and humid while the winters are typically damp but still mild. Of all New Zealand’s cities, it is the warmest and is also one of the sunniest with an annual average of over 2050 hours of sunshine. February is normally the warmest month with maximum temperatures often exceeding 27 ̊C; while July is typically the coldest month with maximum temperatures of 14.5 ̊C. Despite the high sunshine figures, Auckland gets its fair share of rainfall spread over 137 days on average in a year. There is only evidence of one day when it snowed in Auckland and that was way back in 1939.
Shopping and nightlife
Auckland is a cosmopolitan city and city life reflects this in many ways. With over 1,000 restaurants there is no shortage of choice where to eat out and the variety of mouth watering cuisine is vast. For those looking for designer labels the district around Newmarket and Parnell are key targets, while for after hours enjoyment urban socialites head for High Street, Ponsonby Road as well as Karangahape Road. As with most cities the large new shopping malls are found on the city outskirts like the Sylvia Park in Auckland, Botany Town Centre which is located in Manukau City and Westfield Albany located in Albany North Shore. The most popular markets are Otara and Avondale that offer varied alternatives to the normal fare.
Christchurch in a nutshell
Christchurch has the second largest urban area of New Zealand and it is the largest city in the Southern Island with an urban population of 395,000. It was the first city in New Zealand to become officially recognised by Royal Charter in 1856. It is located in the Canterbury Plains and on the east coast of the South Island near to the Banks Peninsular.
Christchurch is an important jumping off point for skiers and snowboarders. It is quite possible to plan a day trip to the slopes, two of the most important ski centres are found at Mt Hutt and Porter Heights. As a complete alternative a trip out to sea is highly recommended in order to see the whales that are able to be seen all year round or the dolphins and seals. Christchurch looks to offer harmonised naturism and tourism which go hand in hand.
With average summer temperatures reaching 22.5 ̊C, Christchurch has a dry temperate climate influenced by the ocean. In winter temperatures can often fall below freezing, and frost can be found on the ground for up to 70 days a year. While snow is rare on the plain, it is normal in the hillside suburbs.
Shopping and nightlife
The city centre has a large range of shops including department stores. Out of town shopping malls include Parklands, Westfield and East Gates. There are also a number of interesting street markets that occur once a week.
For nightlife all tastes are catered for, the Christchurch Arts Centre houses 2 cinemas and there is a Canterbury Film Society that is extremely active. Christchurch also hosts its own regional TV station CTV that produces its own local programs. The Court Theatre is a full time professional theatre where Christchurch hosts visiting shows and plays during the course of the year.
Wellington in a nutshell
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and is the most southerly capital city in the world. It has 390,000 residents and is located on the southern tip of the North Island. Apart from being the national capital it is also capital of the Wellington region. It takes in Kapiti Coast and Wairarpa and looks out across the Cook Straits to the South Island. The business district is concentrated around Wellington harbour and is also a home to practically half of Wellington’s population.
The large Maori and Pacific Islander population mainly live in Porirua City and Harbour, the suburban areas stretch away to the north east of the city in Lower and Upper Hutt City. Wellington ranks as the 5th top eco-city in the Quality of Living Survey conducted by Mercer in 2010.
Climate and pastimes
Wellington is a sunny city with an average of about 170 days of sunshine per year. The climate is maritime as the effect of the sea moderates extremes and this caps maximum summer temperatures at around 25 ̊C. However, in winter residents need to be watchful for weather conditions when southerly storms sweep in that can cause a really unpleasant wind chill factor effect. Frosts are quite common in the suburbs and hills, while snow is a rare occurrence with the last recorded snow fall being in 1995.
Shopping and Nightlife
Taking advantage of its compact city centre Wellington has a vibrant and diverse café society and nightlife that outsizes many larger cities. It actually has more cafes per head than even New York. Wellington is also a focal point and an important centre for the film and theatre industry in New Zealand second only to Auckland in terms of numbers. Wellington is also home to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The biennial New Zealand International Arts Festival takes place there.
Wellington is home to many eclectic shops and vibrant street markets as also a number of designer shops as well as the inevitable shopping malls. Wellington could also be called the comedy capital of New Zealand with a modest but thriving comedy scene, you may look out for the Fringe Bar that has modelled itself on the Edinburgh comedy experience. There are a mix of acts, some international and is very popular even for New Zealand tourists visiting the city.
Restaurants are either licensed to sell alcohol, or as is the normal trend there are many who offer you the possibility to bring your own bottle. There are unlicensed restaurants that still allow you to bring your own wine and offer excellent value. The various restaurants offer classic European cuisine including French and Italian and also a fine choice of cuisine from India, Asia and Polynesia.