18 Top Bad Things About Living in New Zealand

While this article talks about some of the bad things about living in New Zealand, I can’t ignore that there are also some very beautiful things about this Island country situated in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

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New Zealand Geography

New Zealand is the 6th largest Island country in the world by land area, as it covers 268,021Km. It can be considered a remote country that is positioned very close to Australia (1600 km southeast of Australia).

The closest landmasses to New Zealand are Norfolk Island and New Caledonia, which are just 1900km away.

New Zealand is made up of the North and South Islands, and 700 smaller islands. The climate is temperate and is characterized by cool winters and warm summers.

There are a lot of mountains in this region, plants, and animals likewise. The tallest mountain in New Zealand is Mount Cook (3724m), and some of the animals we can find here include tuatara, kea, kiwi, etc.

Population, Economy, and Official Languages

The population of New Zealand is not so high, as it sits somewhere around 5 million people. While most of this population are of European origin, we still have the Māori, Asians, and Pacific Islanders as part of the population.

In New Zealand, the official language spoken there are English and Māori. While English is the most accepted and widely spoken language, Māori still an important language that is taught in schools in New Zealand.

The economy of New Zealand is a strong one as this happens to be a developed country with a diversified economy that covers manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture. NZ as it is sometimes called, is a renowned tourist attraction and provides a high standard of living.

It boasts naturally beautiful surroundings and great outdoor activities, and the people are considered friendly. Some tourist attractions that you can consider visiting while in NZ include Mount Cook, Milford Sound, Hobbiton, etc.

The List of Bad Things About Living in New Zealand

New Zealand is a country that you do not really hear much about on the news, due to its remote nature. This is why we felt it is important that we help you realize what the country is like.

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In this section, I will share with you some of the bad things about living in New Zealand. 

Culture Shock:

If you are a first-timer moving to New Zealand, chances are you are going to experience culture shock. This is fine and normal when you move to a new place you are not familiar with, and with time you will get used to the place. 

Some of the culture shock you may experience include the Māori influence. The Māori people have a significant population in New Zealand and some things about their traditions, like how they greet, their ceremonies, art, etc. might be something you are unfamiliar with. 

Other things that may come as a culture shock to you include the laid-back lifestyle in New Zealand, especially if you are from places like the UK, or Germany, where things are busy. Other culture shock you might experience include their food and cuisine which is diverse with lamb, seafood, Māori, and Pacific island cuisine being prominent.


This is something that happens regularly with people that move to a new country, it can be dealt with if you follow the methods provided. Try staying connected with your friends and family from your previous location. You can video call them and just talk to them about your new experience in New Zealand. 

Other ways to heal from homesickness include exploring your surroundings, trying to locate attractions in your local environment, trying out new foods, try reaching out to your new neighbors and making friends in your community, have a daily routine that will provide you with a sense of structure, stay positive and open-minded to the new culture, and lastly set goals for yourself.

Difficulty in Making New Friends:

Another difficult aspect of living in NZ or any other new country is that it might be difficult to make new friends here.

This is true, especially for people who are introverted and only have a few friends that they are already used to. 

You can try attending social events like festivals or concerts, or just go to the gym or public places where there are chances of interacting with new people. Another way to make new friends is through social media groups for people living in NZ.

Lack of Diversity in Food:

If you have a wide variety of cuisines where you come from, the range of foods in NZ can pose a problem for you. This can cause you to feel disconnected and dissatisfied.

is because food is tied to a place and culture, so when you travel and you are not able to find some of the dishes you enjoy in NZ, you might develop a feeling of nostalgia for the country.

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One way to help with this is to bring ingredients for some of your local cuisines where you come from with you to New Zealand. I know you are thinking “How long will that last?”, well you can find shops in New Zealand to get more of those ingredients.

Seasonal Weather:

NZ is said to have an unusual weather pattern, and this may be very uncomfortable for you at first. In the northern island, Christmas occurs during the summer, this experience may be very different from your usual snow-filled, cold Christmas.

NZ experiences rapid changes in weather conditions, the saying “four seasons in one day” was literally coined because of this.

We experience mild winters unlike in other parts of the world that experiences extreme cold. Summer in NZ is also not as hot as it may be in the country you moved from.

The intensity of the Sun in New Zealand can sometimes be extreme due to its proximity to the southern hemisphere. Newbies in NZ may experience sunburn, so it is quite helpful to have your sunscreen on sunny days.

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Long Distance Between Cities:

The distance between cities in NZ can most times be long. This discourages people from moving between cities to visit friends and families.

This reduces connectivity, increases travel time, and may even affect emergency response, especially for residents in rural areas.

Need For a Car:

Just like I said in the previous point, NZ is a large country, and you most likely need a car to move around there. 

Poor Internet Connection:

This might be a big problem for you especially now that everyone makes use of the internet a lot to stay connected.

The poor internet connection in NZ is due to some issues such as the geography of NZ. NZ as I stated in the intro has a lot of mountains and remote islands, this can cause network connectivity to be uneven.

Other factors affecting the internet connection in NZ include the small population of NZ that is spread across the urban and rural settlements. This makes it difficult for network providers to provide internet for each population collection. 

Lack of Infrastructure:

Europe and the rest of first world countries, NZ is lacking certain important infrastructure. Public transportation e.g. high-speed rail, modern buses, etc. are some areas they could improve on.

Also cycling infrastructures are another area they could work on, as Europe has lots of cycling lanes and bike-sharing programs. 

High Cost of Housing:

The average rent for one bedroom apartment in Auckland, NZ is around 2000NZ$, while for a 3-bedroom apartment is 4000NZ$.

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This is extremely high, and foreigners find it difficult to adjust to this high cost for renting apartments. In other top cities, like Christchurch and Wellington, rent is more expensive.

Difficulty in Getting Visa:

If you are not from a developed country, and you are trying to relocate to NZ, getting a visa is very hard. Certain things that affect our chances of securing an NZ visa include your finances, qualifications, skills, work experience, and nationality. 


rates in NZ may be higher, depending on where you are coming from. 33% is the top marginal income tax rate in NZ and this is higher than that of other countries.

This tax rate applies to incomes that are higher than 180,000NZ$ for individuals and 360,000NZ$ for couples.

Long Working Hours:

Like other countries, the average working hours per week is 40. However, some people must work longer than that to keep up with the high cost of living in NZ.

Unpredictable Weather:

Like I said before now, NZ is located in a temperate zone, yet it has a really unpredictable weather condition. It is a normal thing over here to experience 4 seasons in a day, and this can affect how you plan for your outdoor activities.

Limited Job Opportunities:

It is always advisable to have multiple skills and abundant work experience in a relevant industry before moving to NZ.

The job market is extremely competitive, and this means there are limited opportunities for you as a foreigner in NZ.

Remote Location:

NZ is far away in the South Pacific Ocean, thousands of kilometers away from other top countries in the world. Its isolated state makes it costly and difficult to travel there or away from NZ. 

High Cost of Living:

Although the cost of living depends on the city you reside in, Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland are the most expensive. The cost of living in NZ is higher than that of Australia, USA, and Canada.

Lack of Public Transportation:

The public transport system in NZ is quite underdeveloped and this might pose a problem to foreigners who come from a place with an advanced transportation system.

Good Things About Living in New Zealand

In previous sections, I introduced you to what New Zealand is like and some bad things about living in New Zealand. In this section, I will share with you some of the positive aspects of living in New Zealand.

  • Natural beauty
  • Friendly people
  • High quality of life
  • Safe and clean environment
  • Excellent healthcare
  • Good education system
  • Pioneering work in environmental sustainability
  • Strong sense of community
  • Diverse culture
  • Opportunities for outdoor activities

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