16 Surprising things about life in New Zealand – Lost in Silver Fern (2023)

New Zealand is an amazing country there is no question about that. It is the land of (rain) clouds and smiles.I’ll be the first to admit, that before moving toNew Zealand from the UK, I didn’t know a whole lotabout it. I had heard thatthat it was breathtakingly beautiful, that the people are friendly, there are lots of birds and lots ofLord of the Rings!This isall true, but there is a lot more to life in New Zealandthan that.

No one could prepare me for what it is like to liveNew Zealand, but there are a few uniquely NZ things that stand out for me. So here goes:

My 16 random factsaboutlife in New Zealand:

1. There are earthquakes everyday!

Yes, this is number one, because this is something you will find out with a vigorous shake!New Zealand has tiny little earthquakes every day and you probably wont feel many of them. But sometimes there is a large one and they are quite unnerving.It is the most indescribable thing to witness and an eerie feeling, not like anythingelse.Earthquakes have caused sad andcatastrophic damage to places like Christchurch, but they are also a part of life here.Many work places have special earthquake preparation kits and you will end up talking about earthquakes a lot.A crazy but all too real fact of life in New Zealand.

2. You can’t get served with an overseas driving license

This one is very, very annoying but you can only use your Passport, a New Zealand Driving Licence or an 18+ Card to be served alcohol in here.You have to take your passport out with you to avoid annoyance. Or get one of the 18+ cards.

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3. There are many micro-climates

I never thought of New Zealand as being a hot place and it definitely isn’t most of the time. However,there are pockets of the country, like Napier and Northland that get mild to warm weather all year round.Proximity doesn’t really mean anything either. It can be torrential wind and rain in Wellington and you can drive for 30 mins over to the Wiararapa for glorious sunshine. This is really perplexing, and sometimes frustrating as a Wellingtonian but it means you can usually find somewhere with some sun whatever the time of year.

4. There is no Aldi or Ikea

Maybe this is a bit of a curve ball,but these two shops seem to be taking over the world. Not here in NZ!New Zealand is very much a place that is focused on things produced in New Zealandas well asbusinesses based here. This is a good thing as it promotes buying locally but it does also mean things can be more expensive.

The same goes for IKEA, this hasn’t reached New Zealand yet. This is a little frustrating when setting up a new home as you cant go and grab the things you need cheaply. But I believe this is better for businesses in NZ and I’m sure has a positive effect on waste and things that are thrown out. Go second hand instead, its way more fun and sustainable and there is lots available in NZ.

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5. Food costs a lot

Carrying on from post number 4, is post number 5, the food and produce here in NZ is expensive. You will usually pay quite a bit morefor your weekly shop than you would in Europe or in Australia.No one is quite sure why, but this is the way it has always been in NZ. Distance from large markets as well as the small population probably play a part.Meat is the most expensive as with cheese and vegetables costing more than average too.Its a good idea to look out for what is seasonal and try to buy New Zealand grown, in order to keep the costs low as well as contributing to sustainable food production.

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6. The beer is great

Who knew New Zealand was such a craft beer mecca! One of the great things about life in New Zealand is themany many micro breweries in the country and every area has afavorite.Here in Wellington there is an awesome brewery called the Garage Projectwhich has every changing and creative new brews. Sprig and Fern is another favorite.Its great finding out what the favorite beer is in which ever area you are in in New Zealand. Check this guide to NZ beersfor more info!

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7. Its bloody windy!

The wind here in Wellington is on another level. This town blows! To be fair, Welly is known as the windy city, but I have been told it is not even the windiest place in New Zealand.Expect to be blown all over the place and don’t bother doing your hair.The upside of all this, however, is that on that rare clear day, where the air is still and the wind drops, its like magic. The place transforms and comes alive. Its worth enduring the wind just for this!

8. Most things have Maori Names

Towns, roads, back country huts almost every land mark has a Maori name. This is great for getting to know the language and learning a bit more about the culture.The downside of all these Maori names for a non New Zealander is that it can be quite difficult to pronounce.This dilemma has left me looking like a bit of a fool a few times. They arealso hard to remember so you will probably be saying things like, “that place, you know, the one that begins with a W” with lots of blank expressions. Be better than me, and do a little research into Maori pronunciation first!

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9. You pretty much need a car

I wouldn’t suggest living in New Zealand without a car. Don’t get me wrong, it is possible, especially in the cities and urban areas and you can easily fly and bus between them.The beauty of New Zealand though, is theoff the beaten track places. The roads that you follow, not quite knowing where you are going. The weekends spent camping near the ocean and the spur of the moment trips into the mountains.Sadly, non of this can be achievedwithout a car.

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10. Fuel is pricey

Annoying point number 10. Fuel costs a bomb. It does depend on where you are, being slightly cheaper in urban areas and costing more in the remote places.Expect to pay just under $2 per litre.Just something you should know about what its like to live in New Zealand.

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11.You can hire all your ski gear

This is pretty great, if you are going to the mountains to ski,you can hire everything. Not only the boots and skis/board, but also the coats, jackets, helmets, gloves, the lot.This is perfect forif you are only going a couple of times, or are travelling and don’t want to fork out for a load of new gear, or you cant fit it in your luggage.

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12. People LOVE rugby!

This probably should be number one on the list. Rugby is the national sport and people here are totally obsessed!The All Blacks are the national team and they are like gods here.Everyone loves Rugby. Full stop.

Check out my post about my first rugby match in NZ by clicking HERE.

13. You have to go up and pay and you don’t have to tip

This is just a handy bit of information so you don’t find yourself sitting waiting to pay for hours and hours in cafe. At pretty much every restaurant, you need to go up to the counter when you are ready to pay.I’m not entirely sure why they do this, but it actually makes things easier and you can get out of the door pretty quickly when you want to!

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Tip! You don’t need to tip. Of course you can if you want to and no one will give it back, but its not compulsory and no one will chase you out the door if you don’t.

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14. The wildlife is amazing

Did you know there are no native land mammals in New Zealand?No, I didn’t either!Despite this, there is a wonderful world of wildlife here. New Zealand is the land of birds, with many unusual native species to be found, includingthe elusive Kiwi.

A native lizard named the Tuatara is a special site in the forests here, as well as the weird prehistoric bug, the Weta.Whales and dolphins can seen easily from the coast at different times within the year. There was even a killer whale in the Wellington harbor this summer.There are also deer, hedgehogs and possums in the bush but these are all introduced and New Zealand has a popular hunting industry.

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15. It is the land of the Pinot Noir

If you are a wine lover then you probably already know that New Zealand is a great place to be. Best known for its Sauvingon Blanc, there are pockets of beautiful wineries to be found all over the country.And, if you are a Pinot Noir lover in particular thenyou may be pleased to hear the New Zealand is great for this wine too. Don’t ask me about soil conditions or climate that make it this way, just know there issome world class PN here in NZ!

16. Kiwi’s have weird names for stuff

Flip Flops = Jandles

A Kettle = A Jug

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Crisps = Chippies

Hiking = Tramping

I’ll say no more!

So those are my 16randomthings to know before visiting New Zealand or before moving to New Zealand. I hope they help to give you a better insight into the amazing country. Don’t be put off by the earthquakes or the fuel prices!!

Got any more random facts about New Zealand? comment below!

Peace

Josie x

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Related

FAQs

Are there more animals than humans in New Zealand? ›

New Zealand has the highest animal to human population ratio in the world: Only 5% of the population is human, the other 95% are animals!

What life is like in New Zealand? ›

Enjoy a High Quality of Life

In the UN's Human Development Index (HDI), New Zealand earns the fourteenth rank out of 187 countries. In short, the country has an exceptionally high standard of living filled with modern amenities, excellent work-life balance, and ample public services.

What is cool about New Zealand? ›

New Zealand is one of the most gorgeous countries on earth, and even with its modest size, it packs a lot of history, culture, and attractions for us to experience. New Zealand is known for its stunning national parks, dynamic Māori culture, incredible hiking trails, and world-class skiing and surfing.

What is New Zealand's top predator? ›

Instead, cats became the apex predator of New Zealand with nothing else to bring them down. Except for humans, of course. To this day, the population of cats in New Zealand continues to be a problem. Anderson said there was an estimated 20,000 stray colonies alone in Auckland.

What animal is only found in New Zealand? ›

Lesser short-tailed bat

Bats, or pekapeka in Māori folklore, are New Zealand's only native land mammal, giving them a unique place in the country's ecosystem.

What was NZ like before humans? ›

Before people arrived, New Zealand was a land of birds. Night and day the forests were alive with rustlings, calls, booms, whistles and hoots. There were over 120 species of geese, ducks, rails, moa, parrots, owls, wrens and other perching birds. Around 70 of these were found only in New Zealand.

Is New Zealand good to live? ›

A great place to raise a family

The country has a strong economy, a great education system, a relatively low cost of living, great healthcare, low crime rates, and beautiful scenery, including national parks and hiking trails. This puts New Zealand at the top of the list of safe countries to raise children in.

Are New Zealand people friendly? ›

New Zealand is a Pacific Island nation that has blended Oceanian, Polynesian and European traditions into its modern culture. New Zealanders (also known as Kiwis) are often viewed as being friendly, inventive, outgoing and welcoming people.

Is New Zealand the best place to live? ›

New Zealand is pretty much an expat paradise – it's handled COVID better than most other countries, its progressive leadership has made it one of the most inclusive nations in the world, and there are breathtakingly gorgeous views at every corner.

How do you pronounce Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu? ›

Again daarom advocaat dan the hunger. Go oh oh wauw wordt aan mathea toe riep okapi maanden horen we

How safe is New Zealand? ›

By global standards around crime and violence, most of New Zealand is safe and peaceful. The Global Peace Index usually rates New Zealand as the second safest country in the world. The New Zealand crime rate even decreased in 2020 and 2021. Limits on gun ownership reduce violent crime and murders.

How Old Is New Zealand country? ›

New Zealand became a dominion in 1907; it gained full statutory independence in 1947, retaining the monarch as head of state. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 5.1 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders.

What is New Zealand named after? ›

In December 1642 Dutch navigator Abel Janszoon Tasman was the first European to sight New Zealand's South Island, and Dutch cartographers named the territory after the Dutch maritime province of Zeeland.

What's a fun fact for the day? ›

Fun Facts and Trivia
  • It is impossible for most people to lick their own elbow. ...
  • A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
  • A shrimp's heart is in its head.
  • It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.

What fruit is famous in NZ? ›

The kiwifruit is perhaps the most famous New Zealand fruit. Also known as the Chinese gooseberry or simply the kiwi, it has a brown fuzzy skin with green or yellow flesh inside.

What food is NZ famous for? ›

While you're in New Zealand, seek out a few of the following quintessential Kiwi foods and drinks.
  • Crayfish and seafood. ...
  • New Zealand lamb. ...
  • Hāngī - food cooked under the ground. ...
  • Fish and chips. ...
  • New Zealand wine, beer and other drinks. ...
  • Kiwi summer BBQ. ...
  • New Zealand pavlova and fruit salad.

What is the nickname for New Zealand? ›

New Zealand – Land of the Long White Cloud/Middle Earth

The Kiwis across the ditch have picked up not just one, but two nicknames. The Land of the Long White Cloud is the most common translation of Aotearoa – the Maori name for New Zealand.

Are there scary bugs in New Zealand? ›

Unlike neighboring Australia, which is full of deadly creepy crawlies, New Zealand is relatively safe in comparison. Yes, there are some spiders and other unpleasant creatures, however, nothing packs a strong enough venom to take down a human!

Is New Zealand snake free? ›

It's a common misconception that New Zealand has no snakes, but it's not the truth. Marine snakes, or sea snakes, are seen regularly in the waters around northern New Zealand when warm subtropical currents carry them south from out of the tropics. A yellow-bellied sea snake found at Whatipu in 2011.

What is the most common animal in New Zealand? ›

The top animal in New Zealand is undoubtedly the national kiwi bird. Kiwis are very shy and elusive and are mainly found in forests during nocturnal hours. Another top animal is the lesser short-tailed bat.

Which bird is only found in New Zealand? ›

The kiwi is a unique and curious bird: it cannot fly, has loose, hair-like feathers, strong legs and no tail. Learn more about the kiwi, the national icon of New Zealand and unofficial national emblem.

How many Kiwis are left? ›

Did you know? There are about 68,000 kiwi left. We're losing 2% of our unmanaged kiwi every year – that's around 20 per week. Kiwi are ratites.

What is famous in New Zealand? ›

A small island nation home to around 4.5 million people located in the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is famous for its national rugby team, its indigenous Maori culture and its picturesque landscape. If you're an international student considering studying abroad, New Zealand may be a long way from home.

Who lived in New Zealand First? ›

Māori were the first inhabitants of Aotearoa New Zealand, guided by Kupe the great navigator. Learn more about the arrival of Māori.

Who was the first person to find New Zealand? ›

Biographies. The dutch explorer Abel Tasman is officially recognised as the first European to 'discover' New Zealand in 1642. His men were the first Europeans to have a confirmed encounter with Māori.

When was NZ First settled? ›

There is a lot of evidence that Polynesian people first arrived in New Zealand around 1250–1300 CE, coming from East Polynesia in canoes.

Can I buy land in New Zealand? ›

New Zealand citizens and permanent residents of New Zealand who meet the requirements to be 'ordinarily resident' can buy property without restrictions. Overseas people usually cannot buy a house or land in New Zealand.

Where is the safest place in NZ? ›

Wellington. Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, has been dubbed the safest large city in the country, and consistently ranks among one of the safest cities anywhere in the world.

Is life in NZ hard? ›

The quality of life in New Zealand is very high, and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, pursue your hobbies and interests, and meet new people. If you're thinking about moving to New Zealand, you can be sure that you'll be moving to a country where you can enjoy a high quality of life.

What do New Zealanders love? ›

New Zealanders – or Kiwis. Someone from New Zealand might say, 'I'm a Kiwi'., as they're often known – balance time at work with time to relax and unwind. They love exploring the outdoors, playing or watching sport, engaging in art and culture, and generally making the most of life.

Is New Zealand better than UK? ›

Quality of Life

Based on a survey, 89% of the New Zealanders are satisfied with their water quality which is not the case of the British citizens with only 84%. The quality of life is more improved in New Zealand and can be proved on Kiwi's life expectancy which is longer than the British's.

Is New Zealand expensive to live? ›

Family of four estimated monthly costs are 3,072$ (5,276NZ$) without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are 849$ (1,459NZ$) without rent. Cost of living in New Zealand is, on average, 7.92% lower than in United States. Rent in New Zealand is, on average, 40.99% lower than in United States.

Is New Zealand rich or poor? ›

The economy of New Zealand is a highly developed free-market economy. It is the 50th-largest national economy in the world when measured by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and the 63rd-largest in the world when measured by purchasing power parity (PPP).
...
Economy of New Zealand.
Statistics
Current account−$5.471 billion (2017 est.)
39 more rows

How do you pronounce Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu? ›

Again daarom advocaat dan the hunger. Go oh oh wauw wordt aan mathea toe riep okapi maanden horen we

What's a fun fact for the day? ›

Fun Facts and Trivia
  • It is impossible for most people to lick their own elbow. ...
  • A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
  • A shrimp's heart is in its head.
  • It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.

What is New Zealand named after? ›

In December 1642 Dutch navigator Abel Janszoon Tasman was the first European to sight New Zealand's South Island, and Dutch cartographers named the territory after the Dutch maritime province of Zeeland.

What do New Zealanders love? ›

New Zealanders – or Kiwis. Someone from New Zealand might say, 'I'm a Kiwi'., as they're often known – balance time at work with time to relax and unwind. They love exploring the outdoors, playing or watching sport, engaging in art and culture, and generally making the most of life.

How Old Is New Zealand country? ›

New Zealand became a dominion in 1907; it gained full statutory independence in 1947, retaining the monarch as head of state. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 5.1 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders.

What is considered rude in NZ? ›

It is often considered impolite to ask a direct question about someone's salary, wealth, weight or age. Spitting in public is considered rude. Calling someone over by yelling “Oi” can be interpreted as rude or even antagonising. To call over a waiter or person of service, do not wave or yell.

What does Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu mean in English? ›

Near Porangahau in Hawke's Bay is an unassuming hill known as "Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu", which translates into English as "the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as 'landeater', ...

What word takes 3 hours to say? ›

isoleucine is the chemical name for the protein of “titin” also known as “connectin.” The largest known protein that consists of 26, 926 amino acids is made up of 189, 819 letters and can take about three hours to pronounce.

What is the longest name? ›

The longest personal name is 747 characters long, and belongs to Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff Sr.

What are 10 amazing facts? ›

The 60 Most Interesting World Facts You'll Ever Hear
  • Glaciers and ice sheets hold about 69 percent of the world's freshwater. ...
  • The fastest gust of wind ever recorded on Earth was 253 miles per hour. ...
  • Recent droughts in Europe were the worst in 2,100 years. ...
  • The best place in the world to see rainbows is in Hawaii.

What are 5 interesting facts? ›

Interesting Unknown Facts
  • Hot water will turn into ice faster than cold water. ...
  • The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. ...
  • The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. ...
  • Ants take rest for around 8 Minutes in 12-hour period. ...
  • "I Am" is the shortest complete sentence in the English language. ...
  • Coca-Cola was originally green.

What is the craziest fun fact? ›

Honeybees flap their wings 230 times every second. At birth, a panda cub is smaller than a mouse and weighs only four ounces. Horses and cows can sleep standing up, but they can only dream when lying down. Koala fingerprints are almost indistinguishable from humans' — so much so, they can taint crime scenes!

Is Zealand a name? ›

The name Zealand is both a boy's name and a girl's name meaning "sea land". Zealand is the English translation of the Dutch province name Zeeland (originally Seelant). It's more commonly associated with New Zealand, the Oceanic country named by the Dutch.

What was New Zealand's first name? ›

Sometime later a cartographer from the Dutch East India Company bestowed the name Nieuw Zeeland after the coastal province Zeeland in the Netherlands. The Dutch had very little to do with the country from then on, and when James Cook arrived in 1769 he anglicised the name to New Zealand.

What was NZ called before NZ? ›

Tasman called them Staten Landt, after the States General of the Netherlands, and that name appeared on his first maps of the country. In 1645 Dutch cartographers changed the name to Nova Zeelandia in Latin, from Nieuw Zeeland, after the Dutch province of Zeeland.

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