I have moved back from New Zealand to the UK. Its been a very hard decision to make for a whole bunch of reasons, most of which I don’t want to go into here, but I did want to write a little about my experiences there.
New Zealand is a fantastic country. The most obvious thing is that it is beautiful. I hardly made it down to the South Island, where all the famous bits are, but even the North Island offers some great countryside. 20 miles from the centre of Auckland you can be walking through national parks of native bush and hardly see another soul.
New Zealand also has a culture that I like. It offers a healthy mix of honesty and compassion, and I think this has lead to a tolerance that I haven’t seen in other places. Sure, the fact that there are only 4 million people in a country only slightly smaller geographically than the UK helps, but I’d like to think that everyone could learn a lot from such a culture.
New Zealanders are also an intriguing bunch of people. They are resourceful beyond brits or americans, probably again because of their country’s relatively small size, but I guess also because of their isolation. Using the IT industry as an example, you are much more likely to find ‘jack of all trade’ developers than in the UK, where specialisation tends to be the norm.
Its not a perfect country though. The distance to anywhere else, especially beyond Australia, is hard. Apart from anything else I think that New Zealand could look more beyond itself, but maybe that’s just plain impractical. It also suffers hugely from emigration. Something like 15% of kiwis live outside of their own country, and of course this creates a huge ‘brain drain’.
New Zealanders are also terrible drivers 😉 .
I’m back in London now, at least for a few months, at which point I might move on somewhere else. Of course, there are many things available from a London life that I missed in New Zealand, but I will always look back fondly at my time there.