If you’ve dreamed of making the exciting leap to life abroad for better quality of life, a slower pace and the great outdoors, the chances are, you’ve considered life in New Zealand.

The Pacific island nation has a reputation for offering a high standard of living, with low crime rates, beautiful landscapes and friendly people.

In fact, according to the World Happiness Report, New Zealand is one of the top 10 happiest countries in the world, and the highest Asia-Pacific country on the list. 

Here, we’ve narrowed down the top 25 reasons why expats want to move to the country the indigenous Maori refer to as Aotearoa, or the Land of the Long White Cloud.

1. High quality of life 

Let’s kick off the list with a well-known feature of the New Zealand expat experience. The country ranks super highly for quality of life indicators, with the OECD ranking the island nation 10th in the world overall. It scores particularly highly for health (9.2 out of 10), environment (8.1), jobs (8.3) and community (8.5). This is a country where people enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle, making the most of the beautiful scenery and friendly, welcoming communities. If you sometimes feel like you don’t know your neighbour, that won’t be a problem in NZ. That’s also because…

2. The locals are super friendly and welcoming 

According to a recent Immigration New Zealand survey, nine out of 10 migrants find the welcome they receive from New Zealanders to exceed their expectations. Kiwis are generally friendly and laid back, with a positive attitude towards life. Hospitality in New Zealand is often demonstrated through sharing food, whether at a picnic, morning tea or barbecue. More than a quarter of the country’s population was born overseas, meaning that many locals know what the immigrant experience is like. In fact, New Zealand’s welcoming spirit is so ingrained in the culture that the indigenous Maori followed it as a key principle, called Manaakitanga, meaning the offer of generosity, kindness, and support. It is today recognised by the government as a core value of the nation.

3. It’s one of the safest countries in the world 

When it comes to England vs New Zealand, there’s little surprise that expats continue to flock Down Under. This is a country with low crime rates and a community-based police force that is respected and trusted by the public. The Global Peace Index has, for three years running, placed New Zealand as the second safest country in the world considering social stability and crime, with only Iceland beating it to the top spot. The country’s relatively low population of 5.1 million people helps, and the community spirit that keeps people connected and invested in their local area. This ethos also makes New Zealand…

4. A great place for families 

Moving to a new country can be challenging for a family, but if you do make the leap, New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to do it. The country’s stability and peace means safety. Education options are plentiful, starting with Early Childhood Education at the preschool level, with teacher-led or parent-led facilities available for the little ones. There is space and freedom to explore beautiful natural landscapes and get in touch with nature. Young people will find it easy to engage in sports and the great outdoors. There is great quality housing in New Zealand that will become a true family home for your loved ones. If any family member gets sick, then you can also rely on…

5. Accessible healthcare 

In New Zealand, even if your residency status isn’t settled yet, you can access healthcare. The country’s universal healthcare system covers all residents, visiting Brits and Australians, and some work visa holders. This is based on a reciprocal arrangement between the UK and New Zealand, meaning British visitors are eligible for medical care. Healthcare for residents is subsidised through taxes, although 35 per cent of New Zealanders still choose to have private health insurance for quicker access to non-urgent procedures. 

6. Familiar culture and language 

You’ll find that integrating into the New Zealand lifestyle is easier than in most countries, with similarities to the British way of life – not least the shared English language! 92 per cent of New Zealanders consider English their mother tongue, and like the UK, the country is mostly secular but celebrates familiar holidays like Christmas and Easter. You’ll still be able to find all of your foodie favourites too, like fish and chips, pies, roast meat, and veggies all proving popular meals. 

Learn all about New Zealand culture and how it compares to the UK.

7. Great job prospects 

Things are looking bright for jobseekers in New Zealand, especially if you have skills and experience in certain industries and sectors. If you have a role on the country’s skills shortage list, it could put your immigration application on the fast track to success. Healthcare features highly, with registered nurses and general practitioners (GPs) in high demand. The country’s young population also demands more teachers and educators. As with many other countries, web and software developers are in need. In more hands-on, practical roles, New Zealand also requires more electricians, plumbers, engineers, and construction professionals. With a median annual salary of an annual salary of NZ$97,300 (£47,000) a year, New Zealand jobs can pay well too.   

8. You’ll find the best coffee in the world

If a fresh cup of coffee is your ideal mid-morning break, then you might be pleasantly surprised to find that New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to drink it. The country has a passion for quality coffee, with a specialty coffee culture and a thriving cafe scene. The famous flat white coffee may have been created here, although Australia will dispute that! You won’t have to go far to find a talented barista willing to craft a refreshing cup of coffee.

9. You’ll breathe clean air

Once you get your coffee, you can take a stroll through the city streets and enjoy the fresh, clean air. New Zealand is one of the best-ranking countries in the world for air quality, one of only six that meets the World Health Organisation’s clean air guidelines. Over the years, community-led initiatives have helped put New Zealand on track for better air quality than ever, with investment in public transport, promoting walking and cycling, and clean energy goals.

10. Plenty of sunshine 

You should remember that New Zealand, like the UK, can have its fair share of unpredictable weather. It’s often joked that the country can experience four seasons in a single day. If you’re from the UK, this will sound familiar to you! However, most places in New Zealand enjoy more than 2,000 hours of sunshine per year, with the optimal months being the summer season of December, January and February. Daylight can last up until 9.30 in the evening during this time. Autumn – from March to May – also offers warm weather and a chance to find the sun. Just remember to apply sun cream!

11. Excellent education prospects

You’re moving to New Zealand from the UK, you have the opportunity to access excellent education in New Zealand in every age group. The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is awarded by the country’s secondary schools and is recognised around the world. The nation’s eight universities are all among the top three per cent highest-performing universities in the world. New Zealand also ranks competitively with the USA, UK and Canada for student wellbeing, and measures as seventh in the world for graduate performance. With hands-on learning with an emphasis on practical skills and problem-solving abilities, whether attending a state school or a private school, New Zealand has the resources to set you up for a bright future. Just remember – unlike in the UK, the school year runs from late January to mid-December.

12. Top-quality food

New Zealand’s rich soil, clean air and temperate climate means that there is bountiful produce grown across the island, with more than 100 varieties of healthy and delicious fruit and vegetables grown each year. You can also enjoy top-quality lamb and seafood. The country’s science and tech means that cultivation meets consumer demand and that all produce meets international codes of best practice and food safety. Sustainable techniques that show respect for the environment are always at the forefront. It’s important for New Zealand that it’s…

13. Moving towards a sustainable future

One of the most environmentally progressive countries in the world, New Zealand has emerged as a climate change leader by enforcing climate commitments in its trade agreements with other countries. The issue of climate change has filtered into the public consciousness, with 81 per cent of New Zealanders expressing concern. The government’s active pursuit of sustainable policies involves all levels of society, including the indigenous Maori. New Zealand has become a strong advocate for fossil fuel subsidies and has developed hydroelectric, geothermal, and wind power to provide most of its energy sources.

14. Experience the best adventure sports 

Speaking of life experiences, New Zealand is the adventure sports capital of the world! You’ll be spoilt for action-packed activities to do, with Queenstown especially known for adventure sports like rock-climbing, paragliding, water-rafting, skiing, and more. Thrill-seekers can try out ZORB, or ball-rolling, a sport invented in New Zealand where you roll downhill inside a giant orb. Not to mention the original adrenalin junkie sport, bungee jumping, may originate from the South Pacific region not far from New Zealand. You can try out a bungee jump from the famous Kawarau Bridge yourself – if you dare!

15. Beautiful beaches

Beach lovers will find a haven in New Zealand, with more than 15,000 km of available coastline around the island. From the golden sands of Maunganui Beach to the black sands of Piha Beach, New Zealand beaches are pristine and truly impressive. Enjoy spectacular Cathedral Cove to sun-worshipping crowds in Oriental Bay, go snorkelling at Maitai Bay, or take to the foamy waves of surfer’s paradise Shipwreck Bay. There is an epic range of diverse New Zealand beaches for all tastes. Right back to the indigenous Maori, this nation has always been a people who are at ease with the waves. The perfect excuse to try out a new sport.

16. Volcanic vistas and hot springs 

For even more natural wonders, you can seek out the hot springs. From the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua to Kaitoke Hot Springs on Great Barrier Island, there are plenty to choose from. These soothing, mineral-rich waters have a range of health benefits from treating skin ailments to simple, relaxing peace of mind. The warm waters of the springs are a blessed legacy of New Zealand’s long history of tectonic activity, which has also led to spectacular mountains and volcanoes. There is a mix of active and inactive volcano zones with some of the most beautiful hiking and walking opportunities in the country. This also means minor earthquakes are a fact of life of living in New Zealand – but it’s impossible to imagine the country without these spectacular peaks.

17. An inclusive society

New Zealand’s history of immigration, combined with strong Maori and Polynesian influences and long tradition of calm and polite political debate, means that society is inclusive and often welcoming of immigrants. As previously mentioned, the philosophy of Manaakitanga is still a core part of the national values. For your own part, you could learn more about Maori culture as part of your move to New Zealand, as you will find that it has influenced so much of society and daily life. The multiculturalism of New Zealand, a country grown by immigrants from around the world, also means that it’s possible to find amazing global cuisine in many places!

18. The wildlife 

The beautiful flora and fauna of New Zealand are a significant part of what makes the island a magical, exotic paradise. Unlike the reputation of Australia as a place with lots of wild, potentially dangerous critters, New Zealand has no major wild predators, with only two varieties of venomous spider. If you keep a watchful eye, you should stay safe. The most common animals on the island are domesticated dogs, as well as farm animals like cows and sheep. The country is known for occasional shark sightings too, so keep that in mind when you go for a swim!

19. A relaxed and calm pace of life 

Known worldwide for a relaxed and peaceful pace of life, New Zealand might provide the tranquil lifestyle that you’ve been searching for. Work environments are generally more relaxed than in the UK, the average commute is shorter and you can find lots in common with colleagues thanks to a way of living that’s big on sports and the great outdoors. You can also enjoy New Zealand’s extensive wine country, with 10 established regions ideal for growing the grapes.

20. It’s not as expensive as you might think 

We’ve covered so many wonderful aspects of the New Zealand way of life, but you might be thinking – how much will all of this cost? Is New Zealand expensive? The good news is that New Zealand is relatively cheap compared to the UK, at least in terms of property rental, where prices are on average 1.5 per cent lower. Utilities, such as water, gas and electricity, are also likely to be cheaper than your equivalent costs in the UK, as well as the cost of owning a car. Other areas of life, such as the weekly grocery shop, internet, your phone and general leisure activities, will probably work out at around the same.

21. Bigger housing options 

Property prices in the UK and New Zealand are not vastly different, but you might be able to get more bang for your buck in NZ. When it comes to housing in New Zealand, there is a great variety of options to choose from, whether you want a typical New Zealand villa – early 20th century style city home with one or two bedrooms – a bungalow, with all living space on one level, larger townhouses or apartments. Many houses come with a lovely garden, and you should also consider that in New Zealand, you’re likely to be closer to the coast than in the UK.

22. Plenty of space

You will not struggle for space! The New Zealand population is just over five million, compared to the UK’s 60 million. New Zealand is also a larger country by area than the UK. It shows in the rolling green landscapes, the wide open beaches, the spectacular mountains, dormant volcanoes and selection of vast national parks. So you’ll have plenty of space to explore, enjoy getting off the beaten track and escaping to enjoy rural bliss.

23. North or South Island?

There’s a place to suit everyone in New Zealand, but this is a big question. The North Island, known as Te Ika-a-Māui, has the cosmopolitan urban lifestyle of Auckland and Wellington, home to three-quarters of the country’s population with bays, islands and national parks. The South Island, called Te Waipounamu, is renowned for the spectacular. It has mountains, lakes, glaciers, with the Southern Alps running along the length of the island. If you seek adventure sports and the great outdoors, this might be your priority. 

Still not sure? We dive deeper into the question of whether to choose the North or South Island when Moving to New Zealand, exploring all of the pros and cons of each. Check it out to help make your decision when moving to New Zealand.

24. Bright future ahead

New Zealand is planning for a bright future. With a strong government in place, a stable economy, forward-thinking and progressive policies that prioritise environmental health and the development of renewable energy, there is a lot to be optimistic about for the prospects of this Pacific island nation. You might decide to be part of that future and join this exciting, thriving country.

25. Excellent public services

The public service of New Zealand is respected both in the country and outside. It has been voted the least corrupt nation in the world, with a reputation and level of dedication that other countries are keen to emulate. The country’s network of strong local communities means that trust is key to building good public services and a sense of a cohesive society as a whole.

Next Steps

So you’re considering the move to New Zealand! The next step involves identifying the right New Zealand work visa for your needs. There are plenty of different visa types out there to cover your residency status, whether you already have an employer secured or not, whether you want to study, start your own business, or make a significant investment in the country. You can explore all the options available to you with this hand walk-through on the New Zealand government website for more details.

The government website is also home to useful tips and advice for immigrants, including a planning tool to ensure a smooth move. To use the planning tool, just answer some simple questions about your relocation plans and generate a tailored task list, made especially for you. Based on the type of work you are doing, or if you plan to study, the requirements for your move might vary. This pre-departure checklist will prove useful in cutting through the complexities of a big move abroad.

Ready to Move to New Zealand?

If you’re ready to embark on a new adventure and relocate to beautiful New Zealand, then there is a lot to organise ahead of making this exciting move to New Zealand from the UK. This includes shipping your belongings to the other side of the world. Luckily, 1st Move International can take some of the stress off your shoulders ahead of starting your new life in New Zealand, making your door-to-door move a safe, easy, secure and smooth experience. Get a free quote today or find out more about our faster & safer international removals from the UK to New Zealand.

About 1st Move International

1st Move International are a specialist international moving and shipping company offering packing, shipping and insurance for shipping household goods and personal effects overseas. We have a global reach covering over 80 countries and 6500 worldwide destinations. You can get an international removals quote here or find more information on our international removals UK to New Zealand service here.

Avatar for Mike Harvey
As the Managing Director of 1st Move International, Mike Harvey brings more than two decades of logistics expertise and three years of specialised experience in international relocations to his role. His comprehensive knowledge spans the intricacies of overseas shipping, secondary yet crucial areas such as visa application processes and immigration requirements, and the wider topic of moving abroad including topics such as comparative analyses of cost of living, healthcare and educational systems worldwide. This expertise allows 1st Move International to equip people with the information they need to not just move overseas, but to make informed decisions about whether, and where, to relocate.