A Filipino Migrant's View of Living in New Zealand

I have been in New Zealand for over a year now and I am loving it! I have been to different places in the North and mostly in the South Island and seen a lot of awesome views and experienced what the city life and the countryside had to offer. And somehow I have observed their people and their ways... There are a number of observations that I made during my stay here in New Zealand. Here are a handful of random things of anything about New Zealand as viewed by a Filipino immigrant.

1. Generally, Kiwis are very warm, relaxed, friendly and kind. During my first days in New Zealand, the people who welcomed me made a very good impact. From the driver who took me to my accommodation, to the land lord, to the bank teller, to the bus driver... I felt the warmth and hospitality of their people. I still got the same perception of their people at this stage. :)

New Zealand Now tells us, "On the surface, Kiwis are friendly and outgoing, but we’re also quite private. So, although it’s easy to start a conversation with us, we don’t like sharing a lot of personal information. Topics to avoid include how much people earn, why they don’t have any children or aren’t married, their weight - anything personal. It’s OK to ask people what they did on the weekend or how their children are. Sport and the weather are also safe topics.

We come from a land of wide open spaces so we don’t like having people stand too close. We walk on the left of the footpath and we smile at each other a lot."

Cheers, mate! :)

2. Although the paper money is still here, most payment transactions are made through EFTPOS. Electronic funds transfer at point of sale, or widely known as EFTPOS, is an electronic payment system involving electronic funds transfers based on the use of payment cards, such as debit or credit cards, at terminals located at points of sale. Thanks, Wikipedia! Haha. In short, you pay by debit or credit card... As simple as that. But of course, you could always pay in cash. :)

Aside from electronic fund transfer system, online shopping is quite common here. I know that it has been quite some time now since online shopping has been introduced but it is something pretty new for me considering I only lived in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. Your debit card and credit card is always handy for the bargains you find online!

And you can even pay taxis with your card! Of course with an additional charge...

3. They like rugby. Not the rugby that the rugby boys in the Philippines are known for... Haha.

What they are crazy about is the game rugby or the rugby league. It is a contact sport that is considered one of the most physically demanding of team sports. As it involves tackling, running, and kicking, you can imagine how it can be a threat to one's bodily and spine integrity. Haha. Here's a glimpse of New Zealand's national game and how it is played in the field.

Now, I give you the haka... It is a war dance by the original Maori people of New Zealand and is done before a game to proclaim the team's strength and to intimidate their opponents. It is not just performed solely for games but also to welcome guests and during special occasions, among others.

4. They are not a big fan of rice. Aside from Indian, Thai, Japaneses and Chinese restaurants, you won't usually see rice being served as part of their menu. I struggled with this before as I can't seem to consider a meal as a real meal without rice... But I eventually got used to it. Potatoes, bread, and chips (or french fries) are their main source of carbohydrates here. Don't worry. You could always find rice being sold in supermarkets. Of course they sell rice cookers in any department store. :)

5. Although comparable to the size of the Philippines, New Zealand's population is only 4.5 million.
And then you will hear your Kiwi tour guide joking about the abundance of cattles and sheep... Haha. There are presently around 9 to 10 sheep to every 1 human in New Zealand.

By looking at the map, it resembles that of the Philiipines, but it's not overcrowded! It is just this July 2014 when the Philippines welcomed it's 100 millionth Filipino alive!

6. Left side of the road!
Driving in New Zealand is like driving in any other places, but there are a few things that you have to be aware of if you are a new driver... Here's a very helpful and informative video about driving in the country.

7. Talk to Kiwis and hear the Visayan accent.
Your yes becomes yis, ten becomes tin, seven becomes sivin, and your deck becomes...

And here's the part 2 of that funny commercial...

8. They love the great outdoors.
Who wouldn't love the country's picturesque sceneries? The vistas, the long white cloud, the coastline, their lakes... Their magnificent landscapes will be loved by nature lovers. You get to enjoy nature as you get your adrenaline pumping too!

If it is a 'lovely day,' your friendly next door Kiwis will definitely enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, camping, fishing, beach walking, or even just strolling around the nearest park. You will definitely enjoy the unspoiled forest and beaches, and their clean and green environment.

9. New Zealand is one of the least corrupt nations of the world.
The Ministry of Justice in its website tells us, "New Zealand has a strong reputation for being free and intolerant of corruption and bribery. The country is also widely recognised for its commitment to supporting international efforts to combat such behaviour and offences in all their forms. For example, New Zealand consistently ranks among the least corrupt nations in the world – often topping the table on Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index, which ranks countries by perceived corruption levels among public officials and politicians." Of course, that claim is supported by statistics... 

 Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are seen as the world's most corrupt countries while Denmark and New Zealand are nearly squeaky-clean, graft watchdog Transparency International has said in a survey. - The New Zealand Herald, 2013
10. Equality to all gender, races, or culture. Fed up with the hierarchical system in the Philippines and horrible overt discrimination in the Middle East, I am greatly happy to have moved in this country that value fairness and despises discrimination. When you work, you really get what you worked for... During casual conversations with colleagues at work, they would usually ask, "Is the pay in Saudi very good?" And they would get that shocked reaction when I reveal that salary in the Middle East is based on passport. I would add, "If you have a Philippine or Indian passport, you only get 1/4 or 1/5 of what your 'white' counterpart gets for salary. Imagine that, you do the same work, but you are paid just a fraction of what your other workmate gets." And most New Zealanders are not aware that the Middle East has this system for quite a long time now. Just imagine the shock in their faces after sharing that information with them... Oh well, at least I get to educate them about the sad reality in other parts of the world and that they are in a much better country.

If you have the right skill and education, the country will welcome you with arms wide open. As a skilled migrant worker, I got my residence visa in less than a year!

Same-sex marriage became legal in New Zealand on 19 August 2013. Wikipedia shares that: Between 19 August 2013 (when the law became operational) and 31 March 2014, 668 same-sex marriages were registered in New Zealand. 385 of these were between female couples and 283 were between male couples. Just under 60 percent of these were between New Zealand citizens, and roughly one-third were between Australian citizens.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. (Article 2, United Nations Declaration on Human Rights)
11. Their format of writing the date is... Day.Month.Year. As of writing this entry, the date is 23 October 2014 or 23/10/14.

Also, we have to move our clocks on specific dates of the year, either an hour further or an hour back, during daylight saving time. Daylight Saving commences on the last Sunday in September, when 2.00am becomes 3.00am. It ends on the first Sunday in April, when 3.00am becomes 2.00am.

12. You don't smoke? No worries!
The website New Zealand Now says, "Smoking is increasingly rare in New Zealand and prohibited in public buildings, including bars and restaurants. Generally people are expected to smoke outside. If you want to smoke, it’s polite to ask the people around you if they mind, even if you are outside." They are pretty serious about the anti-smoking campaign that they advertise ads on national tv about the effects of smoking and how to quit smoking.

The price of cigarettes is very high. From 1 January 2014 the price of tobacco and cigarette has risen from $15 to $17.50 for a 20s pack of manufactured cigarettes. If you get a pack of Marlboro in the Philippines for about 52 pesos, you'll get the same pack with the price of 643 pesos here in New Zealand. That's a whopping 91.91% price difference!

Their efforts to convince the public to quit smoking has indeed been effective. In the calendar years 2006 to 2013, daily tobacco and cigarette smoking participation per adult (1 RYO = 1 g tobacco) including cigars and cigarillos) reduced from 20.7% to 15.1%, a fall of 27.1% points over 7 years.

13. You don't drink alcohol? Good on you, mate!
Once again, the website New Zealand Now gives us, "We have a drinking culture, but it is fine to have a non alcoholic drink when you are socialising. The legal age for buying alcohol in New Zealand in 18. There are strict rules against providing alcohol for people under that age." Just like smoking, they are seriously campaigning against drunk driving. Here's a very powerful ad...

14. Four seasons!
For a dude like me who grew up in a tropical country, a childhood obsession would be to experience four seasons... And of course, touch and play with snow/ice. Finally, I experienced summer, fall/autumn, spring, and winter!!!


15. Work-life balance. The Kiwis really value how they live their life. And they know how to enjoy! As compared to where I worked before (Philippines and Saudi Arabia), your hard earned money here will definitely go far... You could afford to get a nice car (a second hand will do on your first few years.. or even months), you can finance your travel abroad or even just domestically, and most of all, you still get to save a lot... The cost of living here is VERY reasonable. Although for newbies it may be a shocker once you convert the prices, you really don't have to worry about converting once you start to receive your NZ salary. With a nurse's salary, you can definitely live comfortably in this country AND save much in the bank. $$ Also, you get to spend around 4 to 6 weeks of paid vacation!

16. New Zealand is one of the safest countries to live on earth. From the New Zealand Immigration website, "According to the 2013 Global Peace Index, New Zealand is the 3rd safest place to live in the world (after Iceland and Denmark). Up against 144 countries, New Zealand was followed by Austria (4th) and Switzerland (5th). Other nations such as the UK (44th) and USA (99th) were much further down the list."

The website added, "New Zealand is a relaxed and welcoming place to live. We’re a modern, secular democratic society and a mix of lifestyles is accepted here. People from many walks of life call New Zealand home and the majority of New Zealanders are honest law-abiding citizens."

"Our local police force is strong and you can be assured that all criminal matters are taken seriously. As in any country, there are incidents of crime and New Zealand Police are dedicated to solving and resolving offences. Our robust justice and court systems provide a fair process for those involved as well victim support."

"We’re a secure nation and pride ourselves on maintaining safe communities. Even our biggest cities are considered some of the top places to live on earth – Auckland (3rd) and Wellington (13th) ranked amongst the best on Mercer’s 2012 Quality of Living survey."

17. There are Filipinos almost everywhere. Right, the cliche is right. You see Filipinos everywhere. We're pretty much like the Chinese and the Indians now, wherever there is an opportunity, you'll find them. Everywhere my foot has taken me in the North or the South Island there is a Filipino. And of course if you have a Filipino community there would be a demand for Filipino stores that sell your favorite 'Pinoy favorites'. Isn't that awesome?! You are far away from Pinas and you still get to experience the Pinoy comfort. Oh, you also get to taste Pinoy food in Pinoy-run restaurants in the bigger New Zealand cities.

I guess the closest to New Zealand when it comes to living experience is Australia. I actually once thought of going to Australia a few months ago, but after hearing comments about racism from friends and bloggers I ditched the thought of moving out and decided to stay here. I also considered pursuing the US which was my original plan after graduation in 2007 but over the past few years the 'safety' in the US has been a concern (uhm, mass killings...), add the issue of retrogression... Canada can be too cold for me and I still have to study for years if ever I decide to move there, so no thanks. And UK's cost of living is 'stressful' according to my friends. Besides, UK nurses tend to travel to New Zealand or Australia and leave their country because of the cost of living... And that says a lot about the way of living there.

I can just go on and type more things about New Zealand in this entry... But it will definitely leave you with a common thought in mind, that New Zealand is a very good country to live in.


Anonymous said…
Hi Atom! Nice Read! I am currently working in Saudi and I'm thinking of moving to NZ soon!
marixungit said…
Thanks for sharing these info..
I would have to let my father read this before going to NZ :)
Anonymous said…
Hello! Is it hard to find a job as a nurse there nowadays? What happens if I dont find one? Thanks!
Sa Akin Lang Po said…
My colleagues from Saudi Arabia who finished their CAP recently told me it's difficult nowadays (they have jobs now). But I get to receive a lot of job vacancy emails daily. You have to have 5 years of relevant experience now to get work visa, it used to be 3 years.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for the prompt reply. I have 4years experience (2in Philippines, 2years in Abu Dhabi.) i stopped working for 2years because I got pregnant and now SaHM. Question, do they really check the experience? If I can ask for a certificate for another year from my previous employer, will they call and check? Also for the references, are they checking? Thank you so much! Really appreciate you taking the time to reply to my inquiries. Shukran😜
Sa Akin Lang Po said…
They do call and comprehensively check your references even though there are time differences (Middle East/Philippines-New Zealand).
Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for replying. Really, really appreciate it. Last question, will I be qualified to take the CAP even if I only have 4years experience (2009-2013)? Sorry if I keep on asking, I joined the forum, no one answered unfortunately.
Dherick said…
Sir your blogs are really inspiring and helpful. Kaso sa situation ko both kame ng asawa ko ngwwork dito sa saudi and my anak kame naiwan sa pinas. We are not sure if both kame mag cap w/c is more expensive for us or are there any ways na maging mag migrate kame (but you need to find a work as a nurse db?) para makasama na namin anak namin or isa isa muna ang punta jan? Saka sir is it true na need ng NZ experience bago ka tanggapin ng mga employer jan? Currently meron kme 4 yrs work exp sa OR (2yrs pinas, 2yrs KSA) thanks and GODBLESS
Sa Akin Lang Po said…
@anonymous, CAP providers have different standards and qualifications, it will all depend on their evaluation of your credentials and experience.

@Dherick, marhaba! I read your post sa forums... It will all depend on how you plan your future. In every decision naman you will consider the pros and cons and the risks. If you have enough funds to finance both of you for the CAP, that would be easier. Pero if you are really tight, I suggest have one of you go to New Zealand first while the other earns Riyals. Then once one of you gets a job in New Zealand, then the other from Saudi will follow soon. I think it is easy to get your partner if both of you are nurses and work in one of the Long Term Skills Shortage jobs. The Immigration now requires 5 years of experience in the field for work visas.
Anonymous said…
hindi po ba 2years xp lang para maqualify for CAP?..pano po mag 2 years xp tas nagCAP.after ng CAP hindi po ba makakahanap agad ng work kasi sabi nyo 5years XP ang needed..pls reply po.planning to apply for CAP this year
ReeseRap.... said…
Sir I am planning for a student visa there in NZ..Presently there is NO IELTS for study work programme till' September 30. How is the status of being a student there? What are the chances of getting g a permanent residence visa once you jace your employer?What is the average time frame of processing of PR Sir? I was also a staff nurse in Riyadh for 8 years just ended my contract last March of this year to pursue a career there or in Australia Thank you!
Anonymous said…
hi there sir, just want to ask if racism issues among immigrants especially among Asians are true?? if so, is it really that bad? I have been reading different blogs about life in nz and it has always been an issue. Thank you po!
Hi! My sister is going to Tauranga, New Zealand. As checked with different booking sites, the ticket is very expensive. Is there any mass transporation from auckland airport to tauranga like train or bus? I welcome any suggestions.
Anonymous said…
Good Day,

Hi I'm Rose I'm currently working here in Dubai and I would like to ask a piece of advice because I'm planning to move there to New Zealand but I have no idea where to start , I'm working here in Dubai for almost 5 years and I have also experience in pinas, Could you please advice me to take my first step.

Many Thanks in Advance
God Bless you
Em said…
Hi! Thank you for sharing your NZ life, it's really helpful specially for us who plan to migrate there. I would like to ask about the job opportunities, I come from the banking/finance industry here in Manila and although NZ is open to hiring Filipinos, how is this type of industry there? I know it's on a case to case basis but from your point of view, how is it? Planning to bring my husband and baby as well. Thanks again!
Frank Bolalin said…
Hi Atom,

I am planning to apply for an immigrant visa in New Zealand. however, i am an accounting graduate and working currently under real estate as property manager, will i find a job based on my educational attainment & work experience there? I hope you will reply back. thanks.
Sa Akin Lang Po said…
Hello, guys. I only know very limited information about immigration stuff; perhaps I can only tell you the nursing side of immigration things from personal experience. If you really want to know more about the industry you are in, the immigration website www.immigration.govt.nz will give you the most reliable answers to your queries.
Dexie Carla said…

I really like everything you posted here and I really thank you for giving insights for everyone. I do hope hopefuls to get in to NZ will be approved. I have been reading articles about the working holiday visa application, but I am concern if I just met all the requirements then Im good to go or there are still more information I need to know to make this possible?
Anonymous said…
I find this article very helpful and entertaining. Ive heard about the accent and its the exact same thing my bestfriend told me (she's a teacher in NZ). Im planning to get my Working Holiday Visa and Im hopeful I can get in! Thanks for this head's up about NZ! :)
Anonymous said…

Its Mischelie here...Been reading all the comments and suggestions down here and I find it very helpful since I am planning to go New Zealand, particularly in Christchurch.
I am an accounting graduate, and have worked in related fields for over five years now (Philippines and Papua New Guinea).
Anyone can give me idea on finding the right job in my field of industry?


Anonymous said…
hi po. how about pinoy doctors in NZ? i also read in some blogs na NZ employers don't read the CV and just judge you based on your skin? Also, is it true about the English proficiency? thanks!
rrhej13 said…
hi, good day sir! I am currently working here in Saudi, and I am also interested in working and moving to NZ, but I am clueless on where and how to start. At any chance, I would like to seek your advice on how you started your application from Saudi to NZ? I will appreciate any response you would share, thanks much! :)
Clyde Daung said…
Hey man. I really enjoyed the RUGBY part. Hhahaaha! This post got me hyped. I'm so excited to go to NZ soon. I would really love to move to this beautiful country. I'm also in middleeast as of now. UAE to be exact and I couldnt agree more about the salary thing. Kudos man! great post.
Sa Akin Lang Po said…
Hello! I really can't tell much about medical doctors' registration thing, but I'm pretty sure they have strict rulings regarding this profession. English proficiency is mandatory of course. You can always checkout the immigration website.

@rrhej13, just back read on some of my posts regarding New Zealand nursing. I think I made a blog about that way back. It will give you the good to know stuffs and helpful links.

@Clyde, thanks bro. Rugby na! Haha.
Unknown said…
Guys I want to work in new zealand...but i have a lung scar ..pwede p kya ko makarating don..pls help nmn po..tnx po..
Hi! I just want to ask if okay ba kuhain ung course na health management sa ntec christchurch. Im a nurse. Parang entry course lang then ill process ung cap from there. And kmusta naman ung students na working dyan. May mga parttime ba for students. Thanks
Anonymous said…
Hi. i am looking for any advice.
I am currently living here in Philippines. I don't know if you could help me either. But do you guys knows how much does it cost if i am going to use a consultancy agency here? I am very interested to know the cost to prepare my self as well. thank you in advance if someone can help me regarding with this matter. :)
Hi. The blogger has a separate article on how to apply for nz registration. It is very helpful

Anonymous said…
Ya he has a blog on how much does he cost to migrate in NZ. Kaso kasi ba yung case dito sa pinas. that's why i am seeking for any advise sana. pero nakita ko na gumastos sya ng almost 500k if you convert it into peso and he took student visa kung hindi ako nag kakamali. Mas madali ba yung student visa para maka pasok sa NZ or ok lang din kung mag hanap ako ng consultancy agencies para ma assist ako maka hanap ngtrabaho sa NZ?
Karina said…
Hi the consultancy fee for agencies that I know of is like 60K but that's their fee only. It depends on the agency though

I don't know about other courses but as a nurse I think we have to spend about 500k there for the CAP tuition and living expenses while processing for registration
Hello..I am looking for advice kasi wala akong kamag anak o kaibigan sa NZ. I recently found employer and my job offer is on its way n daw.But the problem is sa akin ang gastos sa visa processing, plain ticket at accomodation.Ask ko lang po magkano monthly rental sa mallit na tiraan na may kusina tsaka meron po bang mga fastfood chain doon na budget friendly?at lastly kung mgkano po usually monthly expenses sa pagkain kung nagluluto ako sa bahay.Sana po matulungan nyo ako.Kung ok lang po pwedi rin mg reply sa email ko rodrigosantiago91@yahoo.com..maraming salamat po..
Anonymous said…
Thank you Katrina. Actually hospitality management graduate ako. Kaso di ko alam kung mahirap ba humanap ng trabaho according sa natapos ko. or kailangan ko talaga mag apply ng student visa para lang maging permanent ako sa NZ :)
Unknown said…
To Sa Akin Lang Po;

Ako po sana'y hihingi ng tulong sa iyo kung ano at papaano ang mga dapat gawin upang magkaroon ng trabaho sa New Zealand?

Sana po mabigyan nyo ako ng mga paraan at kung ano ang mga dapat na unahin para magkaron ng katuparan na makarating dyan sa NZ.

Maraming salamat po.

Hi po, ask ko lang po paano ung start nio po sa NZ lalo kung wala pong kakilala madali po ba maghanap ng work after the bridging and ung accomodation po? Torn po aq between aussie and NZ ... hope you can help me... this is my email add mika_j18@yahoo.com
best things said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fat Mike said…
Saan po kaya maganda mag loan ngayon? ofw po tatay ko..
may mga nanloloko kasi ngayon na lending company na sinasabing walang hidden fees pero andami naman pala.. Sana po may mag refer sa akin ng trusted company. Salamat po..
Hi! Fat Mikke, Please visit this site www.ofwloans.ph it's a comparison of lending companies here in the Philippines. I hope your father find the best company for him. Thanks!
You’ve provided great information in your blog. Many thanks for sharing the information in your blog.
nars nz
Carla said…
I'm searching in google for pinoy in NZ and came across your blog. Thank you fora very informative blog about Kiwis. :) Agree to that "horrible overt discrimination in the Middle East" hahaha! I am presently thinking of migrating to NZ. I did some research about registration as well. I'm a bit hesistant in applying coz they might decline my NZ nursing registration. I'm working for 2 years in a semi private hospital here in UAE. I got nurse experience in our home country as well. Can you tell us about your registration process? Were you assisted by an agency? And how about your CAP? Where did you do it?

I hope you can help :) my email address is carrie_cee@yahoo.com
Bharath Gopalan said…
Your website is terribly informative and your articles are wonderful.
nars nz
Anonymous said…
please can you help me na mag land din sa NZ in 3 yrs time? 3 yrs kasi contract ko dito sa Jubail SA ayoko naman i-breach. I need help po sana.

Pls my email is dgray8878@gmail.com
Christan Jay Espinosa said…
I've read about the cattle and sheep thing. Just like in Australia, most of its livestock is cattle and its number is twice or trice compared to humans. So why is it hard to apply or even atleast have a job offer from New Zealand?I am an Animal Science graduate, I'd love to go there and find a job. Any ideas/ recommendations it would be appreciated. Have a nice one!!!
Anonymous said…
hi, first of all this is an informative blogs and i hope you are doing good and you still have time to answer.

Question lang po:

1. Anong City po ba ang expensive? (state po ang house/apt rental fee)
2. Anong City po ba ang madaling makahanap ng work?
3. Mabilis po ba ang internet sa NZ?
4. Kumusta po ba ang pagkain? alin ang mahal pinoy food o kiwi food?
5. Kung sakali STUDY, then WORK, then IMMIGRATE ok po ba eto?
6. Ilang years bago makakuha ng CAP?

Marami pa po sana pero i guess above is enough and for sure yong sagot nyo ay makakatulong din katulad sa amin.

Anonymous said…
Wow! We are in the process of lodging our Residence Application and came across your blog. A good read indeed and the videos are lovely!

Salamat po!
michael atienza said…
Hi there. My wife and kid are returning to the Philippines for holidays. They are my dependents and hold NZ Resident visa. Any info on what clearance they need when exiting Philippines? Appreciate any feedback on this. Thank you.
Emerald Layba said…
Hi! This is Emerald from Ideal Visa Consultancy. If you have any questions regarding studying in New Zealand, you may contact me at emeraldlayba@idealvisaconsultancy.com or www.facebook.com/emerald.layba or visit our website at https://www.facebook.com/idealvisaconsultancy/. Thank you!
Good day sir. Thanks for your very inspiring blog post. I am a licensed chemical engineer in the Philippines and I barely have any experience in my field since I just passed this year. But in 2017 I am planning to work as a Software Engineer since it pays better. After working for around a year I am planning to enter New Zealand with a student visa and eventually work and live there. Do you think I have a chance? I would love to hear your opinions. Thank you so much sir!

kenneth samson said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
Planning to work and study in nz. Part time job dat fits my school expnses. Sugestion? What university and course? Appreciate any help!
Anonymous said…
hi, i am undergraduate, visa entry in new zealand is my option according to my consultant, it is not hard to find a job while study? and do they checking background form the country of origin?

i am currently working abroad
your response is highly appreciated

Popular posts from this blog

Prometric Exam / Saudi Council Exam

DepEd Authentication of High School Documents