Are you looking for a place to retire where it’s safe, clean, endless natural beauty and has great healthcare? Or are you simply looking for a country where you can feel like home? Having spent a lot of time there let me share the pros and cons with you.
Here are the Pros and Cons of retiring to New Zealand:
- Friendly & Happy People
- Vibrant Lifestyle
- Astounding Natural Beauty
- Great Weather
- Very Safe And Secure
- Good Public and Private Health Care
- English Is The Primary Language
- Longer Flights
- More Expensive Shopping
- Fast Growing Real Estate Prices
Now you know the reasons why you should and shouldn’t retire in New Zealand. Let’s dig in further and explore each one.
Introduction To New Zealand
New Zealand is a country in the Pacific Ocean made up of two main islands and many smaller ones. The main north and south islands are where a majority of the population live and it has approximately 700 smaller islands spread over an area of 268k km2 (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand lies around 2,000 km east of Australia and 1,000 km south of New Caledonian, Fiji, and Tonga across the Tasman Sea.
New Zealand is mostly known for its endless natural beauty. The people are welcoming, it is extremely safe, has great food and healthcare. Because importing food and goods can be costly, there is a strong emphasis on eating what is fresh, local, and in season. Farm-to-table cuisine that is very fashionable in many places, but it is simply a way of life in New Zealand.
What are the Pros of Living in New Zealand
Friendly & Happy People
If you are concerned about not knowing anybody or having a hard time establishing new friends, then you shouldn’t when moving to New Zealand. The local people are some of the most down to earth, sincere, amusing people you’ll ever meet. They’re quick to make you feel at home and you will find you lowering your guard and feeling like you belong.
Even in the larger cities they have that small town feel where you may smile at random strangers without being judged and have them say hello as you pass. If you’re moving to New Zealand, expect to meet some of the nicest guys you’ve ever met who will go out of their way and make you feel at ease.
With a very active immigration policy it is a truly multicultural society starting with the country’s first people the Maori. There are plenty of UK immigrants, those from Asia as well as many Australians as well. This has resulted in a great mix of cultures and foods that makes New Zealand an even more interesting place.
New Zealanders and Australians often get mistaken for each other as they travel overseas and this is mainly that they have a similar laid back lifestyle. Expect to live more time outdoors and to have skiing, hiking, swimming, fishing and plenty of natural wonders to walk around when moving there. Many people go to the beach to relax, lie in their gardens, or meet up with friends for a pint at a nearby gastro pub for happy hour.
New Zealanders realize that life is about more than just work. People here know how to appreciate their personal mental health and just hang out with friends and family after a hard day of work is over. As a retiree this means there is always a good lunchtime meal with senior discounts around every corner as well as plenty of restaurants to try at night.
Master Chef the TV show that originated in Australia has had a huge effect on the food culture and lifestyle in Australia and New Zealand and it has raised the quality of all food venues. Not only does the food look and smell amazing but tastes just as good.
Here are a few places you can visit on your day off in New Zealand:
- Abel Tasman National Park
- The Bay of Islands
- Hobbiton Movie Set
- Sky Tower
- Mount Maunganui
- Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland
- Waitomo Caves
Astounding Natural Beauty
There’s a reason why New Zealand is such a wonderful country to retire: it’s a breathtakingly beautiful country with plenty of things to see and do. Between the beaches, trekking volcanoes, experiencing the wild sea life, and surfing the lovely black sand beaches. All of this as an example is within an hour drive of Auckland.
You’ll be able to enjoy more of the country’s magnificent landscapes, cultural experiences, and great history if you travel further or take one of the many cheap and quick flights. Hiking to the world’s eighth natural wonder of the world, Milton Ford. Walking the Maori trail to the underworld, and searching for the endangered New Zealand birds in the most gorgeous locations are all things you can do.
Here are a few natural landscape you have to visit in New Zealand:
- Milford Sound / Piopiotahi
- Long Bay
- Moeraki Boulders Beach
- The Remarkables
- Wharariki Beach
- Lake Pukaki
- Lake Tekapo
The first thing you will notice as you leave the plane in New Zealand and that is the absolute lack of air pollution. Take a great big breath of some of the cleanest air in the world. The low population and focus on limiting pollution through strict laws protecting the environment mean your retirement will be not only relaxing but will be into the future.
New Zealand can get cold in the winter on both the north and south island but there is not a lot of snow on the north island. Winter is between June to August and if you are in the south island you will be sure to see snow and have a roaring log fire or internal heating.
The spring is something to behold as the rivers in the south island melt and around every corner even on the highways you will see breathtaking views. The summers are warm enough to get in the ocean and go swimming and you are spoilt for choices with beaches.
There is just enough rain to make sure everything remains green and beautiful with the highest days of rain being 130ish in Auckland and New Plymouth. The only exception to this is Milford Sound that gets around 190 days of rain and Mount Cook with about 160 days of rain. This does add to their natural beauty though. A majority of this rain though is in Winter when you are indoors anyway.
Very Safe and Secure
There are no guns in New Zealand or very little and this means generally no gun based crime. Most police don’t even carry guns as there is not a need for it. This also means most situations get deescalated. There is crime there like in any other country but the serious crime is way less than in most countries and you can walk down the streets at any time of day or night without being worried about being harassed. Children can play in the streets and the most common type of crime is petty crime.
New Zealand is the world’s second safest country according to the 2021 Global Peace Index which analyzes 162 countries for the danger of personal violence. They are only slightly behind Iceland but if you don’t like year round cold weather New Zealand is the next best choice.
New Zealanders are generally liberal and believe that people should be allowed to live their lives as they see fit. There are laws against any kind of descrimination. You will not be harassed by the police here and you will feel you can walk up to them at any time and ask for help.
Good Public and Private Health Care
The healthcare system in New Zealand is regarded as one of the greatest in the world. The New Zealand government has aimed to make healthcare more inexpensive and accessible. Everyone in New Zealand regardless of residency status has access to healthcare.
If you are a citizen or a permanent resident, you will have no out-of-pocket expenses other than what you pay in taxes when you need to see a doctor. Non-residence can use the same world class public health system and just pay as they go.
Many expatriates prefer to use private healthcare to avoid the queues for non-urgent or elective procedures. This is common in most countries and it purely depends on what your personal medical situations are and how much care you need in your retirement.
Here are some private healthcare providers you might want to look into:
English Is The Primary Language
If you want to start a new life in a new country but are unsure how you can fit in and learn a new language then why not choose a country that speaks English. With English being the primary language and Maori (te reo) the native of the first nations people.
If you are deaf, New Zealand would be an excellent destination for you because the New Zealand sign language is formally globally recognized and shares many similarities with the sign used in the United States and the United Kingdom. There are many support services for deaf people.
What are the Cons of Living in New Zealand?
One of the disadvantages of living in New Zealand is its distance from Europe and the United States. A flight to Europe will take approximately 26 hours with a changeover in Singapore, Dubai or Dohar. The change over destination depends on the carrier that you have selected. With current faster planes the trip time to the United States and Buenos Aires is roughly 12 hours.
You do however have Asia, Australia and a number of Pacific islands in your backyard. Japan, Thailand and Vietnam should all be destinations for you to check out. Bali, Indonesia is Asia’s nearest beach vacation tourist destination other than Australia. Although New Zealand has several beaches, New Zealanders flock to Bali for a low-cost vacation and the beautiful tropical weather.
More Expensive Shopping
Electronics, clothing, and food will all be more expensive due to New Zealand’s location and the imposed import taxes. Some american branded products may cost you more and electronics and alcohol will be more expensive then you are used to.
If you purchase local products you will find them cheaper. Due to the exporting of beef and lamb and the swapping from lamb to dairy farms meat prices will be expensive. You are guaranteed a better quality of produce though than most countries in the world. One thing that will amuse you is being able to buy boiled sausages in the supermarket by the kilogram.
The biggest supermarket chain is Countdown and you will find the link below:
LINK: Countdown Supermarket
Fast Growing Real Estate Prices
Australia and New Zealand have been booming with house prices and even though the wages are good as well they have been outpacing a standard house income. This is good if you own a property but it makes it harder for first home buyers to get into the market. As an expat and the need to invest as a condition of your entry the money you will invest will most likely go into your home in New Zealand.
To look at current house prices the largest real estate website is:
For more information please check our next article about Retire To New Zealand: Cost of Living.