Immigration to New Zealand is a relatively recent phenomenon – starting in the 13th Century with the Polynesian settlers who gave rise to the Maori culture and language. The term Maori is, in fact, a word meaning ‘ordinary’ or ‘native’ – the term they themselves used to differentiate themselves from the European whalers, missionaries and escaped convicts who arrived in the 19th Century.
After World War II labor shortages required a liberalization of immigration laws.
Assisted passage was introduced in 1947, resulting in the arrival of large numbers of Dutch, German and Swiss immigrants throughout the 1950s.
1987 saw the complete liberalization if immigration policy and in 2010 a points-based system replaced one that resembled the Canadian model. Finally, in 2009 voices began to be heard claiming that New Zealand to must begin to compete for skilled and trained professionals.
Today, 20% of the country’s population is immigrant-based, and New Zealand offers a high standard of life for expatriates. Excellent public health and education, the still welcoming demeanor of the native Maoris and extensive leisure activities exist alongside a predominantly English-speaking culture, and New Zealanders immediately strike the newcomer as friendly and open-minded. Hospitality reigns high and is rooted in the traditional Maori ‘Manakitanga’.
For people looking for a safe, economically and politically stable country to call home, New Zealand is the place. Together with Canada and Australia, its British heritage makes it an attractive destination. It is peaceful, low in crime and socially tolerant. A 2015 OECD report, ranked New Zealand as the fourth safest country in the world after Iceland, Denmark and Austria.
New Zealanders pride themselves with having the perfect work-life balance. Cities are smaller than in Europe or the USA, so that means less commuting. Lifestyle choices as far as living accommodation is concerned, is varied. You can choose between a city center apartment and a suburban house with a backyard to grow your own vegetables.
New Zealand is the size of UK or Japan. It has all the facilities of an advanced Western nation but with a fraction of the people. With under 5 million inhabitants it has a population density of 17.82 per square kilometer, compared to 271 per sq. km in the UK and 348 in Japan.
The climate varies between the inland alpine regions and the warmer coastal areas. Inland, temperatures can sink a slow as -10 degrees Celsius in July but in the coastal regions, winters are milder.