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Interview with Betty – an American expat living in New Zealand

Updated 16 Jul 2018

Betty left her home in Holton, Kansas USA, to visit her future husband in New Zealand in 2006. They married the next year in New Plymouth “amid family, a few friends and a host of seals and seagulls”.

Betty enjoys nature and sharing inspirational words as well as titbits of wisdom. She has taken more than 1,000 photos, each of which captures the indescribable moments that make up her life in New Zealand. View some of these snapshots on her blog, Photographing New Zealand. Otherwise, you can read some of Betty’s thoughts on New Zealand life on her blog, My Views of New Zealand.

Read more about New Zealand in the Expat Arrivals New Zealand country guide or read more expat experiences in New Zealand.

About BettyNew_Zealand_Betty_Expat_Profile_Pic_2.jpg

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: Kansas, USA

Q: Where are you living now?
A: Eltham, Taranaki, New Zealand

Q: When did you move to New Zealand?
A: I moved to New Zealand in 2006.

Q: Why did you move to New Zealand?
A: I met a New Zealander online in 2003 and decided to see if we could make a life together in New Zealand.

Living in New Zealand

Q: How would you rate the quality of life in New Zealand compared with the US?
A: For me, the quality of life is about the same as in the US, however, the main difference is that New Zealand is so beautiful that I felt compelled to become an amateur photographer.

Q: Are there any negatives to life in New Zealand? What do you miss most about the US?
A: I miss shopping around to find the best prices. In New Zealand, I’ve learned that when I see something in the shops that I need, I should buy it then and there as it may not be on the shelves the next time that I go to the same shop.

Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life in New Zealand? 
A: How New Zealanders use the English language is so different from American English. This difference is one of the reasons that I started my first blog.

Q: What’s the cost of living in New Zealand compared to the US? Is anything in New Zealand cheaper or more expensive in particular?
A: New Zealand is expensive overall because just about everything is imported. Oddly, the dairy industry, one of the biggest exporters, charges the same amount for milk here as they do for their overseas customers.

Q: Do you need to own a car in Eltham, New Zealand?
A: I live in a very rural area, so a car is definitely necessary.

Q: How would you rate healthcare in New Zealand? 
A: We have public healthcare, but I have heard a few people complain non-elective surgery takes a lot longer than anticipated, as there might be waiting periods for treatment.

Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in Eltham?
A: Depending on where you are, most housing is very expensive. Compared to the US, houses are not insulated, and they don’t have air-conditioners or heaters. Very few windows have screens to deter insects and wood burners are used to heat up housing in the winter.

Meeting people and making friends in New Zealand

Q: How tolerant are the locals of foreigners?
A: In places that are not touristy, foreigners are not always well received, as New Zealanders can be cold to strangers.

Working in New Zealand

Q: Did you have a problem getting a visa or work permit to live in New Zealand? Did you tackle the visa process yourself or did you enlist the services of an immigration consultant?
A: We had a consultant work on my residency as soon as I arrived. It still took a year and a half to secure though.

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice that you would like to offer new expats arriving in New Zealand?
A: There is so much gorgeous scenery everywhere you go so be sure to look around!

~Interviewed May 2018

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