Wellington, New Zealand Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington, New Zealand 06/10/19

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. I have also lived in Spain.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

East coast of the US. It takes forever and two days to get here. I flew to CA, then Sydney and then here.

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3. How long have you lived here?

About eight months now.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

I have a very big apartment right in the city. Most families live outside the city in what seem to be very nice homes. I take the bus in and that takes about 30 minutes +/- and I walk home which takes about 40-45 minutes. (But I don't usually walk fast.)

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can get anything and everything here. The paper towels are not great, for some reason, and everything is expensive.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Probably nothing. Amazon and DPO makes everything available.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Every kind of food you can imagine. It's all here.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

None.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO is great.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

It would not be cheap, I'd imagine.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Typical.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Just like being at home.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

All.

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6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

I don't believe so.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Safe and affordable.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

I'd buy here. There are tons of used cars for sale. Japanese cars are the norm. I understand that it's difficult and expensive to retrofit a US car to their standards but I have not tried.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

High speed internet is widely available and easy to get. No issues.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Unlocked phone with local provider.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

All of the typical ones. Shelters, hospitals, and NGOs.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

We don't have a Med Office but there are doctors' offices all around.

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2. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Lovely!

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3. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Nothing that I've heard of.

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4. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

This may well be. I am just entering my first winter here and I hear it's very gray.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Typical seasons that I was used to, just upside down. The summer was spectacular: no humidity, comfortable temps. Loved it. The housing does not have AC but I never missed it and I'm usually all about it.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

I don't know that there is an expat community, per se. Everyone can just meld in with the locals.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

All the usual MeetUps.

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3. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Very! Super open and welcoming society.

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4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

Seems easy enough. No prejudices that I know about.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

I haven't been here long but there is gorgeousness everywhere you turn. NZ is famous for its breathtaking landscapes and that is for a reason.

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6. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

People buy greenstone (Maori) pieces and lots of wool.

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7. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

It's easy, beautiful, the weather is very often fantastic, you can buy whatever you need.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

That the embassy itself doesn't have a sense of community.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Car. Any furniture as the houses are 'densely' furnished. Lots of stuff.

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4. But don't forget your:

TSP. You can burn a lot of money traveling around the islands.

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Wellington, New Zealand 03/30/16

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

West Coast USA. From LAX or SFO, it's about a 14-hour flight to either Sydney or Auckland, then a connecting flight on a smaller plane into Wellington's wind-buffeted sneeze of an airport. Transiting through Auckland involves lugging all your checked luggage between the domestic and international terminals, while a trip through Sydney involves having to deal with Australians.

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3. How long have you lived here?

One full tour, and not a day longer.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Assigned to the U.S. Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The housing market in New Zealand remains tight due to a continual influx of people, as well as limited land for new buildings. Post's housing pool is a mix of older, owned properties and newer leases which are spread far and wide throughout Wellington and its suburbs. Although there's a range of apartments, townhouses and single-family homes available in the pool, there is no excess inventory so the assignments can be a crapshoot based on your arrival date. Commutes range from a 20-minute walk to over an hour's drive each way. If you plan to have your kids go to one particular school, make sure to let the Housing Board know well in advance so they can try to accommodate you.

Make-readys tend to be very casually done here, and as a result of the relaxed culture you'll find that painting or cleaning might not be done like you'd expect at a larger post with more resources. GSO is very limited for warehouse storage, so you get what you get when it comes to furniture and furnishings. Gardening seems to be a prized hobby in New Zealand, so you'll be expected to be thrilled about the prospect of maintaining your own lawn, shrubs and trees. Several employees have said that they felt like they were living in a construction site due to the fact that their older, poorly maintained homes were always in need of repairs.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Large chain stores such as New World and Countdown have the basics covered. For household stores there's the Warehouse or Farmers, which bear a strange resemblance to a Sears in 1992. Food is slightly more expensive here, although you can save by becoming a regular at the local butcher or farmer's market. Household goods and clothing are generally lower in quality than you would expect, so plan to either rely on Amazon through the DPO or load up your HHE.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Everything that you actually need can be found locally, although your favorite brands will only sporadically be available. Pack heavy on your favorite American foods and staples, since they're not generally carried in Wellington. One supermarket chain, Countdown, does have an American foods section with Old El Paso taco shells and Aunt Jemima pancake mix. No syrup though, go figure.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Takeaway shops and bakeries are ubiquitous, although they mostly offer low-quality pies and fried food. McDonald's, Subway, KFC and Burger King are all widely available and offer a little taste of freedom. New Zealand has no unique cuisine of its own, so brace yourself for an onslaught of bland British food.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Not very many, which is fortunate because most housing does not have central heating or air conditioning. On summer evenings, be sure to turn off the lights or else you'll have hordes of moths fluttering in through your windows.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO for care packages, but allow 3-5 weeks for standard delivery from the U.S. NZ Post is also a reliable option for receiving local shipments, although the mail carriers will have no shame about reading your postcards.

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2. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

New Zealand is often described as a sport-crazy country, but that doesn't necessarily imply athleticism. Many fans are content to sit on the couch, drink beer and watch cricket on the telly. Gyms are generally available, although they vary wildly in terms of quality. Plan to pay about $15 NZD per week for something that resembles a hotel fitness center with equally limited opening hours. There is no gym at the Embassy, and no showers are available for the bike commuters or lunchtime runners.

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3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Both are safe to use, although many businesses simply do not accept credit cards. Get a local EFTPOS (debit card) bank account through Westpac as soon as possible, since it's the preferred method of payment. A lot of places will even act as if you're causing them a personal inconvenience when trying to pay with cash.

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4. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

I've been told that the people here speak English, but it's hard to be certain since many New Zealanders are extremely soft-spoken. Also, the local patois involves adding “i.e." to the end of words: breakfast becomes brekkie, presents become prezzies, etc.

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5. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes. Although the city of Wellington is easy enough to get around, you would quickly experience cabin fever if you tried to stay in town for weeks on end. Most of New Zealand's natural attractions are far-flung and unimproved, so a disabled person would end up feeling left out. Also, the Embassy is currently undergoing a seismic upgrade project, so the entire building has been transformed into a construction site until at least 2018. The one elevator remains out of service, and there is no timeline for it to be operational again. Bathrooms are few in number and regularly out of service, which means that employees would have to negotiate flights of stairs on a regular basis.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

All are safe and generally affordable. A monthly Tranzmetro rail pass will cost between $100-$150 NZD, and most people in the suburbs will take this route. You'll see a lot of free range parenting here, with kids as young as 8 or 9 allowed to take the train or ride a taxi to school by themselves. It's almost impossible to go completely carless, though, as there's no kind of alternative options like SmartCar. You'll need a vehicle to get out of town during your tour, or else you'll go stir crazy by staying in Wellington.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

I'd recommend against shipping a car due to stringent restrictions on imports, most of which seem arbitrary and whimsically enforced. Even if your current vehicle is right-hand drive and meets the necessary emission standards, it might still take several weeks and thousands of dollars to have the headlights realigned. Secondhand cars are cheap and widely available for purchase, although many have been salvaged from either Australia or Japan. Expect to have an unusable FM band, as well as a GPS programmed in a foreign tongue. On start-up, one of my colleague's cars would always announce something like "Konnichiwa, honorable driver, please to fasten seatbelt for safe driving pleasure experience." Maintenance costs are slightly higher here, especially with replacing tires due to the poor quality roads. Car insurance is not compulsory, but it's inexpensive (~$500 NZD/year) and highly recommended.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

To live in New Zealand is to live at the end of the Internet. Regular in-home service is available for approx. $100 NZD/month, though reliability is spotty. When traveling, most hotels still charge you to access the Web, and the smaller mom-and-pop places will actually charge you based on data usage. 3G coverage varies by city, and there are several hours' worth of dead zones along major highways.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Surprisingly not, and as a result many EFMs choose not to work for a tour. EFM vacancies at the Embassy are routinely going unfilled.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Plenty. New Zealanders are generally joiners, so there's a volunteer club for all kinds here.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business at the Embassy, despite all the dust and smoke from the ongoing demolition. Kiwis are more casual, though, so Wellington is one of those rare places where you'll find yourself dressing down before you go to a meeting. It's anything goes after hours; New Zealand seems to be a grab bag of styles, although going barefoot seems to be a thing for all ages. The locals look for any occasion to wear costumes (known as "fancy dress") to office parties or get-togethers at the pub.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

None that you wouldn't have in any other small city, although at first you'll be surprised by New Zealand's overall lack of security. Most police aren't typically armed, and many airports don't bother themselves with such mundane tasks like screening passengers or their luggage. Typical crime reports often cite alcohol as a factor, though disorderly conduct and robberies are commonplace in and around Wellington. Also, it seems like every few weeks there's a report of an attempted child abduction somewhere in the country.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Generally good but it varies, and the techniques are dated but with a new-age feel. As there's no RMO or RMO-P at post, you'll have to rely on word-of-mouth referrals to locate service providers. For follow-up care, there may only be one or two specialist providers available in Wellington, so don't count on being able to get a second opinion. There are no specific health concerns here, although depression is a reality here due to the weather and the working conditions. Like most well-to-do and government employees, doctors routinely take most of December and January off for the holidays.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

There is no air pollution here, although the weather does get fairly gloomy when it's overcast for weeks at a time.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Although many restaurants feature allergy-sensitive or gluten-free menus, it's a challenge to shop for a specific diet on a regular basis. If you need lactose-free milk, you've got to check the supermarkets daily as there seems to be a local cabal of tiger moms that goes around buying it in bulk. Seasonal allergies are a danger year-round, so come prepared with a stock of medications.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

When it's not raining here, it's going to rain. When it's sunny you'll burn. You'll quickly become acquainted with SPF 70+. Try to get out and enjoy those rare days of good weather, though, as the climate seems to take a toll on people.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

This is a mixed bag, and your happiness with schools may depend entirely on where you're assigned to live. Check with the CLO or your sponsor for the latest advice, and stay on top of your housing assignment so you can reach out to find the public school nearest you. Also, many schools require kids to wear the full Brit-style uniforms, which can cost up to US$1000 for an initial issue. The majority of schools in Wellington are single-gender.

Academics are a crapshoot, and many parents find that the curriculum is less challenging than in the U.S. Most schools require parents to sign blanket authorizations for spontaneous field trips during the school day. Lesson plans and schedules are seen as more like rough guidelines.

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2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are many options for daycare, but these vary widely in quality from in-home providers to regional chains. Do your research before trusting someone with your kids, as Kiwis have a much greater tolerance for risk when it comes to child-rearing. It's not unusual to see kids as young as five or six walking themselves to the dairy during free periods.

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3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, although most of them are run through the schools, which seem to enforce mandatory athletics participation in order to build character. Rugby, cricket, and something called netball are big here.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Tiny and lousy. Remember that the people make the post, so be sure to do your due diligence and Google searches when bidding. The current Embassy construction project is akin to 4o hours of sheer torture each week, with no realistic end date in sight. If you enjoy drafting cables with a jackhammer pounding away next to your desk, or if you just adore the idea of partaking in three unplanned fire drills each week, Wellington might be for you. Also, the Embassy has quite an impressive problem with limited resources and funding, so don't expect any of the usual support systems or offices that you'd find at a larger post.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Not a lot. Most of the local nightlife ends earlier than you'd expect, and in the suburbs the streets roll up at 7pm sharp. Walking out of a movie theater at night in New Zealand will make you think the apocalypse must have happened while you were inside.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

No/No/Yes. Wellington is an extremely small city, and for some reason families with young children seem to suffer when coming here. Likewise for singles, as the social scene is limited and fairly insular. Childless couples and empty nesters seem to enjoy New Zealand the most by taking full advantage of the in-country travel opportunities. This is not a very tight-knit post, and most employees do not socialize outside of working hours.

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4. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

In general no, but people of an African descent are still somewhat rare in New Zealand. It's not uncommon to be seen as a novelty, which may result in being treated differently or being asked inappropriate questions.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Seeing some moderately impressive landscapes while listening to Lord of the Rings fans describe in detail which scenes were filmed there. Enjoying the gorgeous harbor views while stuck in traffic jams on the one motorway leading into and out of the city. Queuing up behind hordes of Asian cruise ship tourists while waiting for weak beer and watery coffee.

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6. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Lonely Planet magazine dubbed Wellington the "coolest little capital in the world" although in truth you could cover most of the major highlights here in a few long weekends. Try to get out of Wellington whenever possible.

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7. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Wool socks, wool shirts, wool hats, wool jackets, and lamb chops. New Zealand doesn't seem to make much of anything that's not sheep related, so you probably won't overload your HHE coming out of here.

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8. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

New Zealand is, without a doubt, the most beautiful second-world country I've ever seen. There's literally tens of bucket-list things to do, each of which will keep you entertained for up to an hour at a time. Unfortunately, all of these places of interest are at least a 2-3 hour drive apart, so plan on embracing the carsickness along all the winding, unsealed roads.

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9. Can you save money?

Yes, if you're not trying to keep up with the people who seem to continually be flying off on bucket-list trips every Friday afternoon at 2:30.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

That New Zealand is a place where people come to do amazing things, but not necessarily to do amazing work.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

No. I know the term mutual break-up is somewhat of a cliche, but it's time for me and the Kiwis to go our separate ways. Please note that your results may vary-- this beautiful country would be the perfect R&R destination by anyone's standards, but spending a full tour at this too-small Embassy is just too much.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Used tents, dirty hiking shoes, filthy gumboots, and anything else that might get seized by customs for a biosecurity violation. Also, don't bother bringing any expectations of personal privacy or top-rate customer service.

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4. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen, patience, flavored coffee creamer. Your favorite cassettes and CDs from the 1990s.

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Flight of the Conchords.

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6. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Anything but the Hobbit please.

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7. Do you have any other comments?

I'd recommend confirming that the current Embassy construction project is over before placing a bid on this post.

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Wellington, New Zealand 04/20/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No - two other tours in Africa and Europe.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

East coast - 27 - 34 hours through Sydney and LAX.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2011-2013.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Our house was very small, and that was a common complaint at the time. As we were leaving, the U.S. housing pool was adding larger, very nice homes.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

It's expensive, and there are no turkeys in country, so if you want one for Thanksgiving it costs about US$75 for an imported one. To save costs, I used the discount grocers (Shopper's Warehouse, I think?) - but still expensive. Supplement with Amazon bulk wherever possible to save money.

Shopping isn't what you'd expect - high prices, low quality. The entire shopping mall felt like being in a dollar store with outrageous prices on everything.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Heinz ketchup, Spaghetti sauce (local is sugary and almost tastes like sweet pickles), Eczema and allergy medicines, batteries (they cost a fortune there), dried goods and non-perishables you love.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

McDonald's, Domino's - we loved trying the different ethnic foods, though. They have fabulous curry, kebab, Thai, and fish and chips stands everywhere.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Not an issue, but be sure to go hiking at night to find the glow worms!

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Pouch // DPO - but there was some kind of crime wave when we were at post! 1 out of about 4 packages we expected actually made it to us. We "lost" things like Christmas gifts (TWO American Girl Dolls never made it) and Amazon boxes. I hope that's changed, but it was a nightmare to not know what would come and what would get "lost."

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Comparable to the U.S.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, and I believe they were comparable to U.S. costs.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Easy to do and accepted almost everywhere.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

As far as I know, all.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

That's the great thing about New Zealand / Australia!

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

I'm not sure; the streets were level and there were sidewalks everywhere, but the backcountry and neighborhoods were definitely made for stair-climbing and hiking.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Yes to all; taxis were fairly expensive, but I can't speak for the cost of trains or buses.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

I believe there are a lot of restrictions; it was the first post we went without bringing any cars in. We bought from a transitioning employee and one from an online auction. We sold back to a car dealership for an amazing price - After trade-in, we paid a total of $2K for both cars for two years. Spent $12,000 on them, got $10,000 back.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

We are high-speed internet snobs; we expect the best! It was average, but I can't remember the costs.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Vodaphone was our carrier. It was fine and affordable.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Yes - 6 months; can't speak for vet care.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Yes - the language is not a barrier and that's helpful. I'm the traveling spouse, and I had a job with a local university. It was easy to set-up and get started.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

I imagine there's a good variety

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Casual / Business Casual.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

None, except environmental - earthquake and tsunami awareness.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Plenty of good doctors to choose from, no health concerns (besides the eczema I mention next question).

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Excellent.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

If you have seasonal allergies elsewhere, they're going to be very bad at times in Wellington. Our youngest son and I have slight allergies at home, but there our symptoms were off the charts. One NZ fall (February-May) his eczema got so bad that we considered leaving short of tour for medical relief. It's extremely common there (many children struggled to heal open eczema rashes to no avail), and as far as we could tell, they didn't have any solutions for it. Our best relief came from aveeno's baby eczema products (most weren't carried on the local market at the time). This was all due to NZ's very raw environment; my son has since healed and not had an eczema outbreak again.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Extreme. It gets very windy (and southerlies bring the arctic temperatures) and the sun is also very strong. Because of the average temps, I imagined using our patio for morning coffee (to take in the great views and scenery), but it was rarely comfortable weather - extreme winds, cold air, burning sun - to just sit in. Life is very outdoorsy, so long periods of gloomy weather + island fever can get to you at times.

It's also important to note the raw nature of the climate - if you have allergies elsewhere, prepare for them to be extreme in this country.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

No international school, and we used St. Marks because it was co-ed. They do not teach at the same pace or educational structure as you would find in the U.S. Your child starts Kindergarten when they turn 5 (on the day, if it's a weekday), and the Kindergarten is a much more relaxed and playful pace than you'll find in the U.S.

Getting your children to and from the different private schools can be very inconvenient as well. They're not located where most of our housing is - so most are on the other side of the city. Factor in the commute times, uniform and supply prices when choosing. I had three children in school, and it cost us thousands, even though tuition was paid and we ordered the minimum supplies.

The schools are friendly and well-meaning. I never met anyone over the moon with their choice, and I know we struggled (and in one case were set back a grade) because of the slower, less structured pace of the lesson plans. We kept U.S. grade-level books to work on through the summers, and my children still had a lot of catching up to do.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Available, but expensive.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Soccer, netball, and rugby.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Small and high. There weren't many embassy-arranged activities while we were at post, but I suppose that changes with the CLO position. It was always fun to organize outings and events with other families.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There are a lot of places to go exploring, and plenty of activities going on in and around the city. I've heard the sailing and fishing are amazing!

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I loved this post for families, and Wellington had a fun nightlife and great restaurants that I think singles and couples would definitely enjoy.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes, I would assume so.

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

No, Wellington seemed very friendly and open-minded

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

We found delicious restaurants in every corner of the city, but favored the ones in the Karori neighborhood (where our home was): Yummy Curry is a must-have and the fish and chips there are to die for. It's a great city for foodies to explore. Taupo was a favorite trip, and we loved exploring all of the beaches and hiking trails. There were numerous directions to hike right out of our own backyard.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The beaches and parks on Seatoun were always our quick favorite, there's a souvenir outlet in Miramar (better prices than you'll find in the city), the licorice is the best we've ever tasted!, Karori Park is a fabulous place to run and play, Otaki beach was our favorite place to swim & spend a summer day.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Memories - get out and see the islands of the South Pacific while you're there!

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The scenery is unmatched; it's the Earth at its finest. There's so much nature to take in, and the city is set up for you to do as much as you can on foot (hiking trails and walking paths are everywhere). Kiwis are extremely friendly, good-natured and outgoing.

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10. Can you save money?

The majority would vote "no", but we saved up a ton in two years (+/- 50K) from shopping online and keeping costs low.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

How cold it was most of the time. I missed feeling warm!

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Honey! Don't mess with New Zealand's eco-system, they take it very seriously.

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4. But don't forget your:

High SPF sunscreen, windbreaker, hiking gear.

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Wellington, New Zealand 08/04/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

We have lived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Muscat, Oman; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Lusaka, Zambia; Wellington, New Zealand.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Tulsa, OK. I honestly can't remember how long it took - just that it was way too long.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Since October 2010.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government - US Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Standalone houses and apartments. Families are typically assigned to houses - either leased or government owned. Commute times depend on where you live. From Lower Hutt where we live the commute in the morning is about 30 minutes. The evening commute can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Most things you need are available, aside from the vast majority of American brands we are used to. The cost of food however can cause heart failure...

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Buy towels, blankets, mats, sheets, and such before you come here. Quality is an issue here for the price.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

MacDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Subway, Denny's, Starbucks and a whole host of good restaurants of all types. Decent restaurants tends to be pretty pricey. Most of us bought the Entertainment book to get a bit of a break from the cost of the better restaurants.

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

They are really big on organic and gluten free foods. Those with allergies should have no problem finding products they can used and vegetarians have no problem here either.

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6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Through the embassy. We have DPO here and the traditional pouch. International mail is fairly reliable here as well and courier services are available.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Expensive and it is difficult to bring one in.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

TONS of gyms. Kiwis love their physical activity.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

It is safe to use credit cards and ATMs. We have a special relationship with one bank here so that we can deposit our US checks into a NZ account and be able to access our money immediately (we also get a slightly better exchange rate than the average tourist).

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

All denominations are represented.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

They speak English! Though at times I swear it must be another language.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Very, very safe! A bus or train ride from lower hutt to wellington central business district is NZ$5.Taxis are a bit expensive.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

NZ has very stringent requirements for cars coming into the country. It must pass their inspection or it can't be brought in. Most people buy a car here, or have one shipped from Japan (IBC specializes in cars being shipped to NZ and have a certified inspector in country to make sure the cars can be shipped to NZ with no problem).

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. It ranges depending on what you want and/or need.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

I use Vodaphone because they had no problem with me using my own phones. I've been happy with them, but there are quite a few companies to choose from.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Yes. Usually for about 6 months, though depending on where you are coming from, it could be less.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes!Vets are very capable and prolific. There are kennels, though we haven't had to use one yet.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Work - Business, business casual. Public - from what I can see you can wear whatever you want especially if it's a throwback from the 80's

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

None that I know of at present.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Compared to where I've lived, medical care is great here. Just don't expect socialized medical systems to work like the system in the US.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Air quality is excellent.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

It's pretty windy, especially in Wellington. We've been lucky since we arrived and there hasn't been as much rain as the previous year. Temps stay between 40 and 75 F most of the year.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are no international schools. There are a few private schools that offer the IB program and most are not coed. Our girls attend Queen Margaret College near the embassy. We chose it because at the time it was the only one that offered IB. I know of at least 2 others now that offer it (one that is an all-boys school and one that is coed). We have been pleased with the school so far and have no complaints other than the cost of the school uniform!

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are plenty of preschools around for anyone that is interested. They range in price and programs, so it's really a matter of personal choice.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes! Soccer, Rugby, cricket, tennis, swimming, basketball, hiking, climbing, netball, badminton, etc.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Too big to even guess. No one even bats an eye at the fact that we don't have a kiwi accent.

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2. Morale among expats:

Fairly high.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

You can have as much or as little of a social life as you want.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I believe it's a good city for all types. Singles are typically assigned housing close to the Wellington city center where there are lots of restaurants, pubs and events. For families there are those things plus all sorts of playgrounds, waterparks, lasertag, paintball, hiking opportunities, and sports.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Definitely a good place for gays and lesbians.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

I haven't witnessed any so far.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Being able to take photography courses in a gorgeous, photogenic country; Seeing 30+ baby seals playing in the pool of a waterfall on the South Island; Being able to take public transportation around the city and not looking over my shoulder for muggers and pick-pockets.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

I can't even list all the things to do here.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The advantage is living in a beautiful country that has endless possibilities for travel and weekend getaways. For us it is also a bonus that this is a first-world city with all the opportunities that has to offer (culture, educational opportunities - I'm taking photography and cooking classes). It's a great break from the developing world.

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11. Can you save money?

Absolutely not!

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

yes yes yes!

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Ethno-plunder made of wood, seeds, animal hides, pine cones and feathers (seriously - they will either take it or you have to pay to have it disinfected).

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3. But don't forget your:

Camera, sense of adventure, and desire to learn new skills

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

This is a great post to serve in if you've been too long in the developing world. Kiwis have their quirks to be sure, but aside from the cost of food, I've been able to breathe a sigh of relief since I've been here

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Wellington, New Zealand 08/01/08

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

My 6th expat experience. Paramaribo/Suriname, Antananarivo/Madagascar, Moscow/Russia, Asuncion/Paraguay, Kathmandu/Nepal and from '99-'01 in Wellington ( My youngest son was born in Wellington).

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2. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

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3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

US-Embassy from Nov. 1999 - August 2001.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

From Los Angelos 12 1/2 hours straight (don't make this trip if you're pregnant....dangerous!). Some airlines make a stop-over in Hawaii. Then once you arrive in Auckland (airport in Wellington too small for larger planes) another one hour with Air New Zealand to Wellington (Killer trip...but worth it)...From Europe : via Frankfurt/Munich, Amsterdam or Paris, through Singapore/Thailand to Auckland and Wellington could take more than 18 hours with/without layovers.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

We were assigned government housing in Lower Hutt, a 15-minute drive up north from Wellington; bedrooms were kind of small. Homes have either showers or tubs and a laundry shoot to the basement where the washer/dryer was. All American stuff..., we had a small backyard, a large front yard...all fenced in. Embassy housing were not maintained well, due to lack of GSO employees (about 2 or 3 only) and lots of maintenance problems. Local handymen or plummers will come to the homes, instead of GSO workers.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Cheap shopping for sure....less than you would pay in the USA.Now, it's been 7 years we're out of there, and I don't really know the current cost of living ....but then it was reasonable to cheap. Try the Dutch Store in Lower Hutt and the bakery in Upper Hutt; Great coffee for you coffee lovers and New Zealand wine, although the white wine was reasonable to good not to compare to Californian wines...or those from France. Groceries were relatively cheap to moderate priced.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There is McDonald's (be aware: drive-through window is for on the right-side, so when coming with your American car, make sure you have someone in the passenger's seat, since they drive on the left and have the wheel on the right,- or step into the restaurant to pick up your food), Pizza Hut, Bagel shop, they serve coffee and soup as well (walking distance from the embassy which is in Thorndon... a great place to eat), Thai restaurants (expensive though, but very good) several chinese and European restaurants, sea-food places (Nelson in the South Island has some pretty good ones)...all over the island.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Since I have relatives in Europe and South America, I used the local post office a lot. Very reliable but somewhat expensive. Packages I would send thru the Embassy, which was cheaper, but would take longer.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Didn't have any help, so I wouldn't know. Some members of the embassy had help others not. All depends if you can afford it or

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3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

There are ATM's all over town and in Lower Hutt and surroundings; We paid with credit cards most of the time wewent shopping, all save to use.

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4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes, some Catholic, Protestant and a non-denominational evangelical churches available.

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5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes, all available. Don't know the cost. I believe so. Cable t.v. available, the embassy helps you with the hook-up of it as well as with your internet connections. Don't know the cost now, but back then it was cheaper than in the US.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

English is widely spoken in NZ.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

The sidewalks, as I can remember, have all ramps and are excessible to all with wheelchairs. Not all housing have the accessibility, so make sure you'll let the embassy know before coming to Post. The embassy has an elevator.

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Transportation:

1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

LEFT HAND SIDE, just as in Australia/England and allformer British colonies.

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2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

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3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Don't bring an American car, although we brought ours since we came from Asia and had no other car...., but it is surely a handicap, since traffic is on the left side of the road. There are little or no parts available and hard to find a good mechanic who knows the American models. Although, we had a small American car (GeoPrizm), which was then okay to use. We brought our car from Nepal, where they also drive on the left-hand-side, and I had no problems.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, lower than you would pay in the USA. Embassy assist you with this.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

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3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

It was expensive to rely on the local phone company; but I guess everyone is using SKYPE or VOIP now...back then we did not have these available in NZ.

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Pets:

1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

I guess; friends had pets and they didn't complain.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Not that I know of. Contact the embassy if you'd wish to work there. They might know who to contact. In the local economy there is not much for Americans who seek work; In the embassy there is not much available either, unless you have the skills and someone goes on leave and you could fill in a position of secretary e.g. or become the CLO.For many years there was no CLO, morale was low and a year before we left the position was filled again.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Casual / formal depends on the occasion.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Good. It's windy in Wellington, but pollen could be a problem for some with allergies. Great weather all throughout the year...perfect temperatures ranging from the low 50's to the high 70's...never too hot, never too cold, unless you're in the South Island near Cook mountain..where there is snowfall and skiing..Just be aware, the wind may blow your hair in all directions. Bring a bandenna or such for after you've been to the hairdresser....Ladies, be aware of your skirt/dress, you might experience the Monroe-effect...

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2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

None. We all felt very safe in New Zealand...after coming back from Asia, you can finally roll down the window...without anyone bugging you for money....No security problems whatsoever. Some embassy housing had alarms but not needed. It's very safe where we lived.

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3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Our eldest son had mild asthma; bring your own nebulizer and meds to post; Throughout the year the pollen could be at their peak...people who never had allergies would develop them there (but where on earth not?).It's windy all over New Zealand and the pollen and dust from the mountains just go all over...But our family was overall healthy. Our youngest son was born in Wellington; I, personally,did not have a great experience with the public

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

From sunny and windy to rainy and chilly. It doesn't get colder than 35 degrees F or hotter than 80 degrees F. Great weather all year round.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

No International school nor American School. Your child goes either to a Girl's private school or a Boy's private school or ...the public school system. There are good to excellent public schools, but long waiting lists and also depending the area where you live in...They work with bounderies and if you happen to live in the

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

None whatsoever. Kids with special needs really sufferin the NZ schools due to lack of knowledge among teachers/educational institutions who are not qualified to help or have no degree in special needs.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes, but I wouldn't know any, since my kids were in Kindergarten and higher elementary levels.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Small to mid-size. There is a Diplomatic spouse's group which are active in Wellington and organizes trips in and around Wellington, lunches and visit museums etc. Small but fun to join. The embassy community also tries to entertain in thehomes, or invite you over for birthday parties, which is fun. There are children's indoor playgrounds also available for birthday parties...or just for weekend fun.

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2. Morale among expats:

Back then it was okay.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Movie theaters, eating out, visiting other embassy staff for dinners or embassy gatherings, going with the cable car to the Botanical Garden, horseback riding, beaches beaches beaches....a 90km beach in the north of Auckland, surfing, kayaking, sailing..this is a sailors' paradise!...visiting the geysers and mudpools near Rotorua,(NZ has some active volcanos, caves,hot-air balloon rides and once a year NZ'ers participate in the

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Oh Yes....we loved it! This a great post for all. If you like museums, water sports, mountain climbing, and just exploring the beautiful nature NZ has to offer, this will be a great experience. Do visit Taupo, fishing on the lake, Rotorua (Maori village)where you'll see the Maori way of life, stick dances, cooking underground - a must see. The Maori are among the world's finest wood carvers and are about 12% of the population of a little over 4 million Kiwi's as the New Zealanders call themselves. Mostly from European origin (Dutch, English and some German), NZ now opens its borders to everyone who would like to come in and invest or start a new life. Many Asians from India, Singapore are settling down in NZ as well as people from South Africa. Do also visit Napier (for if you like sea-life), NZ wine districts from Hawkes Bay (oldest wineries) on the North Island to Marlborough on the South Island. Try out the ferry from Wellington over the Cook Strait to Picton, harbor in the South Island and see the beautiful archipelago of that area...hundreds of small islands a breathtaking view! NZ is a true paradise!

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Some families felt the discrimination if you had a dark skin, or don't speak the language well...or were non-New Zealander. We're a mixed family...and generally, the New Zealanders are very reserved having foreigners in their country. We did not experience discrimination per se, they are just cautious if they don't know you, but it was there. We had some NZ friends, who were very outgoing...these are friends/neighbors who've been abroad and traveled extensively, so no problem with them. I guess it's what you make out of your tour. We met many friendly Kiwi's (as the locals call themselves).We joined a small Protestant Church with an American as head pastor; The kiwi's would have rather seen a New Zealander as head...but no one took or wanted the job as pastor.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Oh my goody...too much to mention. If you like water sports, rafting, waterpark near Napier, biking/hiking, mountain climbing,fishing,scuba diving, canoeing, bungy jumping,and other

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

New Zealand is famous for their sheep. Sheep-skins or woolen socks/sweatersor anything made from wool; mother-pearl products in wood/stone. Nice wooden handicrafts made by Maori people.

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9. Can you save money?

Yes, depends on what you spend your money on. If you don't travel a lot, you can. New Zealand is somewhat isolated and unless you are single or as a couple, traveling in and out can be expensive for a family of 4 or more....It's a 3-year tour, and unless you have hobbies, you can become home-sick. No one from our family came to visit...too far to travel to.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Oh Yes...definitely! We love NZ.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

American Car; Fur coats/winter gear (unless you go skiing on Mt. Cook and surroundings)...and umbrellas. Umbrellas will blow away or get destroyed in the wind.

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3. But don't forget your:

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

NEW ZEALAND, Kiwi Country.

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7. Do you have any other comments?

Bring a good attitude to post. The embassy is small to mid-size and everyone misses home in one way or the other. Try to stay busy and explore the islands. There is lots to see and do and an experience of a lifetime to be in the ''LAND DOWNUNDER'', as they call New Zealand and Australia often times.

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