I was living and working in NZ last year for a year, and I agree with many people : it’s an amazing country.
But I must give my opinion for some few details said previously :
_ first, skiing is not that good (!) : bad an few snow and small ski resort compare to north america or europe… it’s a shame because the landscape is beautiful.
_ Silly said : “there are gang problems and high rate of violent crime per capita” what a joke!!! you should come to some countries like US, Brazil and south america in general, europe to see what the word crime mean…where the human life have no price. NZ is sooooo peaceful… the thing is that NZ is so peaceful that the press increase the idea that there are problems, because they’ve got nothing else to say…it’s really a kiwi thing to think that NZ is unsafe! so, just enjoy…!
_ don’t go to NZ to be rich! except if you own a business, the payrate is so low. and even if the cost of life is low as well, you will find quickly that it’s really hard to save money. But it’s true that you can find very very easily a job, in carpentry, or in an other branch.
oh, yeah, I forgot to say that if you like to get just a little bit of culture in the museums, theaters, history or this sort of things, if you like art, fashion things, etc… simply avoid the country, you may feel bored very quickly.
for surfing, let’s say that new zealand is just perfect! waves everywhere! east coast is good : not a “big” swell (well…! just kidding) and some offshore winds.
The west coast got some impressive massive swells with some west winds as well, but not comparable to UK channel
_ definitely avoid Auckland (if it’s to live in a city, stay in europe tommo31), and try to find a good compromise such as New Plymouth in Taranaki (I used to live there for 6 months) in the north island. I rent a flat just up a surfbreak and had a great time in this region. Many amazing surfspots around the corner, and a human size city (like a big village).
in the south island, one rule : stay in the northen part (blenheim or even better nelson). sunny and dry weather, really cool people, very good surfing on east and west coast (!) both very close. and not far from the alps for some skiing.
I was working in Picton (20 min drive from blenheim) in 'carey’s boatyard", i know the boss is regulary looking for some marine carpenters, and a 30 minutes drive spot call “robin hood bay” is a perfect place for surfing with the southish swells… for example.
_ last thing : education. I think it’s a really bad system. the teachers can be changed like toilet paper during the year. I believe it’s just some basics course during the morning. I reckon the good point is an important size give to the sport in the education. Uni system is to my opinion just an old mind system : the students must pay their courses (as it is in many country in the world, I know) which means people don’t have an equal chance to have a good job, so a good life, if they were born rich or poor… but I guess it’s just because of my french point of view… .
So, if you like outdoors activities such as surfing, windsurfing, skiing, sailing and more… go there!!!
see ya guys,