New Zealand has become one of the leading tourist destinations, especially with the colossal success of the film adaptation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series which was shot almost entirely in New Zealand. Scenic beauty aside, New Zealand’s pleasant climate, booming economy and hospitable population make it an attractive destination for working professionals and business entrepreneurs. Moving to a new country means more than just a change in zip code, it is a whole new lifestyle and it can be pretty scary and intimidating.Culture shock is an inevitable part of the expat experience but that does not mean that there is no way to reduce it – the more you research, the better prepared you will be. Here are a few books that will give you a better understanding of the New Zealander’s way of life, culture and work ethos:
1. Slipping into Paradise: Why I Live in New Zealand by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Masson is most well-known for his books on the complex emotional lives of animals. He is originally from California – on a family trip to New Zealand, he found himself so enamored by the country that he decided to make it his home. This book is a bit of a hodgepodge of history, memoirs and travelogue but it is the perfect introduction for anyone who wants to know about New Zealand’s people, society and lifestyle.
2. Living and Working in New Zealand: A Survival Handbook by David Hampshire
This is one of the most useful reference books for anyone thinking of making a move to New Zealand. It offers plenty of practical information along with advice and suggestions for newcomers. The book is well laid out and written in an entertaining and humorous style which makes it a great cover-to-cover read. It is best to buy this book before your move and you can then use it as a reference book once you reach.
3. The Rough Guide to New Zealand by Paul Whitfield
This book is ideally suited to tourists and travellers and may not be able to provide all the information an expat would need; however, it would definitely help to enrich your experience in New Zealand. Whitfield provides handy information on little-known sights as well as tips on planning itineraries. The book contains detailed accounts of places of interest along with maps and detailed plans. It also provides price guides and accommodation information along with insights about New Zealand’s food and wine culture.
4. Straying from the Flock: Travels in New Zealand by Alexander Elder
Elder has written his book as a road trip through New Zealand’s history and attractions. The book is more of a personal account than a handbook. The colorful stories of the people and the place give the reader an unexpected rush of both hope and resolve and can be the perfect purchase for a nervous expat moving to New Zealand. Most travel writers tend to paint an unrealistic picture of a “perfect” country, but Elder addresses several negative aspects of the country with honesty and candor.
5. A Land of Two Halves by Joe Bennett
After living in New Zealand for 10 years, Joe Bennet, a South Island newspaper columnist decided to hitchhike around the country to remember and remind himself of all the things that make New Zealand unique. His character sketches perfectly capture the nature of the ordinary people he meets while travelling. While his honest observations may make a New Zealander cringe, his wit and self-deprecating humor coupled with his descriptive prowess provides us with a window into the heart of New Zealand and New Zealanders. This travelogue is a great read regardless of whether you are moving to New Zealand or not.
6. The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
Witi Ihimaera, widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s best Maori writers, sets his story in the small community called Whangara, situated towards the north eastern part of the North Island. Ihimaera certainly has a way with words, and manages to paint a vivid picture of rolling hills and spectacular beaches. While the sights described simply form the backdrop to an equally captivating story of a young Maori girl, the picture it paints makes it a must-read for anyone headed to New Zealand.