A Swede in New Zealand

  • A Swede in New Zealand
Blog of the month
Published 2 years ago

I am from Sweden, Stockholm and origin was Nacka in the archipelago of Stockholm. Country now: New Zealand, city Auckland, I live by the sea central of Auckland.

I am from Sweden, Stockholm and origin was Nacka in the archipelago of Stockholm. Country Now: New Zealand, city Auckland, I live by the sea central of Auckland. My occupation: Communications Manager.


When and how did you decide to move to New Zealand? Is it complicated to settle down there?

I came to New Zealand in October 2011 so I have lived here almost four years. The visa procedure was finished earlier the most important thing is to understand what visa to apply for. In my case the easiest way was to start with a one year work visa based on partnership. The migration in NZ wanted to have evidence that we had a stable and genuine relationship so I had to include letters from friends and relatives, photos of us together and some email conversation that could proof that. It only took a couple of weeks. From that visa and to the permanent residence I got two years ago it was pretty easy and not complicated at all.


Have you ever lived abroad before? How many countries have you visited?

I lived in New Zealand when I was 20 years old for a year. That is actually how I met my Kiwi husband the first time. I travelled a bit in Asia on my way back to Sweden and I have since that done a lot of travelling all over the world. I love travelling and have been to almost 30 countries so far. I would love to see more of Australia and the South Pacific but since I go back to Sweden once a year all travel expenses and my holiday leave goes for that trip. If we have time we use to stop in Asia on our way back and last year we went to Sri Lanka.


What do you like the most about New Zealand?

The most I like about New Zealand is the beautiful scenery. Here is nearly every type of landscape represented: beaches, rainforests, snowy mountains and volcanic deserts. It’s amazing and so beautiful. I also like the people as most people are very friendly and outgoing. There are always friends around for dinner, a drink or just to see you. Here everything is more spontaneous and you don’t have to make plans in advance for being with your friends. I also love this climate with long sunny summers and the short time of winter. ‪

How is/was the cultural shock? What are the main differences with Sweden, your home country?

As I have visited New Zealand quite a few times over the last few years it was no big culture shock. The first year was the easiest one as everything was new, exciting and exotic. The second year all that was a bit gone and the realization that I now am a part of this country and culture hit me. I must have been a pain for especially my husband as I did compare everything to Sweden. I made comments about everything and everything was so “much better” in Sweden. I even got tired of myself and decided to have another approach so now I am more acceptable and instead of comparing just accept that this is how things are done here. Now almost four years since I left Sweden I look things differently and I would not say that things are better there. I love the friendly and open Kiwi attitude but it stroke me that I am very Swedish in many ways. For example we have an invisible private zone of 1 meters radius and if a stranger steps over that zone we feel very uncomfortable. When I meet new people here they sometimes step over this zone and I struggle not to move backwards. The typical Swede doesn’t normally start conversation with strangers and will not just ramble on about this and that with someone they don't know but here is exactly the opposite. In Sweden we are more socially closed than people are here in New Zealand. People talk to “strangers” and you say good morning to people you meet on the street, bus drivers say have a good day, overall it’s friendlier in New Zealand and people are more polite and have good manners. Here in Auckland where I live it’s very cosmopolitan, we have people living here from China, India, South Pacific and Europe and that makes the culture in a mix of things not at least good restaurants.

People in New Zealand are more individual and do not have that group mentality that exists in Sweden. That can be anything from fashion to traditions that make people wants to be same and not stick out to much from the crowd. I did not know until I came here that I was so traditional with things but I am slowly getting away from that group mentality the longer I have been away from my mother country. My husband has a good laugh at me about all this unwritten Swedish laws.


Do you miss anything from your homeland?

What I miss the most in Sweden is my family, my two daughters and friends. I also miss the forest as I loved to take long walks in the forest for picking chanterelles. When it comes to food there is nothing in particular you can’t buy here as we have two Scandinavian shops in New Zealand. It’s one thing I really though and that is Swedish seafood especially prawns from the Swedish west coast.


Any 'memories of an expat' you would like to share with us? Your best souvenir? Or maybe your worst experience?

Worst experience here was when I started to talk about a person I dislike and luckily before I said anything negative I realized that this was a friend of them. New Zealand is such a small country with only 4 millions of people so never ever say anything negative about someone. They do say, however, that whereas the rest of the world has about six degrees of separation, New Zealand only has two and believe me it’s true.

Some people say that the worst with New Zealand is that it’s far away from the rest of the world but I don’t agree except that it’s too far to Sweden. Actually it is as far you can go from Sweden and the flight takes more than 24 hours. I love that it’s close to beautiful Australia and the tropical South Pacific as I would like to travel more too.

One thing I would like to share is about the work force in New Zealand. It takes time to get a job for a non-Kiwi as we don’t have the so called “Liwi experience”. Do not take that personal and you might not get the dream job to begin with so put your expectations down. You might start with some temporary contract work and once you are out there working, you build a network and learn the Kiwi way. Sooner or later you will get into the workforce where you can use your skills and experience. You start from a lower level when you are new and work your way up.


What does your typical day as an expat in New Zealand look like?

My typical day here is that we go up early in the morning. My husband and I are both morning birds and first thing is a cup of tea. On a still morning I love to go on a paddle board in the water but while working and starting at 8am it’s no time for it but we always start the day doing some gardening and that is the best way to start your day. After finished work I catch up with my husband at our local butchery and we decide what to have for dinner. Sometimes we see our friends at our local pub and sometimes we have friends over for dinner. Any day is the same and we are both very much for spontaneous things so anything can happen.


When did you start your blog? For what reasons?

I started my blog for my family and friends so I could share my new life with them.


Did you make new friends with your blog?

I have got in contact with a few people through my blog and I met a Swedish woman this year here in Auckland that contacted me through the blog. I am very happy if I can share, inspire and give other expats in New Zealand advice and information that they will find helpful. I also have been contacted by New Zealand Herald for an interview once. I have understood that it is not only my friends and family who read my blog and that’s fun.


Why did you register on and what do you think of the website?

I registred on as I found so many interesting blogs there. I wish I have found it even before I moved to New Zealand as we all share so many similar experiences no matter where we move in the world. It’s good to see that you are not alone.


Which advice would you give to the other Expat blog members who would like to settle in New Zealand?

The advice I will give to other Expat blog members who would like to settle in New Zealand is to contact someone of us who already are here. That can make a great difference and prepare you for your new life as you can get a great support. And that is what we all need.


A Swede in New Zealand

2 years ago

I like your story And will follow I like new Zealand

2 years ago

Hello, I like your blog and I am happy to share your experiance. I agree 100% with your words ''we all share so many similar experiences no matter where we move in the world. It’s good to see that you are not alone''. Exactly I felt like that I am not alone when I read your blog. I am a traveller, adventure lady, manager of humanitarian and developing project in third world (most in Africa). I would like to stop work in Africa and I would LOVE TO SETTLE DOWN IN AMAZING NEW ZEALAND. I used to live 1 year in NZ (2008/2009) and because of visa I left the best county ever. Is time to settle down in my life now, look for husband and nice job. From all the countries which I visited till today I prefer to live in NZ.

2 years ago

Am so glad to read your experience on Expat blog and thanks for sharing! Am Million from Ethiopia.