Kia ora. In a C7 reconnection call we were discussing the pros and cons of the three main cities here in NZ and I realised it might be helpful to have an ‘on the ground’ perspective for those of you offshore who are considering relocating here in the (hopefully near) future.
This summary has my own personal perspective on each of Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. I grew up in Christchurch so inherently biased towards it and returned there after 15 years away. But I also lived 3 years in Wellington so know it very well too and visit Auckland a lot for work so have a good sense of it too. If you disagree then let me know and why!
But before diving into a table showing this need to say:
- Remember NZ is a small place. So you might live in one city but as well as using Zoom it is easy to travel around.
- Don’t forget the regions – Nelson, Queenstown, Tauranga, Dunedin, Hamilton, Hokitika, Oamaru… Each has a unique character. They are great too. But they don’t make it to this list because that would be a longer project to document well. Maybe another time if enough of you want such a list…
I am trying to keep this real and honest so onwards to some reflections!
|Wellington / |
|Auckland / |
but cities nearby
|Feeling||Large Provincial Town||Of a small city but the capital||Feels most like an international city|
|Slogan||The Garden City||Absolutely Positively Wellington |
aka Windy Wellington
|City of Sails|
|Two words to describe||Accessible outdoors||Compact funkiness||Harbour city|
|Can you go wrong by moving here?||It’s a great choice.||It’s a great choice.||It’s a great choice.|
|Welcoming?||Yes, but maybe most white/traditional of the three – like anywhere takes time to develop networks.||Yes, maybe some rigidity and sense of Government dominates feeling here.||Yes, and highest immigrant population is based here and largest by far – a double edged sword.|
|In past known for||Rural centre of South Island and “Old boys” network. That’s changed a lot. Article on this here.||Political and decision making centre.||Financial and commercial capital. Sucks in people from other places due to its size.|
|Character||Recovering from earthquakes and shootings gives this place a unique vibe where people are often focussed on impact.||Has an alternative feel to it with diverse mix of people.||A big city so has the resulting issues of large population and congestion. But it is a harbour city with beaches.|
|Impact ecosystem||Strong, many organisations working in this area. Regular meetups across diverse areas.||Good networks of people who are doing good here.||Due to size has many initiatives but can feel less connected than smaller places and more commercially driven.|
|Flat or hills||Flat but hills nearby||You’ll get good exercise||Mini volcanoes but doesn’t feel as hilly as Wellington, not sure why.|
|How cold?||Cool. Noticeable seasons. But that also means you are near to ski fields (1 hour).||Not as cold though when it’s windy it cuts through the thickest of jackets. But ‘you can’t beat Wellington on a good day’.||Temperate, some from the South would say too humid and hot.|
|Housing market||Cheapest of the three by far. Contact for more details, happy to share our experience.||Prices have gone up a lot recently, still less than Auckland||Very expensive despite salaries being similar to other places. Article here.|
|Biz opps||More than people realise, start-up culture strong here.||If related to Government initiatives this is place to be.||Probably highest opps due to population even if we don’t like to admit it – but downside is size and commutes.|
|EHF Community||Monthly catch ups, there are about 30+ Fellows currently.||Frequent catch ups||Frequent catch ups|
|EHF Slack Group size |
(includes people who don’t live there)
|53 in EHF slack group||107 members in EHF slack group||131 members in EHF slack group|
|Commuting||I travel 20 minutes and people here think that is really far.||Less traffic than Auckland.||Where do you live? Commuting can be a nightmare … even by International standards|
|Quirky vibe places||Riverside market is European style but built just 2 years ago.||Cuba Street – a very alternative but cool vibe.||Waterfront has really grown a lot on harbour.|
|Children friendly and Tourist attractions?||Mainly outdoors things. World class Antarctic Centre. Hot pools. Tram. Gondola.||Te Papa – National museum. Cable car. Bucket fountain. Lots of good food and quirky things here too.||Various including zoo, aquarium, stage shows and concerts. And sometimes international acts only go to Auckland.|
|Another perspective – my wife Ellie says on positive side|
(she has lived in all three cities)
|Central city is coming back with new buildings, and access to lots of outdoor things – hills, ocean, skiing, lakes, rivers.||The thing I love is everywhere you go is different – there is quirkiness with alleyways and you can walk everywhere – compact city so you can access lots. Leafy, funky, alternative.||I liked the beaches and the little hills – you could always get a view. It opens up the soul.|
|My wife says on negative side||City is very flat so unless you are right in downtown, kind of lacks character that comes from having hills.||With young children not ideal if going up and down hills – and generally still expecting ‘the big one’ earthquake.||Parts of Auckland are just a bit run down and there is bad traffic and long commutes.|
Hope that is helpful! Drop me a line if any questions that result firstname.lastname@example.org
This Stuff article has more too: New Zealand’s cities and towns – which is the best?