I was told recently about a new study which proclaimed New Zealand as the most socially advanced country in the world. I must say that the coincidence of my arrival to these shores with such an announcement is striking. I thought I should look up some further detail for you, loyal reader…
I couldn’t find a comparable headline to see if the UK index had fallen since my departure, although I can imagine a general drop in a joviality index could be attributable. Wouldn’t that be a great tracker to have? 😄
I am not a sociologist but there is understandably a lot of national pride for a small country when results like this are announced. People do genuinely feel pride in living here and being from here. I have also seen similar studies proclaiming Auckland as one of the top places in the world to live.
All I can say from my experiences so far are that the people are friendly almost without exception (but being a cynical Englander, the doesn’t mean they aren’t out to fleece you in some way). There are of course social problems because I have observed some homelessness, a (friendly) dislike of Aucklanders from elsewhere in NZ, obesity on a pretty grand scale (there are some big people here for sure!), and undercurrents of a dislike for Asian people at times due to an immigration influx and the perceived effect this has – but then we are all immigrants here at the end of the day. A reminder that nowhere is perfect and that nobody should pat themselves on the back too much – too much smug can be toxic.
The ease with which I can settle in must, at least in part, reflect on a progressive nation (and speaking the English language) although I am far from integrated just yet.