New Zealand struck me as a country which is comfortably at ease with itself. Of course, there are some political tensions, but overall people are broadly tolerant and respective of each other.
Kiwis also seemed to be generally a very law abiding lot, complying willingly with laws enforced to protect the environment (e.g: fishing quotas; cleanliness of hiking gear; speeding restrictions; no alcohol zones etc.)
The low population and earthquake risks means that the majority of houses are built as single storey and on reasonably large plots. This, combined with the stunning scenery gives a tremendous feeling of freedom and space and room to spread out and enjoy life, both in the cities and outside.
Kiwis are also thrill seekers and there is an ever growing range of adventurous sports available to them and to tourists to indulge this side of their character.
Tourism is a big source of income and there is a danger that it may get out of hand if not handled carefully. Some of the places we visited – including remote “wilderness” areas – were in danger of being overrun with tourists which could spoil this lovely country very quickly.
New Zealand Air have a TV advert which uses the slogan “You’re only a Day Away”. This is clever – it is a country that is very distant from anywhere else in the world but it is. becoming increasingly accessible, which is an opportunity as well as a threat.
E noho rā NZ!