New Zealand: Which city should I choose?
Windy Wellington, amiable Auckland or construction-obsessed Christchurch?
Christchurch was devastated by two earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Pictured are Irish rugby players Donncha O’Callaghan, Declan Fitzpatrick and Sean Cronin, surveying the damage during a visit to the city in 2012. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Built around two harbours, Auckland is known as the ‘City of Sails’. Photograph: Tourism New Zealand
Auckland: With its mild climate and easygoing ways, Auckland consistently rates in the top 10 cities in the world when any global quality of life studies are released. A third of New Zealanders live there and two in five of those were born overseas, making the city a lively, multi-cultural spot. Built around two harbours, Auckland is called the City of Sails for good reason. Just about everyone seems to get out on the water when they can. Those looking for work in business, finance and IT are most likely to find joy as most big companies are based here.
Wellington: Brace yourself! Windy Wellington can feel pretty chilly in winter when severe southerly winds roll in. Other than that, it’s a rather lovely place with umpteen bays and beaches, and a tasty coffee and brunch culture. New Zealand’s capital is in the wealthiest part of the country and wages here at the southern tip of the North Island are higher than in any other part of the country. The government is a big employer and there are also jobs to be had in tourism. Don’t forget that New Zealand gets a lot of earthquakes, however. There are about 14,000 in the country each year, only about 150-200 of which are strong enough to be felt, and Wellington is the largest city within the country’s high-risk zone. That said, everybody who works there gets training in what to do. Get the latest on the city and its economy at wellington.govt.nz.
Christchurch: Once known as The Garden City, Christchurch is still recovering from the serious earthquake damage sustained in 2011. A significant rebuilding and repair programme is under way, but it will be several years before it is completed. Indeed residents have complained in 2016 at how long it is taking to get repair work done. This means there are work opportunities for those with related skills, though it also means the city doesn’t yet have all the amenities and services it had before. In 2016, however, Regenerate Christchurch was set up with the plan of doing just that. In the meantime, life in the suburbs goes on as normal and there are plenty of Irish here if you are feeling homesick. Other big employers in the area are tourism and agriculture.