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How New Zealand is Perceived Abroad

Easy-going, free and prosperous: These are words that would reverberate with many New Zealanders. Yet, how is New Zealand perceived around the world? For a country that has nearly 4 ½ million people it has made an impact on many cultures.


Australians like to think of themselves as some of the most laid-back people in the world, yet even they would admit that the New Zealand approach to business is even more laid back. New Zealand is often seen as a more progressive place in Australia. New Zealanders have a history of being more progressive and the government is often used as a point of comparison. While the image of the jobless Kiwi in Australia has tainted media perception somewhat, it tends to be brief when it does flare up. This has, however, led to a marginalisation of New Zealanders within the country, as the disparity between pay rates has led to New Zealand workers being denied equal status in Australia.


While language is perceived as a cultural boundary between China and New Zealand, it’s often the culture itself that draws Chinese tourists to visit. Chinese tourists are often interested in the Maori culture. Another draw is the unspoiled countryside, which is heavily preserved by the government, unlike that in China. New Zealand comes across as being a fairytale country, with many describing it as a paradise. To the Chinese, New Zealand is perceived as a free country that enables the simple lifestyle that they are seeking.

The United States

The New Zealand summer represents a time to escape from the winter of North America, with most Americans coming to seek out the winter sun. Again, New Zealand sells itself on its beauty, but it’s also considered a very friendly place to travel. Americans might come to see the Lord of the Rings sets in particular, but they also enjoy the young, vibrant, liberal and urban culture. 

The United Kingdom

Many people from the United Kingdom see New Zealand as somewhere familiar. For many, New Zealand is a valued member of the historic Commonwealth, being one of the colonies in the Southern Ocean. As a result, many Brits still feel ties to New Zealand and these ties are strengthened by the number of expats who moved down in their 40s, 50s and 60s. New Zealand might be seen as a more rural economy, thanks to the emphasis and export of sheep and lamb and it's viewed by Brits as having a somewhat conservative bent politically.


Japan has traded with New Zealand for decades and it was one of the first Asian countries to formally create strong trade links with the area. The Japanese perception of New Zealand is largely positive, although it’s the country’s status as a Western nation that is largely isolated from the rest of the West that creates the biggest draw. This means that Japanese tourists often come for the Western-style culture rather than Maori culture. They also enjoy trips to observe wildlife and enjoy the scenery that New Zealand has to offer. A large percentage of Japanese visitors are aged between 60 and 75 and they see New Zealand as a safe place to visit even with the increased risk of medical issues.


Like many Americans, Germans view New Zealand as having friendly people who are easy to get along with, yet it has many striking similarities to Germany: snow in the mountains, plains to explore and vibrant cities. What draws many Germans is the lack of tower blocks and the clean approach that New Zealand has to environmental conservation. This is what defines the German view of New Zealand life: the same, but a little better.


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