A warm welcome

New Zealanders open their hearts to newcomers.

In fact, nine out of ten migrants find the welcome they receive meets or exceeds their expectations, according to a recent Immigration New Zealand survey.

In the 2015 Expat Insider survey, 94% of respondents said they found Kiwi people ‘friendly’ or ‘very friendly’. It is one of the reasons we scored so highly (second of 64 countries) for ‘ease of settling in’. 

Welcoming people to a Marae New Zealand culture

Naturals at welcoming strangers

New Zealanders know what it is like arriving somewhere new. We are great international travellers and nearly a quarter of us were born outside New Zealand. Over 90% of us feel some connection with another country through family, friends or interests.

Our warmth and hospitality is also a product of our size. New Zealanders do not have to protect their private space by staying aloof. Quite the opposite - living on the edge of the world as we do, we prefer to reach out and make connections.

Nearly four in five migrants say they are integrating well with the local Kiwi and Māori culture according to HSBC’s 2015 Expat Explorer survey.

Expat Insider 2015 | InterNations

A warm welcome (01:20)

A warm welcome

Simon Shaw - One of my Kiwi friends that I used to work with, um, the day after the earthquake was helping me in, in move stuff out from my-------and he had his own problems but he was still willing to come and help me move out of our old rental into the new one. And um you know, I can’t thank them enough for how much support and help they’ve given us since we’ve immigrated.

Dominique O’Callaghan - Literally the first day I moved in one of the girls at work had a bed in storage um so she turned up and delivered a bed for me um. In exchange I think I forced some bottles of wine on her, cause they were just. oh no take it, it’s fine and ah um I got my lounge suite off another person from work.

John and Tina Evangelista - John: The day we moved in and the movers in the house and had all the boxes all over the house (Tina: yes) we are surprised that the neighbours came and brought some food. They realized that we didn’t have time to cook, (Tina: yeah) to cook dinner so they came out with roast beef and ah, and some dessert.

Connor Cody - I wanted to go sailing, and I walked down to the um docklands and to the yacht club there. I happened across the last boat out on the races on Sunday and I asked them if they were looking for crew. And because New Zealanders are particularly open and friendly, I was invited on board and that started my hobby, sailing.


Welcoming communities


Kiwis are seen as friendly, hospitable and inclusive – qualities highlighted in a pilot programme called Welcoming Communities Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori.

Nine councils across five regions are working with their communities to pilot Welcoming Communities, which puts out the welcome mat to newcomers - recent migrants, former refugees and international students.

Welcoming communities

Relationship with the land

Kiwis in many respects are quite a different breed. It is a result of where we come from and the values we hold.

Our country is a land of wide open spaces, where the elements come alive. We share a fierce appreciation of the land that inspires us and provides opportunities for ourselves and for future generations.

Shaped by our culture

Open spaces, open hearts, open minds. That’s New Zealand and its people in a nutshell.

Our character is also shaped by a unique mix of Māori and European culture. This melding of ideas and customs began with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and continues to this day.

Today, New Zealand is diverse, combining influences from around the world, especially the Pacific. We’re a country of open, welcoming people, a place you’ll make lasting friendships.The culture that has created is a strong connector between us, and a bond we love to share with visitors.

Open spaces, open hearts, open minds - that is New Zealand and its people in a nutshell.

A tradition of hospitality

The spirit of welcome runs deep here. Māori have a word for it - Manaakitanga.

Loosely translated as hospitality, Manaakitanga sums up the act of welcoming and looking after guests. The idea is that by offering hospitality, generosity and mutual respect everyone involved comes out better off.

Bringing people together

Food and hospitality have always been at the heart of the Māori way of life.

Whether it is a picnic on the beach, a hāngi at your child's school or a barbeque with neighbours - you will find that food and friendship go hand-in-hand in New Zealand.

Manaakitanga extends far beyond Māori tradition. It is even recognised by our Government as one of the two core values of our tourism strategy.

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Page last updated: 22/06/2020

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