Adjusting to life as a Kiwi in the UK

09.08.16
3 minute read
Tagged:

So you've made the move from New Zealand to the UK?

It's a well trodden path.

In fact, it's estimated nearly 60,000 New Zealanders are currently resident in the UK. Over 1,000 of them live in Acton, London - so you know where to go if you're feeling homesick.

While British and Kiwi cultures share a huge amount, there's also some unexpected differences.

Here are the top things to look out for when you're a Kiwi in the UK:


Park nudity

At the slightest chance of sunshine, Brits head to the park. And strip off.

Now Kiwis love to sunbathe, but at the beach. Obviously. The Brits are more than happy to get down to their swimwear in the park. It takes some getting used to.

As the classic ad above tells us, if you can't see the water - they're undies, not togs. Simple.


Oh, you're Australian?

australian road

Your Australian mates never get mistaken for New Zealanders.

But, you can guarantee you'll get mistaken for an Aussie. At least once a day. And multiple times if you're out for a few drinks.

You'll get used to it. You'll also get used to saying:

"No, I don't know your random (Auntie/ Uncle/ Friend) who once lived in New Zealand. But thanks for asking."


Where's the dairy?

supermarket uk

Expect some funny looks.

Brits call their dairies any of the following:

  • Corner shop
  • Off licence
  • Offy
  • Grocers
  • Newsagents

Shop also seems to apply to small supermarkets. But 'going to the shops' = clothes shops. Confusing.


English Rugby Fans

Twickenham stadium

You'll have to learn to love them.

But it's going to be hard. Despite having beaten the All Blacks only once in the last decade, they're a plucky bunch.

Get used to the following:

  • They call Twickenham 'HQ'. (We don't know why either).
  • Every year is 'their year'.
  • They'll sing Sweet Chariot even when England aren't playing.

Don't try and pay on the way out

cafes

Brits pay at the table when eating out.

Seems simple, but if you try and mess with the system it tends to look like you're doing a runner without paying. Which can be embarrassing.

Just ask for the bill and enjoy the wait.


Alright, mate?

One of the biggest points of confusion for Kiwis in our London office. 'Why does everyone keep asking me if I'm alright?'

Well, they don't mean it literally. From cabbies to waiters to the Queen (probably) - it's just a British way of saying hello.

(And bizarrely, the video above is a great explainer of nailing the phrase).


Opening a bank account? Good luck.

The biggest pet hate of all of those we asked.

"You can't open a bank account without an address. You can't get an address without a bank account."

Banks make you jump through plenty of hoops when getting setup in the UK. If you've just moved (or plan to), check out our one-stop guide to opening a bank account in the UK.


Social media is your new best friend

phone in hand

It can hook you up with anything from a flatshare to a job.

Check out pages like Kiwis in London or search for groups on Facebook. They can be super useful for finding connections.

Or just finding the best pub to head to when the rugby is on.


Don't get stung sending money home

You've bagged a great job in the UK, but you still have bills or a mortgage to pay in NZ.

Using the banks or PayPal to send money can cost you up to 5%. That's expensive.

Sending or receiving money from abroad? TransferWise is the fast, fair new way - this is how it works:

Download the App for iOS & Android.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more