City Profile: Kapiti Coast, New Zealand

By ExpatExchange.com Member

Expat Exchange Rental Properties

How long have you lived there?

8 months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Kapiti Coast is an hour north of Wellington, so you can access Welly events. Wellington has a very lively nightclub, arts and theatre scene. It also has more cafes per capita than NYC.

In Kapiti itself, you'll find lots of ecology groups - volunteer planting groups that take care of the local estuaries and keeping native species alive inland that are a haven for local wildlife. There are yoga classes and tai chi and many cycling groups. Horseback riding is popular. In the Waikanae area, there's lawn bowling and bridge popular with retired people. There's a great Paraparaumu golf course, and up in Otaki there's a horse racing track.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

In Kapiti I'd say people's lives revolve more around family, sports, socializing; it's perhaps less business oriented than Wellington. The beach and nature reserves are a big tourist draw here, and are well enjoyed by people living here too.

In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

There are a surprising number of UK and US immigrants here in addition to the Maori and kiwis of European descent. The latter makes up about 90% of the population according to the latest census info online.

Although they generally don't agree with American policy, they can separate individuals from the nation as a whole. People are straight forward and usually friendly.

There's a lot of religious tolerance, and the small "religious right" here has less of an impact on mainstream opinion.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Tourism. Agriculture. Service industry. Many people in Kapiti commute to Wellington by train for professional and government careers. There are also a number of painters, writers and other artists living in Kapiti.

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

There are tons of unspoiled beaches and bush walks. With all the beach property available, unless you want to live directly on the water, you'll find homes within walking distance of the sea cost about the same as homes further inland. Housing is a lot chepaer than in Wellington, so you have access to a big city but more affordable property (although if you commute to Welly, gas prices are about 5 times the cost in the US). Health care is extremely cheap even with no insurance. The pace of life is slower. Children are still able to play out in the streets and walk from school. It's a bit like the US many years ago.

Drawbacks include the relatively high cost of general goods and food. The houses are often very poorly insulated and get quite cold in the winter.


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