Why is Auckland a bigger population centre than Wellington?

Answered Dec 25, 2018

The terrain issues (flat vs. hilly) are certainly a big factor. It’s difficult to spread out horizontally in Wellington.

It’s also difficult to spread out vertically. The earthquake risk in Wellington dissuades the construction of high-rise apartment buildings like you can see in Auckland.

I would also suggest a social factor. A critical mass of immigrants. One person immigrates, and settles in a large city. After gaining citizenship, they then sponsor multiple relatives to also come over, and settle in the same local area.

Prospective immigrants from certain countries (China, India, Pacific Islands) may only have really heard of Auckland, and know that there are already large populations of immigrants from their same origin.

There are also certain cultural/ethnic/family issues, based on those origins.

According to the 2013 census, Pacific people have significantly more children than any other ethnic group. So, when you already have a lot of Pacific immigrants settling in one area (i.e. Auckland) they will then drive up the local population further with their high childbirth rate. And their NZ-born children and grandchildren will grow up, and likely continue that high childbirth rate.

Another issue could be the willingness/inclination of certain cultures (already present in Auckland) to have multi-generational households and extended family members crammed into the same run-down, overcrowded house. So they can tolerate an area with a housing shortage and high rents, without being financially driven out of the city.

The higher opportunity level and dynamic atmosphere of “the big city” may also attract people who already live in some other part of New Zealand. And, since Auckland is already the the biggest city, it may be first on the list of choices for many people.

My guess is that, Wellington will eventually become much larger (physically and in population), with a “supercity” extending the official city limits to swallow the areas up to Kapiti, Johnsonville, and Upper and Lower Hutt.

I’ve lived in Wellington previously, but am generally inclined to go to new places (Palmy is the the fifth [and smallest] city that I’ve lived in as an adult).

If I can line up a job there, I would move to Auckland without hesitation. (Yes, I know housing is expensive, but I have low standards).

Why are immigrants leaving New Zealand?

Updated Nov 24

Someone who was psychologically and practically equipped to move to a new country, may also be psychologically and practically equipped to move again. Also, some people deliberately use NZ as a “back door” to their real destination, Australia, which has greater economic and social opportunities.

However, a big reason could be the incredibly negative social attitudes towards immigrants.

I know I harp on this, but there is a big difference between men and women.

Men say stupid things, like:

“Do you ever think about going back?”

“Huh, huh, huh, I bet you wish you were back there!”

And then they get disappointed if you tell them that you actually have control over your location.

Women are much, much worse.

“You have an accent! Where are you from? Why are you here! You owe me an explanation!”


Most women in this country take one of exactly two attitudes:

  1. You had better confirm that you are being forced to live in your current location, without any choice. And that you are stuck in the same suburb for the rest of your life.
  2. You had better confirm that you will “go back where you came from”, without any choice. Not just the country, but a town where you lived as a child. Because it is very important to be as small-minded as possible, and to have zero adult control.

It really is that micromanaging. A lot of women get personally offended at the idea that someone could even just relocate to a new city, inside the same country. This also relates to many, many women’s locations being based on an emotional umbilical cord to their mothers, and/or a financial umbilical cord to their breadwinning husband. They totally resent women who assert basic adult independence.

Did I mention the, “You have an accent!” harassment with virtually every woman you meet? Some of them expect you to be impressed by their amazing perceptiveness. Some of them act like they have never met a foreign-born person before.

There are women who will start up a rapid-fire interrogation. Where they reveal nothing about themselves (not even their name). While demanding details about a foreign-born person’s legal/governmental status, work and finances (including taxes), and the arrogantly intrusive, “Why did you come here, so I can decide if your reason satisfies me”. Try working with the public, and total strangers will do this.

Let’s not forget the mass racism. If an immigrant is white/European looking, some people will assume that they automatically share the common bias against Asian people.

A lot of the condescension and hostility towards immigrants is really about tall poppy syndrome, and the resentment of anyone who got off the couch and did anything interesting with their life.

Some women get an indignant, “I never get to go anywhere I want!” attitude, as if the immigrant is perpetrating some kind of personal unfairness against them.

No matter how long an immigrant has lived here, there is an automatic assumption that they are really just on vacation. With confusion and resentment about how someone could be on vacation for years and years.

Generally, the only relief is in more educated situations, such as university environments, which contain many foreign-born people.

Speaking of which, there are people who will direct the, “you have to go back where you can from” attitude towards an immigrant with higher education in a STEM field, including a degree that was heavily subsidised by NZ taxpayers. It’s like they actually think that the “brain drain” is somehow going to help the country.

Some will automatically assume that, a foreign-born university student is here on a student visa which will expire upon graduation (or maybe better yet, dropping out). If she corrects this, and states that she is a permanent resident, some still don’t seem to comprehend the difference, and keep pushing.

I once encountered an induhvidual who claimed that, no employer in NZ will ever hire an immigrant, or even someone who merely moved to a new city within the country. The logic being that, all immigrants “go back where they came from”(to a specific town) for emotional reasons. So there isn’t any point in hiring someone who will be doing that real soon now. However, this is combined with the idea of job discrimination being used to force immigrants to leave. So it’s a circular logic.

I have encountered women who will demand to know if an immigrant’s mother lives in New Zealand, and get offended and demand an explanation if the answer is “no”. One directly stated the intent to harass a middle-aged coworker, every single day, to go home to her mommy.

I have encountered a woman who was a small-time landlord’s wife, and who suggested that, a paying, civilised tenant should move out and go back where they came from.

An OK country. But many, many stupid, small-minded people. And that includes in larger cities, like Wellington.

What do people that have never left their hometown think of the world?

Answered Oct 22

They tend to think that everyone is like themselves, and that everyplace is equivalent.

There is common idea that everyone just remains living in one place for their whole life, and that nobody ever changes where they live. If they hear that you have relocated, they may treat you like you are on a temporary, short-term vacation. And that you automatically “have to” to go back to where you “really” live.

People who lack basic relocation-related skills, like navigating an unfamiliar area with a street map, tend to project that skill deficit onto everyone else.

People who lack basic relocation-related aptitudes, like the psychological ability to handle unfamiliar environments, or to go someplace alone, tend to project that aptitude deficit onto everyone else.

People who feel tied to a location based on emotional and/or financial dependence upon someone else, project that dependence onto everyone else.

I have encountered people who couldn’t even handle going across town, insidethe local area, by themselves, and projected that onto everyone else.

They also lack understanding that there may be legitimate practical reasons for a person to relocate. Someone in the suburbs of a large city may fail to comprehend that, some locations have very poor opportunity levels (e.g. small, isolated, impoverished rural towns with severe unemployment and underemployment).

They tend to think that everywhere is basically the same, including foreign countries.

Some people will start up with this immediately upon meeting, and will try to make the entire conversation about projecting these things.

Why do people hate immigrants?

Updated Jun 8

Sometimes, it is based on feeling offended that somebody is different to themselves, including interpreting that as a personal judgement or attack upon themselves.

However, this can arise even if you have the majority ethnicity, the majority language, and an appearance that looks average (i.e. you don’t speak, dress, worship, or act “foreign”). In a way, that might seem even more jolting to them, such as with the sudden, unexpected foreign accent that comes out of your mouth. Like you were deceiving them with the “normal” appearance. It also defuses their resentment-excuse of, “Those obnoxious, weird-looking foreigners who refuse to assimilate into our society”.

If you resemble the majority, then some people who know that you are an immigrant may casually assume that you share their negativity towards different-looking immigrants, including racism.

Upon meeting, some may first jump to the conclusion that you are a clueless tourist or “semester-abroad” student, and then resent being told that they were wrong about something.

It can also be a sense of competition and tall-poppy syndrome.

They may feel trapped, handcuffed, and powerless in life in general, and geography is a sort of symbol or shorthand for that.

There may be a sense that, the immigrant has asserted more independence and control over her life. And has a more interesting life, with wider experiences and knowledge. Which may also be viewed as boosting social status (i.e. worry that other people may view the immigrant as a more interesting person, and the non-immigrant as a boring loser). While failing to grasp that the immigrant actually has lower social status.

When they interrogate you with the tedious, “Where are you from and why are you here?” routine, they may feel agitated at admitting that you possess information which they don’t possess. They don’t like the risk that you might tell them that it is none of their business.

They may feel indignant that, you got off the couch, made a decision, and proceeded to action, without consulting them first. Which implies that maybe the world doesn’t really revolve around them, and maybe they don’t really have authority over everybody else.

They may get indignant and claim unfairness (I never get to go anywhere that Iwant!”). Or they may claim that, remaining stuck in one place makes them superior, like they are living life the “right”, mature, responsible way.

The independence issue is common among women, with the pervasive idea that, geographic location is based on emotional and/or financial dependence on someone else. This is one reason for the pattern of women getting much more agitated/resentful (and more interrogatory) than men (who often don’t care).

A woman who feels that her location is dictated by her emotional dependence on her mother will resent a woman cuts the cord and relocates.

A woman who moved to a new city (not necessarily a new country – just a new city) due to her breadwinning husband’s job will resent a single woman who moved voluntarily and alone.

Some people may look for rationalisations, like you are sneaking around, or gaming the system. Or that you are running away from obligations, such as child support. Or they think that you pay taxes to your original country, but not the one to which you immigrated. Some actively hope that you are an illegal immigrant who overstayed a tourist visa, and that you are subject to deportation. They may like the idea of your life-control being forcibly taken away from you (possibly by them reporting you to immigration authorities).

Excuses for treating you with contempt may include believing that you are on some kind of very long vacation, full of leisure and adventure, and that you somehow don’t have to work.

Other rationalisations include stereotypes about certain nationalities, even if you don’t really match the stereotype. Or they may act like the government of your birth-country reflects on you personally (e.g. you may be assumed to support military invasions and obnoxious elected officials). Or that, high-profile crimes in your birth-country reflect on you personally (e.g. American gun violence).

Some natives feel very defensive, and may treat you like you are being offensive if you assert your right to voice legitimate criticism of the country to which you immigrated. Including if you talk about how immigrants are treated.

Some people may have a kind of national self-esteem issues, which may come up if you are originally from a country which they view as more glamorous. This can also go down to the level of being from a prominent and supposedly glamorous city. Including if their perception comes solely from television, cinema, etc.

Some may act friendly when they think that they can somehow use or exploit you (including to somehow make themselves seem cool by association). But, if you reject them, they may lash out, with “Go back to your own country” used as a way of claiming that it is really them rejecting you (and thus them being in the power position).

Some will get upset if you even just relocated from one city to another, inside the country. They may get even more upset if you state that, you reserve the right and ability to pack up and relocate again, by your own choice.

I have encountered people who believed that everyone who attempts to relocate (whether to a new country, or even just to a new city) almost immediately panics, gives up, turns around, and goes back where they came from. Or that, nobody ever attempts to relocate, and that it is consciously planned as a short-term visit, with a specific date to “go back home”. They think that, a person’s geographic location (the specific town or city) is externally dictated, set in stone when they are a child, and that they “have to” stay stuck right there for their whole life.

They might not have even visited anywhere outside the local area. They may imagine that, it would be frightening and disorienting to go anywhere new and unfamiliar, especially alone. They may feel that you are obligated to validate that idea, and feel personally offended if you refuse to do so.

Some people lack the skill (i.e. map-reading) and psychological aptitude to even navigate themselves to unfamiliar locations inside the local area. And they may be highly disturbed if you imply that you are capable of it, in terms of both skill and your psychological comfort.

TLDR: Some of the xenophobes or immigrant-phobes couldn’t even get their own act together to move to a different suburb.

What is the hardest thing about living abroad?

Updated May 1

“ You have an accent! Where are you from? Why are you here? When are you going home?”

“You have an accent! Where are you from? Why are you here? When are you going home?”

“You have an accent! Where are you from? Why are you here? When are you going home?”

Etc., etc…