Disclaimer: if you are a ex-Saffa in NZ and having a horrible, dreadful time here the please do not read this article.
I am active on a great many online forums and communities, and on almost all of those you are likely to find ex-Saffas who have made the move to NZ and who are very vocal about how awful it is here. Before you run screaming in the other direction, take a moment and do some research for yourself, and don't rely solely on the opinions of others...it's all a matter of perspective.
Before my husband and I made the big move I spent countless hours reading about every aspect of New Zealand life, right down to where to find the cheapest bread and milk. When you are planning a move of this nature, it is easy to get caught up in the big picture and completely forget the little, everyday things. The day after we arrived it was very clear that we were no longer in South Africa, but because I had done a great deal of research before leaving SA it felt a little less intimidating since we knew to go to Countdown to stock up on groceries, head to Westfield Manukau to buy some essentials, open our bank account, and get our IRD numbers sorted. The weather was wet, but we were expecting it. We looked at weather patterns for the past couple of years and knew full-well what we were signing up for. Within a couple of weeks we were settling in, and within a couple of months, it felt like home.
On some of the forums, there are people complaining about being looked down on by other Saffas for not living in a flash neighbourhood or driving a fancy car. We made a conscious decision to not seek out any South African communities upon arrival since we did not want to trade the same for...the same. After all, you don't move to another country to just do the same things and mix with the same people. Part of emigrating is assimilating new cultures and experiences. Ex-Saffas are also split into two camps. We are in the camp that has the mindset of leaving SA and its troubles behind while there is another camp that simply loves to dwell on all the negativity and really make it the only topic of conversation. No thanks, we are not interested in those kinds of social networks.
As for integrating with Kiwi society, we have had no problems at all. Not once have we experienced rudeness or rejection for being South African. My husband and I have both integrated into our respective work environments and our colleagues are great. I have fantastic clients that I work with and there are even some Saffas in those companies. Yes, there are, no doubt, Kiwis who hate on Saffas, but they also hate on all other migrants. Saffas are highly valued in the workplace because of our work ethic and "can-do" attitude. The ex-PM even commented about the laziness of Kiwis. The key is not let any such negativity, should you encounter it, get to you. It has nothing to do with you or where you come from, but everything to do with societal problems well and truly beyond your control.
Emigrating is a big, difficult, expensive, and emotional process. If you are going to approach it from a neutral or negative mindset then you are going to have a tough time and most probably end up hating every moment of what is meant to be a great adventure. We made the move with a positive, and excited attitude and also made up our minds that we would make it work, no matter what. As our 1 year anniversary in Auckland approaches we have not looked back once. Yes, we miss people but we do not miss South Africa nor do we regret giving up what we had there. If you come across forums or communities where there are posts laden with negativity about NZ take those with a pinch of salt. Everyone's circumstances and experiences differ, and in the end, it is a matter of perspective.
Going on two years and still enjoying the ride.