Is New Zealand the United States of 50 years ago?

A group of young Americans living and working in New Zealand seem to think so.

Megyn Kelly's NBC show interviewed US migrants to find out why they love living and working in New Zealand in a piece that aired on the weekend.

Presenter Keith Morrison took in the scenery of Queenstown with travel blogger Liz Carlson, and met a group of her American friends, one of whom said:


"[New Zealand] is like the way America used to be 50 years ago... The American dream doesn't really exist anymore, it's now the Kiwi dream, but Americans come here to live it."

A former finance worker in the US came to New Zealand and works as a barista.

"Yeah, I'm not making as much money as I was in the US, but I'm much happier finding a good work/life balance. Any sort of business idea that you want to bring to the table could come to fruition."

High profile US-expat Jack Matthews, now a New Zealand citizen, told the programme people aren't "fleeing" the US for New Zealand.

"I think the whole [idea that] people [are] fleeing America for New Zealand is overblown to be honest. I don't think people are being repelled by America as much as they're being attracted by New Zealand."

Matthews said New Zealand has an "understated" culture, and Kiwis don't like people who "show up and don't fit in".

Sam Neill and NBC presenter Keith Morrison at Neill's Two Paddocks vineyard.
Sam Neill and NBC presenter Keith Morrison at Neill's Two Paddocks vineyard.

Hollywood star and Kiwi winemaker Sam Neill said New Zealand was isolated.

"The problem with being isolated is being insular, so new people coming in with new ideas I think is always a good thing."


When asked about the idea of millionaire Americans moving to New Zealand to snap up boltholes in Otago, Neill said:

"These people need to think about solving their own problems, problems from where they come from, rather than coming here to escape from them, and they have the power and money to solve them."