Even your boss wants to get outdoors
Working in Wellington -- or almost anywhere in New Zealand -- is as breezy as the winds whipping in off Wellington’s harbor. Rozitis talks of friends in San Diego and Vancouver who work 60- and 80-hour weeks as engineers. In New Zealand, working on weekends or after hours is unheard of.
“Your boss wants to get out and enjoy the outdoors and the nature, just like you do,” she says. “You get four weeks off here, and you take four weeks. Your boss might take all four to spend traveling around the country with his kids, which tells everyone else they’re expected to do that too.”
Part of why Kiwis value getting out so much is because they don’t have much fear -- of getting behind, of losing their job, or of anything else. They invented bungee jumping. New Zealand has no culture of fear; there’s nobody here telling you to be afraid of anything, be it street crime, terrorism, or falling out of an airplane. Which not only makes for a refreshingly liberating change, it also makes for a culture of adventure and exploration rather than paralyzing paranoia.
“I don’t know if it’s because things are a little bit behind here, or because it's segregated from the rest of the world, but a lot of kiwis just don’t really care,” says Matt Brock, a former Floridian who’s now the head chef at Kika, a busy modern bistro in the South Island ski town of Wanaka. “They’re not worried of what’s going on outside the country -- but in a good way. They’re not going to stress themselves over stuff that doesn’t affect them.”
Nowhere is this more evident than Queenstown, the self-proclaimed “Adventure Capital of the World,” where the hum of jet boats screaming across Lake Wakatipu towards mansion-sized boulders is drowned out by college kids handing out brochures for hang-gliding and skydiving tours. The bars and clubs here stay open late; partying is as much a part of the draw as the white-knuckle adventure. And enjoying a cold McCashin’s beer on the rooftop at Sundek will have you chatting with, surprisingly, far more Kiwis in town for the weekend than tourists.