A warm welcome

New Zealanders open their hearts to newcomers.

Most New Zealanders believe being warm and friendly is important.

Because our country is small and far away from many other parts of the world, we like to reach out and make connections with each other.  Our sense of community is ranked 8th in the OECD Better Life Index measuring 41 different countries.

In fact, nine out of ten migrants find the welcome they receive meets or exceeds their expectations, according to a recent Immigration New Zealand survey.

Welcoming people to a Marae New Zealand culture

Cultural values

The welcoming spirit in New Zealand comes from a core principle of Māori culture, Manaakitanga.

It means hospitality, kindness, generosity, support - the process of showing respect, generosity and care for others.

Manaakitanga extends far beyond Māori tradition. It is even recognised by our Government as one of the two core values of our tourism strategy.

Sharing food

One of the main ways you will be shown hospitality in New Zealand is with food.

Social events often involve eating, including;

  • picnics on the beach
  • morning teas with work colleagues
  • a hāngi (food cooked in an earthoven) at your child's school, or
  • a barbeque with your neighbours

You will find that food and friendship go hand-in-hand in New Zealand.

A warm welcome
Man and woman being interviewed

Open spaces, open hearts, open minds. That’s New Zealand and its people in a nutshell.

Mix of cultures

Our country's history is also shaped by a unique mix of Māori and European culture. This merging of ideas and customs began with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and continues to this day.

Today, New Zealand is diverse, combining influences from around the world, especially the Pacific and Asia.

We’re a country of open, welcoming people, and a place where you’ll make lasting friendships. 


A nation of travellers

Many New Zealanders know what it is like arriving somewhere new. More than a quarter (27.4%) of our population was born overseas, according to the 2018 Census.

Over 90% of us feel some connection with another country through family, friends or interests.

2018 Census | Stats NZ

Welcoming communities


Talk to any visitor to New Zealand and the first things they are likely to comment on are the beautiful scenery and the friendly locals.

Kiwis are seen as friendly, hospitable and inclusive — qualities highlighted by Welcoming Communities Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori.

There are 26 councils across 12 regions working with their communities to implement Welcoming Communities, a programme that puts the welcome mat out to newcomers: recent migrants, former refugees and international students.

Welcoming Communities | Immigration New Zealand

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Sign up to receive relevant job opportunities from New Zealand employers and practical advice on how to make your move to New Zealand a reality.