Qatar Airways operates the world’s longest nonstop commercial flight connecting Doha with Auckland in 16hours 35 minutes. This recently introduced service is in response to demand for seats to New Zealand.


Shorter by an hour, Emirates operates a direct daily flight between Dubai and Auckland with an A380. This year, 9 additional international airlines began flying to Auckland and tourist numbers for the last 12 months reached close to 4 million, almost the total population of New Zealand. Emirates alone, provides 2,000 seats a day from Dubai to Auckland. (two other flights go via Australia)  Last year, 1,500,000 Australians popped across the Tasman Sea making up 40% of international arrivals. Chinese visitors provided the next highest arrival numbers at close to 500,000.or 11% of arrivals. Since Brexit, British tourist numbers have risen 8% to 220,900, just behind Americans on 291,000. Germans have also discovered the magic of New Zealand with a 14% increase in their visitor numbers this year. To cope with the increasing numbers of visitors, hotels are being constructed across New Zealand in unprecedented numbers. I just hope this doesn’t lead to the overcrowding that people come here to avoid in the first place.

Flights from Europe typically take 24 hours with one transit stop in either Hong Kong, Dubai, Doha, Vancouver, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Within 5 years I hope that Air New Zealand will be able to fly nonstop from Auckland to London, but Boeing or Airbus first need to build an aircraft capable of this range of flight.


I’ve written about New Zealand’s scenic attractions in previous blogs but I just want to mention here the top places most tourists make the long haul flight to see. When I’ve asked foreign visitors what they regarded as a must to see, the majority mentioned Hobbiton, made famous in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films.

Hobbiton (

Mount Cook, Milford Sound, Queenstown and Rotorua are other attractions most of them visit. They are impressed with the wide open spaces, lack of crowds at popular locations, Kiwi friendliness and the quality of the food and services and they are all blown away by the breathtaking splendour of the South Island’s alpine areas and national parks.

Milford Sound (


Young Asian couples, mainly Chinese, planning on marriage, have recently discovered New Zealand and more of them are using South Island scenery as backgrounds for their pre-wedding photos. Photo shoots can cost as much as $10,000 and take from one day to a week to complete. The photos are put on display at the actual wedding ceremony as a way to impress guests and family alike.  Social media is another avenue exploited by the young couples. The most popular settings are Lake Tekapo, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Hobbiton and the spectacularly wide open spaces of the McKenzie Country.

Image: Warren Williams

“People are captivated by the clear blue waters of the lakes, the rolling landscapes and the mountains. Wildlife is also a big hit with couples who happily pose with cows, alpaca, horses and sheep” says Queenstown photographer Warren Williams. He says the brides have a number of gowns to pose in and none is used at the actual wedding when yet another costume is worn. It’s all about showing off their success and financial worth.


With easier access and more choice of airlines, Britons and Americans are choosing New Zealand as not only a travel destination, but also a place to work. With no language problems, they are applying to work here because of this country’s geographic isolation and therefore, a place that offers more safety from the terrorist attacks that have unfortunately disrupted life at home.


I have previously written about jobs in New Zealand but since posting that blog, the situation has just got better for those interested in working here. There are shortages in a number of areas. The building boom in Auckland and rebuilding going on in Christchurch, has left a shortage of tradesmen. For starters, 2000 plumbers, drainlayers and gasfitters are required (600 in Auckland alone). Carpenters and builders are needed as well as electricians. A staggering 80% of schools require extra teachers. In fact, during this winter term, one in five secondary schools has cancelled classes because of teacher shortage. There is also a critical shortage of General Practitioners across New Zealand. Even truck drivers are in short supply. At the time of writing, there are 2,170 jobs available in Auckland alone. These range across the construction, health, service and hospitality sectors.  In the Wellington area, 1,587 positions are currently unfilled. In Central Otago where the tourist towns of Queenstown, Wanaka and Arrowtown are located, 811 positions are available. Most of these are in the hospitality industry. With 178 vineyards in the area, people are always needed to staff the cafes and help with general maintenance work. For this reason, working holidays have become really popular in the past 5 years and vineyards and orchards across the country depend on these seasonal workers to help at harvest time (March, April)

As the country’s population rapidly grows with unprecedented immigration, along with overseas Kiwis returning home to the safety of New Zealand, more jobs are created and worker shortage in the areas I’ve already mentioned is likely to continue.


In the past few months, I’ve spoken to workers from Germany, France, Turkey and India and without exception, they commented on the feeling of freedom they felt here. They said it was partly due to the lack of crowding, but also to the laidback approach of the locals who unconditionally accepted them. Some were even surprised to be invited into the homes of rural folk. Aucklanders and Wellingtonians who have to contend with the pressures of urban living, were also helpful and friendly to overseas tourists. New Zealanders have an inherent sophistication which I think is why Europeans in particular, quickly warm to us. They feel comfortable with our gentle ways.

Foreign workers enjoy living outside Auckland and Wellington as they can experience the “real” New Zealand. The four main cities apart from Auckland and Wellington, are Tauranga, Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin. These all have populations over 120.000.  Provincial cities range in population from 35.000 to 80.000. New Zealand towns typically have populations of between 5.000 and 14.000.  My hometown, Dunedin is a university town with a quarter of the population made up of students. It is home to New Zealand’s oldest university and has a large internationally recognized polytechnic as well as four of the country’s top high schools. I would class Dunedin as New Zealand’s Oxford or Cambridge. Because of the large number of young people, the city has numerous arts, sporting venues and entertainment clubs aimed at providing the sort of entertainments young people want. It also has a thriving IT industry. It’s a great place for overseas travellers of a similar age to look for work and to have as a base to live.

New Zealand’s geographic isolation which has historically been a hindrance is now one of its main attractions.

If you want more info on New Zealand, check out my books,

New Zealand as Middle Earth,

Enchanting Towns of New Zealand

Cities of New Zealand.

You will find them beside this blog. Just click on the cover and you will be taken to the Amazon page where they are available. I’m sure you will find them very informative.

Ceidrik Heward


  1. Great blog filled with lots of interesting facts. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  2. Great blog, very informative

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