Before moving to New Zealand, I had thought (naively) that clothes and stuff were Made in New Zealand – a bit like stuff used to be Made in Australia. This was before the Chinese Era (that would be BCE) when we suddenly found that our clothes were being made in some factory in China using the sweat of child labourers.

I’m still finding my way around where to buy good quality clothes, hopefully made in NZ. I’m due in Auckland on June 28 as I’m speaking on social media at this conference. I’m determined to get to Auckland early enough to trek round the boutique block that is Vulcan Lane, the Chancery and High Street (and check out whether there’s better coffee there than in my fav place, Wellington). I think my last trip to Auckland was around 2002 and I have to be honest – I don’t really like the city. But I plan to look at it with unbiased eyes this time.

I must say I’m looking forward to more variety in terms of cafes and shops. I’m hoping to find some quirky but reasonably frugal clothes and maybe some that are Made in New Zealand. Speaking of which, I spotted a Made in New Zealand label the other day at a shop in Christchurch. So rarely do I see this – it was deserving of a quick snap.

I’m not at the bottom of this issue yet, so I might be wrong. But seems to me that there might be a couple of reasons things aren’t made in NZ anymore (apart from the fact that a bunch of child labourers in a Chinese sweatshop are cheaper). The first reason (based on my experience so far here) is the glacial-like way things move in New Zealand. It’s almost like New Zealanders have given up the ghost.

Hubby and I have been trying to develop a business. We wait for DAYS for people to return phone calls or emails. People say they’ll give a quote on something and it takes weeks. I was frankly appalled at the dudes hanging around doing nothing at PlaceMakers when we went there in Christchurch. No-one seemed to want to help us and, if they did, the service was pretty poor. Sorry but I’m saying it as it is.

So the culture is laid-back, almost falling asleep. I’m not necessarily talking about Auckland or Wellington. As the more sophisticated cities, they are more like what I’m used to.

I think the second reason that things are now made offshore is that people here are paid like third-world country employees. I mean really: New Zealand is supposed to be a first-world country but the minimum wage here is:

  • $13.00 per hour, which is
  • $104.00 for an 8-hour day or
  • $520.00 for a 40-hour week.

I can understand people not being overly-enthusiastic about this. If New Zealand can’t or won’t pay decent wages, then this country can’t really expect to produce stuff Made in New Zealand. It’s almost like NZ has had the stuffing knocked out of it and people are a bit dazed, sitting back, chilling out.

Made in New Zealand. Not: Designed in New Zealand, which usually signals it was made offshore.