As many of you know I have long been touting the benefits of living in the greatest country on earth.
New Zealand is an idyllic paradise. It is a near-perfect haven where civilized people are gracious, honest and caring.
But more than that, they are happy. Deep down happy.
And why shouldn’t they be happy?
New Zealand is rich in incomparable beauty. Its jagged-peaked mountains are stupendous. Many of those picturesque mountains soar above scenic fjords and sounds. Its beaches gleam with white sand. The waterfalls are magnificent and they are just about everywhere you look. Take a boat and watch the whales, dolphins, and fur seals cavorting in sparkling waters rich with marine life. The rolling, verdant hills of New Zealand are filled with flocks of happy sheep.
It is a geologic wonderland. No wonder Peter Jackson filmed his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy here. Everything is epic in New Zealand.
What is even more impressive is this country’s quality of life. The culture of New Zealand has been described as the greatest on Earth. Imagine going to a mall in New Zealand and never having to fear being mowed down by a madman with an AR-15. You can send your kids to school and have no concern that they will be shot by an angry classmate. Gun laws are strict here.
New Zealand is a fantastic place for children to grow up. Furthermore, you can have a pleasant conversation with a Kiwi (their nickname) regardless of political persuasion.
Did I mention that Kiwis are civilized, gracious, honest and caring.
White New Zealanders came from England. It took awhile but Caucasians have made peace with the aboriginal Maori. Once long ago, this was not so. But now the white folks treasure and celebrate native culture. Take a look at the tail of an Air New Zealand jetliner — a Maori art design signifying peace and tranquility.
The transformation from foe to friend has been dramatic. It’s like every white person experienced an epiphany that manifests itself in a deep and glorious relationship with the Maori. Biculturalism is cherished, not despised.
Expatriates live here by the tens of thousands. Most come from Europe or that other country across the big pond.
New Zealand’s location in the Southern Hemisphere has a huge benefit in terms of peace of mind. It’s the best place on earth to survive a nuclear holocaust since all the world’s atomic bombs — tens of thousands of them — will fall in the Northern Hemisphere.
Enough negativity. New Zealand is first and foremost a land where American expatriates can be genuinely happy and free from worry as long as they don’t jump on the Internet and learn about the horrors of a crumbling democracy back home. Oops. I thought I was through with negativity.
But uprooting is difficult.
Obtaining citizenship takes a long time. When you are pushing 70 — or are past 70 — you don’t have that luxury.
But you can spend as long as six months here on a visa. Then you have to leave. One can go to visit nearby Australia but remember that long-ago England sent its murderers and convicts there.
New Zealand’s lone mass slaughter of Muslims (I was there in Christchurch when it happened) was caused by a crazy Aussie who just wanted to show that no place on earth, even New Zealand, is immune from insanity. Just know that it’s not home-grown insanity like some other countries.
So where does one go for the other six months? Canada is a nice choice. Toronto or Montreal immediately come to mind. But I’m thinking Vancouver.
You might disagree because underneath the city are a couple of nasty fault lines like the one that leveled San Francisco in 1906.
Volcanos and earthquakes are troubling. New Zealand has them both, including a super-volcano by the name of Taupo, which last erupted 25,000 years ago and is due.
But then so is our Yellowstone super-volcano.
There I go being negative again.
Give New Zealand a try. It’s the greatest country on earth.