London is home to around 59,000 New Zealand-born residents, according to the Office for National Statistics, with historical numbers showing a significant jump (of around 40%) in the UK’s New Zealand-born population between 1991 and 2001.
The ‘overseas experience’ (OE) has long been a tradition in New Zealand, as young people, often travelling alone, set out into the world for adventures of a year or longer. Thanks to its Commonwealth links, London attracts many of those young people, who are also drawn to the city’s myriad of cultural attractions and employment opportunities.
With so many New Zealanders in London, echoes of ‘back home’ are never too far away. The Providores, Gelupo, and Hop Burns & Black all offer an authentic taste of New Zealand, along with a host of other restaurants. There are also plenty of drinking establishments with a New Zealand twist, from coffee at Sacred Café to something with more of a kick at The Rylston.
The internet has also made connecting with back home easier than ever over the past two decades. The Kiwis in London Facebook group has over 84,000 followers and provides an easy way for those in the capital to connect with each other, as well as with those back home. The site covers practical details like flats, jobs and travel, as well as parties, nightlife, and other social events.
New Zealanders in London can even enjoy their leisure time like they did back home thanks to the widespread availability of WiFi and the latest 5G rollouts in the capital. Whether it’s jumping online to join the latest massive multiplayer games or hitting up an online casino, New Zealanders can get their kicks in London just as they would back in Wellington. Sites like Bonus Finder mean that they can go here to get started with the best online scratch cards and games, with plenty available to play in their downtime between hitting up the local attractions and making the best of London life.
Then there are those New Zealand experiences that are specific to London itself. The city is home to the Ngāti Rānana Māori cultural group, which has been present in London since 1959. There is the NZ Society and the New Zealand Women’s Association. There are also a number of sporting clubs, including the London New Zealand Rugby Club. So whatever you’re into; whether you want to try out something new on your trip and experience a taste of home, the city has plenty to offer.
Of course, London is also awash with its own, non-New Zealand-related attractions. All ten of the UK’s most visited tourist attractions in 2018 were in London, with the Tate Modern topping the list with a whopping 5.86 million visitors. There are also restaurants serving cuisines from around the world, theatres, museums, castles, palaces and so much more!
Added to this incredible array of attractions is London’s wealth of employment opportunities. The BBC reports that many New Zealanders are drawn to roles in teaching and the NHS – so much so, in fact, that it created some consternation back in New Zealand about a ‘brain drain’ of the country’s youth.
London, it seems, offers that perfect blend of excitement and adventure, with just enough of a safety net of being able to connect with people and things from back home. This could explain why London is home to an impressive 47% of the UK’s New Zealand-born population, as well as why the ten areas with the largest clusters of New Zealanders are all located within the capital.
Across the UK as a whole, people from New Zealand account for just 0.1% of the population. That figure is closer to 0.7% in London – still far from a huge part of the city’s population, but a significant enough number of people to give London its own distinctive Kiwi edge.