This is probably going to sound a little patronising coming from Australian. Not to worry - its fully intended.
I meant to write this a few months ago; but I was awaiting the result of a final undertaking in NZ, the sale of my car, and I never got around to it.
During Sept 2012 I travelled from Queenstown to Auckland in 10 days. The purpose of the trip was to move some possessions and to sell the car. During this trip, I would have to say that I met some lovely, generous people.
Arriving in Queenstown..ok there was a little bit of suspicion when I arrived with just a small backpack. Clearly they thought I was running some drugs. Nope; just moving house. Anyway, on to Christchurch where my car was in storage. The people at A1 Storage were very generous. They helped me kickstart the car after 3 months of non-use; and they gave me flexible access until I confirmed by WOF, which had already expired. Fortunately, I only needed a new tire, and the guy who did that was wonderful as well, because he found me a prospective buyer for my car as well. No money? Fine, generous spirits all round.
I received great service from a motel in Christchurch; though fortunately I could rely on my Filipino partner in the Philippines to make the booking for me because the entire city is booked out due to the 'earthquake rebuild'. This period is a goldmine for motel owners. They were unsurprisingly generous with their service too. Perhaps that is the great news about hardships like earthquakes insofar as the turnaround is destined to be a great confidence builder...with all that spending.
It was a rush up to Picton, and a ferry ride across to Wellington. During this part of the trip I was looking for some car repair work to cut out some rust and repaint. I found a guy in Palmerston North, and stayed in a local motel. Before I could fix the car I went to my NZ base of Wanganui. I absolutely love this town. It has a prison and some delinquent people, but there are some wonderful people there as well, and the town has a wonderful feel, and some lovely parks. Perhaps not as impressive as Taranaki, 2hours up the road, but special to me. Returning to Palmerston, these guys really worked hard to finish my car in time. It was a big ask, and I was pleased they were able to stick to their commitment. I had to board a flight on Saturday afternoon to Sydney, and I still needed to sell the car. They allowed me to drive up to Auckland to offer my car at auction.
My original intent was to sell my car at auction with Turners. Unfortunately, I was not satisfied with the service I got from Turners in Purnell, Auckland. The service was far fairer and generous in Palmerston North, where they even drove me to the bus stop, and allowed me to set the reserve price at auction. In Auckland, I was told that there was an oversupply of cars, so they can only give me a very low price. I knew my van was worth $4500-6500 to an end-user, but clearly I was in a hurry to buy. They would not allow me to place my own price like before, so I rejected their $2500. An auto mechanic team up the road gave me $3000, and generously allowed me to sell through them. I decided to just give them any upside, since they did me a great favour, so I accepted their $3000 cash. I also just wanted to leave NZ freely; and also I worry with very generous people if its all a ploy to take advantage of your trust. I trusted him because of the positive sentiments of his staff, and because he was a business owner. It was a little hard though to trust as I felt vulnerable leaving the country. Fortunately, I was not disappointed.
Thank you NZ. There are some tragic sentiments in the country; but I only saw the best of you on this trip. Rest assured, you will be akin to Arab oil sheikhs when the country discovers more oil & gas in coming years. Very beautiful country...lovely place to drive.