Hey there, I'm from NZ too, and bought the same phone
The basic UI is quite choppy, which is a reason I quickly installed a launcher, or two, which sped it up a lot, and gave it a surprising fluidity over the pre-installed UI. I'd highly suggest this as not only does it speed up the phone, it gives you customization options too, which is very handy. My phone has crashed about 3 times since I bought it, but this has been significantly lessened with the download of Adv. Task Killer, so it's not as overwhelmed with functions as it would be otherwise.
Frankly, on my usage the battery life isn't great. It could definitely be better, but depending on your usage it should last at least the majority of a day.
The camera protrusion is very slight, less than I thought from the video reviews. I haven't had any instances of the lens cracking or anything like that, but I bought a case at the same time I bought my phone, which significantly increases protection for not only the phone in general but the camera particularly as the edges rise over the sides of the camera. You shouldn't worry about it, unless you're planning to drop frequently you wont run into any problems about the lens.