So while this thread started about my second favourite topic, here's my 2c worth.
For all the reasons given by Erice and Fish above, one can make acceptable beer from kits, but control over the bitterness and hop flavours is difficult. Getting decent kits is important and getting an even better yeast is also very important.
If you can find a light amber beer kit (amber being a lightly hopped style over here) and then add some hops you can get back to a reasonable bitterness and recover some fresh aroma.
All too often though, I feel the term "craft beer" is loosely applied to anything that has a crap ton of hops, and its hipster value outweighs its drinkability. Sure it's good to have a bit of bite, or fruity aroma etc. but I find many of the so called craft beers in NZ to be overly hopped and a bit samey.
Conveniently though, all that hoppy aroma is a great way to hide other flavours that are less desirable that have come about through lesser understanding or control of the process.
I'm not sure what's easily available in NZ at the moment in terms of kits or supplies, having put down my last brew in Hamilton about 14y ago, but more recently over here we've been experimenting with the grain only approach, basically following the Rheinheitsgebot: Malted barley, water, hops and yeast.
Decided to aim for a pilsner, meaning it's hard to hide off flavours etc. so felt it was technically more challenging and we aim for about 4.8-5% alc., any more is too much for a good drinking summer beer.
4.5kg of malted grain (Munich pilsner) makes about 24L of beer for about 9 bucks.
USed Hallertau hops, they're quite low on bitterness (~2%) as opposed to the "Pacific Gem" we bought sourced from Motueka (13.4%)...
Adding the hops in two or three steps as mentioned before by others.
We use a bottom fermenting yeast (Saflager-S23) and keep the 25L primary vessel (blue plastic barrel in the vid) at 12-13°C, sg. starting at around 1.060. Takes about 2.5weeks for it to brew out to theoretical minimum (there are online calculators). When it's about 0.001 point away from minimum we bottle it, no priming sugar, then keep it in the garden shed at about 4-5°C. 2 months and it's good to go...
Here's a vid of our beer. My friend Martin (red beard) made the vid.
The mashing step here takes about 2-3hours and has pauses at different temperatures to let different enzymes work to different degrees, esp. the alpha and then beta amylases to develop either more body and less alcohol or vice versa.
I find a lot of kit beer has the same bad yeasty flavours. Found we could reduce this by moderating primary fermentation temperature, and also by disgorging bottles (like champagne) after just a week or two to dump most of the early sediment. Meaning you can keep the beer off the lees in the bottle, reducing flavour transfer from the broken dead yeast cells.
It's a bit of a fickle process though needing to keep stuff cool 1°C to reduce CO2 loss and racking upside down etc.