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Life in New Zealand

New Zealand is a beautiful and sparsely populated multicultural nation with a population of approximately 3.5 million people. Most New Zealanders are of British or European descent, with approximately 18% of the population having Maori or Pacific Island origins. There are also large numbers of other nationalities in New Zealand and recently, increasing numbers of people from Asian countries have taken up residence in New Zealand.

The dramatic and varied landscapes draw visitors from all over the world. There are high snow-clad mountains, fiords, large forests, lakes, lush plains, surf beaches and quiet coastal inlets. In New Zealand the tourist and recreational areas are often only one or two hours’ drive from major cities and can be accessed without great expense.

Most visitors find New Zealanders friendly, easy-going people who are interested in meeting those from other cultures and in travelling overseas. NZ is a very sports-oriented country, most New Zealanders take part in or watch a wide variety of games. The best known sports are rugby and cricket, with netball, badminton, squash, skiing, tennis, basketball, athletics, soccer, and hockey also very popular.

New Zealand’s major export products include fish, meat, fruit, dairy products and timber. It also produces a wide range of manufactured goods and is at the forefront in many areas of information technology and in biological and medical research. Tourism and education are also becoming increasingly important to the economy.

For information about New Zealand cities,  see


The New Zealand dollar is a stable currency. Tourists and new residents find a very favourable exchange rate which gives them high purchasing power.


Freedom of worship is guaranteed by law in New Zealand. During their time in New Zealand many international students choose to join a students’ association to remain close to their culture and religion.


You will arrive in New Zealand at either Auckland or Christchurch International Airports. There are regular direct flights to most cities from both airports. There are air, rail and bus services to other towns and cities and an inter-island ferry operates between the North and South Islands.


The University academic year of most universities is divided into two semesters.

Semester 1                  Late February - end June

Semester 2                  Early July - mid November

Almost all undergraduate degree courses must be commenced with Semester 1. For more details of the academic calendar, contact the respective university.


Before the beginning of the academic year, the International Office of most universities runs an orientation programme for international students.

This programme covers such things as course advice, a tour of the campus and information about living in New Zealand. 

The orientation programme is free and provides an excellent opportunity to meet other students and make new friends. Another orientation programme is run at the beginning of the second semester.

Both orientation programmes provide:

  • Information about the New Zealand way of life including their customs, climate and education system
  • Information about the University including its student services, facilities, policies and procedures
  • An opportunity to meet other international students
  • Information about your rights as a student
  • Information about immigration requirements and regulations


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