Student Guidelines

A successful year in New Zealand

If you fully engage in your new environment, a year in New Zealand as an international student could be a positive life changing experience.  The most important thing to remember is that this is a school year in which you will be living with a family, or at Coldstream House, the school’s boarding facility.  You can always travel, but to live with a New Zealand family and become a real part of a New Zealand community is something unique.


Term 1 Summer/Autumn
Term 2 Autumn/Winter
Term 3 Winter/Spring
Term 4 Spring/Summer

The climate in Invercargill/Southland can be very changeable.  In the winter our weather can be cold with frosts and occasionally snow.  In the summer it can get hot and it stays light until 9 pm. A day may start hot and sunny and finish cold and raining.


New Zealand unit of currency are the dollar ($) and cents (c).  The system of currency is $1 = 100 c.  Denomination of paper notes: $100 – red, $50 – purple, $20 -green, $10 – blue, $5 – orange. Denomination of coins: $2 – large gold, $1 – small gold, 50c – largest silver, 20c – silver, 10c – silver, 5c – silver.

Bargaining and Prices

There is little bargaining in New Zealand.  Prices of goods for sale are fixed – sometimes by the Government.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a standard tax of 15% on all goods bought and all services received e.g. haircuts.  Some goods will be marked with both prices, or shops will have notices saying whether prices shown include GST or not.  Generally, most things have GST included.


Most New Zealanders have three to four weeks holidays from their paid employment.  This time is usually over the December/January period.  Many New Zealanders travel to other parts of the country with their families in their annual holidays.  Camping, and staying in small cabins at the beach are also popular.

Below are public holidays observed by most New Zealanders.  Banks and businesses close on these days too.

  • January 1 and 2 New Year
  • February 6 Waitangi Day
  • March or April Good Friday, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday
  • April 25 (Remembrance) ANZAC Day
  • 1st Monday in June Queen’s Birthday
  • 4th Monday in October Labour Day
  • December 25 Christmas Day
  • December 26 Boxing Day
  • Various Dates Anniversary Day – varies between provinces