If you are interested in learning English in New Zealand, we have put together a country summary of what you can expect when you study at an English language school:


With about 4.3 million people in the entire country, New Zealand is a quiet paradise with one-fourth of the population centralized in its capital, Auckland. The majority of the population is primarily from European decent within Britain.

New Zealand also has a large immigrant community that has diversified the population and culture as many people brought their traditions and culture. Most immigrants from Asian countries like China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Vietnam relocated to major cities. As of 2006, 8% of the population classified themselves as being Asian – which outnumbered the indigenous Maori.

The Maori are an indigenous group that arrived in New Zealand before 1300 CE and currently make up 7% of the population. The Maori came to New Zealand before any European settler where they developed their own identity, culture and way of life. The Maori people were greatly influenced by Polynesian culture including the importance placed on family and tribal identity. They also have their own language called Maori. The Maori culture is also full of spirit which is evident in their carving, weaving, and kappa haka traditional dance with songs and rhythmic music. With the arrival of the Europeans, the Maori population gradually adopted many aspects of Western life including the English language.

Beyond its diversity, New Zealand hosts a youthful population where 86% of the population is 64 or younger. Additionally, most New Zealanders are Christian where the two largest denominations are Angelican (13%) and Roman (12%). The next largest sect is those who do not have a religion at 32%.

If you take an English language class in New Zealand, you will find that New Zealand also has a high quality of living. In fact, Auckland ranks number 4 in the world according to Mercer’s quality of living survey and 10 in the world according to the Economist’s World’s Most Livable Cities.


The official languages in New Zealand are English, Maori, and New Zealand sign language. An overwhelming majority of 91% speak English so there is no shortage of English speaking individuals to converse with when you learn English in New Zealand. You can also find a small group of Maori speakers that make up 4% of the population. In April 2006, New Zealand sign language was first declared as a country’s official language. Due to the immigrant population, you can also find small pockets of French, Hindi, Yue, and Northern Chinese speakers in the larger cities.

The Landscape

Capital City



New Zealand offers a temperate climate with no extreme temperature changes from season to season. Because of this, there is no unfavorable time to enroll in an English language school in New Zealand. While there are no extreme temperatures, be prepared to experience climate fluctuations from cold fronts to tropical cyclones.

Keep in mind that New Zealand is located in the Southern Hemisphere so winter months are from June – August and summer months are December – February. This also means that as you travel south the climate will get colder and if you travel north the weather is more subtropical. You can expect summer temperatures to range from 20 C-30 C and winter months to be between 10 C – 15 C.

The longest days are in the summer months when sunset is not until 9pm. Be sure to watch out for those sunny days as the UV rays can be extremely strong especially during the summer. As you pack your bags, don’t forget your hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen before heading to your English courses in New Zealand.

There is no rainy season in New Zealand, unlike many other places around the world. You can expect rain year round which is one reason why the farming industry has flourished. Bring an umbrella and keep an eye on the weather forecast! During the winter months you can also expect to see snow-capped mountains with the highest snow fall in the north.


New Zealand is made up of two main islands off the coast of Australia: North Island and South Island. There are also smaller islands that lie off the coast of the larger islands including the largest Stewart Island, Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Islands, etc. You can expect to see mountain ranges and coastal plains throughout the region. The South Island is the largest land mass home to the Southern Alps that are over 3,000 meters high (9,800 feet). You can also find national parks home to a range of different ecosystems. In the North Island, however, you will find that the island is less mountainous however you will find volcanoes to explore.

Things to do

Once you leave the classroom, be prepared to explore, learn English in New Zealand, and have an adventure in the outdoors! You will find that there is much to do outside in the beauty of the country. Try Adrenalin Forest which has an obstacle course like none other, travel through ropes, swings, and other adrenaline rushing – yes, properly named! – activities. If you are curious about the wildlife and biodiversity, visit Orana Wildlife Park for the largest wildlife reserve in New Zealand where the animals relax in their natural habitats. Want to see more conservation efforts, how about Zealandia? Do you want to see the view of the skyline? Try the Sky Tower in Auckland which is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere. You can also take some time meander museums to learn more about New Zealand by going to the Museum of New Zealand, Auckland Museum, and the Museum of Transport, Technology, and Social History.

Financial considerations


New Zealand Dollar


Tipping is not expected in New Zealand as restaurant, bartenders, taxis, and other service personnel do not rely on tips as their primary source of income. If you want to reward excellent service, tips are generally 5%-10%.

General Expenses: As of 2011

Loaf of bread€ 1.58
Eggs (12)€ 2.00
Sugar 1Kg€ 0.90
Coffee€ 2.68
Water (1.5 liter bottle)€ 5.24
Fresh milk (1 gallon)€ 1.33
Bottle of Wine€ 7.55
Bus Fare€ 3.10
Taxi one way (within 5k of city center)€ 7.74
Main course dessert and drink€ 9.86
Fast food€ 4.50
Beer€ 3.44-4.00
Soft drink€ 1.43
Gym membership one month€ 38.20
Cinema ticket€ 8.05

Getting around


While a relatively small island, the most convenient means of transportation is by bus. Well organized and on-time, this will probably be your most common means of getting from place to place. While you may stumble on a train or two, most people do not use trains as their main method of transportation. You may think that since you are on an island, commuting by boat would be convenient. Don’t be fooled, New Zealand’s network of boats are not the easiest way to go!

If you are looking for an adventure while you are traveling, you may decide that hitchhiking is a convenient way of traveling and meeting the locals. If you are considering this as an option, however, be cautious as there have been some dangerous encounters in years past.

Another novel phenomenon that has surfaced in New Zealand due to the eco-friendly and cost-saving mindset is car sharing also referred to as carpooling. One of these companies, Carpool New Zealand , is a service that pairs drivers and passengers to save on time, cost, and fuel! Of course, there is no comparison to renting/owning your own car to see hard-to-reach places on your own schedule. Cars, motorcycles and trucks are all available for rent if you want to go off the beaten path and explore on your own.

Now, if you are really looking for a challenge – and you have a lot of time on your hands – you can also try biking your way from place to place. Not only is this country cyclist friendly, but the roads are well paved, and for the most part – level!


Crime in New Zealand is comparatively low, however in recent years the level of crime has increased primarily due to theft. When coming to New Zealand to learn English, keep an eye on your valuables (and passport!) especially when your car or belongings in the hostel are left unattended.

National Holidays

  • Last Monday in January – Anniversary Day Auckland/ Northland – During the governorship of Hobson, this day was made a national holiday by Willoughby Shortland in 1842 to mark the second anniversary of Auckland. Today, this day is celebrated in the northern part of the North Island.
  • February 6th – Waitangi Day – In 1840 on this day, Mâori chiefs and the British signed the Treaty of Waitangi which is the original document founding New Zealand as a sovereign country. This annual commemoration is celebrated throughout the country with Māori cultural performances, food, music, speeches from dignitaries, and naval salutes.
  • April 25th – Anzac Day – This day was first celebrated by Australia and New Zealand marking the military efforts during the Gallipoli where 2,721 New Zealand soldiers died within eight months in Turkey during World War I. Today, Anzac Day honors those individuals who died in service of their country.
  • First Monday in June – Queen’s Day – This day not only marks the beginning of ski season, but the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II who is not only Queen of the United Kingdom but also Queen of Australia and New Zealand (even though her birthday is in April!).
  • Fourth Monday in October – Labour Day – Labour Day dates back to 1840 when carpenter Samuel Parnell refused to work more than 8 hour work days and convinced others to do the same. Also known as Eight-Hour Demonstration Day, this day has been officially commemorated since 1900.
  • December 26th – Boxing Day – Boxing Day is a national holiday known that historically dates back to the religious commemoration of St. Stephen who was a Christian martyr stoned to death when a wren betrayed him when he was in hiding from his enemies. As the day after Christmas, people use this day to go shopping and get post-Christmas bargains.


Most people arrive in New Zealand after an uncomfortably long plane ride! If you are lucky enough to be coming from Australia, however, there are many flights going back and forth for a relatively inexpensive amount. If you want to go by boat, check out the local marinas or charters to see if you can catch a lift. Otherwise there is no public boat transportation between Australia and New Zealand.

New Zealand also has many international airports scattered throughout the country however the two largest airports for international travelers are Auckland Airport and Christchurch Airport . Other international airports have flights usually to and from Australia or Fiji. In fact, Auckland Airport is the main entry and exit of foreign visitors hosting 70 percent of visitors which amounts to over 13 million passengers a year. The airport has over 20 international airlines in comparison with the Christchurch Airport which has 8 international carriers.


If you are planning to come to New Zealand to learn English, the country will view it in terms of “general English” or “with special qualifications.” General English does not give you a qualification other than improving your English communication skills. On the other hand, there are other English language courses that provide you with an internationally recognized qualification like the TOEFL or IELTS. Your visa, however, will depend on how long you come to New Zealand for:

Start your adventure by finding ESL Programs in New Zealand!

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