The reason that many people enjoy going to New Zealand is because of its biodiversity. There are a number of plants, animals, and fungi that reside throughout the country, mainly because of the fact that there were no humans on the island until 1250 AD. The Europeans did not even arrive until 1642, well after the Americas and other countries were discovered by them. This isolation allowed nature to thrive much longer than it did on other continents where there was more human influence. It is thought to be one of the last major land areas that humans arrived to. The first population was from Polynesian settlers, which had arrived through a number of travels across the Pacific Ocean. They developed a culture that is called the Māori. The Māori, like most indigenous people, had tribes and subtribes that lived throughout the islands; they would work together on certain tasks, but there was also infighting between the tribes.
There are literally hundreds of animals that you can find throughout New Zealand that you cannot find anywhere else in the world, especially in terms of birds and marine life (mammals, fish). The only mammals that are native to the country are bats; other animals that you find were brought into the country when people came in and immigrated into the area. The country actually has a number of laws and regulations in place in order to keep the animals in and around the country safe from poaching and other illegal activities. You can find more information about this from the Department of Conservation website.
Even though the country went under the authority of the crown of the United Kingdom in 1853, the country has governed itself since 1853. The Queen of England is still the head of state, with a representative known as the Governor-General representing her in the country, but the government is parliamentary. The Governor-General, at this point, is only a formal role unless the government is having issues or is upheaval; then he or she has the right to step in and make decisions.
The country is separated into 16 regions. 11 of those regions are run by the top tier of local government, called the regional council. 5 of them are run by territorial authorities.
The 16 regions include the following:
Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington, Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago, Southland
Nothing can get better than the weather in New Zealand. The winters are mild, with temperatures around 10ºC (50ºF) and slightly wet. In higher altitudes, you will see snow, but it’s not common in lower altitudes. In the summers, the climate is warm and dry with temperatures around 25ºC (77ºF). As you would expect in the southern hemisphere, the summer lasts from December to February; winter lasts from June to August. Spring and fall are similar, with cooler temperatures and little rain.
Deepest lake: Lake Hauroko (462 m 1515 ft)
Largest lake: Lake Taupo (606 km or 234 miles)
Longest river: Waikato River (425 km or 264 miles long)
Largest glacier: Tasman Glacier (29 km or 18 miles long)
Deepest cave: Nettlebed, Mount Arthur (889 m or 2916 ft)
Length of coastline: 15,811 km (9824 miles)
The visa acquisition process is incredibly simple, and unlike many other countries, you will not be rejected right away. You get to talk to people and tell them your side of the story if there is something that may prevent you from getting a visa to come into the country. If you can explain why you’ve decided to go down there and your international studies program helps you to create a Statement of Purpose (a statement you give to the visa officer to tell them why you are coming to New Zealand to study), you will usually get a visa. The country is welcome to immigration, more so than almost any other country in the world. The last advantage is that, after you graduate, as mentioned above, you can work in the country for up to a year. If the job you are working at is related to the degree that you received, you can actually apply to get permanent residency, which you will most likely get within 6 months of your application. We look at visa acquisition and residency more in our Visa and Passport section.
There are plenty of work opportunities available for international students. On a student visa, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week through the semester; during vacations you can work up to 40 hours. So, instead of having to worry about finances, you get to supplement your education with income. You may even be able to nab internships and other practical work. The international studies office at your university can help you find a job to sustain you during your time in New Zealand. Another great thing is that you can get a permit at the end of your degree program and work for 12 months in the country under a special “work permit” that is alongside your student visa, which is what we’ll look at closer in the last point.
Working holiday visa
Partnership based visas
Student Life in New Zealand
If you live in campus-based housing (halls of residence, etc), take advantage of the activities that your wardens are doing. They may take trips, play games, enjoy sports, or even splurge on pizza or make you a homemade meal, depending on the size of your dorm. Interact with the other people in your dorm, and you will not regret it. You are in that close space for up to four years; you may as well advantage of it and make friends with both native Kiwis and those who are studying abroad, just like you. You may make some of the closest friends you’ve ever had, just because you decided to branch out a little bit and enjoy your residence life experience.
The New Zealand government encourages students with a good academic score to find a suitable job and settle in the country. This is in sharp contrast to many other leading countries, which have a tendency to make it quite difficult for international students to get an extension on their visa once they graduate. Students with an entrepreneurial bent of mind will also find favour with the administration to start a business and generate employment opportunities in the local community.
The last advantage is that, after you graduate, you can work in the country for up to a year. If the job you are working at is related to the degree that you received, you can actually apply to get permanent residency, which you will most likely get within 6 months of your application.