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What is living with a New Zealand family like? - HOW DO I / International students / Accommodation - NMIT Support

What is living with a New Zealand family like?

You will find that most Kiwi families will be interested to know you and will accept you as a person and respect your ways and culture. This must be a two-way situation - you must also learn to accept and respect their ways to develop a good relationship with your homestay family.

If you don't understand anything, New Zealanders want and expect you to ask.

Be yourself and be prepared to talk about your background, your family and how you do things differently at home. Be honest and open. It is good to talk about such things as this helps people understand and know you better.

New Zealanders are extremely independent and value this.

Most homestay families have children and most New Zealand children are brought up to be independent, so you may see some big differences in how a New Zealand family raises their children.

Household Routines

Being part of the family will usually mean helping out in some of the daily household routines such as:

  • Taking turns washing/drying the dishes
  • Cooking the occasional meal
  • Joining in with some of the family activities such as watching TV, playing board games, sports and outings when you can
  • Opening your bedroom curtains in the morning and closing them at night
  • Keeping your room tidy


New Zealanders eat three meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner.

7am - 9am - Breakfast - usually cereal or toast

12pm - 2pm - Lunch - often sandwiches or fruit

6pm - 8pm - Dinner - a hot meal, sometimes followed by a sweet dessert

If you have any special likes and dislikes, tell your host politely. At first, the Kiwi food might seem quite different, boring and even tasteless. Be appreciative at least for the effort in putting a meal on the table for you. Perhaps try and go shopping with your family and show them some of the foods you like to eat.