How to Spend Christmas as an International Student in New Zealand 2024

How to Spend Christmas as an International Student in New Zealand and all you should know about – Christmas in New Zealand comes with a unique blend of traditional and local flavors. As an international student in the country, you have a variety of ways to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit. This blog post will guide you through various activities to make your Christmas in New Zealand a memorable one.

Celebrate with a Traditional Feast

While you’re in New Zealand, you don’t have to miss out on a hearty Christmas dinner. The holiday meals here offer their own unique charm that’s a blend of traditional and local flavors. Families often gather around a festive table filled with dishes like roast lamb, which is a Kiwi favorite.

Accompanying the lamb, you’ll likely find kumara, a type of sweet potato that’s popular in New Zealand. And for dessert, you can look forward to pavlova. This classic Kiwi treat is a meringue-based cake topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

You’ll find that many restaurants also get into the holiday spirit, offering special Christmas menus featuring these traditional New Zealand dishes. So even if you’re far from home, you can still enjoy a delicious and memorable Christmas feast.

SEE ALSO: Unique 200 Happy New Year message to my Classmate 2024 – Short and Sweet Messages

Learn Meri Kirihimete

Picking up local phrases like “Meri Kirihimete,” which is how you say “Merry Christmas” in Maori, can make your time in New Zealand even more rewarding.

When you use these words, you’re doing more than just speaking the language; you’re connecting with the Maori culture that’s an integral part of New Zealand’s identity.

Understanding and using local phrases can help you build a deeper connection with the people around you.

It shows you’re interested in their culture, and it can spark conversations that let you learn even more about how Christmas and other holidays are celebrated in New Zealand. This cultural exchange can add another layer of richness to your holiday experience.

Attend a Christmas Parade

Major cities in New Zealand, such as Auckland and Wellington, go all out for the holiday season with their Christmas parades.

These events are a feast for the eyes and ears, showcasing elaborate floats, choirs singing carols, and a grand finale featuring Santa Claus himself.

The streets are usually packed with people of all ages, both locals and visitors, creating a vibrant, festive atmosphere.

Participating in these parades offers you a unique chance to see how New Zealanders from various cultural backgrounds come together to celebrate.

Whether you’re snapping photos, singing along, or just soaking in the ambiance, the Christmas parades in these cities are something you’ll want to experience.

SEE ALSO: 100+ Christmas Messages to Friends 2023 – Heartwarming Christmas Wishes

Experience a Coastal Christmas

In New Zealand, Christmas coincides with summer, offering a unique way to celebrate the holiday. Instead of snow and cold weather, you get sunshine and warm beaches.

This opens up a whole new range of activities for your Christmas day. Imagine packing a picnic with some traditional Kiwi Christmas foods and heading to the beach.

With the sun shining down, you can lay out a blanket, apply some sunscreen, and enjoy a festive meal with the ocean as your backdrop. This experience is a stark contrast to the winter Christmases you might be used to, and it’s something you’ll likely remember for years to come.

Whether you’re swimming, playing beach games, or simply relaxing by the water, a coastal Christmas is a uniquely New Zealand way to celebrate.

Spend Time Volunteering or Working

The holiday season is not just a time for celebration but also for giving back to the community. In New Zealand, like many other places, volunteer opportunities spike during this period.

Organizations often require extra hands to help with tasks like preparing and distributing food to the less fortunate or organizing community events.

Volunteering can be a rewarding way to spend your Christmas, offering a sense of fulfillment and a chance to make a positive impact.

On the flip side, the holidays also bring a surge in seasonal job openings. Retail shops, event venues, and tourist attractions often need additional staff to handle the holiday rush.

Taking on a seasonal job not only pads your wallet but also offers valuable work experience and a chance to meet new people. Whether you choose to volunteer or take on seasonal work, both options offer unique experiences that can enrich your time in New Zealand.

SEE ALSO: How to Spend Christmas as an International Student in Ireland 2023

Go on a Sightseeing Tour

New Zealand is a country renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, and the Christmas break offers the perfect opportunity to explore it.

Tourist destinations like Queenstown, known for its adventure sports; Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity; and Milford Sound, a fjord renowned for its stunning vistas, are all must-visit places.

What’s more, tour operators often roll out special holiday packages or discounts, making it an opportune time to explore these hotspots.

Whether you’re interested in adventure, relaxation, or simply soaking in scenic views, taking a trip during the holiday break is an excellent way to get the most out of your Christmas season in New Zealand.

10 Things Every International Student Should Know About Australia

While New Zealand and Australia are separate nations with their own unique cultures, certain similarities can be useful to know, especially if you’re considering hopping over to Australia at some point during the holiday season or for whatever reason.

Summer Christmas: Like New Zealand, Australia celebrates Christmas in the summer. Prepare for a warm holiday season with activities like beach outings.

Unique Wildlife: Australia is home to unique animals like kangaroos and koalas. Don’t miss a trip to a wildlife sanctuary.

Diverse Cities: From Sydney’s Opera House to Melbourne’s art scenes, each city offers something different. Research which suits your interests best.

Slang: Aussies have their own set of colloquial terms. Learning common phrases can make interactions smoother.

Sports Culture: Cricket, rugby, and Aussie Rules Football are big here. Even if you’re not a sports fan, it’s a significant part of local culture.

Public Transport: Australian cities generally have good public transport. Get a travel card like Sydney’s Opal or Melbourne’s Myki for convenience.

Cost of Living: Australia can be expensive, especially in big cities. Budget wisely and consider cities like Adelaide or Brisbane for a lower cost of living.

Healthcare: Australia has a good healthcare system. International students are often required to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Education System: Australian universities are highly ranked globally. They offer a variety of courses and a flexible study environment.

Tourist Spots: Australia is packed with natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef and the Outback. Take time to explore these iconic places.


Christmas in New Zealand offers a wealth of experiences for international students. Whether you want to indulge in a traditional feast, learn local customs, or give back to the community, there’s something for everyone. Make the most of your holiday season by embracing the unique offerings of this beautiful country.


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