8 Ways International Students Can Have a Very Kiwi Christmas (Kirihimete) This Year

Thursday, December 14, 2017

If you are from the Northern Hemisphere, welcome to possibly your sunniest Christmas yet! If you’re from the Southern Hemisphere, hopefully it’s a sunny Christmas. We’ve put together a list of eight things you should know about our Christmas (or XMAS) traditions, so you can fully enjoy your Kiwi Christmas.

If you’re lucky enough to be in New Zealand for Christmas we hope you are enjoying our beautiful warm weather, especially if you are from Europe! We can guarantee your Christmas in NZ will be unlike any celebration you have experienced! We have a great mix of things to do at Christmas time in this country, so there is something for everyone!

1. Warm Weather: Spend some time at the beach and in the water because temperatures can reach up to 30 degrees Celsius on Christmas Day. Make sure you bring some waterproof sunblock with you and remember to use it for your day out, as New Zealand’s sun can be quite punishing on a clear day. Rather than making snowmen, you will be making sandmen and sand castles!

2. BBQ: Another classic Kiwi summer activity is the barbeque (also known as a bbq or barbie) in the backyard. If you are having a fry-up, be sure you’ve got someone experienced manning the grill. Here you can sample Kiwi sausages, lamb and grilled veggies. The silly season in NZ isn’t complete without having a catch-up with friends over a BBQ.

3. Sports: Sports and summer go together – especially if you’re playing backyard cricket (BYC), beach volleyball or just tossing a frisbee or vortex to each other. Boats and water sports are always a good time. Fishing, water-skiing or wakeboarding off the back of a sturdy vessel are great summer activities. Otherwise there are plenty of other things that you can grab to make use of the waves, such as: kayaks, surfboards, kiteboards, windsurfers, paddleboards, kneeboards and jet-skis. When in the water remember to swim between the flags and wear lifejackets if you are heading far from shore/boating.

4. Ice-cream: Real fruit ice-cream, normally made with strawberries or blueberries, is the ultimate summer treat. You’ll find these delicious creations anywhere there is a beach or fruit patch nearby.

5. Sightseeing: In summer, New Zealand’s sight-seeing is at a premium; with flowers in bloom, oceans of crystal-blue and sunrise/sunsets being utterly unforgettable. Your eyes will be spoilt by a never-ending mix of colours and shapes to comprehend as flowers bloom and the sun shines. The sounds of summer will also become familiar, as cicadas and happy bird-song will become the soundtrack to your NZ outdoor life.

6. Gifts: Christmas is a time for gift-giving. Christmas presents are wrapped and placed under the tree – this will either be a pine tree or a pohutukawa, which blossoms red around Christmas time. Illustrations and art of our kiwi bird and other native NZ animals (such as the fantail, kea or tui) also make great tree and Christmas card decorations. Presents are opened on Christmas morning.

7. Dinner: On Christmas day Kiwi families will have a traditional dinner consisting of roast ham, veggies, potatoes, gravy, Christmas cake and mince pies. Other meals include BBQ meats, salads and pavlova for dessert. We love our big Christmas dinner and often eat it early. So, you can often find various members of the family napping on whatever furniture is available nearby after dinner and pudding is done.

8. Events: There are plenty of Santa parades and other summer Christmas events to attend at Christmas time. Saint Nick himself is represented in many ways. In some representations, he wears the full winter suit and carry’s his present sack – in others, he trades his winter boots, jacket and hat for red togs (the Kiwi word for swimsuit), but he always has his long white beard!

From all of us at iStudent, we wish you happy holidays and a very merry Christmas. Whether you choose to celebrate or not, we hope you enjoy the study-free sunny days and spend your holiday period doing something fun and memorable. With these eight tips, you should be able to make the most of your Kiwi Christmas experience. Our next blog will be an in-depth look at New Years in New Zealand. Ka kite anō – see you again!


Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand.
As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.

Why did we do this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.