A Guide to Making the Most of New Zealand in Lockdown for International Students

Thursday, March 26, 2020

New Zealand has now gone into lockdown level 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Level 4 means everyone needs to stay at home and only essential businesses are open, you can find out more about this at the Government website on COVID-19 here. If you are in New Zealand for your studies but can’t go out and see the sights because of the current restrictions, here are some things we recommend that you can do in order to have a Kiwi experience from home.


Make a list of all the awesome places you will visit when the alert level goes down and you are free to travel the country again.
We have a few lists that can help you with this:

You can use these lists for suggestions of places to visit, though we are sure that you will have your own ideas of places to go once the lockdown ends!

Watch a Kiwi film or television show

From Boy to Shortland Street (currently in its 28th season), there are many films and television shows that can be watched if you are looking to get an idea about Kiwi life. We’ve created a couple of lists that we think you should check out below:

Get some Kiwi treats from the supermarket and do a taste test

Lollies, sweets, treats, junk food or whatever you want to call them, New Zealanders are spoilt for choice when it comes to our sweet delights. In Māori, the word for food is ‘kai’ and we have many options that are unique to New Zealand that international students can try, even while in lockdown. If you don’t have a sweet tooth there are savoury options to taste test as well. If you can’t get anything from the supermarket then you can always head to your local dairy (that’s what Kiwis call the local shop), these have also been classed as an ‘essential service’ and will remain open, with a strict ‘one person in the store at a time’ policy.

Play some Kiwi-made video games

Founded in 2006, Auckland company Ninja Kiwi are arguably New Zealand’s most well-known game creator. They are the company that developed the incredibly popular game series Bloons Tower Defence, which is now into its 6th game (released in 2018) and available on most platforms (PC, Mobile and Nintendo Switch). They also have their own virtual currency, known as NK coins, which are used to purchase their games and in-game purchases. Reverie is a 2018 action-adventure videogame for PS4 with many Kiwi themes developed by Auckland Company Rainbite, who have also released a game called Trigger Witch (2019) for PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Grinding Gear Games, founded in 2006, was also a Kiwi company that was purchased by Chinese company Tencent after its game, the multi-platform, MMORPG, Path of Exile (2013), proved to be very popular. The Kiwi founders of the company still have a 20% stake in the company, while Tencent owns 80% and two of the company’s co-founders sit on the board of directors. PikPok was founded in Wellington in 2012, the company is most well-known for its iOS and Android mobile game releases, including Flick Kick Football (2014) and its Rival Stars series.

Video call your friends

Just because you can’t see them face to face, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hang out with your friends. There are still lots of things you can do over Skype, Viber, Zoom, FaceTime or whatever video calling app you use;

The last thing to remember is that the lockdown will end, and you will have time to do all the activities you wanted to do. However, to get to that stage we must ensure we listen to the Government’s lockdown and self-isolation rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Complying with the measures that the NZ Government have set-out will save lives and stop the spread of the virus. If we can contain it now, we will be back to normal sooner, rather than later. Be safe, wash your hands and stay home.

Here are some helpful links:

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.