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Bringing your family

25 October 2023

Find out about spouse/partner work visas, childcare, schools, and family insurance if you intend to bring your family to NZ while you study at UC.


If you have family travelling with you to New Zealand, there are additional things that you need to consider.

Spouse/partner work visas

If you are a student at UC, your spouse/partner may apply for a work visa for the same period of time as your student visa. More information is available on the Immigration New Zealand website.


UC offers many options for accommodation but some are not suited to families with children. Accommodation for couples is in high demand and students are advised to apply as early as possible to avoid missing out. If you are bringing your family, it is best to organise temporary accommodation before you arrive and then look for permanent private rental accommodation once you are in Christchurch.  

For more information please see accommodation for couples or families.

Child care

Care for children under 5 years on campus

Early childhood education is available to the children of students and staff at UC. There are three Early Childhood Centres that offer childcare for children aged zero to five on campus at UC, including the Early Childhood Learning Centre (ECLC), Ilam Early Learning Centre and the Montana Early Learning Centre.


Other childcare centres

Childcare centres are a mix of privately run and community or church-based operations, so fees can vary widely. The Ministry of Education website also allows you to search for early childhood education services in the Canterbury Region. There is a waiting list for most childcare centres.


In-home childcare

There are two types of in-home childcare:

  •  A trained nanny or educator comes to your home to look after your child. You can expect to pay $16NZD to $20NZD per hour for this service.
  • You take your child to an educator/nanny's house. In this situation, the caregiver is likely to be looking after a number of other children at the same time as your child. You can expect to pay about $5NZD to $8NZD per hour for this service.

The rates quoted for in-home childcare are guidelines only.

For an overview of the Early Childhood Education system in New Zealand, visit the Ministry of Education website.


A list of schools in the Christchurch region that are compliant with the Code of Practice can be found on the Ministry of Education website and the Education counts webpage has a handy search to see which schools your child is in zone for based on your address. Many schools are 'zoned' so that only children living inside the 'zone' (in the surrounding neighbourhoods) are eligible to enrol. Out-of-zone enrolments are only offered if spaces are available.   

Most schools cater to children with limited English. Children are placed in an age-appropriate class, but have English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes as well. It is best to check the availability of ESOL classes with the school that you are interested in.


State schools

Most children in New Zealand attend state-funded schools from the age of 5. State schools are co-educational (mixed sexes) at primary and intermediate level but some offer single-sex education at secondary level. Lessons are based on the New Zealand School Curriculum. International school students are charged international fees. These vary between schools, but a guideline price per year is $11,250 NZD.


Integrated schools

Integrated schools are schools that were once private and have now become part of the state system. They teach the New Zealand School curriculum but keep their own special character (usually a philosophical or religious belief) as part of their school programme. Integrated schools receive the same government funding for each student as state schools, but their buildings and land are privately owned so they charge attendance fees to meet their property costs.


Independent (or private) schools

Independent (or private) schools are governed by their own independent boards but must meet certain standards to be registered. Independent schools may be either co-educational or single-sex. They charge fees, but also receive some subsidy funding from the government. 

Family insurance

Taking out insurance for your family is essential. Without insurance, your family will have to pay the full cost of medical care while in New Zealand and will not be covered for loss or theft of personal property, or travel delays and missed connections. The default insurance provider for international students at UC is StudentSafe, and insurance for your partner and/or family is available on this policy. 

If your children enrol as international students at a local school, the school will require the children to have insurance that meets the guidelines of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.

See the Insurance for international students page for more information.


 For more information

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