All posts by enichols

Preparing to Pack?

CONGRATULATION! It’s official!!! You are coming to NEW ZEALAND!

Flights are booked! Now… What do you pack???


Air New Zealand buggageAir New Zealand allows you to bring:

  • One checked bag that weighs a maximum of 50 lbs (23kg) with dimensions (length + width + height) totalling no more than 62” (158cm).
  • One carry on item weighing a maximum of 15 lbs (7kg) with (length + width + height) totalling no more than 46.5” (118cm).
  • One small personal item such as a handbag, slimline laptop or duty free goods (where permitted).

For more information please visit the Air New Zealand website

So now you know your limits how on earth will you fit everything??


Don’t worry New Zealanders survive just fine. If you forget something you can probably buy it in NZ


  • Passport + at least 1 photocopy
  • Visa (affixed inside passport)
  • Plane tickets + confirmations
  • Cash, ATM card, credit cards
  • Printed insurance details
  • List of contact names, phone and email for parents and relatives, Study Abroad advisor and home college
  • Camera
  • Medication and prescriptions
  • Spare glasses/contacts
  • Essential toiletries for flight (tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant, etc.) *adhere to airline restrictions
  • Change of clothes in case luggage is lost
    • Include something warm
    • Rain coat
    • Swimwear


This is a personal choice as different people value different things. You will have access to washing machines!! Don’t feel as though you need to pack every item of clothing you own.

Some helpful tips from past students:

  • Tips from AdamTips from AnneTips from ChrisTips from NateTips from LiaHIGHLY RECOMMENDED ITEMS: Sunscreen ($$ in NZ), sleeping bag, camera, backpack for traveling, rain coat, extra passport photos, and good walking shoes

Check out the IFSA-Butler website for more advice


So… you have eliminated as much as possible and now have a pile of items and an empty suitcase.

Here is a great video from Heathrow giving tips on how to squeeze everything in:

Summer Safety

As the weather warms up I am sure you will all be itching to get out and about to enjoy all that NZ has to offer. On top of stunning rivers and glistening lakes, no part of New Zealand is more than 130km (80.78 miles) from the ocean! If you love water sports, lazy days at the beach and splashing around in the pool get ready to enjoy the rest of the semester!! Please remember to stay safe while enjoying the water.

swim between the flags

Tips for staying safe in the water:

Never swim alone: watch out for yourself and others

Don’t swim at night

Never swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Be aware of the dangers: Check the depth and look before you leap! Rocks, logs, etc. could be lurking under the surface.

Swim between the flags: At the beach lifeguards will set up red and yellow flags. The area between these flags is the safest place to swim and is being patrolled by life guards

Know your ability and don’t get out of your depth

Be aware of the conditions: know the weather and tide reports and be aware of any warnings

Look out for rips!


Signs a rip:

A calm area of fewer breaking waves A channel of churning, choppy water A line of sea foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward Darker deeper water or different colored water beyond the surf zone Sometimes it’s easier to look for where the waves are breaking consistently, and then look to each side where they don’t break consistently. That’s the rip current!



The sun can be really dangerous!!! Always remember to: Slip Slop Slap Wrap and Seek!


How to Speak New Zillund

New Zealand has three official languages: Maori, sign language and English!

English? BRILLIANT!! You have grown up speaking English! You will have no trouble communicating right?

You fly into Auckland airport, depart the plane, skip past the stunning Lord of the Ring/Hobbit murals, stroll through the bright lights of duty free, make your way past customs and finally walk through the sliding doors welcoming you to this magical English speaking country! The friendly IFSA-Butler NZ staff smile and wave beckoning you over to them. They open their mouths and… you nod and smile as you try to work out what some of the strange sounds coming out of their mouths are. The words seem familiar but.. is this English?

New Zealand English is slightly different to the English you may be used to. Words remain the same/similar but the pronunciation can be interesting. Generally Kiwis can be a little lazy with vowels so context becomes important. The words bear, bare and beer might be easily recognisable at home but the Kiwi accent morphs these into the same sound.

Here are a few tips and tools to help decipher the odd noises the locals have been making:

1. Add some words to your vocabulary:

Sweet as: good/agree – not sweet ass/arse

Yeah-na: no thank you

Keen: interested/want to participate. “are you keen to go to the beach?”

Mean: Great! Awesome! “the surf was mean”

Stoked: very pleased “I’m stoked with the grade i got on my test”

Lollies: sweets/candy

Dairy: corner store

Find more at:

2. Make the pitch of your voice slightly higher at the end of each sentence

3. Get lazy and mix up your vowels to imitate the kiwi accent

Study the New Zillund alphabet:

How to speak New Zillund (2)

Check out some helpful Youtube clips:


Beached Whale Youtube series: Watch, listen, mimic and learn along with this little blue whale and you will sound like a local in no time!

Always remember: the New Zealand accent is NOT THE SAME AS AUSTRALIAN!!!

Sweet as

Safety in New Zealand’s Great Outdoors

New Zealand is a paradise for those keen to get out and about in the great outdoors. Within the space of a day you could explore ancient forests, mountain vistas, stunning coastline, and volcanic landscapes while seeing wildlife unique to this country!!

Lia van de Krol -Lake Tekapo
Lia van de Krol -Lake Tekapo – University of Auckland, Semester 1, 2015

Aotearoa boasts diverse and vast wildness areas containing untouched terrain, spectacular scenery, native forest, lakes and rivers, alpine ranges, rugged mountain peaks, coastal regions, vast valleys and deep gorges. There are an endless number of activities to take part in from tramping, mountain biking, caving, rock climbing and canyoning, to surfing, rafting, river sledging, diving, skiing snowboarding and more.

Elizabeth Plascencia - Mt. Cook
Elizabeth Plascencia – Mt. Cook – University of Otago, Semester 1, 2015

These magnificent landscapes can be remote yet easily accessible and one great way to experience this country is hiking (also called tramping or trekking)! With thousands of kilometers of walking tracks available, accommodating a multitude of fitness and skill levels, there are options for everyone! New Zealand hosts nine GREAT WALKS that take you through awe-inspiring landscapes highlighting NZ’s natural beauty. These walks are managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and boast well-formed. Find out more at:

Rachel Zajchowski - Hiking Mount Brewster
Rachel Zajchowski – Hiking Mount Brewster – University of Otago, Semester 1, 2015

We encourage you to get enjoy all this country has to offer but want to ensure you make it home safely! Although we don’t have dangerous animals, scary snakes, and terrifying giant poisonous spiders there are still dangers and tragically each year people lose their lives in New Zealand’s wilderness.

Before any trip, be it a wander in the wop-wops, a stroll in the outdoors, or a multi-day tramp, it is important you follow the 5 simple rules of the Outdoor Safety Code:

1. Plan your Trip: Seek local knowledge and plan the route you will take and the amount of time you can reasonably expect it to take.

2. Tell someone: Tell someone your plans and leave a date and time for when to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned. Use the free online tools available on the AdventureSmart website ( to create a detailed trip plan, which you can leave with or email to an IFSA-Butler NZ staff member or trusted friend and complete an IFSA-Butler Travel form: The more details you provide, the quicker and more effectively search and rescue teams will be able to respond.

3. Be aware of the conditions: New Zealand’s weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes. You can check the weather at:

4. Know your limits: Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience.

5. Take sufficient supplies: Make sure you have enough food, clothing, equipment and emergency rations for the worst case scenario. Take an appropriate means of emergency communication like a locator beacon or satellite phone and remember that mobile phone coverage in the great outdoors is limited.


For more information about outdoor safety visit:

The Department of Conservation:

The Mountain Safety Council website:

100% Pure New Zealand:





The Spirit of Anzac

AnzacThey shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

– Laurence Binyon

On the 25th of April each year, New Zealand pauses to remember the Anzac Soldiers who fought their first major military campaign in Gallipoli. ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. April 25th is a public holiday known as Anzac day and this year marks the 100th anniversary of this event.

In 1915, the ANZACs mission was to seize the Gallipoli peninsula and open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The objective was to capture Constantinople (now known as Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which was an ally of Germany during the war. However, upon landing at Gallipoli, the ANZAC soldiers were met by fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish enemy. What was intended as a bold strike resulted in the death of one fifth of the Kiwi Soldiers who served on Gallipoli.

Although this battle lead to defeat, the Gallipoli landings marked the beginning a feeling amongst New Zealanders that we have a role as a distinct nation, even as we fought on the other side of the world for the British Empire. Tomorrow, the 25th of April each ear commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war, and honours our retuned servicemen and women.

100 years ago, the ANZACs landed at Gallipoli at dawn. Every year since, dawn services are held around New Zealand to mark this occasions. At these ceremonies, dignitaries speak, current NZ Soldiers fire the vollies in remembrance of those who have passed, the poem ‘Ode for the Fallen’ is read (the poem at the beginning of this article), poppies – a symbol of remembrance and respect for the shed blood – are laid on war memorials, and finally a tune called the last post is played on a bugle which symbolises that the duty of the dead is over, meaning they are now able to rest in peace. Wherever you will be in New Zealand on this day, share the spirit of the Anzacs. Take time to reflect on the freedom that New Zealand and Australia shares, due to those whom sacrificed their lives for our nations.

A list of the major Dawn services follows.

Dunedin: at the Cenotaph in Queens Gardens at 6.30am

Christchurch: at the Cenotaph in Cranmer Square at 6.30am

Wellington: at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park at 5.30am

Palmerston North: Dawn service held at the Cenotaph at 6am

Auckland: at the Auckland domain in front of the War Memorial Museum at 6.00am

A Crash Course in the History of NZ Music!

Next month is New Zealand music month.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Lorde and possibly Kimbra, they are New Zealand’s self-proclaimed pop princesses but this is just the tip of NZ music’s iceberg. There are many other Kiwi musical greats that have come before them. This here, is your crash course in the history of NZ music.

New Zealand’s age and geographical location has a big impact on what New Zealand music is. We are too young to have a folk history and too far away that that International artists don’t often visit our shores; we only get around 2-3 big acts a year. Our music history is therefore based off international trends being adapted by local artists.

New Zealand’s first pop song was Blue Smoke in the 1950s. The first North American popular music that reached the shores of NZ was from Hawaii, and you can definitely hear the Hawaiian influence in this song.

Moving on to the 1960s, we had Ray Columbus and the Invaders with their hit She’s a mod, our answer to the early British Invasion. We even had a Wanganui Elvis, aka Johnny Devlin.

In the late 1970s, Herbs was formed and went on to become pioneers for the Pacific reggae sound. During the latter half of the 1970s, NZ started to see an emergence of a local punk rock scene and in the early 1980s, NZ music was changed forever with the establishment of Flying Nun Records in Christchurch. Flying Nun released a number of influential bands including The Clean, The Verlaines, The Bats, King Loser, Straight Jacket Fits, and The Chills who are a big inspiration to a lot of Californian bands such as Jay Retard, Ty Segall, and Wavves.

Around the same time, bands such as Split Enz, Th’Dudes, Dragon, and Hello Sailor were gaining chart success in NZ and other parts of the world. The members of Split Enz then went on to form Crowded House, one of NZ’s most successful bands. Another ex-Split Enz member formed The Swingers, who released Counting the Beat in 1981.

In 1984, one of New Zealand’s biggest pop hits was released; it is called Poi E and is sung entirely in Maori, a NZ first. In 1988, Dave Dobbyn (member of Th’ Dudes) and Herbs released Slice of Heaven, a song you are guaranteed to hear at any NZ sports game.

Then we have the sad story of Darcy Clay, a troubled musician who released one album of great songs including Jesus I was evil. In 1995, OMC release How Bizarre, a very catchy pop tune that all Kiwis know. This song topped the charts in six countries and peaked at number two on the United States’ Billboard Top 100.

During Spice Girls mania, we also had our own girl bands, True Bliss, who won the first X-factor/American Idol type show, and Deep Obsession. In the early 2000s, we had artists such as Bic Runga and bands including Fur Patrol, Stellar, The Datsuns (one of NZ’s best rock bands), and Goodshirt. In my opinion, Goodshirt released one of the best music videos ever made with their hit Sophie. At the same time Scribe and Che Fu, arguably New Zealand’s most famous rap artists, started to release their hits.

New Zealand’s electronica scene is not huge but what we have is great. Two successful bands in this genre are Shapeshifter and Minuit. Mainstream reggae and dub took off in the mid-2000s, with the release of Fat Freddys Drop’s album, Based on a True Story. This time period saw the emergence of a lot of dub bands including Salmonella Dub, Katchafire, Kora, Rhombus and The Black Seeds.

Flight of the Conchords gained international success and introduced America to New Zealand’s dry sense of humour with their HBO show of the same name.

In the 2000s, New Zealand saw a lot of alternative bands releasing their great tunes; bands such as Naked and Famous, Die Die Die and The Mint Chicks. The members of The Mint Chicks went on to form Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Opossum. We also have the indie band, The Phoenix Foundation, and artist Liam Finn (son and nephew of Split Enz’ members).

A NZ artist who really pushes musical boundaries is Connan Mockasin with his psychedelic pop music. New Zealand’s recent successful musicians include the likes of Kimbra, Broods and of course, Lorde.

New Zealand’s passion for music doesn’t come from monetary value or fame, as we don’t have a music industry big enough to support that mindset. NZ musicians do it purely for their love of music. To see local talented musicians in your region check out Under The Radar and Cheese On Toast online, or The Fold in your local café. New Zealand music month is celebrated for the month of May with special releases, gigs and shows.