Your homestay fee generally includes all meals:

Lunches for school and on the weekend

New Zealanders eat meat quite often and they eat a lot of potatoes too. However, most New Zealanders eat “international” food and international food supplies are readily available in our supermarkets and specialty stores. It is often a good idea to accompany your host parent to the supermarket and show them some of the food you like to eat. As the main meal of the day is usually eaten in the evening, it is very important you have a good breakfast. Many students think New Zealanders eat a lot. Don’t be afraid to say “Thank you, that’s enough”. Let host families know of any food you cannot eat. Saying “No thank you” to the food you cannot eat is ok.
During the weekends, lunches and dinners are often smaller and more casual.

Please tell your host family if you are still hungry.


Ask your host family if you want to cook. Perhaps your hosts would like to try food from your country and you can cook for them something you enjoy at home.

Hints to help you:

Most families try hard to cook the food they think you will like. If you can’t eat something make sure you let your family know.

Be thankful and appreciative if your host parents have made a special effort with a meal.

Don’t be afraid to try new foods.

Offer to help with preparing or tidying up after a meal. You can:

Set the table
Prepare vegetables
Clear the table
Stack the dishwasher

In NZ families the whole family “helps out” with dinner chores – you are part of the family so should offer to help too.

Meal Times

Breakfast (7-9am)

Breakfast is usually very casual in most kiwi households. Family members help themselves to toast and cereals. Most families would not have a cooked breakfast except on special occasions.

Lunchtime (12-2pm)

Students in NZ take a cut lunch to school most days. This will be sandwiches, fruit, muesli bars, etc. We do not have a hot lunch except sometimes at the weekend.

Dinner (after 5.30pm)

You will probably have dinner at the dining table. This is an important time, especially for conversation. For most families this will be sometime between 5-7.30pm. If for any reason you will not be home for dinner, you should advise your host that morning or before you go out (not text them or call them at 6pm!). If you are having dinner at a friend’s house, please make sure you ask your host’s permission as they may have prepared dinner for you.