International Students

Being a signatory to ‘The Code …’ means that the school operates under a set of rules which ensure the welfare and education of international students is of prime concern. More information can be seen at the Ministry of Education website.


Before you can enroll at a New Zealand high school you must obtain the appropriate Student Permit/Visa. Please check out our Immigration Service website to find out where your nearest NZ Immigration Service office is. You will also be able to download an application form and find out what documentation is required to accompany your application.


All international students must have personal insurance which provides cover for both medical expenses and loss of personal property. Students/parents/agents are welcome to arrange insurance themselves before the student travels to New Zealand as long as the school is provided with details of the cover – in English.

The school is happy to purchase insurance (at student’s expense) on the student’s behalf. The default insurer used by William Colenso College is UNI-CARE. Details of Uni-Care’s cover can be found on their website.

It should be noted that if insurance is purchased from a home country insurer, the school cannot assist with claims.

Applying for a place at William Colenso College

The procedure may vary slightly depending on what country you are applying from, but generally the steps to follow are:

Step one:
  • Complete an application form
  • These can also be obtained by contacting a local education agent who represents William Colenso College or,
  • Contact the International Director of the college directly (click here to email him)
  • Once completed, the application form should be sent to the International Director:
    • Through an agent
    • Directly via e-mail or
    • Mail to International Director, William Colenso College, Arnold Street, Napier, New Zealand.
Step two:
  • If your application is accepted, the International Director will issue an Offer/Invoice, which will outline the fees payable
  • It provides banking details so fees can be transferred directly from your own bank
Step three:
  • Once fees are deposited, a receipt will be issued.
  • Please note, this will be required when you lodge your application for a student visa.
Step four:
  • Complete and lodge your visa application – through your local education agent who is generally familiar with immigration procedures and can be most helpful
  • Alternatively you can do this directly at your nearest NZ Immigration office.
Step five:
  • Once you have obtained your visa, you can go ahead and make travel arrangements to New Zealand.
  • Remember to inform the International Director of your travel plans so he can arrange to have someone meet you at Napier Airport.

If, at any stage, you have a question or require further information, please feel free to contact the International Director at William Colenso College. 


  • Do you have your Student Visa?
  • Do you have Insurance which covers both medical treatment and personal items?
  • Have you booked your flights?
  • Do you know who your Homestay family is?

What to Bring:

  • New Zealand has a temperate climate – it rarely gets very cold or very hot, but bring items for all sorts of weather.
  • Take note of the things you are not allowed to bring into New Zealand. Read the customs declaration card carefully and declare things you are not sure of. You should be particularly careful with foods, medicines/drugs and any animal or plant products.

Arriving at the Airport:

  • When you arrive in Auckland you will have to collect your bags and go through Immigration and Customs procedures
  • You will have to transfer from the International Terminal to the Domestic Terminal at Auckland Airport to board your flight to Napier. It is a 10 minute walk between terminals, or you can use the shuttle bus
  • The flight to Napier is about 45 to 50 minutes
  • You will be met at Napier Airport by your homestay family and a representative from William Colenso College

Once You Get to School:

  • School starts at 8.40am and finishes at 3.00pm
  • After school there will often be sports team practices
  • The day is divided into five, 1 hour long periods
  • At school you will be expected to study six subjects. The only compulsory subject is English, but if you hope to achieve University Entrance, you must choose from an approved list of subjects (Link to the Subject Selection Guide)
  • You will be placed in a year level appropriate to your age. It will depend on what time of the year your birthday is, but generally 15 year olds will be placed in Year 11, 16 year olds in Year 12 and 17+ year olds in Year 13. It is important to note this has nothing to do with the level you will be studying at. You will study each subject at the level deemed to be the most suitable for you.

We all hope you will have a great experience in New Zealand. The school will do what it can to ensure that this happens. Remember though, that the main purpose of a school is to educate its students. You will be expected to study hard at school, complete all assignments and sit the NCEA examinations if you are attending William Colenso College for more than six months.

Useful Links:

Ministry of Education

New Zealand Immigration Department


ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation)

Ministry of Health

New Zealand Qualification Authority

“The welfare and educational achievement of International Students is the prime concern of the International Department. If you have any concerns during your time at William Colenso College, please come and talk to us. It is far better to deal with problems early, while they are still small, rather than to let them grow to become big problems”

(Robin Stewart – International Director)