• New Zealand

Overview

Gain an understanding of New Zealand’s fascinating education system by visiting local schools to interact with faculty & students. Schooling in New Zealand is rooted in Maori culture. The indigenous people were the first to develop schools to pass on traditions such as songs, chants, tribal history, wood carving & knowledge of medicinal plants to the next generation. To this day, Maori culture is still integrated into students’ core curriculum.

Highlights

  • Maungawhau School – Learn how younger children are educated in New Zealand with a visit to a primary school
  • Rotorua Intermediate School – Participate in a traditional Maori welcome ceremony while interacting with older students & their teachers
  • Hobbiton – Visit the location for the hobbit homes from the Lord of the Rings movies
  • Mitai Maori Village – Give your students a hands-on experience while learning about the culture & customs of the Maori people
  • Agrodome Farm Experience – See why New Zealand is famous for its agriculture techniques with a visit to a working farm

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Auckland

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met by your local guide. Enjoy a city tour including the Auckland Harbor Bridge, the Auckland Domain & panoramic views from Mt. Eden.

Day 2: Auckland

Gain a better understanding of New Zealand’s education system at Maungawhau School by observing the differences in teaching styles, curriculums & culture. Local students will welcome you with a Kapa Haka — a traditional M?ori performance, that involves a powerful combination of song & dance.

Day 3: Rotorua

Leave the “City of Sails” & head south to Rotorua, known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers & natural hot springs. Stop in the rural town of Matamata for a guided tour of Hobbiton™ — the setting for the Shire from the Lord of the Rings movies.
Learn about the indigenous culture at the Mitai Maori Village. Enjoy captivating performances of traditional song & dance, including the “Haka” Maori war dance. Then, witness the preparation of your authentic, earth-cooked hangi dinner.

Day 4: Rotorua

After breakfast, head to one of Rotorua’s top attractions —The Agrodome. Take a guided tour of the 350-acre farm. Hand-feed a variety of animals, including: Romney sheep, cattle, deer, llamas, ostrich, pigs & alpacas. Watch a sheep-shearing demonstration & see sheepdogs in action. Then, explore a certified fruit orchard & olive grove where you’ll get to taste their natural kiwi fruit juice & honey.
This evening, relax in the naturally-heated thermal pools of the internationally-famous Polynesian Spa.

Day 5: Rotorua -Taupo

Start your day with a visit to Rotorua Intermediate School. The students will perform a traditional Maori welcome (Powhiri) upon arrival, including a speech & song. Your group will also perform a short song for the school. Then, divide into smaller groups & visit different classrooms to observe & speak with students & teachers.
Drive on to Lake Taupo & & Wai-O-Tapu to see: the Champagne Pool, naturally-colored springs, bubbling mud, steaming ground, expansive vistas, huge volcanic craters & terrace formations. See the Lady Knox Geyser, which erupts daily to heights of up to 60 feet.

Day 6: Taupo - Wellington

Depart for Wellington, recently named “the coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet. On the way, drive along the road that divides the Rangipo Desert. You’ll see Mt. Ruapehu, Mt. Tongariro & Mt. Ngauruhoe, the volcano used as the setting for Mt. Doom in Lord of the Rings.

Day 7: Wellington

Enjoy a guided tour of New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa. Te Papa offers a range of activity-based educational programs, led by experienced professionals, developed to meet your specific needs. In the afternoon, explore the city with a guided walking tour.

Day 8: Wellington – Renwick – St. Arnaud

This morning, catch a ferry across Cook Strait, crossing between the North & South Islands. Make your way to Renwick for a school visit. The group will be divided & placed in different classrooms to observe & speak to the students & teachers.
Continue your journey to St. Arnaud & check in to your hotel before walking around Lake Rotoiti’s Tramping Track. For tonight’s dinner, your guide will help you prepare a traditional Kiwi BBQ as a group.

Day 9: Christchuch

Drive to Christchurch, stopping at Maruia Falls & Lewis Pass for photo opportunities. Take a quick trek along the Alpine Nature Walk in the Lewis Pass.
Enjoy a tour of Christchurch including Port Hills & Restart Mall – the new city center rebuilt after the 2010 & 2011 earthquakes.

Day 10: Christchurch

Walk over to the Canterbury Museum for the Rebuild Bus Tour, offering a unique glimpse of the past, present & future of Christchurch. Then, visit Breens Intermediate School to observe & speak with students & teachers. Deliver a presentation on differences between U.S. & New Zealand school systems.

Day 11: Christchurch – Lake Tekapo

Take a scenic drive to Lake Tekapo, the largest of 3 stunning blue lakes whose blue turquoise color comes from rock dust which was eroded by the glaciers.
Enjoy ice skating at Tekapo Springs followed by a short drive to Mt. John, the best observatory site in New Zealand. Take in the stunning view at sunset.

Day 12: Lake Tekapo – Queenstown

Depart for Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. Enjoy a tour of the city’s main sights. After, marvel at the stunning views as you ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak. Then, experience the thrill of Skyline Queenstown Luge. Jump in your cart, select your track & zoom off.