New Zealand's high quality living conditions are well known universally, and accommodation is one aspect of this. In many cases, accommodation will be only minutes away from your place of study. Most educational institutions will assist you to find accommodation.
These are usually located on the campus or nearby, with single or twin rooms. Bed linen and cleaning facilities are provided. Meals are eaten in a communal dining hall, with special dietary needs catered to. A warden lives on site, and social and cultural activities are organised for residents. Hostels usually have computer laboratories and recreation rooms. Some institutions provide "self-catering" hostels where 6-8 students have their own bedrooms and share a kitchen and living room.
Cost: approximately $250 per week.
Some cities have self-catering private or independent hostels. Cost of furnished room, shared kitchen and lounge facilities is $100 - $150 per week, plus utilities (power, water, etc.)
This is a room of your own in a suburban house, usually with a garden and lawns. Your host family provides meals. Interacting with your host family and meeting their neighbours and friends is an excellent way to improve your English. The host family helps you make phone calls, read bus timetables, find a doctor and so on. But homestay is not like living in a hotel. Some "give and take" is expected, as you become part of the family.
Cost: approximately $180 per week, plus one-time administration fee of about $150.
This term means renting a house or flat (apartment) singly or with other people. Choose your own flatmates of the same or opposite sex with mixed accommodation, ranging from a two-bedroom apartment to a large house on its own land. Most rental properties are unfurnished, other than an oven, a laundry facility, curtains and carpet. The landlord does not have to provide heating. You pay for electricity, gas, telephone and water, including connection charges. A "bond" of up to four weeks' rent is held by Tenancy Services and refunded when you move out, if the flat is still in good condition. Tenancy Services, a division of the Ministry of Housing has information about dispute resolution procedures and your rights and obligations.
The accommodation office at your tertiary institution will probably have a noticeboard with advertisements for flats. The newspaper classified advertisements list rental properties available, mostly on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Rental agents charge you for services provided.
Flatting gives you more freedom, but requires a lot of maturity. You'll have to co-operate with flatmates to organise cooking and cleaning and paying the bills. For a good overview of the issues involved.
Cost: bond, plus about $140 per bedroom per week (cheaper in smaller cities) plus food, power, telephone, etc.