Host Families needed for International student programme at Mercury Bay Area School

Host Families needed for International student programme at Mercury Bay Area School

KN Updated
Teacher and students

Have you thought about hosting an international student? Mercury Bay Area School is kick-starting its popular international student programme as the borders to New Zealand reopen. Principal John Wright is hoping to have international secondary school students back in the classroom term one 2023. 

The school is looking for local families to host students for both short and longer term stays. Students are aged between 14 - 17 years, and usually from Europe. Staying here for 3, 6,9, or 12 months, depending on what their goals are in studying in Whitianga.

Help us get the word out!

Sharing this article helps to support the local community.

Why host an international student?

If you are not too keen on international travel just yet, why not bring the cultural experience right into your own home? Hosting an international student is a fantastic way for you and your family to learn about the world without leaving home!

Your family gets the benefit of learning:

  • about a different culture
  • a new language if you wish
  • and experiencing how others live. 

Welcoming a student into your home is not only enriching the student’s life but your family’s also. Hosting a student offers the opportunity to build more skills to connect, communicate and collaborate with others. 

Lifelong friendships are often developed between students and host families. It’s not uncommon for families to travel to a student's home country and visit, experience their culture and meet their families in later years. Welcoming a student into your home can open the door to a new world of friendships and opportunities. And, imagine if your child was thousands of kilometres from home, you’d want them to be in good hands!

By hosting a student, you give them a unique experience of living in New Zealand as part of a safe and caring family, leaving them with a positive impression of our corner of the world. 

Hosting a student can give you a new view on life. Things we take for granted can take on a new view when seen from another’s perspective. Enjoy how these new eyes can bring some new energy and excitement to your daily life. 

Families with only children or whose older siblings may have left home can enjoy the new company of an international student and international perspectives to home and family life.

Hosting a student in Whitianga

The students are fluent in English and learn "Kiwi- English" really quickly. To support our in school programme we need Homestay carers and families (of all ages) who will host a student during their stay in Whitianga. We welcome enquiries for these all year round. Host families receive a weekly allowance for hosting our international students. If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, please contact us.

John Wright – Principal Mercury Bay Area School

The school’s program does offer financial compensation for hosting students. The motivation for hosting a student should always be to provide a warm, welcoming home and experience for the student. However it is not unreasonable to enjoy the financial assistance that is offered to families hosting students.

Welcoming a student into your home is not only enriching the student’s life but your family’s also.

Why do Students come to Whitianga?

Students from Europe and Asia often come to New Zealand to gain qualifications that are not easily accessible in their own country. Gaining qualifications in an English speaking country can greatly increase future employment opportunities for them.

New Zealand is also chosen as an opportunity for the cultural experience of living and studying in a country other than their own. Many students return to their own countries to continue their studies after their time away.  Some will move on to a New Zealand tertiary institution or move to another English-speaking country such as Australia or the U.S.A. to attend university.

New Zealand and Whitianga have a reputation for being “clean and green” with a relatively safe environment for teens and a well-regarded standard of education.

European students usually will come for six months to a year. Many will be upgrading their English skills, but they also come here to experience the Mercury Bay Area School’s outdoor education, photography, marine academy and plane build programmes.

View from a past host family

Host parent, Rose has hosted five students from both Europe and Asia. She says that the whole family enjoyed the experience and being able to connect and learn about different cultures and perspectives. 

One particular student has become a permanent and extended member of our family and still shares her successes with us two years on. This has been an absolute privilege. It was a joy to share our beautiful coastal landscape with fresh eyes each time a new student arrived on our doorstep. Hosting helped us to feel connected as global citizens. 

Rose Mahon – Host Parent, Whitianga.

Rose explains, that it was important to keep their minds open and to try to understand that each student has come from a different set of values and expectations. Communication and clear guidelines helped at the start to ensure the household ran efficiently.  She found them inspiring and accepting young people who brought a wonderful sense of energy into family life.

Find out more about being a host family

If you’d like to find out more details about being a host family for a student. Please download the handbook below,  contact the school This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 07 866 5906.


Images – Thanks to Mercury Bay Area School.


  • File Description
    File Size
    File Type
  • Host Families needed for International student programme at Mercury Bay Area School
    Find out details of being a host family for an international student in Whitianga. Download this handbook.
    624 KB

Related Links

Mercury Bay Area SchoolHost Families - Mercury Bay Area School

More Community News

Cathy Klouwens
June 21, 2022
Volunteering New Zealand is recognising our volunteer stars as part of National Vo...
Cathy Klouwens
June 16, 2022
You probably know someone who volunteers, or you are a volunteer yourself. The wee...
Kat Neilson-Jones
April 12, 2022
Whitianga resident Alana Baker has this year again partnered with Whitianga Social...
Cathy Klouwens
March 17, 2022
Local business owners Molly Burke and Kaspur Franke of Beat Fairy Events are hosti...
Kat Neilson-Jones
March 01, 2022
As part of Toy Library Awareness week March 6th-12th the Whitianga Toy library is ...
Kat Neilson-Jones
December 15, 2021
Sneaky spies and missions are on the summer holiday programme for children at Merc...
Kat Neilson-Jones
December 22, 2021
Annual Christmas Eve, Christmas Day services and mass are being held at churches i...
Kat Neilson-Jones
November 25, 2021
The Guthrie Bowron team have been co-ordinating the Christmas pledging tree for th...
Kat Neilson-Jones
November 17, 2021
This article from the team at Dementia Waikato covers ways to plan ahead and how t...
Kat Neilson-Jones
November 03, 2021
The local Hot Water Beach Junior Surf club are looking to repeat the success of la...
Cathy Klouwens
September 29, 2021
Members of the community are invited to get in behind a fun community walk on Satu...
Cathy Klouwens
September 24, 2021
Six students from Mercury Bay Area School are all set to have their hair shaved to...

All About New Zealand © 2013–
All rights reserved