Make your house a home away from home
Thank you for your interest in becoming a homestay with Host Families NZ
What is involved?
- Provide a safe and comfortable home environment
- Care for the student as you would for your own family
- Meet all relevant legislative requirements
- Fully comply with the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International learners) Code of Practice 2016
- Provide a private and furnished bedroom
- Provide utilities and laundry facilities
- Make meals available upon request
- Pass all necessary assessments, including but not limited to police vetting, inspection, reference check, etc
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a homestay?
Homestay is a popular form of accommodation provided to students and it is a great way to settle in a new environment.
In New Zealand, each family or household can host up to 4 students. Please make sure you always abide by the law.
Who can become a host family?
Host Families NZ welcomes any form of family who is responsible and able to provide a caring home environment to students and visitors.
There is no typical host family and each family at HFNZ is different and unique. Some families are single individuals, some are couples with young children or teenagers, whereas some families are couples with no children currently living at home.
If you are willing to provide a home away from home for students/visitors staying in New Zealand, and able to comply with the rules set up below, apply now!
How do I register and what documents do I need to prepare?
You would need to submit your online application. Click here to apply now!
At the same time, please send below supporting documents to email@example.com for further assessments
- Signed Police vetting form for all over 18 households (if you did not submit it together with your application)
- Two references of yours. We would need their name, relationship to you, phone number and email address. Please note the referee must not be your family member.
- Vaccine passport for all eligible households
- House photos and room photos for assessments
- A copy of ID for all over 18 households
How long does it takes to get my application approved?
Overall, it takes about 6 weeks.
The application process involves a home inspection/interview, police vetting for all over 18 households, reference checks for the main caregivers, and overall evaluation.
Can I select which students stay at my home?
Normally, the placement is done by our team. When you submit your application, we will require you to put your student preference. Our team will always match the best suitable student with you.
When you receive the booking request, you can always accept or decline the booking.
What is the age range of the students and visitors in homestays?
Host Families NZ accepts students/visitors who are over 14 years old to apply for homestay accommodation. Most of our students/visitors are aged between 16 to 30 years old.
There are exceptions for group bookings. Occasionally, Host Families NZ has groups aged between 8 to 14 years old. Normally, the students/visitors are with their team leaders or legal guardians.
How long does it take to match a student/visitor to a host family?
It depends on how many booking requests we receive when your room becomes available. Our peak seasons are January to March and June to August. If you can get your room ready two weeks before our peak seasons and contact our team as soon as possible, the chance for you to get a student is high.
How long will students and visitors stay at my home?
The duration varies from 3 days to one year. Most of the time, it depends on the purpose of their visit.
What do I need to provide for students/visitors?
The most important thing we would need our host families to provide is a warm family environment. Most of the time, it is the first time that our students/visitors travel to a new city or a new country. Your warmness and kindness will make them more relaxed and settled in well in a new environment.
Other than that, you would need to provide them with a fully finished room. This includes:
- A private, warm, and comfortable bedroom with a desk, a chair and a lamp
- The room has adequate ventilation, heating, and good lighting
- A bed ( not a convertible or inflatable bed)
- Bed linen (sheets, pillow, and blankets) and towels
- Storage for belongings (such as a chest of drawers or closet)
- Convenient access to bathroom facilities and unimpeded access to the outside of the house in the event of a fire or similar emergency.
- Wireless internet and reasonable use of electricities, water and internet (we strongly encourage you to have unlimited wifi when hosting a student)
- Laundry facilities
- TV in the common area
Personal things are students’ responsibility.
Do I need to provide meals for the guests? If so, how often?
We offer three meal options to the students/visitors. You can select any of them to offer:
- Full board: Breakfast, lunch and dinner every day
- Half board: Breakfast and dinner every day, breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekends and public holidays
- No meals (Please note this option is not available for guests under 18 years old)
Also, we require our families to provide seasonal fruit to the students/visitors before or after meals.
Will I need to offer transportation?
Generally, no, you are not required to provide transportation. Host Families NZ will try to match the student with a family at the most convenient location so the student can take public transportations to commute from/to school.
However, we require you to assist your students/visitors to get familiar with surroundings, such as the nearest bus/train stop and how to get to school.
During summer and winter vacations, Host Families NZ normally has groups coming which may require families to pick up or drop off the student to/from school. If you would like to take some short-term students and able to pick up/drop off the students, please let us know.
I never hosted a student before so what should I do when the student arrives?
Welcoming a new student is exciting, but at the same time, you might find a lot of things the student does are different from what you are used to. Here are some tips to help you.
1) Get to know each other and introduce him/her to your family members
2) Lead the student to his/her room
3) Show him/her the bathroom and toilet facilities
4) Help him/her with the WIFI connections
5) Let him/her know the dinner time and teach him/her how to make breakfast e.g., toast, how to prepare cereal etc
6) Provide him/her with a house key
7) Ensure that the student is carrying telephone numbers and addresses of both the school and the homestay
8) Show him/her when and how to do the laundries
Is there any rules for homestay parents?
Hosting rules in general:
- Always respect the religious observances of the student
- Only host students of the same gender at a time unless you have written permission from HFNZL. This includes the student you accept from other schools/agencies
- Please notify HFNZL immediately if the situation of the family or the conditions of the home changed from the time of the initial inspection, e.g. having a new family member/pets/moving address
- In case of sickness/injury/accident, you must take the student to the doctor’s/hospital. The student may have health insurance so please assist them to use it. If it is a serious illness or accident, please contact us immediately
- The maximum number you can host at a time is 4.
- Please notify HFNZL in the event of an accident involving the student.
- Please advise HFNZL in advance if you are going to have visitors (over the age of 18) to stay while you are accommodating a student. Police clearance is required if your guest (s) is going to stay 5 or more consecutive nights
- Please note all payments will be made through HFNZL directly. Please do not collect any payment from the student. If you have any questions regarding the payment, please give us a call and our team would be able to assist you.
Hosting rules for under 18 students:
- Please note students who are under 15 cannot be left in the house without adult supervision and all under 18 students cannot be left alone overnight. If you are going away and can no longer supervise the student, please let us know immediately so we can find alternative accommodations for the student.
- No student under the age of 18 is allowed to cook due to health and safety reasons.
- All under 18 students are not allowed to stay overnight in other accommodation at any time unless they have written permission from HFNZL. If they are not following the rules and staying out, please call our emergency number at +64 27 021 91882
- For safety reasons, students under the age of 18 will need to follow their curfews. Please double-check with them if they are coming back late
How much do I get paid for the homestay accommodation?
It depends on the student age, location required, room type, meal plans and any other special requirements. Host Families NZ will confirm the payment when we send a booking request to you. Generally, the payment to host families is from $270.
When can I expect the payment?
Our payment date is on Wednesday each week, paid one week in arrears. Say, for example, your student moved in on Monday, you will receive a 2 nights payment on the same week Wednesday. The week after Wednesday, you will receive the full week payment.
You can expect the money to arrive in your account around 8-9 pm on Wednesday (Our team will schedule the payment during the day so it takes some time for the bank to process).
Is there any household rules for the student to follow?
Yes. Each student will receive a homestay guideline from Host Families NZ. Click here to download the homestay guideline to the student.
What if the house is damaged by the student?
If there is any damage made by the student, report it and send a picture to Host Families NZ as soon as possible before the student’s departure date. Obtain a quote to repair the damage. We will send this information to the agent or school so that they can discuss the reimbursement with the student.
Host Families NZ encourages you to have your own insurance (house insurance/content insurance).
Please be aware that Host Families NZ is not liable for any damage that is caused by the student.
What if the student does not fit in my family?
Hosting a student/visitor in your home can be challenging. Our students/visitors are coming from all over the world and they may have a different way of doing things. What seems normal to you may not be normal to them. However, surprisingly, most of our families are getting along with the student. The key is communication. If you keep an open mind and communicate with your students/visitors closely, you will enjoy their company.
However, if you still feel uncomfortable after communicating with your students/visitors, please give us a call and we will assist you. If necessary, we can ask the student to move out by giving them a two-week notice.
If you have a specific question about being a host family that is not listed above, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone + 64 21 026 91882
Become a host family – it’s simple & free!
Step 1: Understand the responsibilities of becoming a host family
- Please read and understand the Host Families guidelines before submitting your application.
- Please also read and understand that you must comply with The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (The Code) and The Education (Pastoral Care of Domestic Tertiary Students) Interim Code of Practice 2019
Step 2: Apply Online
- Complete the online application form (at the bottom of this page)
- Fill out the police vetting consent for all over 18 households. You can find the form here
Step 3: Homestay Inspection
- After we have received your application, we will contact you to arrange a home visit. During the home inspection, we will explain to you the responsibilities of becoming a homestay host, the payment process as well as answering all your enquiries.
Step 4: Homestay Approval
- We will let you know your application result once we receive the criminal records for all your households (18+) and your inspection report from one of our team members.
Step 5: Wait for a match
- Host Families NZ will match you with a suitable student as soon as your application is approved