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Childcare Association Prams in front of Clocktower

If you have family travelling with you to New Zealand there are additional factors that you will need to consider prior to your arrival.

Some of these are:

Family Insurance

Taking out insurance for your family is strongly recommended. If your family is not eligible for publicly funded health services while they are in New Zealand, then without insurance your family will have to pay the full cost of medical care, loss or theft of personal property, travel delay and missed connections.

If you have children studying as international students at New Zealand schools, the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 (the Code), requires them to have compliant insurance.

You can insure your family under your Studentsafe Inbound University policy if they will be coming to New Zealand with you. A couple policy includes the student plus a partner or one child. A family policy includes the student plus two or more family members.

If you wish to purchase the couple or family option, please complete the Family member application form and email it to the You can also select the relevant policy during course enrolment in eVision.

Your family are unable to go to Student Health. Once you are settled in Dunedin, it is best that you register your family with a medical centre near to your home, workplace or children's schools. If you have not yet registered them with a medical centre you can take your family to Dunedin Urgent Doctors between the hours of 8am and 10pm. In an emergency call 111. When your family visit the doctor they will need to pay for the consultation and any medication prescribed. To be reimbursed for these costs a claim form needs to be completed and submitted.

Cover for your children

If your children are enrolled as international students at a New Zealand school they will need to have insurance. Studentsafe Inbound University family insurance is an easy and affordable way of making sure you and your children have appropriate cover.

Students or family members 60 years of age or over

Students and/or family members 60 years of age or over are required to apply for acceptance before any cover can be provided under the policy. You will need to complete the medical risk assessment form and email it directly to

Pre-existing conditions

Pre-existing conditions are not covered by Studentsafe Inbound University policy. A pre-existing condition is any medical or physical conditions or circumstances that you are aware of, or ought to be aware of. The includes, but is not limited to, asthma, allergies, previous surgery and/or injuries. More information can be found on our Medical and Travel Insurance webpage.

Important Points

  • A policy can include your partner, e.g. husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend and/or dependent children under 18. It does not include other family members such as parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles
  • If there are any changes to your family, such as a new baby or other family members joining you from overseas, you must email and complete another Family Member Application From – they will not be automatically covered
  • Please ensure you read the policy wording so you understand your coverage, any policy exclusions and when excess applies


New Zealand has many types of early childhood services to choose from.
Some are led by registered teachers while others are run by parents or caregivers.
Some offer all day education and care while others are only part day.

For an overview of education options in New Zealand, please refer to the Parents section of the Ministry of Education or Education Review Office website.

Childcare centres in Dunedin are in high demand and many have long waiting lists. In choosing a service you need to think about what is important to you and what will be best for you and your child.

You can search for Early Childhood Education services in Dunedin through the Education Counts or Yellow Pages websites.

Many students use the University of Otago Childcare Association centres which are all based on campus. There are four centres to choose from.

The Education Review Office (ERO) provides reports on all New Zealand schools and Early Childhood Services. These reports are freely available to the public through the ERO website.

Please note: According to New Zealand law children under the age of 14 may not be left home alone. At 14 children can be left home alone without an adult looking after them.

If you have received an Offer of Place from the University of Otago and will be bringing family with you, please email if you have any questions about childcare or schooling.


For information about how the school system works in New Zealand, please refer to the Parents section of the Ministry of Education website.
Schooling is compulsory in New Zealand for all children from their 6th to 16th birthday, although most children start school on their 5th birthday or soon after.

Education for children in New Zealand can be broken into three main age groups:

  • 0-5 years (early childhood education)
  • 5-13 years (primary/intermediate school)
  • 13+ years (secondary school)

The school year runs from late January or early February through to December.

Children of students who are not enrolled in a PhD course or NZAID scholarship students will be charged full cost fees to attend schools in New Zealand. These may range between NZ$9000 – NZ$12 000 per year.

You can search for a school in Dunedin on the Schools in Dunedin city or Yellow Pages websites.

If you have received an Offer of Place from the University of Otago and will be bringing family with you, please email if you have any questions about schooling.


Your choice of childcare or school may depend on the area you choose to live in.

Many students with families choose to live outside the main University area, due to the lively nature of the student flats.

The Accommodation Office can provide lists of privately owned accommodation, they also have a list of temporary accommodation options. We would strongly advise you to first book into temporary accommodation prior to your arrival then look for more permanent accommodation once you get here as it is important for you to get a feel for the city and view accommodation in person to make sure you are happy with it.

Tenancy (renting) laws in New Zealand are clearly defined and well regulated under the Residential Tenancies Act. If you sign a tenancy (rental) agreement you cannot leave the accommodation simply because you have changed your mind. For more information please refer to Tenancy Services.

Rental accommodation is also advertised in the regional newspaper The Otago Daily Times.

The following websites may also be useful:

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