International students

Farm visits are popular with the children

The Motueka Rudolf Steiner School is a small Steiner/ Waldorf School in a rural town in New Zealand.  We accept international students into our classes 1-7 (ages 7 to 13). Students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, exceptions are possible in class 7.

The Motueka Waldorf School looks back on a long history of hosting international students. We have had many German, Dutch, Japanese, British and  American students here, typically staying for 3 to 12 months.

Motueka is in the sunniest part of New Zealand, on the north coast of the South Island: ‘Top of the South’ as we say.  Motueka is surrounded by orchards, forests, farmlands, national parks, beautiful beaches and Tasman Bay. The world famous Abel Tasman National Park is only 20 minutes drive from the school. A feature of our school is the strong support community that surrounds us. Visiting families do not just come to a school, they join a community.

The Motueka/Tasman/Nelson region is known to attract many people from Central Europe, in particular from German speaking countries.  Our school reflects this diversity and many students have a second language.  Non-English speaking students usually “buddy up” with another student from their home country which helps the transition. We are always surprised how quickly students learn English when supported at home and school.

Join us for for summer, a term, or even better or come for a full year. Here is a “How to” guide from a Family that visited us for one year  (German version:

Around Motueka 30

Abel Tasman National Park

A stay, short or long, allows families to get a taste of our school, our community, and the way of life in NZ.  It will also provide children (and their parents) the best imaginable real life opportunity to improve their English as a second language.   You will need to come as a family to care for your children while they are attending our school.  An exception can be made for class 7 children if you have close contact with a family in or near Motueka who are able to care for your children while they are here and this arrangement is approved by the Motueka Rudolf Steiner School.


Welcome to the school

For 32 years the Waldorf / Steiner kindergarten has been a part of Motueka and led to the establishment of the primary school in 2002.  About 100 children attend our playgroups, kindergarten and school.  In this community everybody knows everybody – but with a lot of space for individuality. There are many opportunities for involvement in the school community: gardens, festivals, building, curriculum, administration, arts & crafts, anthroposophical reading groups, etc.  In Motueka there are many sports clubs, dancing, acting, hiking, and singing groups. Three national parks are located nearby, providing an abundance of outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, camping, swimming, kayaking, climbing and much more.


Around Motueka 3

Fun on the river

Visiting children are fully integrated into the class, including sport and outdoor activities.  There is a large cultural awareness in our school and we encourage the multi– cultural exchange between children.

Every student and their family are welcomed with open arms and invited to be part of our vibrant and committed community, where people from various backgrounds and nationalities are united. Visitors can get involved in our community groups, for example help organising festivals, sports and events or get creative with the Dollmakers.

We have hosted students from many countries, English and non-English speaking.  Both children with their families and our community have enjoyed this enriching experience and long-term friendships have developed between families. We are very happy to send you reports from previous international student families, please request information under


Enrollment Procedure


School gathering

School gathering

Our academic year starts in February and finishes in December, just before Christmas and our 6 week long summer holidays.  The school year is divided into 4 terms of about 10 weeks each.

For all inquiries please contact our international student liaison under
You will receive a personal contact person to answer all your questions and insure your needs are met.  Please ask us for support if you need to find accommodation transport etc.

Guidance and support will be given for the enrollment procedure and you will receive an International Student Information Pack which includes a provisional offer of place and an invoice for your chosen period of attendance.


Immigration Requirements

Children with NZ or Australian residency or those having a parent with NZ work permit or residency can attend the school as domestic students. All others are international students. Our school is registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to accept international students.



For attendance beyond three months an international student needs a student visa and permit from Immigration NZ. Full details of visa and permit requirements can be viewed at


International student fees are charged depending on the length of your stay. A school year is made up of four terms. Term 1 starts around February 1st. View upcoming school term dates.

Our current international student fee is $2,700 (NZD) per term. Please note that the minimum stay is 2 terms. If you have 2 children at our school, you are eligible for a discount of 5% for both, with 3 or more children at our school for a discount of 10%.

These fees also pay for our international student package that includes all admin costs, stationery items like crayons, pencils and other utensils that are needed by the students.

Additional payment for extracurricular activities such as school excursions, camps, and transport to sports activities may apply.


Information about Motueka

Motueka is a small town in the top of the South Island at the Entrance to the popular Abel Tasman National Park.  Surrounded by mountain ranges, beautiful bush and blue sea with sandy beaches.  The area offers lots of opportunity for recreational outdoor experiences.  Also, Motueka is centered in the middle of NZ, therefore providing an excellent base for exploring both Islands.
The closest city is Nelson, 45km southeast of Motueka.  The Abel Tasman National Park separates Tasman Bay from Golden Bay, also a highly popular holiday spot.
Our area is especially attractive with the most sunshine hours in NZ.  The mild climate provides for an abundance of agricultural produce and some of the best wine in NZ.
The Motueka lifestyle is relaxed and outdoors focused.  Fortunately there is no dangerous wildlife so it is easy to explore the great outdoors.

Around Motueka 1

Local beaches have safe swimming

A look into the school year/ a day at school
The school year starts beginning of February and ends about a week before Christmas. It is divided into 4 terms, approximate 3 month each, with holidays for 2-3 weeks in autumn, winter, spring and summer. The latter ones last for about 6 weeks, including Christmas.
Each term is accompanied by seasonal festivals which highlights the special character of the yearly rhythms.
* Term 1: Includes the Easter celebration, as well as our new Autumn Fair celebration.
* Term 2: Lantern Festival, Midwinter celebration,
* Term 3: Our Spring Festival,
* Term 4: Advent, end of the year plays, our Christmas Market.


The school day starts at 9am and finishes at 3pm (1 pm on Fridays). Class 1 children also finish at 1pm on Wednesday.
There is a morning tea break after the main lesson and a half an hour lunch break at 1pm.
The children are encouraged to spend these breaks outside and get engaged in team games or similar.
The weekend starts on Friday with a 1 o’clock school finish.

Lear more from another families experience