Nick's Story

Placement: Recording Studio Assistant

Nick came to New Zealand seeking experience in the music industry – passionate about a wide range of tunes and especially keen on mixing. We placed Nick downtown in a city studio, where he got first hand experience recording with several Kiwi bands.

While New Zealand is a small country, we have vibrant homegrown entertainment scene. Our film industry is thriving – Lord of the Rings and Narnia filmed in New Zealand. Russell Crowe, Sam Neil, Lucy Lawless and Anna Paquin are all Kiwi actors, and our music talent includes Crowded House, Flight of the Conchords and Fat Freddy’s Drop.

As well as in the music industry, we’ve also placed interns into theatre, television and radio.

Why New Zealand?

One of the safest countries in the World, with spectacular scenery straight out the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films, New Zealand was recently voted the world's second best travel destination in the Lonely Planet’s Bluelist, its annual Worldwide poll of 32,000 travellers.

Roughly equivalent in size to the British Isles, Japan or California, New Zealand packs a lot of landscape into a small area. With a temperate to sub-tropical climate and everything from sandy beaches to volcanic mountains and alpine ski-fields to lush rainforest, New Zealand’s natural beauty offers a massive range of outdoor and adventure activities.

Here are some key facts about New Zealand to give you a head start!

Geography: New Zealand is in the South Pacific Ocean, 1,600 km south east of Australia. It has two main islands divided by the Cook strait. The North Island is 1,700 km long and has hot springs and geysers; Mt Ruapehu 2.797m and Mt Egmont 2,518 m; Lake Taupo in an ancient volcanic crater; and the 425 km long River Waikato. The South Island has the Southern Alps with Mt Cook 3,764m, which is New Zealand's highest point. 75% of the country is above 200m. 30% of the population live in or near Auckland, North Island.

Climate: Generally cool temperate but nearly subtropical in the extreme north. Temperatures range from 35°C to 5°C (that’s 95°F to 40°F), with only the extreme south region experiencing a cold winter. The highest peaks are permanently snow-capped. There is plentiful rainfall all year, from 1,525 mm to 635 mm.

Culture: The dominant cultural groups are the Pakeha (European) and the Maori. Smaller groups include Yugoslavian Dalmatians, Polynesians, Indians and Chinese. The entire community loves sport - especially the national game of rugby union - and outdoor pursuits such as cricket, sailing, swimming, cycling, hiking and camping. The people are naturally resourceful, helpful and overwhelmingly friendly.

Getting There & Getting Around: Arriving by air, there are three airports that handle international flights: Auckland (the major exit/entry point), Wellington and Christchurch. An average flight from the West Coast of the USA to New Zealand lasts about 12 hours and is non-stop. Although New Zealand is a compact country and generally easy to get around, for views of mountains or volcanoes it is worth flying. Discounted airfares make flying quite economical. There is also an extensive bus network servicing both the North and South Islands. An alternative the main bus services are the many shuttle bus companies, which cater especially for backpackers and tourists. There are few train routes, but train travel is reasonably quick on modern, comfortable trains, with fares sometimes cheaper than buses. Inter-islander ferries run between Wellington, North Island and Picton, South Island.

Money & Costs: The NZ dollar ($) divides into 100 cents. The currencies of Australia, the UK, USA, Canada, Germany and Japan are all easily changed in New Zealand and there is no trouble with the major travellers' cheques and credit cards. Banks give cash advances on Visa and MasterCard. Budget travellers can expect to get by on less than NZ$40 a day if camping or staying in hostels and self-catering. Tipping is still regarded as a foreign custom, but it is increasing, particularly where there are more foreign visitors. Tip 5-10% of the bill in a restaurant (not in a cafe) if you feel you have received exceptional service.

Natural Environment: About 12.5% of the total land area of the country is native flora, protected in national parks and reserves. Much of the flora is particular to New Zealand: giant kauri and kohekohe forests; rainforest; alpine and sub-alpine herb fields; and scrub and tussock. Native fauna is limited, with the only indigenous mammal being a bat. Today over 150 native plants - 10% of the total number of native species - and many native birds are threatened with extinction. Bird life, however, has thrived. There are 12 national, 20 forest, three maritime and two marine parks, plus two World Heritage Areas: Tongariro National Park in the North Island and Te Waihipouna-mu in the South Island.

Population Total population (1995) 3,529,000. 88% European (Pakeha), 12% Maori and Polynesian. 84% live in urban areas.

Religion 81% Christian. Nearly 900,000 Anglicans; 500,000 Roman Catholic; others include Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian. Maori churches about 30,000.

Government: Democratic, Independent member of the British Commonwealth

Language: Official language is English. The Maoris have their own language which is taught in schools and used extensively on radio and TV.

Time: GMT plus 12 hours (two hours ahead of Australian Eastern Standard Time)

Visas: Only a valid passport is necessary for citizens of most countries.

Weights & measures: metric

Electricity: 240V AC, 50 Hz

For more on New Zealand, see the official New Zealand tourist information site here.

Back to top