Welcome to Christchurch! Below is information that you may need during the semester including details on what to do when you are sick, how to get around and other important information while abroad.

IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you keep the TEAN contact info on you at all times in case of emergency.

Accessing Money

Banking in New Zealand

ANZ, BNZ, Westpac, ASB and Kiwibank are the major banks in New Zealand. We advise talking to your U.S. bank and checking whether they have any relationship with any of the NZ banks mentioned above. A few past students have advised that Westpac is compatible with their bank back home and so they didn’t get charged the usual fees associated with international banking and withdrawals. You could also look at using a travel card or opening a New Zealand bank account. The universities tend to have a local bank on campus, so it’s easy to meet with a branch assistant and open an account there.



For most health services you are covered by the Student Safe insurance policy. When accessing health services outside of the university campus, you will need to pay upfront for the cost of an appointment and fill out a claim to get your money back later. Make sure you keep all receipts for the insurance claim process. Check with a service team member on where to get these forms and familiarize yourself with what your Student Safe insurance covers.

Canterbury On-Campus

Canterbury Health Centre
Phone: (03) 364 2402
Email: healthcentre@canterbury.ac.nz

Counselling Service
Phone: (03) 364 2402
Email: healthcentre@canterbury.ac.nz
Let the staff know your enquiry is about counselling, appointments required.

Lincoln On-Campus

Lincoln Student Health Centre
Phone: (03) 325 3835
Email: healthsupport@lincoln.ac.nz

Lincoln Counselling Service
Phone: (03) 325 3835
Email: healthsupport@lincoln.ac.nz
Making an appointment will be required.


24 Hour Surgery
Cnr Bealey Ave/Colombo Street, Christchurch
Phone: (03) 365 7777
Open 24 hours, every day

Riccarton Clinic
4 Yaldhurst Road, Church Corner Christchurch
Phone: (03) 343 3661
Open daily from 8am – 8pm

Pharmacy (Chemist)

New Zealand pharmacies (called chemists) stock vitamins, make up and over-the-counter prescription medicines. New Zealand tends to have less variety in pharmaceutical brands than the U.S., so it’s worth giving them a call first if there’s something in particular you’re looking for. For example, Benadryl does not refer to allergy medicine in New Zealand. If you have any questions, the pharmacy staff are very helpful and can walk you through the options on offer.

University of Canterbury Pharmacy
Located in The Undercroft on campus (underneath central library)
Open Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm
Friday 9am – 5.30pm
Closed on Saturday and Sunday

Life Pharmacy
Located at Westfield Riccarton mall
Open Monday – Wednesday 9am – 6pm
Thursday – Friday 9am – 9pm
Saturday 9am – 6pm
Sunday 10am – 6pm

Unichem Pharmacy
Located at Bush Inn Shopping Centre
Open Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm
Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday 10am – 5pm

Terrace Pharmacy
Located at 70 The Terrace
Open 8am – 5:30pm
Closed Saturday and Sunday


If you’re not certain if you need professional medical attention, then use the free national advice service, Heatlhline. It’s free to call and the trained nurses will advise you on what treatment is in your best interest. You can call Healthline on 0800 611 116, 24/7.

Christchurch Transport

City Buses

Metro is the main bus provider for Christchurch. The color of the Metro buses will depend on the route the bus travels. To save on bus fares, buy a Metro card for $10 and prepay as you go. Your first top up must be at least $10 and can be done online, on the bus, or at the exchange. Your Metro card will automatically qualify you for at least 30% off your total fare compared to paying in cash and will save you hunting for spare change. The general price of a fare using a Metro card is approximately $2.55 for two hours of unlimited travel within Zone 1 (most of the city) and if you use it twice in one day (so $5.10) you get unlimited travel for the rest of that day in that zone. Sweet as! You can buy these cards from the university. Alternatively, check out the Metro website for additional outlets.

Metro has a great online journey planner for getting around Christchurch. See Journey Planner for navigating timetables, bus routes and calculating fares. You just type in where you need to go and when you want to be there and the planner does the hard work for you.

Travel Beyond Christchurch

Travel Beyond Christchurch

NakedBus and Intercity are the main public transport companies that travel around the country. For touring bus options, check out Stray Travel and Kiwi Experience. These companies offer a ‘get on, get off’ service that extensively travels both islands and are a great way to meet other young travellers.

Travel by Ferry

If you plan on traveling north, Blueridge and the Interislander are the only ferry operators that cross the Cook Strait between Picton (South Island) and Wellington (North Island).

The crossing takes approximately 3 hours and both ferries leave from the docks near the TSB Arena. Expect to pay around $50 for a passenger ticket. Student deals pop up from time to time so subscribe to the company newsletters for special offers – Blueridge and Interislander

Travel by Plane

Air New Zealand is the national airline and has a good reputation for customer service and quality. For this reason it’s the more expensive airline option.

For last minute Air NZ deals, GRAB-A-SEAT is your cheapest resource when it comes to booking flights online. Sign up for the e-mail notifications as great deals get posted everyday and they often sell out fast! When booking online, tickets are sold as one-way, so this gives you plenty of flexibility to choose fares with the cheapest price and fit your schedule.

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, check out Jetstar. Be aware that Jetstar is a little less reliable when it comes to going through with flights, and they are known for last minute cancellations. If you’re on a budget, and your plans are flexible, they are still a good choice however.

Using the iSite

An iSite, or Information Centre, is a great resource for travellers and are found in pretty much every town/city in NZ. Staff can help with locating and booking activities in the local area. They have dedicated staff on site to help you organize your activities and are an excellent opportunity to gain local insight in an unfamiliar place.

Identification Card

Identification Card

Instead of carrying around your passport as legal identification in NZ, we suggest you apply for an 18+ Kiwi Access Card. The university will also suggest this during their orientation and will have forms available for distribution. Your U.S. driver’s licence is not accepted in NZ as a legal ID. The 18+ card application forms can be downloaded from here and we encourage you to do this early, as the processing time is about two weeks.

Before applying you’ll need to prepare the following:

  • A passport-sized photograph (NZ-sized, you can get this from any pharmacy)
  • Proof of your current address (ask your university support office for a letter)
  • Photo ID to prove who you are (your passport!)
  • A processing fee of $55 NZD

Groceries and Shopping

Supermarkets and Groceries

New World
Generally New World is more expensive than other stores but offers greater variety and has better quality stock. Most students studying at Canterbury and living on campus, walk to the New World just off Peer Street . It’s about a 5 -10 minute walk from your university accommodation.

Similar to New World but with the bonus of online shopping and door to door delivery, check out their website for more info. Save this option for bigger shops or split the extra charge for delivery with your flatmates! The Countdown closest to the university is at Church Corner.

Pak ‘n Save
Notoriously no frills, this is the cheapest of the supermarkets and ideal for larger shopping trips. It’s out of the city center so you’ll need to take a 10-minute bus ride to Westfield Riccarton mall on the Orbiter bus to get there. The Orbiter is a green bus that runs every 10 -15 minutes from outside the university on Ilam Road. See www.metroinfo.co.nz for the bus schedule.

Four Square and Dairies
These are corner/convenience stores and so you’ll find them scattered across the city. They only stock the necessities and you’ll also find the cost of food there more expensive, but they’re great for last minute milk, eggs and bread.

Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s markets are the cheapest and freshest way to stock up on vegetables. Better yet, as you’re supporting local farming initiatives, you are putting money back in the community and reducing your carbon footprint by cutting down on food miles. There are many throughout the city but these are our top picks.

Christchurch Farmer’s Market
Saturday from 9am – 1pm
Held every Saturday at Riccarton House & Bush. It’s a 15- to 20-minute walk from the University of Canterbury or you can opt to take a short bus ride. The location alone is stunning; it’s a heritage house and grounds have been transformed into a lovely park/bush. In New Zealand’s warmer months (October – April), Riccarton House & Bush also holds a market each Sunday from 10am – 2pm featuring artisan items and locally made handcrafts.

The Riccarton Market
Sunday from 9am – 2pm
Held every Sunday, the market is located on the beautiful grounds of the Riccarton Racecourse. This is the largest market in the city with heaps of food options and everything else from books to house plants and board games. Easily accessed from the Bus Interchange, your weekend food and veggie shop will be complete after a stop here.

The Night Markets

The night markets are a great way to try local and artisan food at very reasonable prices. Expect to pay between $10 – $15 for a meal.

The Friday Street Food Market
11am – 9pm
Held every Friday on Cathedral Square, Christchurch


When you need homewares, bedding and other miscellaneous items, head to the below stores. All three are chains so you’re likely to see them scattered across the country.

The Warehouse
The Warehouse is New Zealand’s equivalent to Target or Walmart but has less variety. The closest to Canterbury University is at 265 Blenheim Road.

Briscoes is similar to The Warehouse but caters more extensively to homeware. It’s slightly better quality and therefore a little more expensive. The closest store is in Westfield Riccarton Mall.

You may be familiar with this one! In New Zealand Kmart has a better range of items than The Warehouse and is just as cheap if not cheaper. Many students have found themselves on what can only be described as a ‘Kmart binge’ as it’s easy to buy far more than you really need every time you go there. The closest store is also in Westfield Riccarton Mall.



TEAN New Zealand students live in university managed housing in either a hall of residence, apartment or flat. Each housing type normally has a senior uni student living there as a residential assistant or Kiwi-host to provide a support and liaison function.

As you are living in a shared accommodation, it is important to be mindful of your behavior and impact on others in terms of noise and social gatherings, and to be respectful of shared household rules and responsibility for kitchen and bathroom cleanliness.

A housing bond is paid to the university (this is the $350 you already paid to TEAN). You can request the refund from TEAN at the end of the semester. It will be returned if your room and common living areas are left in a clean and tidy condition with no reported damages.

Housing Contact

University of Canterbury
Ilam Apartments
UC Accommodation Student Village
2 Homestead Lane
Phone: (03) 3643 559
Email: live.Ilam@ucastudentvillage.co.nz

Lincoln University 
Phone: (03) 423 0525
Email: accomm@lincoln.ac.nz

Important Contact Info

Important Contact Info

Emergency Services: If you’re in an accident or need urgent medical attention, call 111

You will be asked to choose from our ambulance, fire or police services. The person on the other line will walk you through what you need to ask for if you’re not sure.

TEAN Staff

TEAN’s Regional Resident Assistants are available to help if anything goes amiss. If you need advice or you simply want to talk, feel feel to give them a ring!

Allison Ferris: Christchurch : 022 045 2151

Shivani Rajan: Auckland : 022 390 6356
Josh Horrell : Auckland : 027 529 3232
Dianne Fountaine-Cody : Palmy : 021 063 6921
On Lee Lau : Dunedin : 021 353 998
Geoff Ockwell: Dunedin: 020 414 89279
Ashley Stewart: Wellington : 027 768 7815

Rachel Fenton : NZ Director, based in Auckland : 021 031 4248

University Contacts

Canterbury International Department
Phone: (03) 364 2555
Email: anna.foster@canterbury.ac.nz

Lincoln International Department
Phone: (03) 423 0075
Email: international@lincoln.ac.nz


Events Around the City

Websites like EventFinda, Christchurch City Council and Stuff Events are awesome for keeping up with what’s going on in the city. TEAN also emails a monthly newsletter ‘What’s on’ for a sampler of free and low-cost events in the city and across the region. Christchurch has a great cultural scene too which you can check out at the following venues. Check out the following venues to get amongst it.

Live Music

The Darkroom
336 St Asaph Street
The venue hosts lots of free gigs so it’s a great way to see local live music! Check out the line up on their Facebook page.

19 London Street, Lyttleton

Blue Smoke
3 Garlands Road (The Tannery), Woolston

Christchurch Art Gallery
49 Worcester Blvd
Often hosts free/cheap gigs with local music.


Kiwis love movies and in Christchurch you’ll be spoilt for choice – check out some of the gems belows for a taste of our cinema culture!

Alice Cinémathique
209 Tuam Street
It’s a Pand awesome independent cinema which shows film festival releases every day from around the world.

Alice presents Deluxe Cinema
3 Garlands Rd, Woolston (at the Tannery)
Same as above but in new and improved location.

Hollywood 3 at Sumner
28 Marriner Street
It’s worth the trip out of the center city to this amazing cinema which has been running for over 75 years.

Academy Gold
At the Colombo (relocated after the earthquakes)
A great family run theatre showing arthouse and mainstream films in the centre of the city!

Westfield mall
Closest cinema (within walking distance/very short bus trip). Shows mainstream films.

Live Theatre

The Court Theatre
Bernard Street, Addington

Isaac Theatre Royal
145 Gloucester Street

Christchurch Bucket List

Christchurch Bucket List

The Christchurch Bucket List created by your TEAN Christchurch Resident Director

  • Order flying pneumatic burgers from C1 Espresso
  • Explore the botanical gardens
  • Grab a drink at The Last Word
  • Catch a gig at The Darkroom
  • Walk the Bridle Trail and grab a smoothie from the Shroom Room
  • Visit the Art Gallery
  • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve or Orana Park
  • Quake City exhibition
  • Surfing at Sumner or New Brighton New Brighton pier
  • Watch a rugby game at the Stadium
  • Visit Canterbury Museum
  • Walk part of the Crater Rim track
  • Explore the Red Zone (destroyed after the earthquakes)
  • Boogie on the Dance – O-Mat (Gap Filler project)
  • Play on the Margaret Mahy playground
  • Explore the redevelopment of the city center

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