Family Life in New Zealand

A day in the life of New Zealanders

New Zealanders are a combination of a wide range of different ethnic groups and cultural heritages so it is impossible to present an accurate picture of what life is like in "an average New Zealand home".

When visiting or staying with New Zealand families, you may witness a striking difference in lifestyles and routines from the families with similar backgrounds.

Family life

Generally, New Zealand families are small with two generations living under the same roof, thus, extended family is less common.

Both men and women are expected to help with the family life, though in some families the specific chores men do will be different to those undertaken by women. Either the mother or the father may assume the role of 'head of the house' or it may be shared by both parents.

Many children in New Zealand leave their family homes when they start university or when they leave school. In the past, it was common for New Zealanders to leave their family home before they were 20 years old, but today more tertiary students and school leavers are choosing to remain living with their parents during early adulthood.

A typical day

The day generally starts when most people get up at about 7.00am during weekdays and a bit later at weekends. During the week, work and school start at around 8.30am and end at about 5pm (school for children ends at around 3pm).

Lunch is often a light meal taken between 12.00-2.00pm. People rarely return home for a large meal and hot food is available at many food outlets.

It is a tradition for the majority of New Zealanders to spend time together in the evening: having dinner, talking or watching television together. Ordinarily, people go to sleep between 9.00pm and 11.00pm.

At the weekends, quite a few people go out in the evenings to bars, restaurants, cafes or movies. It is usually only on Friday nights and during weekends that people stay up late.

Source: Ministry of Education, New Zealand

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