Northland and The Bay of Islands constitute an excellent introduction into New Zealand, as it is the site of the earliest settlements of both Maori and Europeans. The region is known for its stunning natural beauty, making it the perfect place to perform some rewarding conservation work. You will also head further south to explore the stunning geothermal landscapes and beautiful forests of Rotorua, home to Maori culture. A welcome from the indigenous people will immediately make you feel part of the city.
Upon arrival at Auckland International Airport, we will be picked up and transferred to our hostel in Auckland. You will take some time to settle in, meet the Pacific Discovery Instructors, and get an orientation for the week ahead before dinner. Our instructor is a ‘kiwi’, or native New Zealander, so will start to introduce the themes of biology, culture and history that you’ll experience first hand on your journey through New Zealand.
In the morning, you will head up north to the Bay of Islands, the birthplace of New Zealand. After getting settled in, enjoy a lunch on the wharf in Paihia, looking out to the “Bay of Islands”, a large bay with over 140 sub-tropical islands, famous for its marine wildlife and undeveloped beaches. In the afternoon you will head to Waitangi River, home to Ngapuhi, New Zealand’s largest tribal Maori group. Enjoy an interactive Waka experience that provides students with unique insights into ancient customs, rituals and traditions. Maori ancient histories and stories are shared with you as you paddle a 40 ft Waka Taua (War Canoe) together on the tidal estuaries of the Waitangi River. As you learn about Maori culture and traditions, you’ll come to understand how the culture is so closely intertwined with the natural world, and how biology and culture combine.
Immerse yourself in Maori history by visiting the Treaty of Waitangi grounds. Discover New Zealand’s history in Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi featuring hundreds of taonga (artifacts) and images, through immersive audio-visual experiences. Learn more about the events that happened at Waitangi during a private guided tour. Waitangi was the site of the signing of the 1840 ‘Treaty of Waitangi’, a pivotal point in history for the colonization of New Zealand.
Following your tour, we’ll gather outside Te Whare Rūnanga (Maori meeting house) for a traditional pōwhiri (welcoming ceremony) before moving inside for a powerful cultural performance. Following your performance, explore Te Rau Aroha, the new museum commemorating the commitment and sacrifice of Māori in the New Zealand Armed Forces, before strolling down to the Carving Studio to watch the carver in action. Native New Zealand Jade or Pounamu, is highly prized in the Maori culture. After this fully packed morning it is time for a well deserved lunch from Whare Waka Cafe, where you’ll have the rest of the day to continue learning about Waitangi, or walk back along the coastline to explore Paihia and the beach.
The day we’ll travel to a nearby Regional park where we’ll spend the next three days taking part in various conservation projects, working with one of our national partners. This can include ongoing pest control and monitoring to maintain pest-free status (the islands were made pest-free in 2009), species reintroduction (five reintroductions to date, sixteen more planned), ongoing native tree planting (39,000 planted to date), or weedbusting. You might also be promoting biosecurity to all those visiting the islands, educating future generations of kaitiaki, or work with mainland pest control groups to minimize pests swimming to the islands.You’ll learn about the delicate ecosystem of New Zealand native species and the connection of Maori to the land and protection of the biodiversity for future generations.
Today we’ll embark on a boat that will take us out to the Poor Knights Islands Marine reserve. Hailed as one of Jacques Cousteou's top 10 dive sites in the world, this wonderful collection of islands is where both tropical and temperate waters meet, and so is home to an amazing array of marine creatures. We’ll have our large boat as a base for the day, with freedom to snorkel and kayak at the different bays we explore. Those with formal diving qualifications may opt to upgrade to include some scuba diving to further explore the sea arches and kelp forests.
After breakfast, you head back to where your journey began, Auckland. This will be a half day of travel with a stop along the way to explore TiriTiri Matangi Island - one of the oldest predator free islands in New Zealand and a celebration of how conservation efforts have flourished. We’ll take the boat over to the island before embarking on a guided walk with a naturalist guide to find a number of endangered native bird species, including the stunning Takahe, hear the song of the Kokako, spy little blue penguins, and hopefully see some bottlenose dolphins!
We’ll finish up back in Auckland where those who want can explore the maritime museum before heading to our accommodation for the night.
After breakfast, we’ll make our way down to Rotorua, the geothermal capital of New Zealand. Along the way we’ll visit the Miranda Shorebird centre, where we can stretch our legs by walking down to the hide to spot the amazing array of migratory shorebirds - some have flown all the way from Northern America to arrive here! On arrival into Rotorua, (you’ll know you have arrived for the distinct sulfur smell!) we’ll head straight to Taheke Marae. A marae is a fenced-in complex of carved buildings and grounds that belongs to a particular iwi (tribe). Marae are used for meetings, celebrations, funerals, educational workshops and other important tribal events. Marae life is very communal - everyone sleeps in the same room (usually the main meeting house) on mattresses lined against the walls. They eat together in the dining room, help with chores, and spend time together learning, discussing and debating tribal matters.
On arrival you will partake in a formal welcoming ceremony, called pōwhiri, to remove the tapu (sacredness) and become one people with those of the marae.
Spend the day exploring Te Puia, a geothermal wonderland, featuring dramatic geysers, bubbling mud, and beautiful native bush. You will discover Te Puia’s history and lineage with a personalized guided tour through a 60-hectare landscape of uncovered natural bush, geysers and mud pools and a remarkable walk along the Te Whakarewarewa geyser terrace. This is home to the Pōhutu geyser – the largest geyser in the Southern Hemisphere!
Here, we’ll also visit the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, where you’ll see traditional Māori Carving and Weaving performed as we watch. The model Pre-European Maori Village and sacred Marae gives you a rare glimpse into how Māori people lived prior to European settlement. After learning about the cultural way of life of the Maori, we’ll finish the day with a traditional Hangi Feast - where food is cooked in an underground earth oven.
Today you will take part in a practical workshop for Rongoā Maori - Traditional Maori Medicine. Rongoā is a gift from nature; it is often basic food found in our diet and includes a wide range of leaves, bark, berries, roots, gums, seeds, stems and flowers. They have been used for hundreds of years to help maintain and restore good health. You will explore the importance of re-connecting to the land. Learners will spend time getting to know native plants and learning about their uses. After that you will spend the afternoon exploring Rotorua at your own pace, getting last minute travel mementos to take home.This evening, we’ll have a final farewell dinner to celebrate and reflect on our time in New Zealand.
Unfortunately, it's time to say goodbye to New Zealand. The group will travel back to Auckland, where we have arranged a transfer to Auckland International Airport and your flight back to your home country awaits you.
- On student sign-up: $600 non refundable deposit from each student.
- January 8, 2024: 50% deposit of USD$1200 due per participant
- March 8, 2024: Final payment deadline, USD $1200 due per participant
Balance of trip cost due.
This is also the deadline to receive participant information - passport copies; student IDs; and passport-style photos of each participant.
Payment option 1: Free by Wire Transfer
USA participants: This is a domestic wire transfer. You may be able to do this through your own online banking or banking app through your Wire Money option. Alternatively, take this invoice to your bank - instructions for your bank follow.
Make payment by bank wire transfer to Chase
Pay in USD: Do not convert to any other currency
Make payment: "Without charges to the Beneficiary" (fees must be paid by sender)
Pay to: Chase
Payee account name: Ethos Collective US LLC
Routing Number: 322271627
Payee account number: 500636108
Wire Transfer Routing Number: 021000021
Payee address: 202 Glenda Drive, Frankton, Queenstown, New Zealand
"Reference", "Name on Bill", or "NOTE": "STUDENT NAME"
Note: Please email payment confirmation to: email@example.com
SWIFT Code (if needed): CHASUS33 (for non-USA international payments only)
Payment option 2: Mail in Option
Make payment by bank money order, cashier's check, or personal check. Please ensure all checks are sent with tracking to ensure they are received.
(Note: All checks must be in US dollars - USD)
Made payable to: Ethos Collective US LLC
Send by courier or tracked/registered mail to:
C/O Accounting Department
3236 Fenelon Street,
San Diego, CA 92106
Payment option 3: Credit Card with Extra 3.5 % Charge (AMEX not accepted)
Make payment by credit card, please note this incurs 3.5% charge of the full payment amount. Please click on "pay now" under Payment Information or click on "make payment" at the bottom of your Payment History page and enter your amount.
Note: It is recommended you check with your bank if they make additional charges on international transactions, as Pacific Discovery is based in New Zealand.
Accommodation on this program is based on twin, double or dormitory hostels, hotels, and lodge accommodations. We have also included a stay at a traditional Maori marae which is communal sleeping arrangements.
This itinerary includes 3 meals a day, but we do recommend budget extra money for snacks and drinks. We can accommodate most dietary requirements such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy free.
New Zealand weather in May will be transitioning from summer to winter with daily highs around 65F and nightly lows around 51F. We recommend bringing layers as the mornings and evenings will be cooler than the midday heat.
This program will be led by one experienced Pacific Discovery Instructor and two Jefferson College teachers.
Flights are not included in the costs of this program, but are estimated to be around NZD$1,600 return. On booking your place on the program, our in-house travel agent, The Travellist, will be cc'd into the confirmation email and they will coordinate your flights. Once the trip is full, they will coordinate a group booking flight for the whole group to travel together to Auckland, where you will be greeted by your Pacific Discovery Instructor in the arrivals hall.
International Group Flight: estimate NZD$1,600 per student. This is not included in the program price.
Outbound: To Auckland, New Zealand
Return: Auckland, New Zealand to Final Destination
Please note: This is an estimate only. Once a proposal is accepted and group size is confirmed we will request a group rate and booking.
It is mandatory that all students have comprehensive travel insurance for this program. Insurance can also be managed through the Travellist, who can organize a Covermore Comprehensive Policy- Approx $550NZD per person (dependant on rate changes)
This includes adventure and cancellation cover, but would exclude pre-existing medical conditions (premium available on application).