About the Area

Oxford, North Canterbury

Oxford is a rural town of 1,400 inhabitants situated fifty kilometers west of Christchurch, in the foothills of the majestic Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island. The town itself has a full range of retail and service amenities, including a post office, library, movie theatre, restaurants, supermarket, etc.

The native foothills offer scenic and bush walks. Nearby Ashley Gorge, 8km from Oxford, is a popular picnic spot with good river swimming, fishing and camping. The Waimakariri River offers salmon and trout fishing and the gorge spectacular scenery.

The Maori name for the area is “Tawera” meaning “hot blow” undoubtedly prompted by the well-known Canterbury Nor’Wester. This small, tranquil township, now the centre of a prosperous farming community, began with the establishment of the first sawmill in 1854. By the 1870′s eleven mills were located between the Eyre River and Coopers Creek, the bush in the area being known as Harewood Forest. In 1898 timber production was halved when one fire from Coopers Creek and another form the Mt Oxford area fanned by a raging nor’wester swept towards Oxford township destroying mills, houses, bridges and farms.

The last mill closed in 1912. In the early 1870′s, the completion of the railway from Rangiora to Sheffield, followed in the 1880′s by the opening of the Bennetts-Eyreton line, assisted farm settlement which superseded the declining production of timber. In the main street an information board gives details of walks and other attractions. Further information from Waimakariri District Council Service Center nearby.

The nearest large city is Christchurch. Please visit the official Christchurch website for information about the city.

New Zealand

New Zealand, or “Aotearoa” (a Maori word meaning “Land of the Long White Cloud”) consists of two main islands; North and South. Both islands together are about the same size as California and Washington states combined.

Sheep are in abundance in New Zealand – while there is a population of 4.4 million people, there are 47.4 million sheep!

Aotearoa is full of natural beauty, from its green hills to its beautiful beaches.

Time
We lie just west of the International Date Line, and our time in 12-13 hours ahead of Western Europe and 18-21 ahead of continental USA.

Geography
New Zealand consists of two large islands, North Island and South Island, plus several smaller ones of which Stewart Island is the largest and often referred to as ‘our third island’. The North and South Islands are separated by the 32km/20mile wide Cook Strait.

To the north and east lies the Pacific Ocean and between ourselves and Australia lies the Tasman Sea. The total land area is 270,535 sq Km/104,453 sq miles, about the size of Italy, the United Kingdom or the US state of Colorado.

The country lies on the junction of the Pacific and Australasia tectonic places, and is subject to frequent earthquakes, most barely discerned, but some with considerable destructive power. Volcanic activity occurs widely, with most obvious manifestations in the central North Island.

The South Island has the high snow covered mountain peaks and glaciers of the Southern Alps, a range running almost 500Km/300miles along the Island.

People
European
New Zealand has a population of 4.4 million. People from a wide range of European countries have arrived since the time of Captain James Cook to make up 75% of the population while Maori make up about 10-14%.

Maori
Some say that the Maori first arrived on these shores just over a 1000 years ago. Today, many Maori have adopted western lifestyles but have actively been encouraged to keep alive their culture, language and art.

People of the Pacific
Other ethnic groups have arrived from Polynesia (Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands) with Auckland now being the Polynesia capital of the world. There are more Cook Islanders in New Zealand than in the Cook Islands.

New immigrants
People from China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, etc are increasingly coming to settle in New Zealand, making for a diverse population mix.

Visas
It is recommended that you contact your School Leader or the Base Administrator – especially when inquiring about visas – since the information below may change or not be correct in every situation. The following is meant to be a general guide to New Zealand, not specific to any particular school or project.

To attend a school or other short – term program, it is recommended that you enter New Zealand on a tourist visa. This is perfectly legitimate, and the preferred route for overseas participants attending a conference, school or outreach according to the arrangements made between YWAM and New Zealand immigration officials.

On the arrival form, give the following street address: Youth With A Mission, 14 Church St Oxford, North Canterbury 7430

You may want to consider applying for a six-month “Multiple-Entry Visitor’s Visa” in case the Lord leads you to go on to something you hadn’t originally intended to do – to go on an outreach for example.

Visa Waiver Nations
A tourist visa does not need to be applied for in advance, but can be obtained upon entering New Zealand for passport holders from the following countries which have visa waiver agreements with New Zealand:

Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (South,) Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Nauru, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal (Portuguese passport holders must have the right to live permanently in Portugal), Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tuvalu, USA. Includes US nationals from American Samoa and Swains Islands.

Upon arrival, those from the above nations will be issued a three-month Visitor’s Visa, which can be extended up to a total of nine months if necessary (the approximate cost for a visa extension is NZD60.00).

(British citizens and other British passport holders who have evidence of the right to live permanently in the United Kingdom may be granted a Visitor Permit valid for six months upon arrival).

As a Visa Waiver visitor from one of the above nations, you must:

  1. Hold a valid ticket to a country to which you have the right of entry.
  2. Have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay.
  3. Hold a passport valid for 3 months beyond the date of completion of the conference and the date you are leaving New Zealand

Overseas visitors from non-waiver countries
Individuals whose nation of citizenship is not listed above will need to apply in advance at their nearest New Zealand Consulate of Embassy for permission to enter. Wait until you receive a letter of guarantee from YWAM New Zealand before you attempt to apply for your visa!

Sheep in a paddock near YWAM Oxford
Sheep in a paddock near YWAM Oxford
Snowboarding in the Southern Alps
Snowboarding in the Southern Alps
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