The NYDS Week

Find out about NYDS venues, accommodation, transport, meals, as well as what a typical NYDS day looks like. And have a careful read about our rules / code of conduct.


The National Youth Drama School uses the facilities at Havelock North High School, 153 Te Mata Road, Havelock North, and Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre, Hastings.

Please note: all communication should be directed to  or 021 241 6848 – NOT to the venue.

Opening Day


All students must register on Saturday between 10am and 3pm at the NYDS Administration Office.
From the HNHS car park, make you way down the path, past the gym to the foyer of the Auditorium.

Registration is a simple process where we confirm that you have arrived, provide you with a student tag, and answer any questions you have. We also make a room available for you to store luggage if needed.

We will be registering 200 students with several large groups arriving from the airport at the same time. Please be patient and identify yourself by name at the registration table. (Our files are arranged alphabetically by first name.)
And please, if you are a local student, don’t plan to arrive at 3pm.

If you are a billet student please make contact with your hosts before NYDS to arrange how you will arrive at their house at the end of the day. Billet families may be able to collect you from NYDS, or we offer a shuttle service to Napier and Hastings.


Once you have registered, we encourage you to spend time at the school, meeting other students and finding your way around. 


The pōwhiri and Opening Ceremony begin at 3:45pm. It’s an opportunity for us to welcome you and provide important information about the week. Seating is reserved for students in the first instance, with parents welcome if space permits.

After the Opening Ceremony, there will be a short admin session followed by a break into class groups. You’ll have the opportunity to meet your tutor and classmates.

The day will wrap up by 6pm. If you are using the NYDS daily shuttle, you will need to remain behind to meet your shuttle driver. If you are not using the shuttle, you will be free to go.

Rest of the Week

9am: School begins each morning with a warm-up. You will be divided into two warm-up groups – alternating Vocal (in the auditorium) and Physical (in the gym).

Classes follow at 9.30am.
If you are in a Full Day Workshop, you will spend the entire week in this class.
If you are in a Home Group, you will spend the week in this class, except for Monday and Wednesday afternoons when you will attend a Taster Class.
Find out what classes we’re offering this year here.

12.30-1.30pm: Lunch break

Each day we also have a kōrero / whole of school meeting at 1.30pm (or 9.30am later in the week)

4:30pm: Short check-in and warm-down.

5-7pm: 2-hour dinner break

Evenings: You will also attend evening programming. This programming is part of the full NYDS experience and all students are required to attend. The cost of evening events is included in your course fee. Please note the first Saturday and Thursday evenings are nights off for all students.

Final Sunday morning: Billet and Hostel students must bring their luggage with them to school as you will be not be returning to your accommodation following the Closing Ceremony.

‘Sharing of Work’ Presentations

Whānau, friends and the public are welcome to join us at these presentations, taking place on

  • Friday night, Opera House, Toitoi Arts and Events Centre, 7pm
  • Festival Day on final Saturday, Havelock North High School, 9am
  • Screen Classes Sharing of Work on final Sunday morning, Opera House, Toitoi Arts and Events Centre, 10am

Each class presents their ‘Sharing of Work’ on one day only. The schedule will be confirmed at the beginning of the NYDS week.

Please note these ‘Sharings’ are not intended to be polished performances, rather they are an opportunity for others to get a glimpse of what students have been working on during the week.

What to Bring

We encourage you to pack lightly – include comfortable shoes and clothes that you can move freely in, toiletries and towel, and any medication you may need.

Please bring a water bottle, notebook and pen to school each day.

If you are staying in Billet or Hostel accommodation, please check the Accommodation section for additional items you need to bring.


We maintain a register of suitable local host families. Please note that we do not police vet host families as this would make it unfeasible for us to offer billet accommodation for up to 80 students each year. Generally hosts either have students attending NYDS, or are long-term supporters of the school (in which case we do our best to place at least two visiting students together). If you have any concerns about our policy for Billet Accommodation, we suggest you consider the Hostel or Private Accommodation options instead.

Billet families are asked to provide daily breakfast as well as dinner on the first Saturday, Sunday and Thursday nights. Your host family may also be willing to provide a packed lunch. They may be able to offer evening meals depending on where they are located in relation to the school, but this is not expected.

If you are a billet or host student, you will receive details of your host or billet at least one week prior to NYDS. You should make contact with each other as soon as you have received this information. You should discuss where / when you will meet (at some point prior to the Opening Ceremony as there will not be time at the end of the evening). Also discuss the arrangement around meals and whether there is anything you need to bring with you – e.g: bedding.

**Note the hostel for 2024 is now FULL. Please contact us if you would like to go on the waiting list**

The hostel is located at Hereworth School (a local boarding school), and can accommodate a maximum of 78 students. Hereworth is approximately a half-block walk from HNHS. The hostel fee includes breakfast and dinner, but lunch is NOT provided.

Please register at HNHS before checking in at the hostel on Saturday. The hostel will be open from 12 noon.

A map of Hereworth School can be found here – make your way to the Boarding Entrance.

The hostel is supervised by our veteran Hostel Managers (both teachers), who will be available to assist you and answer any questions you have when you arrive.

Please note:

    • You need to bring a bottom sheet, pillow and sleeping bag or duvet with you.
    • The hostel is separated by gender, but is otherwise open dormitory style.
    • Lunch is not provided.
    • A laundry service will be offered once during the week.


Hostel rules:

  1. All NYDS venues are smoke- and vape-free zones, this includes the Hereworth school grounds.
  2. No alcohol, cigarettes, or illegal substances are permitted. This includes during meal breaks and applies to all students, regardless of age.
  3. Meal times will be posted, you are required to fill in the sign-out book if you are unable to be there on time.
  4. Students will have access to the Dormitories, Ablutions and Dining Room. ALL other areas of Hereworth School are out of bounds.
  5. The Dormitory will be locked during the school day to protect your property. A duty supervisor will be available for emergency access only.
  6. A curfew will be set to accommodate NYDS evening functions. All students are required to be back at the hostel in time for the curfew.
  7. No student will be allowed to stay elsewhere overnight unless prior arrangement has been made by parents.
  8. Respect other students and their property.
  9. Respect the authority of the Supervisors.

These rules are set for your protection. Students failing to meet the required standard of behaviour will be sent home at the expense of their parents.



On Arrival Day (first Saturday) and Departure Day (last Sunday), we run a free shuttle at regular intervals to

  • Hawke’s Bay Airport
  • Hastings Bus Depot, opposite Subway at 117 Russell Street (please DO NOT book bus fares to the Napier Bus Depot).

The shuttle will often be waiting when you arrive, but depending on earlier arrivals, it’s possible you might wait for 30-45 minutes.  If this is the case, you will likely have a blast in the company of other excited NYDS students!

Please try to arrive by 2.30pm on Saturday and depart after 1.30pm on Sunday.  If this isn’t possible, we should still be able to collect and/or drop you off, but you may miss the Opening Ceremony and/or the Closing Ceremony along with goodbyes to your NYDS whānau on Sunday.


We run a daily bus service to and from HNHS for out-of-town students being billeted in

    • Napier
    • Taradale
    • Hastings

Note that we are unable to service nearby Havelock North and some rural addresses.

There will be specific drop-off/pick-up points in each location. Priority is given to visiting and hosting students. For local students living in Napier, Taradale and Hastings who are not hosting a visiting student, we may be able to accommodate you on the bus if space permits.

Pocket Money & Meals

You will need some pocket money for the week – generally for meals.


Hostel students: Breakfast and dinner are provided by the hostel and included in the hostel fee. You will need money for lunches.

Billet students: Depending on your host family (see Accommodation section above), you may need enough pocket money to cover both lunches and dinners. Breakfast will  be provided.

The school canteen is open for lunch, morning and afternoon teas and offers a range of options for $5-9.

Havelock North village is a 10-15 minute walk from HNHS and offers several takeaway options for dinner as well as a supermarket with deli. If you plan to bring your own meals, we can make the fridge and microwave in the staff kitchen available, but we ask that you confirm this with us by sending a quick e-mail to prior to the NYDS week.

There is an ATM available a 5 minute walk from HNHS.

Rules / Code of Conduct

  1. All NYDS venues, including the school grounds, are smoke- and vape-free.
  2. No alcohol, cigarettes or illegal substances are permitted. This includes during meal breaks and applies to all students, regardless of age.
  3. Respect all persons and their property.
  4. Respect the right of the tutor to teach and your fellow students to learn.
  5. Arrive on time for all school activities.
  6. Take care of your health and sleep requirements in order to get the most out of NYDS.

NYDS Management reserves the right to dismiss / send home early any student, who:

a) fails to maintain a high standard of conduct, or
b) is unable to participate due to illness or injury.

Please also note that all health and medical information must be have been disclosed on your Application Form. NYDS Management reserves the right to send a student home should any known condition manifest, which has not been disclosed.

The cost of any early return journey will be the responsibility of the student / student’s family.