The 108 people in lockdown at Whanganui Collegiate may be part of one of the biggest isolation bubbles in the country.
Among the international students, staff and their families is residential tutor Cachella Smith.
She writes about the experience.
As a 22-year-old student from the UK, the one thing I didn't have on my travel bucket-list was a global pandemic.
Like the next traveller, when accepting a gap year position at Whanganui Collegiate School, I was searching for the typical cliches of freedom and discovery, only to be faced eight months later with the foreign concept of a lockdown.
Picture a bubble; smooth, fragile, determined to pop.
When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asked the New Zealand population to prevent the spread of Covid-19, to isolate, and to form familial bubbles, Whanganui Collegiate School accepted this as a challenge to redefine the common noun.
For Collegiate, and now for me, bubbles are characterised by strength over frailty, power over child's play, and most importantly versatility over uniformity.
When announced, the lockdown threw at me the prospect of not seeing my little brothers for an indefinite period of time, of hearing about people I know becoming sick in the UK and not having the option to be near them or the option of a supportive hug from Mum and Dad.
These were not thoughts specific to me, but undoubtedly mirrored 55 times over, within each of the international students at our school.
Whanganui Collegiate has proved a back-up family and the immediate support system for when difficulties arise with time differences or internet connection.
With 108 bubble-residents, the international boarding school now forms one of the biggest self-isolation groups in New Zealand.
Comprising staff, families and 55 international students, the group contains a ready-made set of siblings, parents and grandparents alike for students who have been unable to return to their own families.
Lucy Trott, the international pastoral care co-ordinator, leans upon this idea of family when she describes her Collegiate lockdown experience.
Lucy ordinarily is not a site resident but upon hearing the decision to house the international students at school during this period, Lucy decided to move herself, her husband, and two daughters of 12 and 13 on-site in order to support the students.
Many international students have adopted the pet name of "Mummy" for her.
When asked how her own children have found the move, she says; "Mine? Easy."
Her girls, she says, "fit in very well" and her husband is a "non-teacher, non-housemaster" who gives the kids someone they can confide in and have fun with.
One of Lucy's school "children" is Luna-Marie Becker, a 16-year-old German exchange student who has only been in New Zealand since the start of the term.
Luna says the lockdown announcement was "fast" and "surreal", and watching other boarding students leave in a matter of hours showed her that "things turned really serious".
Yet, when discussing her own reaction, the word "safe" is repeated more times than I can follow.
On the phone to her parents, she says it is her trying to calm them down.
"I know I am safe here at all times, I have parents here, I have friends."
She smiles as she lists the bubble activities she has enjoyed; capture the flag has been the best, although hide and seek in the dark "was pretty cool too".
Throughout my conversation with her, she attempts to teach me how to say thank you in Japanese, something she has learnt from another international student, alongside her student-led piano lessons.
"My goal was always to get to know people of other nationalities," Luna says.
Germany has a scheme to repatriate its citizens but that's not an option Luna is considering.
"You would have to push me on that flight," she says. "This is so much better than flying home and giving up on my dream."
Headmaster Wayne Brown says some of his memorable experiences so far are the Murder Mystery party organised for staff, and the Easter egg hunt which the preschoolers particularly enjoyed although it would be fair to say that representatives of most age groups were charging around in pursuit of chocolate for a decent 20 minutes.
Brown says there had been plenty of WhatsApp humour on the staff chat and says it's the little touches; the birthday cakes, the photos placed around school that make the difference.
He terms the morale "harmonious" and exemplifies this with the daily dinners at the dining hall where the little ones are toddling around collecting cuddles, staff members are completing jigsaw puzzles, and whether at 6 or 65 years old everyone is walking around wearing a smile.
Worries and concerns have obviously not been obliterated.
I for one, dread waking up to updates from the UK, and religiously search the British Consulate Twitter page in hope of some positivity.
Yet, a giggle or a game of table tennis is never far away, and the students are just as ready as the staff for a more serious chat.
The Head talks about this period as if it were an opportunity.
"We are doing what we do," he says.
"Collegiate has always been more than a school, but this allows us to demonstrate that with a volume that is deafening."
Over the past three weeks, I have been privileged to self-isolate within this community, one which, in the words of Wayne Brown, has "moulded into a family".
While my Instagram feed may no longer be filled with pictures of Bali or bungee jumps or backpackers, my most meaningful New Zealand experience might have been so simple as a lockdown football match followed with toasted marshmallows all along.