Dunedin is a faboulous city with great wildlife to explore, plus it is near Wanaka and Queenstown for skiing and stunning landscapes. The university has a great sudent culture - very cool place to be. Can be cold through the winter, make sure she gets warm accommodation.
Wellington is a great wee capital city - lots to do, fairly lousy weather
My pick - Dunedin
I think she needs to consider academic issues as well as location - what is she studying? Waikato has an excellent reputation in a number of areas including business, law & environment. I have been taking Chinese students there for the last 5 years and they are very well organised & welcoming. Plus it is considerably warmer than Dunedin. NZ universities tend to finish for the year around late October, so she may need to check whether she can complete enough classes to gain necessary credits. (The 2nd semester usually runs from July-October).
I agree with Zhuhai, academic issues are important. A university education is expensive, especially if you're adding on a semester overseas. Just recently the latest QS World University Rankings have been published, and New Zealand universities are included in these. You can check overall reputation, and reputation in specific subject fields. See link below
While Otago University has an excellent reputation in some areas, notably health sciences, Dunedin also has a reputation as something of a party town, with some less than serious students.
Here's a link to a recent article about the academic listings:
Auckland University is ranked tops for NZ, then University of Otago (Dunedin).
What is your daughter majoring in? We could better advise you. Also, what kind of environment is your daughter most comfortable with? What does she like to do besides study? Does she mind being cold? Does she like the beach? Does she like to hike? Bike? Ski?
Dunedin has an undergraduate medical school, does interesting medical and scientific research, has a good marine sciences program (the city just hosted the 20th Biennial Conference on Marine Mammals), has an excellent psychology program. It attracts academics from around the world; I have met many from various disciplines. It is a party school, but, there are plenty of serious students, too. It is the country's oldest university.
Dunedin is also home to Otago Polytechnic:
Another question: Why does your daughter want to study in New Zealand? What image of New Zealand does she have in her head? Because if she has been dreaming of those Lord of the Rings mountainous landscapes, she'll be a lot closer to that in Dunedin. It doesn't look like that in Dunedin, but the city is within hours of those landscapes.
I don't why anyone would choose to study in New Zealand because of Lord of the Rings, but even if they did, all three suggested locations are about equal. Hamilton is convenient for Hobbiton and Mt Doom, Wellington has Rivendell and the Weta Cave, and Dunedin is close enough to Queenstown.
Then again, all of those places could be visited once study has finished for the year, leaving the choice of university to be based on what will best enhance sanyc's daughter's future opportunities in life.
The interest in New Zealand is totally unrelated to Lord of the Rings, hadn't crossed her mind. NZ is one of the places that offers oversees study in her field, which is English/Literature and teaches in English language as well. She also has a love of the outdoors and would like to be in or near a city/town. Thanks for the feedback.
Well, then, your daughter sounds much more sensible and practical than I was at her age, but then it also sounds like she is getting good guidance from you. Selsy gave you a link to the university rankings, which is a great start. If your daughter loves the outdoors, then all of New Zealand fits the bill. Because I live in Dunedin, I am partial to the South Island. Dunedin is 3.5 to 4 hours from Queenstown, Mt. Cook, Lake Tekapo, Te Anau or Wanaka--some of the most beautiful places on an island packed with beautiful places perfect for outdoor explorations (from north to south). But the North Island is beautiful and interesting, too, with volcanoes and geothermal activity, beautiful beaches and forests, Maori culture in abundance, and so on.
Given your daughter's interest in English literature, I can tell you that Dunedin has applied for UNESCO City of Literature status.
The Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival takes place in May:
And it celebrates Robert Burns birthday with an annual Robert Burns Poetry Competition.
Wellington had also applied in the past:
Wellington is also a vibrant city, that looks and feels a bit like San Francisco (my hometown).
In March, Wellington also hosted a Writers Week as part of the New Zealand Festival:
Here university websites, which you can glean information from:
You might also want to look at the websites for the different cities.
Hopes this helps.
WLnz and Zhuhai have noted that climate might influence your daughter's decision. Is cost of living a consideration, as well? If so, you might want to have a look at websites such as:
Again, the university websites can come in handy: