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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




The Youth Hostels Association seeks to provide simple accommodation for the night and a friendly community atmosphere for young people travelling across country, usually on foot or by bicycle. Membership of a Youth Hostel Association in any country entitles one to become a member of the International Youth Hostels Federation, with associations in nearly every country in the world. In most European countries there is a chain of hostels within walking distance of each other where beds and beddings, cooking facilities, and a common room are provided. As it is a non-profit-making organisation, each person staying in a hostel is expected to do one household task before leaving. Hostels have been established in all types of buildings such as ancient castles, cottages, and ships at anchor. In New Zealand even an out-moded tramcar has been put to use.

The Youth Hostels Association was first formed in New Zealand in 1932, in Canterbury, where farmers often made available some farm building or a portion of their homes. In 1955 a National Council was formed and since then growth has been rapid. Though in New Zealand it is a voluntary organisation, by 1965 there were 39 hostels, eight of which were added in 1964, and over 7,000 members. The objects of the association are given as: “To help all, but especially young people, to a greater knowledge, love, and care of the countryside through the provision of hostels or other simple accommodation for them in their travels, and to promote their health and education”.

by Olive Rita Croker, M.A., Botanist, Wellington.