Huia Residence is unique among the first year halls in that you have three catering options.
– Fully Catered (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner provided on weekdays, Brunch/Dinner weekends)
– Half Catered (Only Dinners provided, seven days)
– Self Catered (Pretty self-explanatory, you cook for yourself)
For some, this is the reason they apply to Huia, or it may be something they’re not entirely sure of when comparing residences. So in this post, I’m hoping to offer some insights and first-hand opinions on each of the different options.
First up, fully catered.
To find out what having all your food provided without having to think about is truly like, I asked my friend Amisha a few questions.
What are the best parts of being fully catered?
The best part of being fully catered is not having to cook meals as well as doing dishes. It also means that you can get a packed or cook meal for lunch which saves me from preparing my own lunches and money on eating out. I also find it saves me time and it is a good time to interact with other people at the hall.
What are some of the not so good aspects of being fully catered?
The not so good thing about being fully catered is breakfast, the hours are a little early, and I always end up wanting to sleep for that extra 20 minutes. Breakfast during the week is also very plain and is nothing compared to cooked brunches in the weekend.
What made you choose this plan?
I decided to go with the full meal plan because I thought I would save time and it would just make uni life easier, which I definitely think it has.
Do you have any additional thoughts?
I’ll definitely continue to be fully catered next semester as I find it a lot easier and it also allows me to spend extra time on uni work. Also, the lunches are probably the best, which I would not get if I were partially catered.
Partially Catered / Dinners Only
I chose to go on the dinners only meal plan and be partially self-catered so here are my responses to the same questions I asked the others.
What are the best aspects of being partially catered?
I enjoy having the flexibility to eat as simple or as complex breakfasts and lunches as I want, and when I want to have them. I don’t have to think about ordering packed lunches, or whether I’ll miss the breakfast times because I’m in complete control. But I also get to come back to the hall to an evening meal cooked for me, to enjoy with friends.
What are the not so flash bits of being partially catered?
Sometimes it can be hard to be motivated to go to the supermarket if it’s a busy week, but that’s mostly down to time management.
Why did you choose this plan?
I really wanted to be able to have control over at least part of what I’m eating, but I didn’t think I’d want to cook myself dinner after being at uni, so the dinners only meal plan is a good compromise between that.
How much do you spend on groceries per week?
It can vary depending on what I need; the range is usually between $25 and $40.
Additional thoughts & advice
In terms of supermarkets, there are three Countdowns within 20-25mins walking distance; Ponsonby, Metro (near the Sky Tower) and Quay Street (down by Britomart). I prefer Ponsonby because the walk there and back is almost entirely flat – which is pretty incredible for Auckland!
Another bonus that is potentially overlooked, is that mealtimes are a great time to socialise with friends in your hall. I see friends who are self-catered much less often than those who are on a meal plan.
Then there are the brave souls who are self-catered, such as Rosie who was kind enough to answer my questions:
What are the best bits of being self-catered?
Flexible meal times, eating to preference, learning how to grocery shop for one.
What are your least favourite things about being self-catered?
Sometimes difficult to motivate myself to cook new things I’d really enjoy so meals can easily get repetitive.
Why did you choose to be self-catered?
I wanted to be able to eat meals I felt like eating when I felt like doing so, also useful life skill to get accustomed to.
I know a lot of people are curious how self-catering stacks up money-wise, so what is your average weekly spend on groceries?
Depends on what my schedule is like each week but usually about 80-100 a week
Any additional thoughts you’d like to share?
I would definitely recommend being self-catered if you are committed to students who are willing to commit some of their time to meal planning, grocery shopping, fruit and vege shopping and cooking- but it’s usually simple enough to switch to the fully catered option or partially catered if you end up thinking self-catered isn’t for you
For comparison’s sake, the Fully Catered meal plan costs just over $100 per week and the Dinners only comes in at $54 per week. Previous bloggers from Huia have said they can spend as little as $50 a week on their food being self-catered, but obviously it depends on what sort of diet you have and whether you eat out a lot or not.
Hopefully this has helped shine a light on the different options here at Huia, if you have any questions that haven’t been answered, please ask in the comments and if I can’t answer, I’ll ask someone who can.