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  • Meet the Team: Matt Penney

    Could you please outline your own role and the role of the Corporate Services team?

    I head up our Finance and IT teams and sit on the leadership team. I am a member of the Audit & Risk committee and chair the Digital Steering group.

    Finance is responsible for paying our invoices, keeping accounting records, business partnering, helping to set budgets and reforecasting those as things change. We do a lot of reporting and work with tax people, auditors and do other forms of compliance. Audit NZ has awarded us their highest rating for the past three years.

    IT provides many of the essential tools, technology, and training for us to be able to do our job. ENZ is putting in place one of the most, if not the most, advanced IT-managed cloud computing solution within the public sector. 

    We operate in many different jurisdictions around the world, so we face many different challenges at a local level. We are also part of the NZ Inc government sector and there is a lot of knowledge and services that we can and do share with each other.

    How has COVID-19 impacted your team’s work, and what work do you have ahead of you with the recovery?

    In the current environment, we have helped to reconfigure ENZ’s work programme. We have supported the identification of new activities that support the international education sector, connect with the international students in New Zealand, and gather intelligence about the markets for New Zealand providers. I think we have all gone through a reboot the last few months and as is often said, “we should never let a good crisis go to waste” and miss the chance to make positive change.

    In terms of my team’s work programme, that’s actually full steam ahead. We have nearly completed our IT-managed cloud computing solution, desk phones have been replaced with soft phone telephony, we are trialling updated Zoom hardware, and putting in new, improved global managed internet connections. We are also go-live shortly with a new finance system to ensure ENZ staff can spend less time on administration and more time on value-add activities.

    Can you tell me a bit about your professional background?

    I belong to the New Zealand professional bodies for Directors and Chartered Accountants. and have 25 years of business experience in a mixture of private and public sector roles. Six years of that experience was gained in the UK and Ireland. I really enjoyed my time working overseas.

    I joined ENZ in 2014; this is my first government agency role.

    Accounting is a transferable skill, so I have had an interesting journey across many different sectors. I have toured around power stations, air traffic control towers, coal mines – who says accounting is boring!

     Matt (about to receive a hand up) competing in an adventure race in China. 

    What do you like to do in your spare time?

    My interests are built around my family; I am married with 11 and 8-year-old boys. I like my travel – one of the benefits of COVID is that my leave balance is now positive again!

    Once upon a time we backpacked our way around Asia and Europe and did a truck tour across southern Africa. I have been to something like 60 countries, but these days we do more family-friendly things like go to Ohope, Rarotonga and the South Island ski fields.

    I have done the annual Coast to Coast race across the South Island four times and Ironman NZ once. In the past couple of years I’ve tried adventure racing in China where we’ve won enough prize money to cover the costs of getting there. We raced in Wulong and I could not go all that way without popping in to see Felix in our nearest ENZ office in Guangzhou.

  • MyStudy NZ WeChat mini programme gets a refresh

    MyStudy NZ is our intelligent matching tool which matches prospective students to courses and institutions in New Zealand based on a set of questions and areas of interest. It can be found on for our western markets.

    However, for our China market who predominantly use WeChat, we developed a mini programme for them in November 2018.

    The new version of the mini programme continues the original smart matching, but is more user-friendly and personalised, making it easy for students to obtain official information about application.

    How is 2.0 better than 1.0? We believe it’s better in eight different ways: 

    1. Social sharing enabled – Prospective students who come across their dream school can now share it to a WeChat friend or group chat immediately. The recipient can open the mini programme and view the details of the school as well.
    2. One-click authorisation – Students won’t have to fill in all the details to become a member anymore. With one click, prospective students can authorise their WeChat accounts to become registered MyStudy NZ members.
    3. Clear living costs displayed – Once prospective students get a match, they can expand and view the annual living costs in a pop-up window.
    4. You can see the latest content with added filter – Without registering, students can view the latest OA articles and filter based on views or posting date.
    5. UX (user experience) optimisation – Users can now choose paths when entering the mini programme.
    6. Complete UI (user interface) update – To remain consistent with the refreshed ‘I am New’ brand.
    7. New notifications – Push notifications will be sent to remind students to register, do course matching, bookmark favourite schools and talk to them.
    8. Speed optimisation and no more errors – We have done some coding optimisations and upgraded our server so the mini programme will load faster and users shouldn’t receive any more error messages.

  • English New Zealand announces new chair

    Darren, who is the managing director and co-owner of Languages International, previously served as English New Zealand’s chair from June 2012 to 2015.

    English New Zealand chair Darren Conway.

    “I was planning for something much more relaxing than stepping back into the chair’s role at English New Zealand,” he said.

    “But these are unprecedented times and I’m happy to take up the challenge. I hope that my experience and advocacy can help English New Zealand lead the sector out of the current crisis. We can make a useful contribution to the recovery of the New Zealand economy, but we need both judicious and timely support and clear communication from the government, and that’s where our initial focus will be.”

    English New Zealand say they greatly appreciate the contributions that Wayne, also the group principal for ICL Education, has made during his tenure.

    “It has been a privilege to represent the 22 members schools and I have appreciated the opportunity to engage with government and non-government stakeholders, raising the awareness of what we do and advocating on members’ behalf,” Wayne said.

    “We have long argued that our quality and experience be recognised by government agencies in a meaningful way - in the way the export education levy is determined, in the way our sector is quality assured, and in the way our English language courses are categorised.

    “To that end, I was very pleased by the recent cabinet paper proposing legislative changes allowing for recognition of ELT as a separate sub-sector and opening the door to achieving these goals.”

  • PTE English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) Provision Fund

    The $1.5 million fund is designed to help English language schools impacted by the border closure to international students.

    The funding was announced in July by Minister of Education Chris Hipkins as part of the Government’s $51.6 million Recovery Plan for International Education.

    The PTE ESOL Fund is part of the first workstream, which seeks to stabilise the sector while borders remain closed. Read more about the Recovery Plan.

    The funding aims to help increase demand for English language training, to be met by English Language Schools. It will also help with upskilling and improving the employability of New Zealanders with English language needs, including migrant partners and dependents of New Zealanders.

    The fund is being implemented by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).


    To be eligible for the PTE ESOL Provision Fund, your organisation must hold a Category 1 External Evaluation and Review (EER) rating from NZQA as at 1 July 2020.

    Teaching enabled by this fund may only be provided to Category A and B learners. All learners must be in New Zealand.

    Read more details on eligbility

    How to apply

    Applications for the PTE ESOL Provision Fund are open now and will close at 5pm on Friday, 28 August.

    To apply, you need to complete the form on the TEC website and send it through to the TEC Customer Group via email:

    Read more detail and apply

    Other considerations 

    For the full list of terms and conditions, including successful applicants’ reporting and monitoring requirements, refer to the TEC website.

  • From the CE: Honouring our commitment to international students

    The Government has announced today that a new border exception will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies.

    Read Minister of Education Chris Hipkins’ official release.

    This is a positive first step on the path to recovery and is consistent with the Recovery Plan for International Education.

    It is recognition that international education is important to New Zealand and will play a vital role in the country’s rebuild and recovery from COVID-19. Prior to COVID, international education was New Zealand’s fifth-largest export earner, earning $5 billion a year and supporting around 45,000 jobs.

    Moreover, the international students included in this group have had their postgraduate study or research disrupted by COVID-19, and cannot complete it due to the practical nature of their course. They have made a commitment to New Zealand, and that’s something we want to honour.

    ENZ’s next step is to work with tertiary providers as they identify and select eligible students, and to continue to work with other government agencies to ensure a safe and considered process is developed for these students to enter the country.

    ENZ is looking forward to further border exceptions that will benefit as many providers and students as possible, when it is safe to do so.

    We will also have work underway to make sure the students entering New Zealand receive a warm welcome and have the information they need to succeed.

    I am very proud of the manaakitanga that New Zealand education providers have been demonstrating throughout the COVID-19 crisis this year.

    Please continue to encourage your students to sign up to NauMai NZ, our digital home for students who have chosen to study in New Zealand. Over the COVID-19 crisis, it has continually been updated and expanded with information international students need to know.

    In the early hours of Saturday, 2 October, ENZ’s NauMai NZ was awarded a Highly Commended in the Student Support category at The PIEoneer Awards. We are delighted to be recognised for this work alongside such a varied list of international organisations.

    You can read more about NauMai NZ in this issue of E-News.

    He waka eke noa (we’re all in this together).

    Grant McPherson

    Chief Executive

    Manapou ki te Ao

  • New initiatives to keep New Zealand education dream alive in Viet Nam

    Earlier this year, ENZ asked study providers how we can support the visibility of New Zealand schools who usually operate in the Vietnamese market.

    Two proposals have now been selected.

    The first will fund Year 10 students from five Manawatū schools to undertake a customised version of AFS’ Global Competence Certificate (GCC).

    AFS is partnering with Massey University to facilitate the programme and each New Zealand school will partner with a Vietnamese school from TTC Education, ENZ’s private school network partner with over 18,000 students.

    Students from both countries will join weekly virtual workshops facilitated by Massey University – in the last four weeks of New Zealand’s school year – focused on developing the students’ lifelong global ‘power skills’ and providing them with an opportunity to interact and connect directly with their overseas student counterparts.

    CEDA and Palmerston North City Council will offer scholarships for up to 25 Manawatū students to participate in the Vietnam GCC, while ENZ will fund the same number of students to participate in Viet Nam.

    The second initiative will support the development and implementation of a digital marketing strategy for 14 New Zealand schools. This initiative, which is being delivered by Lightpath Consulting Group, will include dedicated in-market representation, market advice, agent engagement support and a customised Vietnamese website.

    The activities will help build a strong, in-market sector presence while borders are closed. They will enable the schools and ENZ to engage through tailored digital marketing programmes to boost the reputation of New Zealand schools with Vietnamese audiences.

    Viet Nam is an important market for New Zealand schools. In 2018, it was one of our only source markets to record student growth on the year before, with 39 percent more Vietnamese students choosing to study here.

    “Education New Zealand remains committed to supporting New Zealand schools’ activity in Viet Nam and given the current challenges presented by COVID-19, we believe that supporting in-market representation models will maintain visibility in a market which has demonstrated continued growth for the sector,” ENZ Regional Director – Asia, John Laxon, says.

  • The first step towards student re-entry

    Work is well underway to put in place a new system to allow this cohort of students to enter New Zealand.

    For students, there is no rush to apply for these limited spaces. PhD and postgraduate students who hold or held a visa for 2020 will be selected by education providers and offered a place in this first cohort.

    The initial student selection process is being finalised by education providers and government agencies, who are also planning the support students will require on their journey to resume their study in New Zealand. Students are expected to start arriving from November, with most arriving after Christmas.

    Eligible students will hold or have held a visa to study in 2020 but have been unable to enter New Zealand due to COVID-19, with priority given first to those who must be in New Zealand to complete practical components of their research and study.

    Students will need to comply with New Zealand’s COVID-19 regulations, including a 14-day managed isolation period, and payment of the isolation charges. Their arrival remains subject to the availability of these facilities, to avoid preventing New Zealand citizens and residents from returning home, or essential skilled workers from entering the country.

    Education New Zealand has been working with the Ministry of Education and other Government agencies and the education sector in building the student re-entry approach.

    In announcing this decision on 12 October, Minister Chris Hipkins emphasised the importance of international education to New Zealand’s recovery and rebuild from the pandemic.

    “We have been glad to see this initial announcement has been well-received by both the New Zealand public and the education sector,” ENZ General Manager – Stakeholders & Communications, John Goulter, says. “This group of 250 represents only a fraction of our usual international student intake. By keeping this first cohort of international students small, we can all work to make sure students have a great experience – and that they are welcomed and supported by New Zealanders.”

  • From the CE: The outlook for the future

    Many of you are wondering – and fielding a lot of questions – about the outlook for the future as COVID-19 continues to disrupt the world.

    It’s very important to acknowledge that COVID-19 is an unprecedented event in our lifetime. While there have been crises, disasters, wars and terrorist attacks, none have had the scale, impact or complexity of this global pandemic. There is little certainty as the world navigates its way through this and looks to the development of effective vaccines to counter its impact.

    As New Zealand’s Director-General of Health advises, COVID-19 is a very tricky virus and we have to be very vigilant. The Government is continuing to take a balanced approach to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone in New Zealand and to carefully manage demand on the country’s quarantine facilities. We aren’t out of the woods yet and can’t be complacent.

    Like many other countries, New Zealand’s border restrictions remain in place. The Government is granting entry to small, targeted cohorts by exception only, and only these visas are being processed. Students are not able to apply for a student visa from outside New Zealand, unless a border exception applies. This decision will be reviewed in February 2021.

    Last month we saw the Government recognise the vital role international education will play in the recovery and rebuild of New Zealand and the need to continue the fight against the pandemic. The Minister of Education announced that the Government would allow a small cohort of up to 250 postgraduate (mostly PhD) students into New Zealand. These are students whose study has been interrupted by COVID-19 and who have a practical research component to their study that requires them to be here. Providers are currently selecting these students and they are expected to enter New Zealand earlier next year.

    We acknowledge that this exception applies to a fraction of the number of students we normally welcome to the country. Some students and providers may be disappointed not to have been a part of this first border exception group.

    The Government says it will review further possible border exceptions to enable more cohorts to enter the country, as and when the time is right, and to then build up numbers when it’s safe for all to do so. But no further decisions around cohorts have been made at this stage.

    So, given this information, we won’t see normal numbers of students entering the country in time for term one or semester one next year. I suggest that tertiary students consider starting or continuing their New Zealand study online, until there is more certainty on border exceptions. Students and their families are advised to keep in close contact with their agent or study provider.

    But throughout this uncertainty, I can assure you that New Zealand highly values international students and looks forward to their return. Until then, the team at Education New Zealand will continue to tell you as much as we can about the situation here, as soon as we can.

    Ehara taku toa I te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini.

    My strength is not that of a single warrior but that of many.

    Ngā mihi,

    Grant McPherson

  • Introducing the AgentLab WeChat mini programme

    As AgentLab is a web-based platform with English content, it needed a separate programme for Chinese audiences. The new mini programme not only uses Chinese language, but it also offers a localised user experience more suitable for this group.

    “Education agents continue to have a crucial role in ensuring that international students and their parents have accurate information about what New Zealand, as a study destination can offer. Especially in China, agents are the main interface between education providers, students, and students’ parents,” ENZ Director – Greater China, Miranda Herbert says.

    The agent landscape in China is extensive. The biggest agencies have around 50 branches in the mainland, with different agencies having particular regional strengths. Because agents run their own events – both B2B and with students – ENZ supports their activities rather than running our own ENZ Recognised Agency fairs.

    AgentLab is ENZ’s dedicated communications portal for education agents, providing them with the training and resources they need to best promote New Zealand as an international study destination.

    It has proven to be a very effective way to support agents during these uncertain, fast-changing times. There are now close to 5,000 users on the platform, which is a 60 percent increase since March 2020. This year alone ENZ conducted almost 50 webinars (some region-specific) through AgentLab, and shared regular updates via news feeds, direct messages, and the COVID-19 FAQs page.

    Access 新西兰留学顾问计划 on WeChat, or use the QR code below:

  • ENZ launches Korean Student Reporters Programme

    Throughout 2021, this group of student reporters will share everything from their personal experiences to advice for Korean students about to embark on their New Zealand study.

    ENZ Senior Market Development Manager – South Korea, Kay Lee, said that the ENZ Korea blog is an invaluable resource for prospective international students there.

    “All the student reporters are very keen to help future international students avoid mistakes and make better decisions. Their vivid and inspiring stories will help potential international students from Korea to prepare for their study in New Zealand post-COVID.

    “We’re encouraging them to write in an honest and informative way, as their insights as a student are priceless to someone thinking about studying in New Zealand in the future.”

    The student reporters consist of 10 tertiary students (from University of Auckland, University of Otago, University of Canterbury, Unitec, WelTec and Up International College) and 10 secondary school students (from Nelson College for girls, Sacred Heart Girls’ Collage, Bethlehem College, St Peter's Cambridge, Takapuna Grammar School, St Margaret College and Auckland International College).

    The first batch of stories in January included headlines like ‘My first summer break in New Zealand’, ‘Life in New Zealand during COVID-19’, and ‘University entrance preparation in New Zealand’.

    The student reporters programme is the first time ENZ has asked international students from Korea to contribute to our digital content platform in the local language. It is part of ENZ’s Korea team’s efforts to keep the New Zealand education brand alive in-market under the New Zealand Government’s Recovery Plan for International Education

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