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  • Executive team

    Grant McPherson | Chief Executive

    Grant is the Chief Executive at Education New Zealand.

    He leads ENZ in taking New Zealand's education experiences to the world for enduring economic, social and cultural benefits for all New Zealand.

    In response to COVID-19, Grant chaired the International Education Chief Executives' Group. Together with peers from other government agencies with interests in international education, the group helped to drive the Government's International Education Recovery Plan.

    He also lives and breathes international education - he is a former international student himself, his children have international study experience and he has hosted students in Wellington with his family.

    Prior to his role at ENZ, Grant was Deputy Chief Executive and General Manager, Strategy at New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE), following extensive experience as Regional Director, South/South East Asia and Group General Manager, Business Solutions on the NZTE Leadership team.  

    Wendy Kerr l General Manager, Sector Engagement

    Joining us in 2022 from fintech Valocity where she was Global Chief Operations Officer, Wendy has rich experience in both education and commercial businesses globally.

    Prior to Valocity, she was Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland.  She led the team there to transform the Centre and enabled the University to be recognised as Entrepreneurial University of the Year in the Asia-Pacific.

    Wendy is also Board Director for The Icehouse and sits on the Board of Epsom Girls Grammar. Previous roles include General Manager for Pearson PLC London, and Asia-Pacific Marketing Manager for Apple. She has been a TEDx speaker and has published a number one best seller on Amazon - ‘Corporate Crossovers’. Wendy has a Ngāti Mutunga and Moriori heritage and will be based in our Auckland office.

    Sahinde Pala l General Manager, Sector Services

    Sahinde joined ENZ in 2016 after 18 years working for a multinational group of English language schools. With a career dedicated to international education, she brought extensive private sector experience in international marketing, stakeholder engagement and student experience delivery to the organisation.

    Sahinde has held a number of roles at ENZ working with education providers, government stakeholders, regional groups, peak bodies, students’ associations and community groups. She was heavily involved in developing the International Student Wellbeing Strategy.

    With a passion for delivering an excellent customer experience, Sahinde will be leading the newly formed Sector Services team to deliver a suite of products and services that support the sector to rebuild and thrive. This includes student experience, global citizenship, global events, and agent engagement, as well as scholarships to support domestic students to have an international education experience, and international students to study in New Zealand.

    Sahinde is based in our Auckland office and spends her time outside of work standing on the sidelines of sports fields supporting her young boys. 

    Lisa Futschek | General Manager, International

    Lisa joined ENZ in 2013 after an 18-year diplomatic career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade which included five years as the Deputy Head of Mission at the New Zealand Embassy in Berlin, and three years as First Secretary and Consul at the New Zealand Embassy in Santiago.  

    As General Manager InternationalLisa leads a global team of 30based across 17 locations around the world, focussed on profiling New Zealand as an education partner and ensuring international education contributes to New Zealands international relations goals. 

    Lisa has been instrumental in expanding ENZ’s offshore network in Asia and establishing a permanent presence in North America. She brings a strong internationalisation lens to ENZ’s work, emphasizing the critical role of relationships and partnership for mutual benefit.   

    A graduate of Otago and Auckland universities, Lisa and her husband Regan are based in Wellington. They have two teenagers, a son studying at Otago University and a daughter in Year 12 at high school. 

    Matt Penney l General Manager, Corporate Services

    Matt joined ENZ in 2014. He previously held Financial Controller roles at Bathurst Resources and Contact Energy, and has worked in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland.  Matt is a Chartered Accountant, a member of the NZ Institute of Directors and has a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University of Wellington.

    Matt’s team provides insightful analysis to the sector and ENZ, as well as strategic finance, budgeting and IT services and lead ENZ’s business operations’ planning and performance.

    Di Solomon l General Manager, Government Relations

    Di is a public sector leader with over 15 years’ experience working across a number of central and local government agencies.

    Di leads the Education New Zealand team responsible for governance, accountability and performance, and connecting ENZ to its government agencies partners. Her aim is to ensure New Zealand’s international education sector is resilient, sustainable, globally connected and provides an excellent education experience.

    Formerly an international student, Di holds a Masters in Environmental Policy from Lincoln University.

    Geoff Bilbrough l General Manager, Marketing and Communications

    Geoff is a senior corporate communications and marketing practitioner with a proven record of advising and delivering programmes for clients in the private and public sector.

    His experience includes ten years in Wellington with Sweeney Vesty Limited; ten years in London with an integrated marketing communications agency; six years as the General Manager of the Hong Kong office of FleishmanHillard, a global communications agency; and before joining ENZ, at Acumen in Wellington.

    At Acumen, Geoff advised and led communication programmes for clients including Buddle Findlay, Scouts New Zealand, BCITO, the Motor Trade Association and James Hardie. In Hong Kong, as well as a client load that included Marriott International, Huawei, Emerson Electric, Melco Crown International amongst others he was responsible for the running of FleishmanHillard Hong Kong - a 55-person multicultural, multidisciplinary consultancy.

    Geoff has personal experience of international education through his son who is a previous recipient of a Prime Minister’s Scholarship to Asia, completed an undergraduate exchange to France, and is finishing his PhD with the Humboldt University in Berlin.

    Ed Tuari l Manukura Chief Advisor Māori

    Ed is of Ngāti Porou and Te Whanau-ā-Apanui descent, and joined Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao in 2017. He previously worked in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for 18 years.

    As Manukura, Ed develops and leads the Rautaki Māori (ENZ’s Māori Strategy), provides advice regarding cultural capability, and brings a Māori perspective to policy and project development.

    A former primary school teacher for 10 years, Ed has experience in providing Māori bi-lingual and immersion learning within the New Zealand primary school sector. He also co-wrote and co-presented the first Māori language television programme for preschoolers for mainstream New Zealand television.

    In 2012, Ed was named New Zealander of the Year in the United Arab Emirates by AIG, for his cultural and professional contribution to the New Zealand community in Dubai and throughout the Middle East. Recently Ed was the Kaipupuri-Cultural Advisor of the Aotearoa New Zealand Pavilion, entrusted with Kaitiaki o te mouri for Expo 2020 Dubai.

    A graduate of Auckland University of Technology, Ed holds a degree in Māori Development, Language and Culture and a Diploma in Teaching.

    Ed enjoys engaging in indigenous development initiatives, working towards the preservation and maintenance of tribal culture and heritage, and indigenous networking.


  • School support on the way

    Mary Camp, ENZ’s Business Development Manager dedicated to the schools sector, says schools can expect to see these activities rolling out over the coming months.

    Mary is also chair of the Schools Sector Reference Group. She says that “with 596 schools hosting international students, and no peak body, consultation is a challenge.

    “So we have set up a Schools Sector Reference Group, to create a channel for consultation with the sector.”

    The group provides advice and guidance to ENZ on initiatives planned for the schools sector. The group includes representatives from eight regions. It will meet 3-4 times each year.

    ENZ’s schools sector initiatives include:

    • An exemplar school website showing best practice to attract international students

    • Marketing material focussing on New Zealand’s competitive edge, with room for regions and schools to insert their own details

    • A website review service to help schools maximise the results from their websites (conditions will apply)

    • Case studies of schools showing good practice in export education.

    Further initiatives off the block will include:

    • A professional development programme for International Directors and/or Principals

    • A marketing self-review tool

    • Research into primary and intermediates schools’ decline in numbers.

  • New resource on the Brand Lab

    "Peking University’s New Zealand Centre (which involves several of our universities and government agencies) runs this undergraduate course which students take to earn foreign language credits (and because of their interest in New Zealand, of course).  Enrolments have grown year-on-year, with 75 students now taking this class.

    In the past, I have delivered a more academic lecture on New Zealand’s education system, including on policies and reform.  And in the past, this has been met with glazed eyes.  So in a break with tradition I decided to make the session more interactive and incorporate some of the tools we now have at our disposal.  I gave an informal “why study in New Zealand” presentation, then moved on to showing the New Zealand Story and New Zealand Education Story.

    We then broke into small groups (just like we do in New Zealand classrooms and tutorials), and students worked on the task I had set:  to discuss and agree on “what three words best exemplify what is ‘special’ about New Zealand education.”

    And I was blown away by the responses.  Each group came up to write its words on the blackboard, and common themes included innovation, openness, diversity, inspiring, and opportunity.  Our messaging is clearly resonating.

    After then watching some of ENZ’s Gibson Group-produced Dragons in a Distant Land alumni episode (and remembering far too late that I have a cameo in it), I asked each group to explain its three words.  And again – I was blown away.  The willingness of these students to contribute their thoughts and to ask questions – in English, in public - with a second member from one group even volunteering additional thoughts – really impressed me.  The course coordinators were also very pleasantly surprised. 

    As products of New Zealand’s education system, volunteering our thoughts, asking questions and speaking in public come naturally to us.  This isn’t so in every education system.  

    Almost best of all, the course was that day being audited by a very senior Peking University Professor.  She stood up at the end and said, “I did my PhD in economics at the University of Chicago.  After today, I want my grandchild to go and study in NZ”.

    I always give the class my email address, and as of right now have received five enquiries from these students at China’s top-ranked university.  I have also had to courier additional blocks of Whittaker’s chocolate.  Each of the nine groups deserved a prize.

    A Chinese subtitled version of the New Zealand Education Story is now available on the Brand Lab, so I encourage you to use this when next in China or hosting Chinese visitors.”

  • Rugby + English a winning combo

    The boys are being hosted by Pathways College at Waikato University and the Waikato Rugby Union.

    Hot on the heels of this group are 10 female high school rugby Sevens players who will arrive in Auckland on 6 August. This group is being hosted by New Zealand Language Centres and the Auckland Rugby Union, with the support of the Japanese Ministry of Sport and Education (MEXT) and the Japanese Rugby Union.

    The visits are taking place under the ‘Game On English’ edu-sport programme jointly launched by Prime Minister John Key and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during Mr Abe’s visit to New Zealand in July 2014. They build on the success of the programme pilot that saw two teams visit Dunedin and Auckland respectively during the 2014 winter season.

    The programme was developed by Education New Zealand (ENZ) in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in response to the Japanese government’s goal to improve the English language skills and increase the sporting capacity of Japan’s young people in the lead up to Japan’s hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics.

    The programme is now administered by English New Zealand, who have expanded it to include five provincial rugby union academies and selected premium English language providers based in locations throughout the country: Auckland, Hamilton, Mount Maunganui, Christchurch and Dunedin.

    The programme includes daily English language classes and rugby training, and the students live with homestay families where they experience New Zealand life and culture and immersion in an English language speaking environment.

    Ewen Mackenzie-Bowie, Chairman of English New Zealand points out that Game On English is about more than playing sport; “The programme provides a life-changing experience for young people that builds self-confidence, leadership and teamwork and helps them develop the necessary skills to reach their sporting and learning potential.”

    With financial support from ENZ, English New Zealand has appointed sports management company Essentially Group as the Game On English programme co-ordinator in Japan. Essentially Group’s role is to promote the programme to interested parties in Japan and co-ordinate activity with the providers in New Zealand.

    The Game On English programme is being expanded into other sports where New Zealand can provide international students a world class experience. In early 2015 a successful rowing pilot was developed between Otago University and the Otago University Rowing club who hosted four athletes and a coach from Kyoto University.

    If you are interested in knowing more about the programme, please contact

  • ICL Education Group wins at 2016 Export New Zealand awards

    ICL won the award for Endace Services Exporter of the Year 2016. This award recognises excellence in building extraordinary and sustainable export growth, working in the areas of ICT, tourism, education and consultancy services.

    “I would like to salute the dedication and focus of the 100 ICL staff who have achieved this award, and of whom we are immensely proud.  We are particularly honoured that the judges have highlighted the ethics and professionalism of our Group, principles which we believe ultimately underwrite our success,” says Ewen Mackenzie-Bowie, Chairman of ICL Education Group.

    The award is one of seven categories, which have been held annually since 2009 to inspire New Zealand exporters to expand their businesses and grow internationally.

    ICL Education Group includes ICL Graduate Business School, Auckland English Academy, Bridge International College and New Horizon College.

    The judges were impressed with ICL’s approach to marketing, with a broad spread of target markets, and the introduction of new courses to meet identified demand, particularly at a post-graduate level. 

    It was clearly evident that ICL is a strong contributor to New Zealand’s success in continuing to attract fee-paying international students.  ICL’s research culture and policy of employing and retaining highly qualified staff was also seen as a positive factor. 

  • Where education meets technology, cyber-romance blooms

    Among the attendees was a group of New Zealand edtech companies and educators. Representatives of Massey University and Linewize joined the New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech) Chief Executive, Graeme Muller, and Education New Zealand (ENZ) Business Development Manager, Adele Bryant, at the event.  

    “NZTech formed the EdtechNZ Association last year so it was fantastic to offer members the chance to scope one of the biggest edtech events in the world,” said Graeme.  

    Altogether about 20 New Zealand delegates were in Denver which provided the opportunity to learn about global edtech trends, meet prospective partners and scope the possibility of exhibiting at the associated Expo usauin the future.     

    “The conference featured an amazing array of professional learning and collaborative networking opportunities while the expo hall showcased a wide range of edtech tools and solutions,” said Adele.

    Attendees could choose from more than 1,000 sessions in a variety of formats to support all learning styles.

    “The passion of teachers for using edtech tools to engage, manage and extend learners was evident from the start and suggests that the future for edtech in the classroom is bright.

    “A key take away was that educators were looking to spend more time engaging with students and less on developing their own resources, so easy-to-use and educationally sound tools which met learner needs were sought,” said Adele.

    “Supplying that technology is big business. The global edtech sector is estimated to be worth over $100 billion and Kiwi companies are keen to raise their international profile and provide solutions to meet that growing global demand.”

    Kiwi edtech success story Hapara (a cloud-based instructional management system for educational institutions) provided the New Zealand delegation a welcome opportunity to meet and network at a ‘Kiwi Hour’ onsite at the conference.  Among the group were Auckland-based edtech companies, Kami and Booktrack as well as Core Education and Network for Learning. Representatives of the Manaiakalani Trust delivered a Visible Learning session on the programme. 

    The NZTech-led group also attended a breakfast session on the role of schools and edtech companies in professional learning. The group reconnected there with Karen Billings, Vice President of the Education Technology Industry Network (ETIN) of the Software Information and Industry Association (SIIA) who was a speaker at ENZ’s first edtech for export (‘et4e’) conference. 

  • A school trip from Tauranga to Yantai

    The group travelled with support from Education New Zealand’s (ENZ) New Zealand China Sister Schools Fund. 

    Deputy Principal, Kathy Colville, who accompanied the students along with International Student Coordinator, Annemieke Hart, said “very strong bonds were established”.

    “Our students met many challenges,” she said, but “they rose to the occasion and took everything in their stride.”

    The students attended school and stayed with local families. An exhibition of Tauranga photos was held as part of the sister city celebrations, and the group enjoyed giving their hosts an insight into Tauranga life. The group also spent a day in Shanghai.

    Kathy said the students – all of whom learn Mandarin at school – were carefully chosen.

    “It was an extremely difficult task but we chose some that had travelled with us [overseas before]. We knew that we could rely on these students to be great ambassadors of our school, city and country.”

    There were lots of differences at school in Yantai, the principal one being the long school hours. The school day starts at 7.15am and ends at 5.30pm in China, with students then staying up till 11pm to complete homework.

     “The long school hours were a bit daunting,” said Riley Bartosh.

    The students also enjoyed learning calligraphy, and doing physical exercise Chinese-style – always carried out in groups.

    The students said the experience had made them more independent and opened up their minds to further travel in the future.

    “Now I’m more open to different cultures and how others live,” says Riley Bartosh.

    “I am interested in pursuing a career that involves communication with other countries. China has opened up opportunities that would never have been available otherwise,” says Stephanie Austin.

     “I’ve been on school trips to Portugal, Amsterdam and Turkey since I’ve been at this school,” says Ngawaka Ririnui. “It’s inspired me to travel more and experience how others live.”

    “I am going to continue learning Mandarin at our school so that I can speak three languages – English, Maori and Mandarin,” says Te Wairere Te Moana.

    Annemieke said Tauranga Intermediate School has offered biannual overseas school trips to its students since 2000. The school reinvests some of the revenue it receives from international students to fund these trips.

    She said that in Term three, a group from Yantai Number two Middle School was making a reciprocal visit to Tauranga.

  • What do Kiwis think about international education?

    Our sector’s successful future requires the public and other stakeholders to know about, and value, international education.

    ENZ Director Student Experience & Global Citizens, Sahinde Pala, says the research shows us international education is not front of mind for most New Zealanders.

    “However, when the benefits of international education were explained to the research participants, most were really onboard. They were also surprised they hadn’t heard it being talked about publicly and in the media.”

    Participants responded extremely positively to the fact international students spend in their community, including to help create jobs across many sectors.

    Sahinde says the research showed it is vital that communications broaden the conversation. This means sharing stories about the rich full breadth of other international education benefits New Zealanders care about now including, global citizenship, cultural diversity, tourism, and the fact education is a way to share our innovative ways of thinking, learning and living to benefit the world.

    Great fresh insights into how to communicate with Kiwis

    Sahinde notes this research gives us the first understanding of the ‘profiles’ of New Zealanders regarding international education – promoters, passives and detractors – and how to share communications that will increase public support.

    Encouragingly, half of the NZ population are in the promoter group, with a further 47% in the passive group, and only 3% in the detractor group.

    “The greatest social licence gains can be made through the ‘promoter’ group which makes up half of Kiwis. These people either know about international education or they fit a profile of having experiences or attributes that mean they are interested in New Zealand’s place in the world and cultural connectivity. The really great news is promoters will talk to others about international education if they hear it being discussed, and in a way that is meaningful to them.

    “This is the task for all of us across the international education system,” she says.

    The research also shows that two-thirds of New Zealanders are supportive of students coming into the country in 2021. “This is helpful to understand as we want to ensure those who have stayed and those who come this year receive the manaakitanga Think New promises them,” Sahinde says.

    Putting the research findings to work and next steps

    Using the insights from this research, ENZ is developing a communications toolkit, including ‘right fit’ messaging, for those in the international education system to use in their own public and stakeholder communications. This is scheduled for release in May.

    The toolkit will sit alongside this research, and ENZ’s new regular The Insight Story publication, which provides international education data and insight, as social licence tools to help increase awareness and support for international education.

    ENZ is also increasing its own communications to help increase awareness of what international education is, where it is going under the Recovery Plan and NZIES and ultimately, how it benefits students, New Zealand and our global relationships.

    ENZ will continue research to understand perceptions and support for international education, including to look at ways of getting real time insights into public sentiment and support.

    Read all about it! 

    The report is now on IntelliLab​. 

  • APAC TVET Forum registrations go live

    Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ) is excited to be hosting this virtual forum in partnership with Skills Consulting Group and Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

    This year’s forum theme Reshape – Rethink – Reset reflects the need to ensure the sustainability of workforces through innovation and skill building. The world of work is changing rapidly, so the upskilling and retraining of workers throughout the Asia Pacific region is more important than ever.

    APAC TVET provides an opportunity to share knowledge and insights on best practice across the region.  Participants will hear from sector leaders and practitioners throughout government, business, and education. There will be opportunities for learning, discussion, and networking.

    The wide-ranging programme features topics such as:  

    • Solving skills shortages in a global community 
    • Youth employment and lifelong learning
    • Skills for tomorrow and the credentials required 
    • Reimagining work: Digital transformation  
    • Inclusive systems that bridge the gender gap and promote diversity 
    • Embedding sustainability in vocational education

    Speakers are drawn from across the region, and include:  

    • Grant McPherson, Chief Executive – Education New Zealand 
    • Leon Fourie, Chair International Working Group – Te Pūkenga
    • Khun Phornvit Phacharintanakul, Senior Vice President – CP Group (Thailand) 
    • Akustina Morni, Senior Advisor – International Organisation of Employers (Brunei)
    • Dr Rohit Kishore, Director – Fiji Higher Education Commission
    • Kameli Batiweti, Chief Executive Officer – Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation
    • Dee Halil, Datacenter Region Expansion Skills Program Manager – Microsoft
    • Frances Valintine, Founder/Chief Executive Officer - The Mind Lab Tech Futures Lab
    • Professor Chan Lee, Seoul National University (South Korea) 
    • Afiq Redzuan, Group Chief Executive Officer – Multimedia Technology Enhancement Operations (Malaysia)

    All main APAC TVET Forum sessions will offer synchronous translation in four languages: Mandarin, English, Bahasa Indonesia, and Vietnamese.

    For more information and to register visit

  • International study experience in Brazil excites scholarship recipients

    A group of 15 students from the universities of Auckland and Waikato have recently returned to New Zealand after a month’s study in Brazil focusing on history and rights of indigenous people.  

    The students are group recipients of the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Latin America, which promotes international study opportunities for New Zealanders. 

    The group’s itinerary included lectures and field trips around Brazil, including Brasília, São Paulo, the largest city in the southern hemisphere; and Ubatuba, a beautiful, coastal city that joins the Atlantic Forest to the ocean. 

    Students had the opportunity to meet local indigenous communities such as the Guarani and share their experiences and stories of Aotearoa New Zealand. They discovered the challenges and difficulties faced by indigenous people in Brazil, as well as the richness of their ways of life, music and handicrafts, as well as their connection to their spiritual world. 

    One of the highlights for the students was their visit to the recently opened Museum of Indigenous Cultures in São Paulo, which offered them a glimpse of the contemporary expression of Brazilian indigenous art, with diverse manifestations such as photography, hip-hop and art installations with social protest. 

    Members of the Museum of Indigenous Cultures perform a traditional song for visiting students from New Zealand. 

    The ENZ team in Brazil closely followed the journey of the scholarship recipients across the country.

    ENZ’s Senior Market Development Manager – Brazil, Bruna de Natale said the students’ visit was a wonderful opportunity that has further grown the rich, cultural, and academic connections between Brazil and New Zealand.  

    “We were pleased to see how deeply the students immersed themselves in learning about history and indigenous rights in Brazil and make connections with indigenous communities in the country. It’s amazing to see the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Latin America enable this rich exchange of ideas and knowledge between New Zealand and Brazil,” de Natale said. 

    The four-week visit ended in Brasília, where the students synthesised their learning in Brazil by presenting original projects that promote the connection between the indigenous cultures of Brazil and Aotearoa New Zealand.  

    The students’ insights are also captured on video that can be viewed here on LinkedIn. 

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