19 October 2023 at 10:00 am

2023 PIEoneer Awards - Celebrating NZ international student finalist, Nehara Pandey

Former UP International College graduate and current student at Victoria University of Wellington, Nehara Pandey, was recently recognised as an ‘International Alumni of the Year’ finalist at the 2023 PIEoneer Awards. 

Nehara 1

Nehara was one of only seven students from across the globe shortlisted as finalists for the ‘International Alumni of the Year’ category at the 2023 PIEoneer Awards. She was the only student in her category from the Southern Hemisphere and up against fellow international students from the UK, United States, and Germany. 

The PIEoneer Awards is hosted annually by PIE News, a prominent international education news platform, and honours individuals and organisations across the globe driving excellence and innovation in education and beyond. The ‘International Alumni of the Year’ award celebrates international students who have made a significant contribution to their institution and the wider community. This year, the ceremony took place in London on Friday 22 September. 

Nehara is originally from Goa in India and proudly neurodiverse. She completed her foundation studies at UP International College’s Wellington Campus in 2021 where she proved her drive for academic success, scooping up the Overall Excellence Award at the Wellington International Student Excellence Awards that same year. 

Growing up by the ocean in India sparked her interest in environmentalism and she is now furthering her education at Victoria University of Wellington with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in marine biology. As well as being a dedicated conservationist, climate correspondent, and aspiring marine biologist, she is also a strong advocate for the neurodiverse community. You can read about her many achievements in UP Education’s media release on her nomination here.  UP Education also produced a showcase video, featured below, that highlights Nehara’s remarkable achievements and how a New Zealand international education has helped her succeed. 

Nehara participated in the awards ceremony online and said it was an exciting experience to be a part of and such an honour to represent both New Zealand and India at an international level. 

"I was introduced to so many organisations and people breaking barriers in the field of International Education. Although I did not win, this was such a unique learning experience and I'm extremely grateful to UP Education for nominating me.  

Studying at UP Education and now at Victoria University of Wellington has taught me so much and allowed me to grow both personally and professionally," said Nehara.  

"I'm incredibly thankful to both institutions for allowing me to pursue my dreams of working in the field of conservation," she added. 

 Richard Kensington, Principal, Academic Relations for UP Education said that Nehara’s success story reflects the transformative educational experiences New Zealand can offer its international students.  

“We were absolutely thrilled for Nehara that she was an ‘International Alumni of the Year’ finalist. This is yet another achievement that she can add to the already long list of achievements to her name,” said Richard. 

ENZ’s Regional Director, America’s, Middle East and Europe, Amy Rutherford, was invited to participate in the 2023 Awards as one of 41 independent judges presiding over the 20 award categories. She joined two other New Zealanders on the panel including Gavin Millar from Nayland College in Nelson and Dr Pii-Tuulia Nikula from The Eastern Institute of Technology | Te Pūkenga in the Hawkes Bay.

ENZ’s Amy Rutherford (5th from left) with fellow judges, including Gavin Millar from Nayland College (far right), at the 2023 PIEoneer Awards

Amy said it was a huge honour to be invited to take part in the awards which celebrate the achievements of individuals and businesses who make such significant contributions to international education around the globe.  

The calibre of the nominations received for the PIEoneer awards was especially high this year. It was a particularly proud moment to see Nehara representing New Zealand’s international education sector on this global stage and see her recognised for the outstanding contributions she makes to so many areas of her personal and academic life.  

On behalf of Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao, I’d like to extend our congratulations for her nomination in these awards and achievements thus far. I know she will continue to do amazing things, added Amy 

The list of awards and winners can be found here. If you or your organisation would like to make a nomination for the 2024 PIEoneer Awards, entries will be opening in February 2024.  


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