17 August 2023 at 9:15 am

ENZ Chair optimistic for the future of international education sector

Conference focuses on Te Ara Ki Tua, “the pathway forward”. 

The New Zealand international education sector should be optimistic about its future. 

This was the message the Chair of Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ), Tracey Bridges, delivered to members of the sector attending the New Zealand International Education Conference Ki Tua in Christchurch (New Zealand) today. 

The conference is the first in-person gathering of the sector since 2019 and attracted more than 590 guests and sector representatives. 

Speaking at the opening plenary session of the conference, Ms Bridges said that just as the sector had much to celebrate in the shared endeavours and achievements of the past 30 years, there was also cause for optimism looking forward. 

“I’m optimistic about the future of this sector, and the contribution it can make to all the people in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and beyond.” 

Ms Bridges said this optimism was underpinned by the diversity and strength of the sector that spans schools, polytechnic institutions through Te Pūkenga, universities, private training establishments (PTEs), English language schools, Education products and services, and Wanaga. 

Another key strength was the industry’s ability to adapt. 

In early 2020 our world changed forever, and in the three and a half years since, we have all had to – time and time again – prove our ability to adapt.  

“I want to acknowledge the work that everyone has done in recent years, and to acknowledge the fact that you continue to adapt to meet these challenges. 

“Your presence here today is testimony to your resilience and commitment to ongoing change. So I’m optimistic not because everything will now return to the old normal, but because I know that together we will find ways to forge a new approach that’s right for the time we are in: we will continue to seek our ‘pae tawhiti’(distant horizon)”.   

Ms Bridges said ENZ had also refocused and confirmed its approach for the coming 12 months by concentrating on Focus Area One of the refreshed 2022 New Zealand International Education Strategy, “helping providers of international education build back their bases through inbound student mobility growth”. 

While prioritising its resources and targeting its efforts, ENZ had not lost sight of the need to build long term resilience and stability, and had a number of initiatives in this area, consistent with Focus Area Two.  This had involved hosting a visit earlier in August of Professor Martin Bean, and work through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) to explore the diversification of products, services and modes of delivery.  

ENZ was also looking forward to working alongside Ōtautahi, Christchurch to bring the ICEF Australia New Zealand Agent Conference to Christchurch in April next year. 

Ms Bridges also acknowledged the importance of leveraging diplomatic engagement and Ministerial travel to enhance New Zealand’s reputation as a partner for international education.  

“The value of these initiatives is shown in the response to recent promotional trips to India, the US and Canada. More recently, education was a significant part of the Prime Minister’s visit to China where its importance as part of our bilateral relationship was mentioned in almost every major engagement.” 

This had continued with the conference welcoming the People’s Republic of China as the Country of Honour, with the Minister for Education, His Excellency, Huai Jinpeng joining the conference as a keynote speaker on Friday. 

A full transcript of the speech can be found here.


For further information:  

Justin Barnett | Director of Communications, Education New Zealand  


+64 21 875 132 


Notes to Editors:  

About Education New Zealand (ENZ) https://www.enz.govt.nz/ 

Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ) is the government agency responsible for taking New Zealand’s education experiences to the world. ENZ promotes a New Zealand education as one that teaches students to be critical thinkers, problem solvers and lifelong learners, which will help them succeed in their future careers and create a positive impact on the world.  

With approximately 100 staff in 18 locations around the world, ENZ works closely with New Zealand’s diverse education sector including schools, English language providers, Private Training Establishments, Te Pūkenga (Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics), universities; and internationally with NZ Inc agencies, Government agencies and education providers to encourage sustainable growth and identify opportunities.    

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