15 June 2023 at 11:30 am

From the CE: Building the momentum at NAFSA 2023



Kia ora koutou, 

I’m writing this in an airport lounge in Vancouver, Canada as I wait for my flight back to New Zealand. I’ve spent the past two weeks in North America with several of our tertiary education providers at NAFSA, the world’s biggest international conference and exhibition, and here in Canada. In last month’s column I reflected on the delegation I led to India.

These trips involve lots of hard work from many people – time, effort, money and being away from whānau. They are always valuable and this one was no different.

Two things stood out from me on this journey.

We must continue all our efforts to ensure people know we are open, and we are welcoming of students into New Zealand. A lot of good work is occurring across the sector and ENZ but we need to keep going.

The last time I looked Immigration had received close to 50,000 student visa applications since August from both outside and within New Zealand. It’s a good start considering our borders have not been open for a year yet and it’s wonderful to have international students back at our education providers and in our communities. But we need to keep telling New Zealand’s education story and reestablish our partnerships and relationships.

I was again reminded how intense the competition is to attract students to New Zealand as we all continue to rebuild. There were nearly 10,000 attendees, 400 exhibitors and over 50 countries represented at NAFSA. New Zealand has a very good story to tell based on the quality of our education, the experience the students have when they study here, and the excellent people that work in this sector. 

Rebuilding is not an easy task. I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be. There are plenty of articles and news stories identifying challenges being faced by other countries. New Zealand is in an excellent position to attract great students who receive a leading education and have a life changing experience. 

India. The United States. Canada. No matter the geography. The message is the same. Ten months in we’ve made a good start, but we have work to do.

Whāia te iti kahurangi; ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei

Aim for the highest cloud, so that if you miss it, you will hit a lofty mountain.

Ngā mihi nui,

Grant McPherson

What's in it for me?