16 April 2024 at 10:30 am

Growing offshore interest in NZ through onshore ‘Famils’

These past months have seen several overseas groups welcomed to Aotearoa New Zealand as part of ‘Famil’ tours organised by Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ). Read on to find out about what education ‘Famils’ entail and how collaborating as hosts, can bring even greater benefits to our sector.  

Media famil India Priyanka Srivastava

The season of famils in New Zealand started with an ENZ sponsored famil with Priyanka Srivastava, Senior Editor for Education Times (the Times of India), one of the largest publications in India.  

Priyanka visited all eight New Zealand universities and is pictured here with members of the University of Auckland’s Space Institute, including Professor Guglielmo Aglietti, and Catherine Qualtrough, the university’s International Manager South Asia, Amita Gejji, and ENZ’s Senior Communications Advisor, Sai Raje. Photo credit: University of Auckland.

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Following the media famil from India, a media delegation from Viet Nam arrived with ENZ’s Market Manager, Van Banh, supporting the group. The delegation visited several New Zealand universities, schools, private training establishments and Te Pūkenga to showcase the study options, facilities, support and services offered at these education providers. This provided an opportunity for the media delegates to further their understanding of the New Zealand education offering, leading to more accurate and positive media coverage in Viet Nam. Pictured here is ENZ’s Business Development Manager, Andy Walker, and the media delegation at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.  

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Viet Nam delegates paid a visit to Kings College in Auckland and had the opportunity to meet with Robbie Hickford, International Recruitment Director for the school, and local students.   

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The delegates visited Yoobee College in Auckland and had the opportunity to be filmed in front of the green screen. The footage was then used by students to create a short action scene.  

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During the various famil trips, the delegations all embarked on their New Zealand experience with a mihi whakatau in ENZ’s Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland offices before setting off around the countryPictured here are the agent delegations from Brazil and Germany.  

The Brazilian group arrived in New Zealand in March and the famil provided the opportunity to reconnect providers with agents and showcase education offerings in a variety of regions. The agents visited Auckland, Dunedin, Queenstown and Christchurch, with a focus on English Language learning, exploring new regions, and putting NZ back on the map. The Brazilian agents also showed a keen interest in learning about NZ’s high school and higher education offerings. 


The Brazil agents experienced the urban farm at Kaikorai Valley College in Dunedin. This was followed by a tour of the school led by the head students. The Otago Daily times published a story about their visit here - Delegates shown Dunedin school life | Otago Daily Times Online News (odt.co.nz) 

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The agents are pictured here with providers at the Christchurch Networking dinner, held at Ara and organised by Christchurch Educated.

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Alex Argente (President of Belta and CEO of Travelmate Intercambio, Brazil) with Pam Hunt at Hillmorton High School, in the hospitality classroom.


 The group also met with a Brazilian student currently studying English at CCEL in Christchurch.

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The Brazil agents on their visit to Wakatipu High School, with the Remarkables in the background. 

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A group of four education agents from Germany arrived in New Zealand at the same time as the group from Brazil but with a focus on connecting with high schools and visiting lesser-known regions. As well as the bigger cities of Auckland and Christchurch, they visited Rotorua, Taupō, and Hawkes Bay. Here the German agents are pictured at Henderson High school where they enjoyed games and kai (food). Another focus of their famil was learning how Te Ao Māori is incorporated into the New Zealand school experience. 

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The German agents enjoyed a fantastic day out Taupō, pictured here on a river float hosted by Taupō -nui-a-Tia College. The New Zealand Herald joined them in Taupō and wrote about their visit here - German education agents scout out regional NZ - NZ Herald  

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The German agents met with German students from Papanui High School for coffee at the local mall (a popular place for local students to hang out!)

Korean Agents ESOL class Kapiti College

Nine education agents from South Korea visited seven primary and secondary schools in addition to touring three tertiary institutions to link pathway, English language and transition opportunities in Wellington, Kāpiti, and Dunedin.  

 A key feature of the famil was showcasing New Zealand’s school sector offerings through hands on, experiential learning opportunities such as visiting food technology classes, learning about the strengths of the New Zealand school curriculum and seeing performing arts classes in action to highlight the contrast to the Korean school system’s focused on lectures and textbook learning.   

The Korean agents are pictured here observing an ESOL class at Kāpiti College. The students were learning vocabulary relating to their upcoming farm visit.  

Korean Agents Food Technology Bayfield High School

Sporting aprons and hair covers, Korean agents learned a new recipe from the Food Technology students at Bayfield High School in Dunedin. 

Korean Agents Zealandia takahe

Gaining a perspective of a typical field trip for local Wellington schools to Zealandia in Karori, the Korean agents learn about New Zealand’s native Takahē and links to the NCEA curriculum. 

In the post-famil survey, all nine participants reported they would recommend a similar ENZ-hosted event to their colleagues.  

Japan Teachers at PNGHS

Eight school teachers from all-girls' junior and senior high schools from the Kanto and Kansai regions of Japan visited secondary schools in Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatū across five days in March. The group is seen here with the Principal of Palmerston North Girls’ High School. 

Among the participants were the teachers from Japan Women’s University that signed a partnership arrangement with ENZ in 2022 to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in education. The group also visited Massey University’s campus in Palmerston North to learn about various pathway programmes for tertiary education in New Zealand. 

Japanese Teachers Real Fruit Ice Cream

The Japanese delegating tried out some of the local delicacies including boysenberry ice cream in Whanganui.

Japan Teachers at ENZ AKL office for ELS session

On their last day in Auckland the Japanese Girls’ School Teacher group was hosted by the ENZ Auckland office for a networking event with English Language Schools that accommodate students under the age of 18 and provide short courses and group toursAll of the famil participants said they were "extremely satisfied” with their overall experience and are likely to recommend prospective students to study in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Famil, short for ‘Familiarisation, are visits organised to literally familiarise invited groups of people with a product, or in our case, New Zealand as an international education destination. The intended purpose is that those who attend famils will become valuable advocates for a New Zealand education and therefore drive preference for New Zealand in market.  

During Covid-19 these visits were stopped due to border closures. Now that borders have been fully open for some time and our international education sector is recovering, this summer provided the perfect opportunity to show off New Zealand, including our regions and unique culture, and the wide range of educational and experiential offerings to representatives from various international markets.  

The summer of showcasing New Zealand started in November with two media famil groups from India and Viet Nam. This was followed by three groups of education agents from Brazil, Germany and South Korea visiting in March and most recently, a famil co-hosted by ENZ and Air NZ bringing Japanese school teachers to regions in the North Island. ENZ subsidises these programmes with other costs covered by participants, regional economic development agencies, and education providers.  

Korean delegation at University of Otago

The University of Otago provided a campus tour with a Korean student and didn't miss the opportunity for a classic picture with its famous Clock Tower.

ENZ’s General Manager International, Lisa Futschek said that careful planning goes into facilitating these visits to ensure the famil groups are exposed to a range of subsectors that are relevant to the visiting country while also leveraging the visits to benefit as many providers as possible   

While we’d love to showcase every New Zealand provider, this is obviously not possible. Much consideration is given to the source market and to the subsectors that we know are popular with that country 

This ensures we are targeted in our approach and our visitors go back to their countries equipped with the most relevant information that helps build that pipeline of future students," said Lisa.  

The Brazilian agents attended a networking event hosted by AIS for Auckland-based English Language providers.

We also look for opportunities in which we can make introductions to several providers in one go. For example, a networking function was held at Auckland Institute of Studies (AIS) with Auckland-based English Language Schools invited to meet the agents from Brazil, cultivating many new connections while strengthening existing ones,” added Lisa.  

As well as showcasing the various subsectors, promoting the destination is also hugely important and famil itineraries also include time spent seeing what the regions have to offer international students. This is often organised with the help of the regional economic development agencies.  

A perfect example of cross sector collaboration was seen in Ōtautahi Christchurch where Christchurch Educated, an international education organisation based in the region, hosted a networking dinner with the regional economic development agency, ChristchurchNZ. They hosted the Brazilian and German agent famil groups and education providers from various sectors in the Canterbury region  


The German agents are pictured here at the Christchurch Educated networking event with a group of Christchurch based education providers (mainly high schools). The event was hosted at Ara’s Visions on campus restaurant with the Brazilian agents in attendance too.


Stefi Porter, International Education Partnership Manager for Christchurch Educated said that bringing everyone together to mutually share the benefits of studying in Ōtautahi Christchurch was a wonderful thing.  

There is certainly strength in numbers and a perfect example of where collaboration between providers and regional economic development agencies can really deliver greater bang 

Instead of competing against one another, we are sharing resources, time and energy to show the best of our region and the breadth of study options we can offer international students.” 

A key outcome of the various famil groups visiting New Zealand is that they become advocates for New Zealand as a place to study, ensuring a steady pipeline of students for years to come. In the post-famil survey, all attendees reported they were either much more likely (87.5%) or somewhat more likely (12.5%) to recommend New Zealand as a place to study for prospective students.  

Other positive outcomes, include the positive media articles and social media posts produced by visiting journalists and individuals to their networks in their home countries. This positive coverage not only showcases the quality of New Zealand's education system but also shares the New Zealand education experience with prospective students in their home countries through stories featuring students and alumni.   

The India media famil has achieved five in-depth stories to date in Education Times, India's largest newspaper supplement (circulation 500,000). The stories showcase the research prowess at New Zealand universities, including in biotechnology, managing climate change related disruptions, and feature the New Zealand education experiences of a range of students from India. 

In Viet Nam 10 articles and four social media posts have been published so far, reaching an audience of 557,000, with more coverage expected in the coming months. Of note is HHT, the top teen magazine in Viet Nam has created a column “letters to New Zealand”, which shares weekly articles about New Zealand written about alumni  

An example of some of the coverage these visits receive. Featured is a compilation of posts that Brazilian agent, Juliana Viana Silveira, owner of CI Intercambio in Juiz de Fora, made on Instagram to her followers during March while in New Zealand. The role of agents in Brazil in international student recruitment is becoming increasingly more important as reported by StudyTravelNetwork here -https://studytravel.network/magazine/news/0/30492

ENZ would like to extend a huge thanks to the education providers and regional representatives for hosting our international visitors and leaving them with a strong sense of New Zealand’s education offerings. The way in which ENZ is able to work collectively with providers and the regional economic development agencies to collaboratively plan the famil is ideal to ensure a good mix of experiences and a balance of activities.  This approach helps regions feature strongly in any future famil plans and also helps develop the regional international education ecosystem.  

We look forward to hearing about more connections with education representatives at the ICEF ANZA conference in Christchurch. 

Check out our image gallery of the famils which shares further details of each of the groups including who attended, where they went and who they met with.

Japanese teachers playing a Māori stick gamge

The Japanese All Girls School Teachers participated in a kapa haka class at New Plymouth Girls High School in New Plymouth. Here they are pictured playing the Tītī tōrea Māori Stick game, a traditional New Zealand game which has been played for generations.



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