25 August 2022 at 12:00 pm

International students welcomed at Waitangi

As international students gradually return to New Zealand, they have been warmly welcomed by education providers and local communities around the country. Recent events include Northland, Hamilton, Thames, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and more are planned.

Waitangi 1

One such welcome to acknowledge and celebrate students from around the world took place on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on 10 August 2022.

Study Northland organised a wonderful half day programme to welcome 70 international students currently studying at Whangarei Girls High, NorthTec, Kerikeri High School and Springbank School. This included a pōwhiri, cultural performance, and a ceremony in which each student was presented with Tū Ngātahi pins and welcome certificates. They then had the opportunity to explore the history and relevance of the Treaty Grounds, and the morning ended with fish and chips in the sunshine.

Students outside Te Wharenui at Waitangi

Tū Ngātahi is a te reo Māori phrase calling us to ‘stand together’.  Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao developed this programme as a demonstration of welcome and support to international students, a celebration of the connection between cultures, and a recognition of the friendship and learning we share. The welcome at the Treaty Grounds was an ideal opportunity for the spirit and concept of Tū Ngātahi to be brought  to life.

Ross Crossan (centre), ENZ’s Student Experience Manager, presented the students with Tū Ngātahi pins as part of the Waitangi welcome

Students were excited to be in New Zealand, some for the first time and some returning after heading back home during the pandemic.

Several of the recently arrived students at Whangarei Girls shared their first impressions with us. Fish and chips are certainly a hit, as is the chance to play badminton, volleyball, and other sports with friends. A few students mentioned the different school hours here. They also commented that just a little bit more time might be needed to get used to the weather!

Fish and chips were a highlight at Waitangi

Arisara Pungpho, from Thailand, is attending Springbank School. She has been coming to New Zealand for many years with her family. Arisara is here for six months, and says she most enjoys New Zealand’s environment, and its tranquillity and peacefulness.

“Most places in Thailand compared to New Zealand are very fast, very busy, and very lively,” Arisara says.  “I also feel New Zealand is more inclusive of many cultures, which is not what I have experienced in other countries around the world.”

Springbank School students, including Arisara Pungpho (4th from left) and Elisabeth Ringel (3rd from left) enjoyed the cultural demonstration at Waitangi

Elisabeth Ringel particularly appreciated the warm welcome she received when she travelled here from Germany in July for a year.

“When I arrived in Auckland, I was surprised how friendly and welcoming everybody was, and how the brother of the Principal of Springbank School, with his family, drove me to my host family in Kerikeri – because my Auckland to Kerikeri flight was cancelled,” Elisabeth says.

With borders now open again, this is a significant moment for our international education sector, and we all look forward to welcoming more students to our institutions and communities over the coming months.


Recent welcome events around the country

International students met with Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel

International students being welcomed to Lincoln University

Wellington International Students' Association ran an event for over 140 international students from eight countries over the course of two days

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