International Student Welcome at Waitangi

International students recently arrived in Northland have been treated to a stunning welcome at Waitangi Treaty Grounds. The Waitangi event provided a traditional Māori welcome to 90 students, aged between eight and 25, from such countries as South Korea, Germany, Japan, Austria, Thailand, France, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Taiwan, Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, India, Brazil and Chile.

This inaugural regional welcome is being led by Study Northland, the international education arm of Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency. Study Northland was established last year to strengthen and support international education in the region.

Study Northland Project Manager Jo Lees said the regional welcome at Waitangi was a great opportunity to extend manaakitanga to the newly arrived students: “These students have shown real courage by travelling so far from home to live and study in Northland, and we wanted to acknowledge their commitment to learning by extending them a heartfelt welcome to Northland from day one.”

Students were greeted with a private pōwhiri and performance, followed by an inspiring speech from Joy Hotter, development manager at Education New Zealand, and a presentation of welcome certificates. Students enjoyed a tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where they were taught waka drills, pūkana, Poi Rākau and a waiata by Waitangi educators. The welcome also included a Kiwi lunch of fish and chips wrapped in newspaper; each student received a goodie bag with regional guides, maps and postcards.

Ms Lees said Māori culture, friendly people and incredible scenery are among the many reasons that students give for choosing Northland as a place to live and study: “This event nurtures global citizenship, creates lifelong memories and kick-starts each student’s Northland experience. I was so impressed with the Waitangi Education team and the way they customised the experience to suit the ages and English language ability of our students – we really hope this event will be the first of many.”

Students who attended the welcome are studying at: Whangārei Girls’ High School, Whangārei Boys’ High School, Tauraroa Area School, Kamo High School, Springbank School, Pompallier Catholic College, Whangārei Primary School, Huanui College and NorthTec.

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