Northland International Student Welcome at Waitangi
Last week, we welcomed over 70 international students back to Northland with a significant and truly Kiwi ‘welcome back’ event at Waitangi.
The event was a momentous way to celebrate a “triumphant and symbolic moment for Northland’s international education sector”, after an absence of offshore ākonga (students) for two-and-a-half years.
Students visited Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi, took part in a cultural performance and were able to participate in traditional Māori games, before a classic Kiwi lunch of fish and chips. Each student received a Study Northland certificate with a Northland ‘must-do’ list on the back, as well as a pin from Education New Zealand embellished with “Tū Ngātahi” (Stand Together).
Students commented that the cultural performance was meaningful and that they appreciated learning a bit more about the history of Maori and European people and seeing the different flags. Plus they really enjoyed the fish n chips lunch and game of Mau Rākau, which got very competitive.
We were really privileged to be able to welcome the students back in such a historically important location to Aotearoa, and everyone I spoke to really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about our culture and history.
“The return of international students is a reminder of the importance of global citizenship to our community. Our local students will once again be able to benefit from learning about other cultures in this way, and show off Northland’s unique beauty and awesome people.
We were also joined at the event by an exchange group from Otani High School in Kyoto, Whangarei Girls’ High’s sister school. These bilateral ties are so important and I know their host families will really miss them.
We are also planning a visit to the new Hundertwasser Art Centre in September as part of a program to improve international students’ experiences in Northland.