New Zealand regions focus on growth

26 August, 2015

Wellington is the latest region of New Zealand to focus on growth strategies for international education, adding to a recently announced 10-year plan launched in Canterbury.


Around 90 education professionals, local government officials and business leaders gathered at the Wellington City Education Summit last week, hosted by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, to discuss opportunities and challenges for the local international education sector.

Mayor Wade-Brown spoke about the council’s commitment to economic growth, while Thomas Pippos, Acting Chair of the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA), outlined the drafting of a ‘High Growth Plan’ to attract international students.

“The capital, and the Wellington City Council, values education and today’s event underlined our commitment to growing our international student market in partnership with the education sector,” said the Mayor.

Addressing specific measures required, she said, “In particular, we need a cohesive marketing plan to promote Wellington’s advantages to overseas markets, and we also heard how the capital’s ‘Safe City’ status and access to public transport are really important.” Growing the secondary sector and developing career pathways were also topics discussed by the panel.

Charles Finny, Chair of Education New Zealand ( (ENZ), said, “Wellington has an absolutely excellent, world-class education sector; we need to do better selling that to the world. There’s no reason why we can’t treble the size of the international education sector.”

The Wellington region had only a two per cent increase in international students in 2014, according to the full-year 2014 data released by ENZ, considerably lower than the overall country of growth of 13 per cent.

Meanwhile, international education providers in Canterbury have collaborated to produce a 10-year strategy for growth and launched a Leadership Accord.

The strategy vision is that Canterbury is a “globally connected region for international education with education and training that leads to enhanced student opportunities and outcomes with enduring benefits for the community”.

Measures in the strategy include building a regional value proposition, developing flagship programmes in areas of strength, creating more pathway programmes and establishing a regional quality mark.

Murray Strong, Independent Chairperson of the Leadership Accord, said, “It is important that we build on the industry cohesion and momentum gained during the post-earthquake period, which may be lost if there is no medium-term strategy to provide focus – the real work starts now.”

In 2014, international students in Canterbury increased by 18 per cent, according to data released by ENZ, the region’s strongest performance since the disaster.

Matthew Knott
News Editor



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