14 May 2024 at 11:00 am

From the Acting Chief Executive: Cold temperatures, warm hearts

Linda Sissons

Tēnā koutou katoa 

As a recent “polar blast” bought frost and icy conditions across New Zealand, my thoughts turned to the international students who arrived here in the warmth of summer. Living a long way from home in a different country is challenging enough without being subjected to freezing conditions. The good news is that all our research and everything we hear from our international students is that the welcome and manaakitanga they receive is universally warm. 

In our Student Experience survey of 4,755 international students from the end of last year, more than 70 nationalities, 84 percent rated their overall experience positively, while another 83 percent said they would recommend New Zealand as a study destination.  

Last Wednesday, along with our Chair, Tracey Bridges, we appeared before the Education and Workforce Select Committee comprising nine Members of Parliament. This happens every year. As a government agency it is part of reporting to Parliament. I am extremely heartened by the level of interest all the committee members had in international education. It is good to know the sector has advocates within Parliament. 

Tracey has recently returned from Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines as a member of the business delegation supporting Prime Minister, Rt Hon Christopher Luxon. Education was a big part of the Prime Minister’s itinerary, and it was great to have Tracey in the delegation. Throughout the entire trip we took every opportunity to emphasise the benefits of international education to the Prime Minister. A good example was in Thailand where ENZ hosted a series of engagements, including the New Zealand Alumni Networking Event. At this event the Prime Minister met 25 accomplished New Zealand alumni, who have made substantial contributions to the bilateral relationship between New Zealand and Thailand. You can read more about the visit in our E-News article here.  

New Zealanders going offshore for an experience is an important part of international education and ENZ’s work. It is pleasing then to see 60 applications for the group round of the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia and Latin America that closed 19 April 2024. Of the 60, 22 were for Latin America and 38 for Asia. The applications are being assessed and successful scholarship recipients will be determined in a few weeks’ time.  

In summary it has been, as it always is, a busy and productive month across international education. May will be no different. 


Waiho kia pātai ana, he kaha ui te kaha 

Let the questioning continue; the ability of the person is in asking questions. 


Keep warm everyone. 


Dr Linda Sissons
Acting Chief Executive


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