At least 400 students enrolled in secondary schools and tertiary institutes all over the region are expected to gather in the capital at Te Papa on Thursday (27 February) for the 2014 Wellington International Student Welcome.
"It’s important for people in communities throughout the Wellington region to welcome these young people who come to study and live here," says Gerard Quinn, Grow Wellington Chief Executive. "They need to know that they are appreciated for the positive cultural value they bring to our local communities, but also the economic value."
Last year international students contributed $177 million to the local economy, says Mr Quinn. "We want to encourage them to stay long term."
The event is hosted by Grow Wellington and Wellington City Council. The students will be officially welcomed by Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and will be joined at the event by several embassy representatives and at least 29 different regional education providers.
Mayor Wade-Brown says Wellington is a friendly, safe and welcoming city for overseas students. "I’m delighted to acknowledge their arrival," she says. "Wellington is a great place to study and live, we are the cultural and arts capital of New Zealand, with strengths in cuisine, creative and digital technologies, as well as the centre of government.
"Wellington welcomes over 5000 students studying in the region this year from around 100 different countries, and our different education institutions collaborate really well to make a highly successful experience for students."
Mr Quinn says figures released in the first half of this financial year show Wellington has bucked national declines in international student enrolments measured from January to August 2013.
Wellington made enrolment gains of 2% in contrast to a national decline of -3%. Particularly well performing was the institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITP) sector (up 29%) and school sector (up 12%).
A number of support services including Settlement Support New Zealand and Education Wellington International will be at the event letting the students know what’s on offer in Wellington. The students will also be introduced to the possibility of further study in Wellington and the opportunities for employment in the region once they finish their study. Students will be treated to a Kapa Haka, performance, welcomes from international student leaders and refreshments.
The event will take place at Te Papa Oceania Room from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm on 27 February.