International students endorse new Education New Zealand campaign

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Redesigned Graduation Gown embodies cultural values

International Students in New Zealand, Export Education, Education New Zealand, Chris Hipkins, Grant McPherson

Sourced Content
Denver Colorado, June 26, 2022

The eight international students who feature in ENZ’s I AM NEW campaign.

Education New Zealand revealed at the NAFSA Conference held in Denver, Colorado on May 31, 2022 a new global marketing campaign emphasising New Zealand’s unique attributes for international students.

The campaign is a part of the efforts to boost export education as the country opens for business on July 31, 2022 after two years of closed borders.

Central to the campaign are the stories of eight international students from, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Japan, Thailand, USA, and Vietnam. The students share their experience of study and life in New Zealand, and the benefits that result from the weaving together of different cultures in a uniquely New Zealand way.

Graduate symbol of achievement

Education New Zealand invited the eight students to work alongside world-famous Maori fashion designer Kiri Nathan to collaborate on designing a new type of education garment that embodies the cultural values that make a New Zealand education unique: manaakitanga (care of people), Kaitiakitanga (care of place), and the pōtiki spirit of youthful energy and finding a better way. The narratives in the campaign are focused on the students’ experiences and goals, and explore themes such as work and career readiness, sustainability, and innovation through collaboration. It is a campaign authentically rooted in Te Ao Maori values.

“The traditional academic gown worn by students when they graduate is a symbol of achievement, capturing a snapshot in time. Our garment symbolises not only this attainment, but also, most importantly, the cultural journey these students have undertaken and will continue throughout their lives. Their experience in New Zealand has changed them, weaving and sharing the values of Te Ao Maori into the unique cultures of their own homeland. The final  designs are a unique collaborative effort, globally-minded and inspiring – just like the students” Ms Nathan said.

She is best known for her extensive experience of the modern fashion world infused with her Te Ao Maori roots. She has developed pieces for international figures including Barack Obama, Beyoncé, and the Duchess of Sussex. As a Maori mentor running the Kāhui Collective, she has seen a significant number of NZ Maori fashion designers feature at the NZ Fashion Week, Guangzhou Fashion Week, Hong Kong Fashion Week, and the Fiji fashion week. She also led a delegation to China to meet high level fashion networks and create pathways to market.

More than qualifications

At the core of the campaign is the concept that education with New Zealand is far more than the attainment of academic qualifications.

“What we offer global students is an opportunity to experience something new, different, and ongoing. It is a new perspective that redefines success in global education beyond degrees and academic achievement and builds greater understanding of the value of continuous learning throughout life. When you study with New Zealand, you’re invited to bring your whole self. You will benefit from New Zealand’s cultural values as well as our high-quality education that embodies innovation, practical learning, and preparing you for the future. But we also know New Zealand benefits too. We want students to bring their stories, their culture, and their perspectives so that we can learn from each other and build a future that is connected, strong and adaptable,” Education New Zealand Chief Executive Grant McPherson said.

Across the eight kākahu three sustainable textile options have been used in their manufacture – upcycled commercial linen, sustainable wool from New Zealand mills, and deadstock from fabric wholesalers.

The campaign was launched as part of Education New Zealand’s participation at the NAFSA 2022, the world’s largest international education conference and Expo in Denver, Colorado. The campaign will roll out across New Zealand’s key partner countries from June 2, 2022 and runs for 12 weeks initially.

The eight students

Hanbo Wang (Kevin), from China, studying Viticulture and Wine Science at the Eastern Institute of Technology​ in Hawke’s Bay.

Octavius Jones​, from the United States of America, is a PhD student in the Te Kawa a Māui department ​at Victoria University of Wellington​. Octavius is studying digital storytelling, African and Maori studies.

Tiara Das, from India, studying Science – Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Otago​ in Dunedin.

Bryann Avendaño, from Colombia, studying Civil and Natural Resources Engineering at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.​

Hanna Watanabe, from Japan, is a ​Year 12 High School student at ​Rangiora New Life School, in Rangiora, Canterbury.

Khanh Phuong LE​, from Vietnam, studying Law at Waikato University, Hamilton.​

Atis Suksingha​, from Thailand, studying Commerce, majoring in International Business and Marketing​ at the University of Otago.

Malina Grube​, from Germany, studying Law at the University of Auckland, Auckland.​

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