Education worth multi-millions to Bay

Educating youngsters from across the world is worth $29 million a year to Hawke’s Bay, figures released last week show.

A lot of the success the region is having at attracting international students comes down to “selling” the benefits of the Bay to international education agents and journalists specialising in education.

Two journalists from Brazil were in town 10 days ago (March 9), at the end of a whistle-stop tour of education facilities in four centres: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hawke’s Bay. Hosted by Education New Zealand, the two journalists were committed to writing articles for their respective mastheads: Huffington Post and Exame.com.

They were very impressed with Hawke’s Bay, telling their accompanying public relations manager that it would be a great place to live.

As well as visiting schools and EIT, the journalists took in the sites from Te Mata Peak, strolled the Farmers’ Market, and checked out restaurants and wineries over their two days in the region.

Earlier in the year, Woodford House and Napier Boys High School hosted Chinese education agents charged with finding suitable options for Chinese parents wanting a New Zealand education for their children.

Education Hawke's Bay International Business Development Advisor Steph Kennard, who works from Hastings District Council, said the choices parents made were about lifestyle as well as education. “They know the education is excellent; what they want to know is what sort of an environment their child will be living in; things like pastoral care, safety, and outside of school activities.”

And it is big business. In the 2015/16 financial year there were 1268 international students in Hawke’s Bay. They each paid an average $26,856 for their tuition and living costs, bringing $29.3m into the local economy. The industry employed 134 people directly and a further 78 indirectly.

Next month Hawke’s Bay will have representation at the international ANZA Fair in being held in Cairns, Australia, which will be attended by education agents from around the world.