Some of Southland’s international students now know the true meaning of manaakitanga.
On Saturday 17 August, 26 international students were hosted on Murihiku Marae for the opportunity to learn more about Te Ao Maori (the Maori world).
As part of the day, students were welcomed onto the Marae with a traditional Powhiri, heard the history of Ngai Tahu and learnt about the importance of the Titi Islands for local Maori.
The event was organised by Great South and Waihopai Rūnanga as part of an overarching initiative to welcome international students to the region and share Southland’s culture.
Great South chief executive Ann Lockhart said initiatives like this help to foster diversity, understanding and play a strong role in attracting international students to Southland.
“By offering students an opportunity to engage and learn more about our Southern Maori culture we position ourselves as a unique and culturally diverse educational destination,”
The students who attended were from ten different countries and are all currently enrolled at the Southern Institute of Technology.
As part of administering the Regional Partnership Programme for Education New Zealand, Great South supports the Southern Education Alliance to create initiatives that attract and welcome international students to the region.
Ms Lockhart said attracting international students to Southland was essential to achieving the goals outlined in the Southland Regional Development Strategy.
“As international students add vibrancy to the region and help support the development of our local industries, it’s important that we can offer welcoming initiatives and share our southern hospitality to help them to feel part of the community,” Ms Lockhart said.