EIT | Te Pūkenga Auckland Campus is giving its international students (ākonga) an experience of New Zealand’s culture.
The campus has more than 300 international ākonga – the largest intake since borders first shut down during COVID-19.
Cherie Freeman, EIT | Te Pūkenga Auckland Campus Director, says it has been great to be able to meet them in person, share their stories and their journeys.
“For us, it’s about reconnecting with our ākonga in the way we did when they were here in New Zealand. With borders open, we have lots of ākonga coming into New Zealand again, which is fantastic.”
About 170 international ākonga studying Applied Management, Information Technology, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Digital Business and Health Science were welcomed onto Ngā Kete Wānanga Marae at Manukau Institute of Technology | Te Pūkenga.
Cherie says it was a really nice way to welcome them to New Zealand with a traditional Pōwhiri.
“From feedback, it really made them feel like they were welcome here in Aotearoa, and that they were a part of New Zealand and all that we can offer.
“Many of these ākonga that are joining us are bringing their families. So, they’ve got children here with them, and their children are going to school here in New Zealand, and have gone through a pōwhiri or are learning to sing a waiata.
“They found it really exciting that they got to experience what their children are learning at school, so that they too could relate to that.
She says they had good support from their colleagues at the Hawke’s Bay campus in Taradale.
“We were supported by Patrick Hape, Poutāhu – Executive Director, Māori. And so, he was there to reply, to speak on our behalf at the pōwhiri. And we also had Putiputi Te Wake-Munro, Advisor Mātauranga Māori, who responded to the Karanga.
Master of Digital Business (MDigiBus) ākonga Bhava Janarthanan Om Prakash says he is grateful for the experience and opportunity to speak at the pōwhiri and lay the koha.
“I was actually looking forward to the Marae visit from the day they said that it’s going to happen. As soon as I landed here, I got a lot of people talking about how the Māori culture is.
“So, I was so happy that I was part of the visit that day, and especially that I was able to speak on behalf of all the students.”
Om moved to New Zealand from India at the start of the year.
Having previously held a leadership position at Verizon, which provides wireless, internet, TV and phone services, he says EIT | Te Pūkenga offered what others didn’t.
“This appealed to me more because I want to move to the next level, higher up the ladder. And this particular programme actually gave me a lot of choices in terms of studying business at a leadership level and also technology in terms of IT.”
He says EIT | Te Pūkenga has helped him with his confidence.
“The people are so friendly. And every time I approach Cherie, she always welcomes me with a smile, and she helps me out whatever she can.
He is now looking forward to having his wife, who is an accountant in India, and his two young daughters join him later this year.