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Northland’s First Student Ambassadors Sow Seeds For The Future

Student ambassadors plant trays of manuka seeds during their welcome event at Kōmanawa Retreat.

A total of 26 new student ambassadors were welcomed to the Study Northland Ambassador Programme this week, further strengthening the region’s role as a prime study destination.

The students, who attended the event at the beautiful Kōmanawa Retreat, 40 minutes from Whangārei, were chosen for their enthusiasm for Northland life and their willingness to embrace new opportunities.

It was also a chance for them to meet each other, and to learn about sustainability with some hands-on activities.

“The purpose of this programme is to give ambassador students special opportunities to strongly connect with Northland’s people, culture, community and environment,” said Jo Lees, Project Manager for Study Northland, which is the international education arm of Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency.

“We hope that they will learn new skills and new ways of thinking to grow as people and become better global citizens. The experiences and stories they share with us will help future students decide on Northland as a place to live and study.”

The 13 nationalities represented at the welcome event included students from New Zealand, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Brazil, Korea, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Nepal, China, and the Philippines.

One of the guest speakers was Study Auckland student ambassador Saurab Lama, from Nepal, who has been studying at Auckland University for the past 18 months.

He advised students to “embrace who you are, embrace where you are from and use that diversity to promote studying in Northland. Be yourself and think of this as an opportunity to experience more of New Zealand”.

Susie Pascoe, co-owner of Kōmanawa, talked to students about what the 400-acre property would have looked like hundreds of years ago and the type of plants and birdlife that lived there. She touched briefly on events that have had a major impact on the environment since then, such as the milling of kauri trees, damming of streams and introduction of animal pests.

The students then planted trays of manuka seeds, adding a marker with their name and school to be able to later track the progress of the seedlings and plants. “We also walked across the farm to the incredible 145ft waterfall on the property, discovering freshwater crayfish and the clearest water many students had ever seen,” Lees said.

“It was an amazing day with an incredible group of students, many of whom are still at high school and were living on the other side of the world in New Zealand during the global pandemic. We look forward to more events like this in the future.”

The ambassadors have been selected from nine Northland learning institutions, including secondary schools and NorthTec.

Study Northland was set up in 2018 to strengthen and support international education throughout New Zealand.

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