Recently appointed Regional Manager for Learning Hawke's Bay Wenhua Yang is committed to increasing the region's profile for international students.

Ms Yang accepted the role in November and formally started in mid-January. As part of her role she is promoting Hawke's Bay as an education destination for international markets.

"It was really good timing. Learning Hawke's Bay was looking for a regional manager when I was looking to relocate to Hawke's Bay. I am very happy to have this opportunity to promote the region I love to international students," Ms Yang said.

Currently, Hawke's Bay has 1500 international students from around the world studying each year - about 400 at EIT, 700 in private tertiary institutions and 400 in schools - and it is something which she believes the region has a great potential to build upon.

Advertisement

Each student contributes more than $27,000 a year on average to the economy and they generate in total about $20 million in economic benefits to the region, supporting more than 200 jobs, she added.

This does not come close to Auckland or alone Tauranga and that is down to Hawke's Bay not being known as "a very strong education destination", with no university and EIT.

Auckland has more than 60 per cent of the international students in New Zealand, and is by far the most significant market for international education, followed by other regions such as Tauranga.


Ms Yang is passionate about international education in particular and, coming from China, she believes "international education is very important in terms of helping people to understand the different cultures and to form international connections".

Not only does it allow young people to immerse themselves in the culture of their choice, but it also provides the host country and community with opportunities to experience different cultures.

"I am a believer in international education and I think it generates not just economic benefits but social benefits as well. I have dedicated more than 10 years of my career to help strengthen the legal framework for international education in New Zealand," Ms Yang said.

By doing this, she is confident that the students will become "lifelong ambassadors for the region and for New Zealand".

Ms Yang believes Hawke's Bay holds a number of attractions for international students besides world-class education, including "great weather, lifestyle and beautiful environment".

There are more than a dozen such bodies in New Zealand and they are jointly funded by the local councils, Education New Zealand and all the member schools and institutions who pay membership fees.

Ms Yang has an extensive list of career accomplishments, having worked as a journalist at the China Daily, before working for multi-national corporations.

She later moved to New Zealand and completed her Masters in Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington and then worked for the Department of Labour and later the Ministry of Education as a Senior Policy Analyst.