A drive to raise Tauranga's international student numbers by 15 per cent in three years is predicted to be reached by the end of this year.

International students bring an estimated $24.7 million to the local economy. This is estimated to rise to $28.8 million by the end of the year.

Education Tauranga, the local branch of a national body that markets New Zealand as an education destination to overseas countries, set a target in January of increasing Tauranga's international student numbers by 15 per cent by 2017.

There are no official figures available for 2013 but evidence suggests there were about 700 international students in Tauranga last year.


As of this month, there were 858 enrolled in Education Tauranga member institutions. With new enrolments in the second half of the year, this was expected to rise to 1007 students.

The biggest increase in students at a single institute was at Ntec (National Tertiary Education Consortium), a tertiary centre based on Durham St.

Campus manager Dweepesh Khirsariya said there were 250 students at the centre this year, an increase of 50 from the start of last year. This was expected to rise to 300 by the end of this year.

Most of Ntec's students came from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. There were also a number from China, Indonesia, Korea and Philippines.

Mr Khirsariya said having a unitary body to market Tauranga as an education destination rather than individual institutes competing against each other gave prospective students a good impression of the region.

"If student numbers go up in the region, everyone benefits."

International students often saw Tauranga as a more viable study option than one of the bigger centres in the country because part-time work was more readily available, making it easier to support themselves, Mr Khirsariya said.

Kimi Winata, 22, chose New Zealand as her study destination because it has a smaller population than her home country, Indonesia.

"I was working as a travel agent and had seen New Zealand as a beautiful country. My country has a very big population and I got tired of that.

"Tauranga is a lovely city, it doesn't have traffic jams, the air is very clean and people are so friendly."

Miss Winata would like to work in a hotel in Tauranga after she graduated from her hospitality diploma as it would fit in with her previous work experience.

Education Tauranga regional manager Anne Young said it was encouraging to see movement in the right direction.

"It will help to open up the opportunity for more schools to be able to accept international students, so the numbers continue to rise. If numbers reach the predicted 1007 by the end of the year, we will have exceeded our target. Education Tauranga may need to look at what targets we can set that are a bit more visionary," she said.