EIT contributes significantly to the Hawke's Bay and Tairawhiti economies, BERL says in an economic impact assessment report released this week.

The economic research, analysis and advice consultancy says the Eastern Institute of Technology's contribution makes up about 1 per cent of the East Coast regions' economies as measured through the generation of gross domestic product (GDP) and employment.

"That includes operations of EIT and expenditure attracted from international students and others who move to Hawke's Bay to study," BERL executive director and chief economist Ganesh Nana said.

One of three BERL (Business and Economic Research Limited) economists who worked on the report commissioned by the education institute, Dr Nana said the number of international students attracted to EIT was a little higher than he might have expected.

The internationals who comprised 6.3 per cent of the total student body last year originated from 49 countries. The report noted that EIT's international student numbers had grown steadily in the past five years.


EIT also offered wider economic benefits that fell outside the scope of the economic impact assessment, Dr Nana said.

There was, for example, a value in maintaining the viability and vitality of the region through local people remaining in the area to study.

EIT offered programmes aligned to the strengths of the regional economies, particularly those centred on agriculture, horticulture, wine and food production, as well as to industries that supported the primary sector such as manufacturing and business services.

"EIT also offers courses and programmes that meet the needs of the population: education, health and the social services sector."

Dr Nana said EIT programmes helped build the brands of Hawke's Bay and Tairawhiti and profiled what EIT and its graduates offered to the rest of the country.

EIT chief executive Chris Collins said the report, initiated to mark the 40th anniversary of the founding of the institute in 1975, was aligned to Matariki, the Hawke's Bay's Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS).

"It positions EIT as one of Hawke's Bay and Tairawhiti's success stories because of the contribution it makes to both these regions and its economic impact can only continue to grow."

Business Hawke's Bay chief executive Susan White agreed that EIT contributed significantly to the economic development of the region.

As a business, it continued to meet the needs of the community, she said, developing programmes that ranged from an entry point to tertiary education through to postgraduate studies.

It also provided services in its own right. As an example of that, she said: "Business Hawke's Bay, as the region's business-led regional economic development agency, worked with EIT to design and implement research relating to business travellers."