Two Onerahi Primary School teachers are swapping their Whangārei classrooms for ones in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Kim Te'o and Chloe Peters will be joining four other teachers from Otago Girls' High School and Hamilton Girls' High School on an exchange with Al Azhar Schools from April 11 to 18.

While both teachers were hoping to get an understanding of the culture, their students were at the heart of what they wanted to achieve.

"Their world's pretty Onerahi-based - they're kids. It's a good way for them to see there's more going on out there," Peters said.


The teachers will be staying at the homes of their Indonesian partner teachers and visiting their classrooms to get a taste of Indonesian education, life and culture.

Peters said she was looking forward to that as they do that part on their own, without the other teachers.

"That's when I think we'll get a lot more of the culture and family life."

She said she and her students had really enjoyed learning Mandarin last year, as well as te reo, which prompted her to apply for the exchange.

Al Azhar has some 50,000 students across the country, and Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, with close to 90 per cent of its 264 million people followers of Islam.

Asked if that was even more pertinent after the Christchurch mosque attacks, both teachers agreed the exchange was about getting the students aware of different faiths and beliefs, and understanding different world views and ways of looking at the world.

The teachers' Indonesian counterparts will reciprocate with a visit New Zealand in June to learn about New Zealand's culture and education.

Te'o, who teaches year 6 students, wants them to see themselves as "global citizens and learners" and show them that people might have different ways of doing things and different beliefs, but humanity underlines all of it.


As well as the teachers bringing their knowledge home, the students at the respective schools around 7500km apart will communicate using digital technologies and show each other things like cultural performances.

The exchange is part of the Global Schools Partnership Project, aimed at building connections between students in Asia and New Zealand.

It's a collaboration between Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono and the Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence (SEA CAPE).