Three international high school students in Northland are among thousands of German nationals throughout New Zealand who have decided to fly back home during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Student Josephine Dinse flew back last weekend and two others are waiting for their flights.

Two students have decided to stay put with their host families in Whangārei.

All five attend Kamo High School and international student manager Nathan Mills said he has been impressed with the courage and maturity of foreign students.


"It has been a difficult decision for all of them to make in light of the precious connections that have grown between them and their Kiwi friends, Kamo High School teachers and especially their host families. They have had so many rich experiences in our beautiful region.

"Those who are leaving will be taking some incredible memories back home with them to their friends and family overseas. Those who are staying are invested in seeing this thing through and adding to the memories," Mills said.

About 15,000 Germans are stranded in New Zealand.

Germany began repatriation flights to Frankfurt from Auckland on March 26, just hours after New Zealand went into alert level 4 lockdown.

About 150 international students are studying in high schools throughout Northland and most have decided against going home during the coronavirus crisis.

Whangare Boys' High School student Leonidas Sidiropoulos of Germany is using the lockdown time with his host family doing household chores like cooking and weeding lettuces.

The keen hockey player expects to stay in Northland until July.

German student Leonidas Sidiropoulos tends to his lettuces at his homestay family in Whangārei. Photo / Supplied
German student Leonidas Sidiropoulos tends to his lettuces at his homestay family in Whangārei. Photo / Supplied

Project manager for Study Northland Jo Lees is confident that despite the impact of Covid-19, the students will go home with a true understanding of Kiwi hospitality.


"For many of those students, being in their home countries would be much less comfortable, because they are from big built-up cities, where the number of coronavirus cases is higher and lockdowns are being extended.

"Here in Northland, the students are enjoying living in rural settings or in houses with big backyards and plenty of fresh air."

Study Northland is the international education arm of Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency, and was set up last year to strengthen and support international education throughout New Zealand.

Lees said international students were being well supported by their schools, and the homestay families have been doing an amazing job of keeping them busy with cooking, gardening, crafts, backyard games, exercising or just watching Netflix.