Christchurch and the rest of New Zealand can expect a downturn in numbers of new international students after last month's earthquake - at least in the short-term, according to a survey.

Education New Zealand recently surveyed 156 education agents in 20 countries on the effects of the February 22 earthquake on students currently in New Zealand and those planning to come.

About 90,000 students come to New Zealand each year, with Christchurch the second most popular destination.

Last month's quake devastated King's Language School which was housed in the Canterbury Television (CTV) building. The CTV building collapsed and caught on fire, entombing dozens of people.

In the short term at least, New Zealand would potentially see a downturn in the numbers of international students, the survey suggested.

Over half of the agents who had enrolments starting between now and June said at least some of their Christchurch-enrolled clients had asked to change to an institution in another region. Almost a quarter of respondents have had some clients cancel plans to come to New Zealand altogether.

Reports that international students were leaving the country in droves did not seem to be true, however, as 90 per cent of respondents said most of their students have stayed in Christchurch or New Zealand, Education New Zealand chief executive Kathy Phillips said.

Three per cent of those surveyed had most or all of their clients cancel plans to come to New Zealand from July onwards. No agents expressed plans to stop recommending New Zealand to their clients.

- NZPA