Filling labour and hospitality roles, and international connections are among the things international students bring to Rotorua, according to Te Puia chief executive Tim Cossar.
Cossar features in a new Education New Zealand report, detailing what he thought the value of international students was.
The report, titled Beyond the economic: How international education delivers broad value for New Zealand, features an interview with Cossar who said international students were critical in filling skilled labour and hospitality positions.
"I actually see the value that these people are creating in a marketplace, where we can't fill a lot of those roles," Cossar said.
"There is an industry expectation that a lot of jobs will be filled by those who come to New Zealand for education purposes."
Cossar said students studying tourism and hospitality at Toi Ohomai played a key role in filling the positions.
"The business wouldn't operate in the highly skilled areas, without migrant labour, including international students, because we simply don't have these people in Rotorua."
He said one of Te Puia's long-term employees originally came to Rotorua to study and was now a key member of the IT staff at Te Puia.
"We sponsored him and his wife, who were both working for us at the time, for permanent residency. He's a great example of someone who came as a student to become a highly valuable and highly paid net contributor to our economy," Cossar said.
Another former international student who works at Te Puia in marketing, helped the tourist destination make connections with Asian countries through her language skills and understanding.
Cossar said international students, turned employees, fit in well and added "welcome diversification" to the workplace.
"Some of our migrant workers at Te Puia, who have come through education, are highly active in social groups, rotary clubs, and other things. They're giving back, because New Zealand has given them an opportunity."
In the report, Education New Zealand chief executive Grant McPherson said international students brought a raft of benefits to the country, including a $4.5 billion economic contribution.
He said they also provided a chance for New Zealanders to develop cultural awareness.
Other benefits outlined in the report were money spent on domestic travel, job creation and alumni as ambassadors.
"International students have the potential to make a significant contribution to business in their host country," the report said.
"Including international students in communities and classes is an essential part of global education."
The international education sector
- Estimated economic value of the international education sector estimated at $4.5 billion in 2016
- Most of the total estimated economic value is accounted for by international students coming to study in New Zealand with the remainder ($242 million) from education services delivered offshore
- Almost 132,000 international students were enrolled to study in 2016 in New Zealand schools, including 2912 in primary and intermediate schools and 16,390 in secondary schools
- Universities accounted for the largest share of tuition income in 2016 (37%), followed by ITPs (17%), secondary schools (14%), funded PTEs (12%) and unfunded PTEs (12%)
- Students from China and India made up half of all international enrolments in 2016 (China 29%, India 21%)
- In 2016 the most popular field of study at ITPs for international students was management and commerce
- Source: Education NZ