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Wellington’s international students continue to flourish

20 Oct 2017

Twelve students across six categories have been recognised at the second annual Wellington International Student Excellence Awards today.

All the award winners have worked hard to excel in a range of fields at secondary and tertiary level – from academic excellence and leadership to sport and community engagement, says WREDA’s Talent, Skills and Education Manager Brook Pannell.

"It not only speaks volumes about the students’ abilities and work ethics, but also about the quality of education and mentorship they are receiving in Wellington.”

WREDA has a goal of doubling the number of international students arriving in Wellington by 2025 through its Wellington International Student Growth Programme (WISGP).

WISGP is a multi-year initiative to attract more students, build capacity in the education sector, enhance student experience and build pathways to employment in Wellington. The programme is managed by WREDA on behalf of Wellington education providers, local government and Education New Zealand.

“On average an international student living in Wellington spends $33,179 per year but the benefits run much deeper,” Mr Pannell says. “A good proportion of students set up their home in Wellington where they continue to work and develop their talents in areas of shortage for our region.

“Then there’s the exposure Wellington gets when International students tell their family and friends about their positive experiences. The value of this kind of word-of-mouth promotion is incalculable but valuable.”

More than 60 per cent of Wellington’s international students attended universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics, with a further 17 per cent enrolled in primary and secondary school, and the remainder in private training establishments.

International students connect New Zealand to the wider world, provide insight into different countries and cultures and how they do business.

Wellington’s international student population is growing faster than in any other of New Zealand’s main regions. Latest Immigration New Zealand data shows Wellington experienced 9 per cent growth in its total student visas for the year to September. Waikato had the second highest growth at 6 per cent, while Auckland experienced a 1 per cent fall over the same period.

Media contact

Dave Burgess
WREDA communications specialist
022 355 6471


Award Winners:

Academic excellence

Vineet Kaur, Whitireia

Vineet Kaur

Vineet is studying a post-graduate Diploma in IT, where her results have consistently been A-level or above.

Yucen (Ethan) Wu, Wellington High School

Ethan Yucen Wu

Ethan was part of the school’s winning team in a global science tournament.

Alumni category

Siang Lim, Victoria University of Wellington

Woei Siang Lim

Siang studied Economics and Management. He established Food Ninja, a food delivery business that has expanded nationally and raised offshore investment.

Yorke Yu, WelTec

Yorke Yu

Yorke's work towards his Graduate Diploma in Creative Technology was recognised with a WelTec excellence award. He has since worked on an animated Marvel series for Wellington-based Mechanic Animation. 

Arts and Culture

Yuki Sugito, Wainuiomata High School

Yuki Sugito

A member of the school's acclaimed kapa haka team.

Maja Zonjic, Victoria University of Wellington

Maja Zonjic

Maja is studying Film and Human Geography at Victoria University, and has won awards for her documentary on the environmental impact of promoting and maintaining tourism in Honduras.

Community Engagement

Anis Emalin Madihah Mohd Nadzri, Victoria University

Anis Emalin Madihah Mohd Nadzri

Anis is studying Accounting and Commercial Law. She is a volunteer at Victoria University’s International Buddy Programme and a mentor in the Te Putahi Atawhai programme. 

Khang Phan, Massey University

Khang Phan

Khang is studying Creative Media Production. He is a member of the voluntary Community Patrol which is operated by Wellington Police.


Dahee Sohn, Victoria University of Wellington

Dahee Sohn

Dahee is studying Bachelor of Commerce. She is President of the Korean Students Association of Wellington.

Ravethi (Rae) Jeyakumar, Victoria University of Wellington

Ravethi Jeyakumar

Rae is co-Founder of the New Zealand International Students Association.


Sam Walsh, Scots College

Sam Walsh

Selected for the College’s First XV and the USA under-19 rugby team.

Amber Jiang, Queen Margaret College

Amber Jiang

Amber is excelling in basketball and rowing.

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