A group of 35 award-winning Indian students have started studies at universities throughout New Zealand under a new scholarship programme.

 The New Zealand, Excellence Award programme, was established in 2016 and is a partnership between Education New Zealand and Universities New Zealand.

The programme aims to grow high-quality education connections with India that raise New Zealand’s profile and contribute to the skills shortage India is facing.

The 35 awards represent a total scholarship pool of NZ$175,000, with each scholarship worth NZ$5,000.

The 35 students are enrolled at all eight of New Zealand’s universities and are studying design or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Their courses range from analytics, accounting, and information security and digital forensics to veterinary science.

 This is the second round of New Zealand Excellence Award recipients.

Several of the second round of New Zealand Excellence Award recipients have already become Kiwi ambassadors for Education New Zealand. This involves the students sharing their experience via ENZ’s social media channels such as YouTube, Instagram and Twitter throughout their time here.

Vinutha Haridhasan, the 25-year-old student of accounting from Chennai is one such student who had first arrived in NZ in 2017 and is currently an ENZ ambassador.

“I had chosen New Zealand as my preferred high education destination after a close family friend who had been studying aviation in New Zealand told me how welcoming Kiwis were,” Ms Haridhasan said.

Neeraj Nambiar, another student from Mumbai, and recipient of NZ Excellency Awards last year has completed his Masters in Engineering Management at the University of Auckland.

“I had chosen NZ because of its highly advanced educational institution, the University of Auckland, which is ranked in the top 100 in the world,” Mr Nambiar said.

The awards are designed to attract best minds and talents from Indian student market.

 “The awards give talented and ambitious young Indian students the chance to undertake specialist study in New Zealand – an experience that will help set them apart in the increasingly competitive global job market,” Grant McPherson, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand said.

 “New Zealand was recently ranked first in the world for providing a future-focused education. Our universities offer world-class teaching and research resources and strong industry collaboration. Students here are encouraged to think independently, critically and creatively which, in turn, leads to high levels of innovation,” Mr McPherson added.

Chris Whelan, Chief Executive of Universities New Zealand, said: “All eight New Zealand universities are ranked within the top 500 globally, so these awards offer the students the opportunity to undertake high-quality study in New Zealand.”

 “These 35 students will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience which they will take home with them, along with the skills and knowledge they gain from their qualifications,” Mr Whelan said.

The number of international students at New Zealand universities has increased 12 percent between 2013 (23,410 students) and 2016 (26,231 students).

However, there has been a decline in the numbers of international student applications since 2017.