Updated: Mar 23

Australia and New Zealand announced they would close their borders to noncitizens Thursday in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prime ministers from both countries revealed the plans to shut down borders, citing the fact that most cases of the novel coronavirus came from overseas.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the ban would go into effect Friday at 9 p.m. and stay in place indefinitely, while New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the closure would occur at midnight on Thursday, The Guardian reported.

The bans in both countries would permit the partners or children of citizens or residents to enter the country.

“For the next six months we need to work together,” Morrison said during a televised news conference,

according to The Straits Times. “We do need to moderate our behavior and understand things need to change.”

Australia also decided to put $100 billion in Australian dollars into the economy to prevent the first potential recession in three decades. The government has also cooperated with airlines like Qantas for continuing to work to bring Australians home after it had cut many flights, ABC reported.

New Zealand followed in Australia’s footsteps by intensifying all travel advisories to level four, known as “Do Not Travel.”

“I’m not willing to tolerate risk at our border, that is where predominantly our cases are coming from,” Ardern said, according to The Guardian.

Both countries had already forbidden citizens of Iran, China and South Korea, all countries that have suffered from high amounts of virus infections, from entering for weeks. They also will require all arrivals to the country to self-isolate for 14 days, according to The Guardian.

But both countries assured citizens that supplies would still come into the country so no panic shopping was required.

The border closures come the day after the U.S. and Canada announced they would close their border to “non-essential traffic” because of the virus.

New Zealand has 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which Ardern said all came from abroad, while Australia has documented more than 600 cases, according to The Guardian.

Updated: Mar 23

A new arts partnership programme is beginning in schools and kura this term with 34 creative projects underway throughout New Zealand. “The Creatives in Schools programme involves a wide range of artists and creative practitioners sharing their specialist knowledge and creative practice with students and ākonga,” Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement, Ellen MacGregor-Reid says.

“The projects range from contemporary dance to ceramic sculpture, Māori fibre weaving to digital mixed media.”

“This creative learning experience aims to improve students’ core competencies in communication, collaboration and creative thinking, enhance their wellbeing and raise their awareness of creative careers,” Ms MacGregor-Reid says.

The programme was announced as part of Budget 2019 which provided $7.16 million funding for more than 300 creative projects from 2020 to 2023.

Applications for the second round of 72 projects to be undertaken next year will open in June 2020 and close in August.

Find out more about the Creatives in Schools programme and the first round of projects:

Find out more about the first round of projects — Arts Online 

Find out more about Creatives in Schools — Arts Online

New Zealand, however small, boasts high academic ratings internationally, with all 8 universities in the country included in the World's Top 500 Universities. Our education system prides itself on being innovative and engaging while ensuring that every skill that is taught is applicable in the chosen field of the students. The University of Auckland, the country's top university, is ranked #71 in the world in terms of Graduate Employability.

It is then no wonder why our country is being sought after by foreign students for both undergraduate and post-graduate studies. Our local government and communities are happy to welcome the influx of foreign students as it brings about cultural diversity. In line with this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is currently offering scholarships to deserving students around the world, including the Philippines.

Applications for New Zealand Post-Graduate Scholarships will open on 1 February 2020.

We are looking for potential leaders. Our scholars leave with a world-class education, lifelong friendships, and vital skills to strengthen their careers and contribute to Philippines


Check out the link below to know more about the scholarship programme and the application process: