Tauranga Welcomes Over 700 International Students and Their Families

Hundreds of international students have been officially welcomed to Tauranga this morning.

A total of 770 international students attended this morning's official mayoral welcome at the Holy Trinity Church.

Tauranga Intermediate School pupils welcomed the students with a special kapa haka performance before speeches from authorities, including the mayor, Greg Brownless, and Education Tauranga representatives.

Education Tauranga chairman and Pillans Point Primary School principal Matt Simeon welcomed the students to Tauranga saying it was great to see so many students from different cultures and countries.

"These students are an important and valued part of the Western Bay of Plenty community.

"They bring cultural diversity and teach our Kiwi students about a different way of life," he said.

Simeon said last year Tauranga hosted about 1500 international students aged 5 to 18.

A total of 680 students came to Tauranga to study English and more than 100 students studied in tertiary education.

More than 500 studied here for a short time, he said.

Education Tauranga regional manager Anne Young also welcomed the students to the city.

Young shared her own experience of living and studying overseas as a teenager.

When she was 16 years old she travelled to Japan to study at the sister school.

"Immersion into a new school that speaks a different language and living with a host family provides a totally different experience than a passing visitor.

"I hope you make yourself at home here."

Brownless said more than 770 students and their families were being welcomed to Tauranga today from 25 different countries.

Those countries included South Korea, India, Germany and France.