The scheme also aims to increase the number of international students in the region nearly threefold from 550 to 1,500 in a decade.
“There is real potential for international education to bring a range of benefits to Northland,” Paul Goldsmith, minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, said.
“International education is also an enabler for our youth who gain exposure to different cultures”
“Many international students value the opportunity to experience tikanga Māori and te reo in an authentic setting,” he said, referring to the Māori culture and language.
“Northland delivers a uniquely New Zealand experience,” he added.
Included in the goal of tripling the number of international students is the target of attracting 900 international tertiary enrolments per year by 2027.
The region supports four tertiary providers: Northtech, University of Aukland’s Whangarei campus and two Wananga – tertiary level education providers focussed on advancing Māori language and customs – Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi and Te Wananga o Aotearoa.
The scheme also aims to host 400 secondary students and 200 primary-aged students per year.
Beyond growth targets, the scheme emphasises cultural exchanges between foreign students and local communities, Iwi and Hapu.
“International education is not only an export earner for Northland with significant potential – it is also an enabler for our youth who gain exposure to different cultures, connections, and opportunities,” Northland Inc’s chief executive officer, David Wilson, said.
Developing international education exports in New Zealand’s regions has become a priority for the national government which established the Regional Partnership Programme last year to grow international student numbers in 15 regional areas around the country.
International education is New Zealand’s fourth largest export, valued at $4.5bn, supporting over 33,000 jobs and enrolling 124,000 students in 2015.
In June, Goldsmith released a draft national international education strategy for public consultation that sets out the country’s proposed vision, goals and immediate priorities for international education through to 2025. The consultation will close August 31.