Indian child among 8 students redesigned graduation dresses for New Zealand universities


As New Zealand opened its borders to international students, including India, a new global marketing campaign was launched emphasizing the country’s unique attributes for international students. The country had closed the borders to international students for two years now. The global campaign features the stories of eight international students from India, China, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Thailand, USA and Vietnam.

Among the 8 students is Tiara Das from India who is studying Health Sciences – Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Otago in Dunedin.

Education New Zealand invited these eight students to work alongside renowned Maori fashion designer Kiri Nathan to collaborate on the design of a new type of educational clothing that embodies the cultural values ​​that make a New Zealand education unique: manaakitanga ( care of people), kaitiakitanga (care of place), and the pōtiki spirit of youthful energy and finding a better way. The campaign stories focus on students’ experiences and goals and explore themes such as work and career readiness, sustainability and innovation through collaboration. It is a campaign authentically rooted in Te Ao Māori values.

“The traditional gown worn by students when they graduate is a symbol of achievement, capturing a snapshot in time,” says Nathan. “Our ‘kākahu’ (garment) symbolizes not only this accomplishment, but more importantly the cultural journey that these students have undertaken and will continue throughout their lives. Their experience in New Zealand has changed them, weaving and sharing the values ​​of Te Ao Māori into the unique cultures of their own homeland. kākahu’s final designs are a uniquely collaborative effort, globally minded and inspiring – just like the students.

Kiri Nathan is best known for her extensive experience in the modern fashion world steeped in her Te Ao Māori roots. She has developed pieces for international personalities such as Barack Obama, Beyoncé and the Duchess of Sussex.

The students also had to share their experience of studying and living in New Zealand, and the benefits that come from weaving together different cultures in a way unique to New Zealand.

Explaining the campaign, Education New Zealand chief executive Grant McPherson said: “When you study with New Zealand, you are asked to bring your whole being. You will benefit from New Zealand’s cultural values ​​as well as our high quality education which embodies innovation, hands-on learning and prepares you for the future.

“But we also know that New Zealand also benefits. We want students to bring their stories, culture and perspectives so that we can learn from each other and build a connected, strong and adaptable future,” he added.

The campaign was launched as part of Education New Zealand’s participation in NASFA 2022, an international education conference and expo in Denver, Colorado. The campaign will be rolled out in New Zealand’s main partner countries from June 2 and will initially run for 12 weeks.

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