New Website Platform BeKiwi Launched

Paddleboarding

International
students who have found themselves spending an unplanned
summer in New Zealand now have a new tool to help them
experience more of Aotearoa.

Launched today (December
2), BeKiwi is a web platform that offers a curated selection
of the best experiences from around Northland and Auckland,
specifically designed to help international students better
connect with New Zealand people and culture.

The
site’s developers are looking to expand the site to become
nationwide by next June.

The idea for BeKiwi emerged
in response to concerns that some international students
were struggling to find opportunities to easily connect with
local people, places, and experiences.

The original
concept for BeKiwi was developed by Whangārei strategy and
marketing company Level, and with support from Northland
Inc, the company was successful in attracting funding from
the Ministry of Education International Student Wellbeing
Strategy Fund and Auckland Unlimited (formerly
ATEED).

Pre Covid-19, there were on average 125,000
international students in New Zealand at any one time, and
there are currently still approximately 40,000 students in
the country, with about half of these students based in
Auckland.

BeKiwi co-founder Katy Mandeno said students
wanted an easier way to discover high quality experiences
that would help them feel more connected, by better
understanding Kiwi culture, as well as learning new skills
that could improve their future employment
opportunities.

Ms Mandeno said research has shown the
next generation of international students and youth
travellers aren’t just looking for box-ticking tourism,
but want travel opportunities that offer deeper, more
meaningful experiences and connections.

“Great
examples include volunteering and hands-on activities that
focus on cultural practices and sustainability. These
experiences offer a twist on traditional tourism and provide
much of what international students are looking for, in the
way of learning opportunities, human connections and
cultural understanding,” she
said.

“Every experience on BeKiwi
includes learning outcomes, social and cultural protocols to
improve cultural awareness and understanding, and relevant
future skills, such as communication, leadership and problem
solving. This is to help students better understand the
connection between these hands-on experiences and the soft
or future skills that will help strengthen their
capabilities and employability in the
future.”

Northland Inc’s Chief
Executive Murray Reade said the concept is an exciting
development because it will help to bring small businesses
in Northland onto the tourism radar for the first time:
“In Tai Tokerau we have many talented small businesses
offering unique and personal learning experiences, but they
don’t necessarily have the capacity to market themselves
nationally, let alone internationally.

“Through
BeKiwi, they are being given a platform to promote their
experiences, which are as genuine and authentic as you could
ask for. Great examples of this include woodturning and
print-making workshops, kaimoana gathering experiences and
tree-planting volunteer days. These are all ideal
opportunities for international students and other
travellers to get to know Aotearoa’s people and culture on
a deeper level.”

Auckland Unlimited’s Head of
International Education, Henry Matthews, said international
students are hungry for authentic tourism experiences that
connect them with Kiwis and local places: “BeKiwi is a
unique opportunity for local tourism providers to connect
directly with the international student travel
market.

“International students are keen to travel
throughout New Zealand, but it can be difficult for them to
know where and how to access local experiences. BeKiwi makes
it easier for students to find experiences, and for tourism
providers to tailor their experiences to suit this savvy
travel market.”

Providers are being offered a free
listing on the site for the first 12 months:

www.bekiwi.nz

© Scoop Media

 

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