Republic of the Philippines

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PHL Ambassador visits Waiariki institute of technology in Rotorua, New Zealand

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As the Philippine Embassy continues to strengthen educational linkages and people-to-people ties with New Zealand, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez visited the Waiariki Institute of Technology on 25 October in Rotorua, North Island. At present, there are about 150-160 Filipinos studying at the Waiariki Institute, making up 12% of the international student population. Ambassador Benavidez was welcomed with a Karakia, a Maori blessing by Kaumatua Dr. Ken Kennedy and had a highly informative meeting on educational opportunities in the Philippines and the profile and performance of Filipino students with the Institute’s Sylvia Tahuriorangi, IELTS Administrator, Richard Bird, Director, Student and Staff Support Services, Paul Wollaston, Director, Finance and Corporate Services, Prabha Ravi, Director, International Education, Kevin Uncles, Dean, Faculty of Applied Technology and Primary Industries, Julia Nepia, Head of Department, Tourism, Hospitality and Business, Tania Mullane, Head of Department, Health Studies and Programme Area Lead for Graduate Programmes, Karen Sionzon, Program Administrator and the International Team. Discussions focused on the importance of the Philippines as an emerging market with strong links and interest in health studies, health rehabilitation, infection prevention, hospitality, business mentorship, resource management, sustainable management, professional leadership, IT, among others. The Institute’s management and academic team said that Filipino students came with good English comprehension and academic enrichment and shared the various pathways such as the Competency Academic Program and other programs to upgrade technical skills in various areas. Ambassador Benavidez thanked them for a comprehensive and interactive session and said informed them about the Philippine Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) training and technical programs.

Ambassador Benavidez met and interacted with the Filipino students, shared with them the positive feedback about their level of English competency and academic performance and exhorted them to continue pursuing their respective studies with excellence and representing the Philippines and the Filipino people well. Together with the Waiariki Institute Management and International Team, they joined Ambassador Benavidez and Mr. Bird in the raising of the Philippine flag and recitation of the pledge of allegiance to the Philippine flag. The Filipino students organized a showcase of Filipino artistry and culture through music and dances and food sale. In her speech, Ambassador Benavidez congratulated the Filipino students for their distinctive talents and creativity, outstanding academic performance in the Institute and thanked them for being good representatives of the Philippines. She said that “there are five Cs that stand out among Filipinos and enable them to connect closely with people in their host countries. These are: first, our Christian heritage that uplifts; second, our commitment and care very much evident in the way a Filipino will go the extra mile in his work and service to others, not counting the hours or the costs but coming up with ways to excel in their respective roles and responsibilities to help family and fellowmen; third, our cultural heritage found in the richness, variety and artistry of Filipino talents, music, dancing, arts, the windows to the Filipino’s soul contributing much to the multi-cultural enrichment of New Zealand with its vibrant, diverse, friendly, open and egalitarian society; fourth is our compassionate spirit that is very much alive during times of disaster and calamities in New Zealand and back home in the Philippines; and fifth, is our cuisine and our cameras which I am sure will be enjoyed and experienced in every function and celebration like this.”

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