The release of a series of videos promoting Northland’s stunning natural beauty, adventure opportunities and Maori culture will provide inspiration to Auckland’s youth and tertiary students to explore the winterless north in the wake of COVID-19.
Jo Lees, project manager of Study Northland, says Northland’s proximity to Auckland makes it an attractive destination for students.
"We have so much to offer students living in Auckland – from white, sandy beaches to giant kauri trees, to sea-based adventure activities and monster scooters – and, of course, it’s only a two-hour drive away."
The video series, Project Raki, was filmed during October last year in several Northland locations and is the first joint-partnership between Study Northland – part of the Northland Inc Business, Innovation and Growth team – and Study Auckland, the international education arm of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in September last year between the two economic development agencies to promote student tourism between the two regions.
"There are approximately 15,000 international tertiary students still in Auckland, looking for looking for unique and authentic experiences out of the city," says Jo.
"We are the perfect destination for a weekend away, when visitors can discover our stunning scenery or just enjoy the slower pace and the friendly faces."
A production crew followed three international student ambassadors from Auckland and Northland as they explored the region. Along the way, the students participated in a range of activities on both land and sea, from sandboarding at Ocean Beach, to exploring the kauri boardwalk at AH Reed Park, WhangÄ¬Årei, touring the hives at Tahi Honey in Pataua North, and kayaking, snorkelling and fishing from Rock the Boat in the Bay of Islands.
It was while they were filming at Waewaetorea Island that the students were approached by a pod of dolphins that swam under and around the kayaks for more than an hour. "It was a magical experience," says Jo.
The videos are narrated by the students, giving the footage a "fresh and youthful perspective". Each video also includes the story of the Northland businesses that were featured.
"We have created a few suggested weekend road-trip itineraries for students wanting an easy way to experience some of the activities and places featured in the videos. These youth orientated local itineraries, will help to build on the momentum," says Jo.
Study Northland works with schools and tertiary institutions by helping to promote Northland domestically and internationally as a study destination.
Henry Matthews, ATEED’s head of international education, says the partnership between to two entities encourages students to explore their ‘extended’ backyards.
"This is a partnership that enhances both of our regions, and I’m excited to see the release of the first campaign of this relationship. Project Raki really showcases the wonderful activities and beautiful areas that Northland has to offer."