From the Principal

June 26, 2023

Once again we can reflect on a busy term. We are proud of the many achievements of our students and I thank the staff for their continued commitment to the achievement and well being of our students. I hope you are following our regular updates through Facebook and Instagram.

Dear parents and caregivers

Gill Austin, our Director of International Students, and I recently returned from Asia on an overseas marketing trip. Over a two week period we visited a number of agents, spent time with several of our international student parents in Thailand, and met with Education New Zealand officials, in Hong Kong, Bangkok (Thailand), Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam where we were interested to get a gauge on the international student market post COVID, and also reinforce our relationships with agents in the region. 

We are also very fortunate to have Ray Subhabhundu, an ex Hillcrest parent, who lives in Bangkok providing lots of support with our International Students. Ray was a great host in Thailand and set up a special event for our Thai parents while we were there. It was evident that the countries we visited had similar experiences with COVID as we had here. Extended lockdowns and online learning have affected student engagement and learning, but fortunately, as is the case in New Zealand, things are returning to normal. COVID certainly affected the international student market. 

At Hillcrest we were very fortunate that 34 international students remained at Hillcrest throughout COVID. This did mean that a number of these students had not seen their families for 2 to 3 years. Currently we have 47 international students from 11 countries. We have the most from China, followed by Thailand. It is expensive for parents to send their children overseas for an international experience and the opportunity to learn in our schools. Parents are also placing a huge amount of trust and responsibility on us in looking after their children and providing them with quality educational and life experiences. A number attend New Zealand Universities once they graduate from high school. The international student market is very competitive. Not only are we in competition with other schools, although we are fortunate to be the only co educational school in Hamilton with an international student programme, Hamilton and the Waikato is in competition with other regions and New Zealand is in competition with other countries, in particular Australia, whose immigration policies are more relaxed. We have the potential for our international programme to grow, however we are faced with a shortage of home stays. If you interested in being a homestay host, please contact Gill Austin on

During the holidays construction will begin on our new Independent Learning Centre (ILC). This will replace the existing building with a purpose built facility for a significant number of our ORS funded students who require specific support for their learning. This is an exciting development which we are hoping to complete for the start of 2024.

Once again, thankyou for your continued support.

Ngaa mihi

Kelvin Whiting