Connect. Connect. Connect

Andrew Tui1, Helena Finau2, Jasmine Patel Govind3

1Unitec Institute of Technology, 139 Carrington Road, Mt Albert, Auckland 1025, , 2Unitec Institute of Technology, 139 Carrington Road, Mt Albert, Auckland 1025,, 3Unitec Institute of Technology, 139 Carrington Road, Mt Albert, Auckland 1025,

Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ait e iwi
With your basket and my basket the people will live

This presentation introduces the International Student Connectors programme, which is a collaborative pilot project developed and facilitated by the Unitec International Office and the Student Support team in 2017.    The programme is informed by the 2016 Unitec U-Matter student survey, which indicated that International students wanted greater opportunities to engage in on-campus experiences.  The students also indicated areas of concern, including safety, communication and language barriers, health issues, and future career prospects.  The programme is voluntary and selected students are trained and supported to provide assistance at Orientation, campus life activities, social events, to promoting student support services.  A student leadership model was adopted where students are empowered to identify issues they wish to explore further.  The purpose of the program is:

  • To empower and provide opportunities for international students to support other international and domestic students during their learning journey
  • To create a sense of belonging for international students
  • To provide practical voluntary work experience on campus
  • To allow the students to develop their personal and professional skills – communication, team work, leadership, and employability

While the role of the Student Support team and other key staff is to guide the students through regular catch-ups, mentoring, informal discussions and communications via social media.  This presentation will follow the journey of the programme, focussing on the highlights, challenges and learnings for the future.


Helena Finau is the Leader of the Student Support team at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand. Helena and her team assist all Unitec students for pastoral care support and provide some funding opportunities for domestic students. Helena holds a Bachelor of Human Services (youth work major) from the University of Auckland and a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Practice from Unitec. Helena is passionate about guiding students to create a personal definition of what “success” means to them. Being a proud Tongan, she brings her whole-self and cultural values to her work and empowers those around her to stay connected and authentic to who they are as a person. In her spare time, Helena loves watching the All Blacks win, enjoys a good laugh, cherishes getting her nails done, and happily shops online.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.