“There is only one word for New Zealand – Epic.” – Bear Grylls
In 2015, New Zealand saw a 12 percent growth in international student enrolments, with an additional 10,000 foreign students seeking education in the region in 2014 compared to figures from the previous year.

The international education sector now brings in NZ$2.85 billion a year (or US$2.13 billion), making it the nation’s fifth most valuable export industry, and one that supports more than 30,000 jobs.

The considerable rise in applications from overseas students means that as a global education provider, New Zealand must be doing something right, attracting the best and brightest students to its secondary institutions. In New Zealand, secondary education runs from Year 9 (around 12-14 years old) up to Year 13 (around 16-18 years old). Students generally work towards the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), starting level one in Year 11, and working through to level three in Year 13.

Image via Macleans College

As one of the world’s warmest and most hospitable countries, renowned for its high-quality education as well as its astounding beauty, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that parents and teens around the world are vouching for New Zealand’s secondary education.

More than one third of New Zealand’s landscape is made up of protected parkland and marine reserves, presenting the perfect combination of stunning scenery, magical wildlife and unforgettable adventure. It is one of the world’s most unique and diverse environments, perfectly blending relaxation and rejuvenation for those in search of a little peace, all the while providing an expansive natural playground for young minds in search of a thrill.

Read on to learn about the leading institutions providing secondary education in some of the most awe-inspiring locations in New Zealand…

Auckland. Image via Mathew Waters

Macleans College has been forming the professionals of the future since 1980. This co-educational school delivers quality education and personal development opportunities, ensuring that their students succeed in their future education and as responsible members of a multicultural society. It currently boasts a student population of over 2,500 students, and a magnificent campus situated on 13 hectares (32 acres) in a beautiful location.

The school is located in Bucklands Beach, approximately 11.9 km (7.4 miles) away from Auckland city centre. When it comes to outdoor pursuits, Auckland’s provisions are undoubtedly unparalleled, hosting a wealth of breath-taking beaches, gorgeous regional parks and mystical nature trails. Secondary students here receive a holistic, outdoor education that is both memorable and enriching.

Image via Macleans College

The great thing about Macleans’ Auckland-based setting is that students can take advantage of extra-curricular opportunities that are truly unparalleled. From equestrian sports to orienteering; martial arts to mountain biking; volley ball to fencing; rowing to running; or long-distance running to sailing, Macleans students can do it all in an inspiring natural setting.

“It seems like yesterday that I was at the airport saying goodbye to my family and jumping on a plane which would have brought me up to the other side of the world, it was bringing me to the unknown,” said Francesco Baiguini, an Italian-born international student currently enrolled at Macleans.

“Before leaving I used to believe that the purposes of my exchange were improving English speaking skills, widening my acquaintance with this worldwide used language, but as soon as I set foot in the plane I understood that what my future was preparing for me was more, far more than this. Never could I have imagined such a breath-taking adventure.”

Wellington. Image via Clilly4 / Wikipedia

Wellington College welcomes applications from all overseas students, with 20 years’ experience of educating and taking care of a strong international community. Established in 1867, it is Wellington’s oldest and most prestigious state secondary boys’ high school. It is consistently ranked in the top five New Zealand schools, gaining a number of New Zealand Scholarships in the national examinations.

International students come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, providing an ideal environment that drives them towards success. Diversity among students ensures differences are respected and international students have positive interactions that help them develop confidence, and greatly improves their communication skills.

Wellington College has an extensive extracurricular programme and all students are encouraged to participate, with a selection of summer and winter sports that take full advantage of New Zealand’s stunning landscape.

Tukituki River and Te Mata Range, Hawke’s Bay. Image via Ulanwp / Wikipedia

Every Napier Girls’ High School student is expected to participate in the wide range of co-curricular activities. Some girls excel and others just enjoy taking part. In participating and contributing, girls are helped to belong to the school, to develop more skills and make new friends.

Important whole school activities are held, like sports days, singing, prize-giving and Gift Service. Here students learn the expectations for formal situations, and how to have fun with socials and House competitions. Students mix with girls of both the same age and across age levels in sporting, musical and service groups.

Hawke’s Bay is the province in which the city of Napier is located. It has a population of approximately 100,000 and is an area known for its bountiful produce and beautiful natural assets. Hawke’s Bay not only produces fruit on a large scale but it is also known for its extensive farming. The region has a large fishing industry and a growing wine industry which has been acknowledged on the world stage.

The temperate climate of The Bay is the envy of New Zealand, and Napier is known particularly for its Art Deco heritage, cultural events, restaurants and shops.

Sawyers Bay, Dunedin. Image via Alistair Paterson / Flickr

Otago Girls’ High School, founded in 1870, was the first state secondary school for girls in New Zealand and reputed to be the sixth oldest in the world. The school’s fundamental aim is to provide a high-tech education for the 21st century, promoting the highest standards of achievement for young women in every field: academic, sporting and cultural. A warm, welcoming and secure environment is provided to all students, their whanau, staff and the community.

Located at the head of Otago Harbour on the lower east coast of the South Island, Dunedin is loved for its easy access to beaches, bush and hills. It is a comfortable three hours from Dunedin to the alpine resort of Queenstown.

While the Maori were trading in the region in the 18th century the history of the European settlement dates back to 1848 with the arrival of predominantly Scottish setters. Dunedin still fiercely protects its proud heritage. Today the city has earned the enviable reputation as New Zealand’s premier centre of learning.

Main image: Auckland, via Holgi / Pixabay