BeKiwi is a new tourism platform that offers a curated selection of the best travel experiences in Auckland and Northland, specifically designed to further help international students connect with New Zealand’s people and culture.

BeKiwi is being promoted by Study Auckland, a division of Auckland Unlimited*, and Northland Inc and has the support of the Ministry of Education through its International Student Wellbeing programme. BeKiwi is aimed at helping international students and youth travellers to connect with experiential travel opportunities. The platform also supports local tourism operators in Auckland and Northland by marketing to a largely untapped travel market with plans to extend the opportunity to regional partners around the country in 2021.

The concept for BeKiwi was developed by Whangārei based strategy and marketing company Level.

Level co-owner Katy Mandeno conducted extensive market research and testing with students to build and launch the website.

The timing of BeKiwi couldn’t be better for the education and tourism sectors. Pre COVID-19, there were 125,000 international students in New Zealand with more than half of them in Auckland. Currently, 20,000 international students reside in Auckland, making them a key visitor market.

Auckland Unlimited’s Head of International Education, Henry Matthews, says international students are hungry for authentic tourism experiences that connect them with Kiwis and local places.

BeKiwi is a unique opportunity for local tourism providers to connect directly with the international student travel market. 

“International students are keen to travel throughout New Zealand, but it can be difficult for them to know where and how to access local experiences. BeKiwi makes it easier for students to find experiences, and for tourism providers to tailor their experiences to suit this savvy travel market,” he says.

Northland Inc’s Chief Executive Murray Reade believes the concept is an exciting development because it puts small businesses in Northland on the tourism radar.

“In Tai Tokerau we have many talented small businesses offering unique and personal learning experiences, but they don’t necessarily have the capacity to market themselves nationally, let alone internationally,” Reade says.

Through BeKiwi, small businesses are being given a platform to promote their experiences, which are as genuine and authentic as you could ask for.

Great examples of this include woodturning and print-making workshops, kaimoana gathering experiences and tree-planting volunteer days. These are all ideal opportunities for international students and other travellers to get to know Aotearoa’s people and culture on a deeper level.”

Katy Mandeno says students wanted an easier way to discover high quality destination experiences that would help them feel more connected, by better understanding Kiwi culture and learning new skills that could improve their future employment opportunities.

“Every BeKiwi experience includes learning outcomes, social and cultural protocols to improve cultural awareness and understanding, and relevant future skills, such as communication, leadership and problem solving. This is to help students better understand the connection between these hands-on experiences and the soft or future skills that will help strengthen their capabilities and employability in the future.”

Visit BeKiwi

Page header image: Wild Heart Project and Conservation Volunteers New Zealand, Summer Volunteering Getaways

For further information please contact
Auckland Unlimited

Rebecca Foote 
Communications Advisor 
Mobile: 021 389 150

Northland Inc

Jo Lees
Project Manager – Study Northland
Mobile: 021 676 331


Katy Mandeno
Co-owner – Level
Mobile: 027 284 7797

BeKiwi makes it easier for students to find experiences, and for tourism providers to tailor their experiences to suit this savvy travel market.

Henry Matthews, Head of International Education for Auckland Unlimited