Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) is partnering with two Chinese universities to deliver joint education programmes in viticulture and wine.
NMIT Chief Executive Tony Gray recently travelled to China where he signed a cooperation agreement with China Agriculture University, Yantai Campus, a top agricultural university in China. The major areas of focus for cooperation are in viticulture and wine and commerce. NMIT has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Beijing Agricultural University (BAU) to cooperate in viticulture and wine education.
Under both initiatives, students will initially study in China utilising the NMIT curriculum, and also studying English as part of their programme. Students will later have the opportunity to complete part of their education in New Zealand through NMIT. Cooperation in activities such as student and staff exchanges and joint research projects is also being explored.
NMIT Chief Executive Tony Gray said the key thrust from NMIT was to choose partners and programmes that played to the Top of the South region’s strengths in areas where NMIT has value to add.
“We believe in internationalisation – and that’s really important. This is not just about numbers, it’s about making sure that the sort of students we recruit and the organisations we partner with are relevant to the region and that we’re providing a global set of outcomes for students.”
Don Everitt, Chief Executive of Kono, has welcomed NMIT’s new educational links with China in viticulture and wine. The premium food and beverage company based in Nelson is growing its sales to China at an increasing rate. While most of that increase is coming from seafood products and the sale of wine is still relatively small, Don Everitt says having closer educational links to China is important. “We need to learn more about the Chinese wine consumer and gain insights into their behaviour. We are partnering with other primary producers from New Zealand to build a presence in the market which will allow us to get closer to consumers there.”
NMIT offers viticulture and wine training at certificate and diploma level and a pathway to the Lincoln University Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology degree which students can study at the Marlborough campus. The Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production reflects the strengths of the Marlborough region and is supported by the local wine and viticulture industries. Facilities on-site at the NMIT Marlborough campus include a vineyard, and a modern purpose built winery and state-of-the-art lab facility situated within the Marlborough Wine Research Centre.
NMIT has four other joint venture partnerships in China - with Hubei Polytechnic University (HBPU) in Nelson’s sister city of Huangshi (Arts and Media); Hunan University of Technology (Arts and Media); Zhejiang University of Water Resource and Electric Power (Business and IT) and the College of Science and Technology Nanchang HongKong University (Business, IT and Arts). NMIT is also in discussions with Chinese educational institutes for joint cooperation programmes in civil engineering and aquaculture.