Chinese investors with plans for a $60 million
international school have chosen Dunedin as their preferred
location, and hope to open a facility within three years.
The project, if it proceeded, could attract hundreds of
pupils to the city each year, as well as creating hundreds of
jobs and pumping ''tens of millions'' of dollars into the
city's economy each year.
It is understood the facility would cater for wealthy
overseas families - in China and elsewhere - wanting to send
their children abroad to receive an international education.
The school would offer a mix of education and accommodation
facilities, allowing pupils at a secondary school level to
live in the facility while studying an international
Those wanting to continue their tertiary studies in Dunedin
could stay on at the school while studying at the University
of Otago or Otago Polytechnic, it was understood.
The details were confirmed after representatives from the
Chinese backers travelled to Dunedin for meetings yesterday
with the Otago Chamber of Commerce, Dunedin City Council and
other parties, including Dunedin-based Immigration Minister
The developers still required a site and resource consent -
which could trigger public consultation - before the
development could proceed. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull welcomed
the news yesterday, saying the development would be
''fantastic'' for the city.
''It's building on our considerable strengths as an
educational centre. It would be a perfect fit and we've got a
tremendous amount to offer.''
The progress came after Otago Chamber of Commerce chief
executive John Christie first confirmed in November an
international investor was eyeing the city for a potential
The chamber, council and other parties had since prepared a
proposal that had Dunedin selected as the developers'
preferred location, Mr Christie said yesterday.
The developers were not ready to be identified, but were
likely to go public later this year, and had agreed to allow
more details of their plans to be made known in the meantime,
They were experienced providers, involved in similar
operations within China and abroad, Mr Christie said.
They had already raised a significant portion of the $60
million cost of building the school in Dunedin, tapping into
international investors, and were confident of securing the
remainder soon, Mr Christie said.
Funding could also come from investors within New Zealand,
some of whom also met in Dunedin yesterday to discuss the
project, Mr Christie said.
The search for a suitable location within the city had also
A list of potential sites was presented during yesterday's
meeting, as was work by council staff on regulatory and
planning issues, Mr Christie said.
The potential investment opportunity had been identified as
part of Project Shanghai - a component of the city's new
economic development strategy - and pursued by Mr Christie
during a recent trip to China.
Mr Christie praised the collaborative approach undertaken
since then by parties across the city, including the council,
saying the ''united city front'' had helped secure Dunedin's
The aim was to attract a development that would complement
the city's existing strength in the education sector, and
help it grow, rather than competing with what was already in
place, he said.
• $60m international school proposed by Chinese backers.
• Dunedin preferred location over other New Zealand centres.
• Mix of education and accommodation facilities suggested as
part of package.
• Catering for secondary school-aged children from wealthy
• Links to University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic for
later tertiary study.
• Potential for hundreds of students, hundreds of jobs,
''tens of millions'' into economy each year, Otago Chamber of
Where to from here?
• Meeting between developers and Dunedin City Council, Otago
Chamber of Commerce, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse
held in Dunedin yesterday.
• Potential sites around Dunedin (public and private-owned)
tabled yesterday; to be investigated.
• Council staff already working on planning and regulatory
• Developers hope to secure site within months.
• Full disclosure, including identification of developers,
and consent application to follow.
• Public consultation depending on site location, planning
and other issues.