NMIT helps bring cricket great to Nelson

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NMIT is behind the signing of Sri Lankan cricketing great Mahela Jayawardene to play for Central Districts this season in an effort to encourage more students from the cricket-loving sub-continent to study here.

NMIT is the key sponsor in the arrangement which sees Jayawardene becoming the institute’s star ambassador for the next 12 months.

His role with NMIT continues a growing relationship between the institute and the Sri Lankan batsman who will play Twenty-20 cricket for the Central Districts Stags.

Jayawardene, one of the all-time top ten run scorers in Test match cricket and top five in ODIs, has his first game for the Stags at Nelson’s Saxton Oval on November 19 versus the Wellington Firebirds.

NMIT chief executive Tony Gray says as ambassador, the Sri Lankan cricketer will undertake  NMIT promotional activities including social media and attendance at events in Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

Mr Gray says the institute’s relationship with Jayawardene began with his first visit to NMIT a year ago. “Since then we have provided aquaculture expertise for his Ministry of Crab restaurant business, and supported his Foundation of Goodness charity in Seenigama”

He says Jayawardene is idolised in Sri Lanka and his association with NMIT will have a positive impact there and in many other cricket loving regions including India.

“We are seeing a growing number of Sri Lankan students at NMIT who are enjoying their learner experience with us, working with local businesses and raising families in New Zealand. It is expected that with the exposure and support from someone as high-profile as Mahela that we will see increasing numbers of quality students from this region.

“What immediately impressed me about Mahela is his integrity and very obvious passion for his country”, says Tony Gray.

Jayawardene’s relationship with NMIT and his contract to play cricket in New Zealand this season was facilitated by Pro X New Zealand Ltd, owned and operated by chairman Asoka Weerasundara, a Sri Lankan migrant living in New Zealand.