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Higher Education System in New Zealand

New Zealand has a reputation of providing quality education with state of the art facilities, excellent learning environment, and support services. New Zealand has produced famous graduates like Dr Bryan Barrett-Boyes and Sir Ernest Rutherford. The New Zealand education system is based on the British system of education thereby making it acceptable across all nations.

New Zealand Education System


Universities: Universities in New Zealand are not only centers of teaching but also of research and development. There are eight state funded universities offering quality education on a wide range of subjects. They are:

  1. The University of Auckland
  2. Auckland University of Technology
  3. The University of Waikato
  4. Massey University
  5. Victoria University of Wellington
  6. University of Canterbury
  7. Lincoln University
  8. University of Otago

All international education programs are approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), a New Zealand government organization responsible for quality control. In addition to the internal quality checks by each university, a central system of quality assurance audits by the New Zealand Vice Chancellors’ Committee (NZVCC)) is undertaken at both institution and program level.

Qualification: Courses from certificate to doctorate level are offered.

Colleges of Education

Colleges of education in New Zealand offer various courses for training of teachers for primary and secondary schools, as well as for early childhood education schools and special educators. New Zealand has six such institutions which are autonomous while one is affiliated to the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand.

The course content and academic year are in tune with the universities.

Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology

Polytechnics were traditionally known as vocational training institutes but that function has been expanded over the years to meet the growing demand of the economy. Many polytechnics are involved in research activities both in applied and technological areas.

Qualifications: Polytechnics offer courses from certificate level with some offering full degree and postgraduate level studies.

Some of the important Polytechnics in New Zealand are:

  1. The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
  2. Universal College of Learning
  3. Northland Polytechnic
  4. Waiariki Institute of Technology
  5. Manukau Institute of Technology
  6. Tai Poutini Polytechnic
  7. Tairawhiti Polytech
  8. Bay of Plenty Polytechnic
  9. Waikato Institute of Technology
  10. Western Institute of Technology
  11. Whitireia Community Polytechnic
  12. Wellington Institute of Technology
  13. Eastern Institute of Technology
  14. Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
  15. Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology
  16. Otago Polytechnic
  17. Southern Institute of Technology

Private Tertiary Institutes

Private Tertiary Institutes offer alternative study options. These institutes are growing in number and offer programs in subjects as wide as hospitality, computer studies, quality management and secretarial studies to courses in scuba-diving. Currently there are more than 860 private training establishments (PTEs) in New Zealand. The degrees offered by private tertiary institutions have received their accreditation from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

For a complete list of PTEs, click here.

In the last decade, Wananga, centres of tertiary learning, were set up as tertiary education institutions offering education in Maori culture. They offer advanced study and research programmes where ahuatanga Maori (Maori tradition) and tikanga Maori (Maori custom) are stressed upon. There are three wananga in the public sector.

The Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand (Aotearoa). They probably arrived in southwestern Polynesia in several groups some time before 1300AD and settled and developed a distinct culture.

Academic Year:

Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the academic year is from February to November. A July start date may be available for some courses.

Types Of Qualification In New Zealand:

a) National Certificates
b) National Diplomas
c) Bachelors Degree or Graduate Diploma
d) Post Graduate Diploma or Certificate or Bachelors with Hons.
e) Masters
f) Doctorates


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