Tertiary Institutions in New Zealand

Typically, a bachelor's degree will take three years, and a further year of study will lead to an Honours degree. Not every degree follows this 3+1 pattern: there are some four year degrees (which may or may not be awarded with Honours), and some specialist bachelor's degrees which take longer to complete. Typically, Honours may be awarded with first class, upper second class, lower second class or third class, but this can vary from degree to degree. A bachelor's degree may be followed by a master's degree. A candidate who does not hold an Honours degree may be awarded a master's degree with honours: such a degree usually involves two years study, compared to one year for a master's degree for a candidate who does have an Honours degree. A candidate who has either a master's degree or a bachelor's degree with Honours may proceed to a doctoral degree.

Entry to most universities was previously "open" to all who met the minimum requirements in school-leaving examinations (be it NCEA or Bursary). However, most courses at New Zealand universities now have selective admission, where candidates have to fulfill additional requirements through qualifications, with the University of Auckland offering the largest number of selective-entry courses. Mature students usually do not need to meet the academic criteria demanded of students who enter directly from secondary school.

Domestic students will pay fees subsidised by the Government, and the student-paid portion of the fee can be loaned from the Government under the Government's Student Loan Scheme. Weekly stipends can be drawn from the loan for living expenses, or the student can apply for a needs based (on assessment of parental income) "Student Allowance", which does not need to be paid back.

"Bonded Merit Scholarships" are also provided by the Government to cover the student-paid portion of fees. The New Zealand Scholarship is awarded to school leavers by a competitive examination and also provides financial support to school-leavers pursuing a university degree but does not entail any requirement to stay in the country after they finish university. International students pay full (non-subsidised) fees and are not eligible for Government financial assistance.

The first university in New Zealand, the University of Otago, was founded in 1869. The next year, in 1870, the University of New Zealand was founded - the overarching university entity which eventually had a number of university colleges under it. The University of New Zealand was initially based in Wellington, but additionally opened Canterbury College in 1873, University of Otago came under its control in 1874, Auckland University College in 1883, and later Victoria University College in 1889.

The University of New Zealand system - where it was the only degree-granting university in New Zealand - lasted until 1961.

Now the colleges are independent universities in their own right, and since 1961 four new universities have been created: Auckland University of Technology, Lincoln University, Massey University and Waikato University.

Universities in New Zealand:
Auckland University of Technology (Auckland)
Lincoln University (Lincoln)
Massey University (Palmerston North, Auckland, Wellington)
University of Auckland (Auckland)
University of Canterbury (Christchurch)
University of Otago (Dunedin)
University of Waikato (Hamilton)
Victoria University of Wellington (Wellington)
The overarching representative body for universities is Universities New Zealand, made up of the Vice-Chancellors of the respective institutions.

According to the Education Act 1989, universities have the following characteristics:
(i) they are primarily concerned with more advanced learning, the principal aim being to develop intellectual independence:
(ii) their research and teaching are closely interdependent and most of their teaching is done by people who are active in advancing knowledge:
(iii) they meet international standards of research and teaching:
(iv) they are a repository of knowledge and expertise:
(v) they accept a role as critic and conscience of society;...
Education Act 1989, section 162(4)(a)

Colleges of education
The name 'College of Education' is protected by Act of Parliament. (Previously the name 'Teachers' College' was protected.) Only universities and standalone colleges of education may use this title. Thus, privately owned institutions that are not listed in Acts and that provide teacher education such as the Bethlehem Institute (Tauranga) and New Zealand Graduate School of Education (Christchurch) must use alternative names.

Below is a partial list of historical or existing colleges--specifically those listed in Acts of Parliament as public (Crown-owned) teacher education providers:
Auckland College of Education (Auckland City)
Massey University College of Education (Palmerston North)
Wellington College of Education (Wellington)
Christchurch College of Education (Christchurch)
Dunedin College of Education (Dunedin)

Most colleges of education in New Zealand in the past 30 years have gradually consolidated (for example, Ardmore with Auckland), with the trend in the last 15 years to consider and effect mergers with universities closely allied to them, for example, the Hamilton and Palmerston North colleges amalgamated with Waikato and Massey respectively. In the 2004-2005 period, the Auckland and Wellington colleges merged with Auckland University and Victoria University respectively. In 2007, the Christchurch College of Education merged with the University of Canterbury. The remaining stand-alone college in Dunedin merged with the University of Otago in January 2007.

Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITP)
Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITP) offer general technical and vocational education. Curriculum are based on practical knowledge in a working environment. Courses usually take place in workplaces (workshops, hospitals, studios...), certification upon graduation are industry-related and real work experiences are usually part of the curriculum.

A wānanga is a publicly owned tertiary institution that provides education in a Māori cultural context. Section 162 of the Education Act 1989 (re-affirmed by the Waitangi Tribunal in 2005) specifies that wānanga resemble mainstream universities in many ways. As of 2009, wānanga offer certificates, diplomas, and bachelor-level degrees, with some wānanga providing programmes in specialized areas up to doctorate level.

Wānanga educational programmes are accredited through the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and the Ministry of Education, and are partly governed by New Zealand's Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).

In Maori tradition the word wānanga conveyed meanings related to highly evolved knowledge, lore, occult arts, and also "forum" in the sense of a discussion to arrive at deeper understanding.

Recognised wānanga in New Zealand
Te Wānanga o Raukawa
Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa