New Zealand

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(Re.ViCa version by Theo Bastiaens, Paul Bacsich, Nikki Cortoos and Grégory Lucas. External evaluation by Ute Walker)
Revised and updated for VISCED by Paul Bacsich, James Kay and Professor Niki Davis of the University of Canterbury.
Updated for POERUP by Paul Bacsich in 2012 and 2013 with assistance from James Kay and off-wiki advice from Niki Davis

For entities in New Zealand see Category:New Zealand

Policies Survey notes:

In New Zealand, the Ministry of Education is in contact with the OER University Project, and participates in OER through its Tertiary e-Learning Reference Group, which comprises e-learning experts. Otago Polytechnic has adopted an OER policy, and other institutions are showing similar interest. The Ministry has also funded a small-scale project (OERNZ) to develop an OER commons for the school sector in New Zealand. One of the focuses of the project is to “seed” OER content development for use in New Zealand schools. Thus far, two school boards have adopted an OER policy, with additional schools showing interest. Teachers are also adding OER to WikiEducator, a COL-supported initiative. Many OER activities come from advocates who work in the sector. For example, the OER Foundation provides free training workshops on OER, copyright and Creative Commons licences.
New Zealand has introduced a data reuse strategy that aims to standardise the licensing of government copyright works for reuse by using the most open of the available CC licences. This means that key educational documents such as the curriculum and OER produced on behalf of the sector by government agencies are likely to be freely available.
The New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL), established by the government in 2010, provides guidance for agencies to follow when releasing copyright works and non-copyright material for reuse by others.
The respondent to Policies Survey from New Zealand noted in relation to New Zealand's motivations for involvement in the OER movement that "It can provide more affordable options for tertiary study for learners by using OER courses combined with an assessment-only model. This could allow a reduction in fees of as much as 80 percent according to the OER Tertiary Education Network participants … It could improve quality. Shared and transparent development of OER courses provides opportunities to improve the quality of e-learning for all participating institutions."
However, New Zealand noted that, even though it has various OER initiatives, the overall penetration of OER into the sector is low.

OER in New Zealand: Map

Total number of Open Education Initiatives in New Zealand on Thursday, 20 February 2020 at 14:44 = 12 , of which:

  • 11 are MOOC
  • 1 are OER

Initiatives per million = 2.93

Loading map...


Partners and Experts situated in New Zealand


None - for any of Re.ViCa, VISCED and POERUP.


The following are well known to the POERUP team.

  • Sandy Britain
  • Mark Brown
  • Niki Davis - Paul's host as Visiting Fellow 2012
  • Wayne Mackintosh, OER U
  • Stephen Marshall
  • Gordon Suddaby

New Zealand in a nutshell

New Zealand (Maori: Aotearoa) is an geographically isolated island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean. It comprises two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island), and numerous smaller islands, most notably Stewart Island/Rakiura and the Chatham Islands. The Realm of New Zealand also includes the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing but in free association); Tokelau; and the Ross Dependency (New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica).

The population of New Zealand is around 4,100,000 according to the CIA Factbook. This makes it rather similar in size to several European countries, rather larger than Lithuania, slightly smaller than Ireland and rather smaller than Norway. In UK terms, it is slightly smaller than Scotland (5.0 million) and slightly larger than Wales (3.0 million). Thus population-wise as well as politically and economically it is a good match to these countries/regions.

Its capital is Wellington.

The indigenous Māori being the largest minority, the population is mostly of European descent. Also significant minorities are Asians and non-Māori Polynesians, especially in the urban areas. As a Commonwealth country with strong historic links with the UK in general and Scotland in particular, Elizabeth II is the Head of State. In her absence, she is represented by a non-partisan Governor-General. Actually the position of Queen Elizabeth II is essentially symbolic, and she has no real political influence. Political power is rather held by the democratically elected Parliament of New Zealand under the leadership of the Prime Minister, who is the head of government.

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:New Zealand.

Education in New Zealand

In comparison with international standards New Zealand has a well performing education system. Therefore the focus of education policy lays on consolidation of education. This consolidation is carried out by creation of required infrastructure and in building up and support by institutions of quality-assurance. This way weaknesses in the educational system are to be identified at an early stage. Furthermore is the creation of an advantageous political environment for lecturers and learners intended. Special attention is paid to investments to peform better for and with Māori learners, Pasifika learners, children with specific barriers to learning and communities in lower socioeconomic areas.

The Ministry of Education’s Statement of Intent 2008-2013 (SOI) sets out key elements of appropriate priorities for education:

  • All children develop strong learning foundations

- increasing participation in high-quality early childhood education - increasing literacy and numeracy achievement in primary school - earlier identification of and intervention for children with specific barriers to learning.

  • All young people participate, engage and achieve in education

- increasing engagement and achievement in secondary education so that young people stay at school longer and leave with higher-level qualifications - more successful pathways into tertiary education and work - higher levels of achievement in tertiary education by the age of 25.

  • Learners have access to high-quality Māori language education that delivers positive learning and language outcomes

- increasing numbers of high-quality teachers proficient in te reo Māori - increasing effectiveness of teaching and learning in and through te reo Māori.

  • The education system produces the knowledge and develops people with the skills to drive New Zealand’s future economic and social success

- building an education system for the 21st-century - increasing education’s contribution to economic transformation and innovation through new knowledge, skills and research.

  • Education agencies work effectively and efficiently to achieve education outcomes

- building leadership, accountability, relationships, competence and confidence.

In previous years the Ministry of Education focused on critical drivers of presence, engagement and achievement for all learners, namely:

  • the effectiveness of the relationships that underpin teaching and learning
  • family and community engagement
  • providers focused on the use of evidence to support learning and achievement.

The New Zealand education system comprises following guiding principles: - culturally appropriate early childhood services - primary and secondary education that is free for New Zealand citizens and permanent residents - equitable and affordable access to tertiary education and quality assured and portable education qualifications - the provision of flexible pathways for study

Last item regards to the fact that students are not streamed or channeled through particular types of school from which future study options are determined.

Generally the education system in New Zealand is divided into:

  1. pre-school education,
  2. primary education,
  3. secondary education,
  4. tertiary education.

Kindergarten education is usually run by private operators and not mandatory provided for all children. Primary school goes up to year 6, intermediate school finishes at year 8 and secondary school is the remaining five years of schooling. Between the ages of 6 and 16 Primary and Secondary education is compulsory for students.

Entry to university

Students who want to study at a New Zealand university need to meet a University Entrance (UE) standard. They need to achieve minimum standards at Levels 1, 2 and 3 of NCEA or the NQF.

They need to gain 42 or more credits at Level 3 or higher of the NQF from a specified range of subjects. Students must also gain specific literacy and numeracy standards.

Domestic students over 20 years of age may apply for entry without formal qualifications.

Equivalent international qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate and the Cambridge examinations are also accepted for UE. International students must fulfill minimum English language requirements for enrolment at tertiary institutions.

For more information on entry requirements go to the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee website.

Copied from: [ New Zealand Ministry of Education > NZ education system overview

Ministry of Education

he Ministry of Education (New Zealand) - Māori: Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga - is the primary state sector organisation of New Zealand responsible for New Zealand's education system. It was established in 1989 when the former, all-encompassing Department of Education was broken up into six separate agencies,

The Ministry's role is to raise the overall level of educational achievement and reduce disparity. It is not an education provider - that role is met by individual elected Boards of Trustees for every state school in the country.

The ministry has numerous functions - advising government, providing information to the sector, providing learning resources, administering sector regulation and funding, and providing specialist services.

The ministry works with other education agencies including the Education Review Office, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and Learning Media Limited.

National Certificate of Educational Achievement

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is a set of national qualifications for senior secondary school students in New Zealand.

NCEA challenges students of all abilities in all learning areas, and shows credits and grades for separate skills and knowledge. It enables students to gain credits from both traditional school curriculum areas and alternative programmes.

NCEA and other national certificates are recognised by employers and used as the benchmark for selection by universities and polytechnics. NCEA is also readily accepted outside New Zealand, including by universities.

When applying for employment, prospective employees can create a summary of their results from their Record of Achievement.

Since its introduction in 2002, the NCEA qualification system has progressively been improved through a number of initiatives.

The key web site is

New Zealand Teachers Council

The New Zealand Teachers Council is the professional and regulatory body for teachers in New Zealand.

Its purpose is to provide professional leadership in teaching and to contribute to safe, high quality teaching and learning.

Its web site is at

For a general description of education in New Zealand see Education:New Zealand.

Schools in New Zealand

((Needs to be completed.))

Further and Higher education

Universities in New Zealand

New Zealand has eight universities. Most used to be constituent colleges of the federal University of New Zealand but this was dissolved in 1961.

Name Location Foundation
University of Otago Dunedin 1869
University Canterbury Christchurch 1873
University of Auckland Auckland 1883
Victoria- University Wellington Wellington 1897
Massey-University Palmerston North, Auckland, Wellington 1927
University of Waikato Hamilton 1964
Lincoln University Lincoln, Canterbury 1990
Auckland University of Technology Auckland 2000

The total number of students at the Universities at New Zealand is about 170,000. The University of Otago is deemed to be the oldest University in the country. Auckland University of Technology as the youngest University was founded in the year 2000, whose origin as technical school lies in the year 1895. At the smallest University of New Zealand – Lincoln University – are 4.100 students registered, at the largest – Massey University – study 42.000 peeople (As at 2003).

Until the year of 1961 the sole University of New Zealand (1870-1961) as by law founded Organization concentrated several constituent colleges of higher education at various locations around New Zealand.

Polytechnics in New Zealand

There are also 23 polytechnics or institutes of technology in New Zealand. A useful from NZQA observes:

Polytechnics have traditionally specialised in vocational training, but that role has expanded over the last decade to meet the needs of learners and the economy. Many are involved in research activities, particularly in applied and technological areas and other degrees.

Open Polytechnic

New Zealand has three public institutions designated as wānanga under the Education Act 1989. They are indigenous tertiary institutions that offer certificates (Levels 1-4), diplomas (Levels 5-6), and bachelors degrees (Level 7) at the minimum:

  1. Aotearoa or "Te Wananga o Aotearoa", which is Maori for the University of New Zealand but has nothing to do with the former university, offers courses such as Foundation, Maori studies, Humanities, Arts and Computing and Business. It also states on its web site that it has "over 75% of programmes with no fees and a one-on-one tauira (student)/kaiako (tutor) interaction".
  2. Awanuiarangi also offers courses that lead to a Master and even a Doctor of Philosophy diploma.
  3. Raukawa offers courses up to a Masters level.

Related Documents of the wānangas:

Colleges in New Zealand

((Needs to be completed.))

Education reform




Administration and finance


Government directly provides all or most of the funding for state and "integrated schools" and about 25% of the funding for private schools. A significant portion of the extra funding is available, dependent on the decile rating (a measure used in New Zealand to determine the relative poverty of parents of children attending a particular school), with low decile schools receiving the greatest amount per enrolled child and high decile schools getting the least. As from 2010 the school rolls will be checked more often so that schools that expel a large number of children will have that money deducted. Schools cannot claim for students on exchange programmes. Schools also ask for a voluntary donation from parents, informally known as "school fees". This may range from $40 per child up to $800 per child in high decile schools.The payment of this fee varies widely according to how parents perceive the school. Typically parents will outlay $500–$1000 per year for uniforms, field trips, social events, sporting equipment and stationery at State funded schools. (3)

For information on school administration, see the relevant subsection in the 'Education Reform' section of this page.



Funding for tertiary education in New Zealand is through a combination of government subsidies and student fees. The government funds approved courses by a tuition grant based on the number of enrolled students in each course and the amount of study time each course requires. Courses are rated on an equivalent full-time Student (EFTS) basis. Students enrolled in courses can access Student Loans and Student Allowances to assist with fees and living costs.

Funding for Tertiary Institutions has been criticised recently due to high fees and funding not keeping pace with costs or inflation. Some also point out that high fees are leading to skills shortages in New Zealand as high costs discourage participation and graduating students seek well paying jobs off shore to pay for their student loans debts. As a result, education funding has been undergoing an ongoing review in recent years.

Most tertiary education students rely on some form of state funding to pay for their tuition and living expenses. Mostly, students rely on state provided student loans and allowances. Secondary school students sitting the state run examinations are awarded bursaries and scholarships, depending on their results, that assist in paying some tuition fees. Universities and other funders also provide scholarships or funding grants to promising students, though mostly at a postgraduate level. Some employers will also assist their employees to study (full time or part time) towards a qualification that is relevant to their work. People who receive state welfare benefits and are retraining, or returning to the workforce after raising children, may be eligible for supplementary assistance, however students already in full or part time study are not eligible for most state welfare benefits.

Student Allowances, which are non-refundable grants to students of limited means, are means tested and the weekly amount granted depends on residential and citizenship qualifications, age, location, marital status, dependent children as well as personal, spousal or parental income. The allowance is intended for living expenses, so most students receiving an allowance will still need a student loan to pay for their tuition fees.

The Student Loan Scheme is available to all New Zealand permanent residents and can cover course fees, course related expenses and can also provide a weekly living allowance for full time students. The loan must be repaid at a rate dependent on income and repayments are normally recovered via the income tax system by wage deductions. Low income earners and students in full time study can have the interest on their loans written off.

On 26 July 2005 the Labour Party announced that they would abolish interest on Student Loans, if re-elected at the September election, which they were. From April 2006, the interest component on Student Loans was abolished for students who live in New Zealand.

This has eased pressure on the government from current students. However it has caused resentment from past students many of whom have accumulated large interest loan portions in the years 1992–2006. As stated before many have reluctantly been forced to seek employment overseas in order to pay back their loans, with the UK and Australia gaining benefit from young, educated diaspora. (3)

Quality assurance, inspection and accreditation

The New Zealand Education Act prohibits use of the terms "degree" and "university" by institutions other than the country's eight accredited universities. In 2004 authorities announced their intention to take action against unaccredited schools using the words "degree" and "university".

New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)

The administration and quality assurance of national qualifications in New Zealand is primarily coordinated by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). This body fulfills this role for both school level and higher qualifications.


  • registers and monitors all national qualifications on the National Qualifications Framework
  • runs national senior secondary school examinations
  • registers and monitors private providers of education and training to ensure they meet quality standards
  • administers a qualifications recognition service for overseas people wanting to live, work or study in New Zealand

Its web site:


Education Review Office

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that evaluates and reports on the education and care of students in schools and early childhood services. ERO’s reports are used by parents, teachers, early childhood education managers, school principals and trustees, and by Government policy makers. Dr Graham Stoop is ERO's chief executive and the Chief Review Officer. The Chief Review Officer formally designates individual review officers to carry out reviews in schools and early childhood centres. The functions and powers of the Chief Review Officer are described in Part 28, ss 325-328 of the Education Act 1989. This Act gives the Chief Review Officer the power to initiate reviews, investigate, report and publish findings on the provision of education to all young New Zealanders. ERO has approximately 150 designated review officers located in four regions: Northern-Te Tai Raki, Central-Te Tai Pokapū, Southern-Te Tai Tonga and Te Uepū-ā-Motu, ERO’s Māori Reporting Services Unit.

ERO's Role in New Zealand

ERO carries out different types of reviews - education reviews, homeschool reviews, cluster reviews of education institutions and services, contract evaluations and national evaluations on education topics.

  • Education reviews and reports to boards of trustees, managers of early childhood education services and the Government on the quality of education provided for children and students in individual centres and schools.

Schools and early childhood services are reviewed on average once every three years. Reviews will be more frequent where the performance of a school or centre is poor and there are risks to the education and safety of the students, or less frequent where a school has a stable reporting history and demonstrates good self review processes and use of its assessment information. ERO's reports on individual schools and early childhood services are freely available to the public. They are on the website, and you can ask for a hard copy from the individual school or early childhood service or from any ERO office.

  • Homeschool reviews

ERO reviews the programmes for students exempted from enrolment at a registered school when requested by the Minister or Ministry of Education.

  • Cluster reviews

From time to time ERO undertakes reviews of education which look at groups or areas with common features. These have included reports on the performance of schools in a defined geographical area, and of particular populations of students such as boys.

  • Contract evaluation services

ERO undertakes specific contracts with Crown agencies, such as the Ministry of Education.

  • Evaluation reports

ERO publishes national reports on specific education topics using evidence from its reviews. These are available under National Reports on this website.

Its site is - but see also

For the OECD Review of Evaluation and Assessment in Education for New Zealand, please read here.



Ako Aotearoa

Ako Aotearoa, New Zealand's National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, has a vision of the best possible educational outcomes for all learners. Work towards this vision focuses on building strong and collaborative relationships with tertiary organisations, practitioners and learners to enhance the effectiveness of tertiary teaching and learning practices.

From 2010 on, the following strategic themes guides the work towards tertiary teaching excellence:

  • Enhancing service standards of tertiary organisations and aspiring to excellence
  • Evidence-based enhancement of practice at the individual and organisational levels
  • Strategic and sustainable support for Māori educators and learners within an Ako Framework
  • Supporting Pacific Peoples’ advancement through tertiary education
  • Hearing and acting on the learner voice
  • Working in partnership and maximising leverage across the tertiary sector for learner benefit
  • Promoting discussion and debate about the enhancement of tertiary teaching and learning.

For more details see

Ako Aotearoa mission

Through a focus on enhancing the effectiveness of tertiary teaching and learning practices, Ako Aotearoa will assist educators and organisations to enable the best possible educational outcomes for all learners.

Ako Aotearoa view on teaching and learning

The use of the Māori word Ako reflects Ako's view that teaching and learning are two interactive parts of the whole education experience:

  • Learning should be active – learners have responsibilities as well as rights.
  • Teachers modify and improve their practice by interacting with active learners.

Ako Aotearoa commitment to te Tiriti o Waitangi

Ako Aotearoa is committed to becoming a treaty-based organisation, embracing the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi. It aspires to become a bicultural organisation and are guided by Te Tauākī Ako, the Ako Framework developed in discussion with our Māori Caucus.

Information Society

Internet in New Zealand

Key statistics are:

  • Broadband Internet subscribers per 100 inhabitants (2009) - Fixed 22.9, Mobile 64.24
  • Internet hosts (2010) - 2.47 million
  • Internet users (2008) - 3.047 million
  • Internet users per 100 inhabitants (2009) - 79.7
  • Computers per 100 inhabitants (2009) - 80.26

Internet in Education

Broadband for Schools

The New Zealand Government’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiatives (RBI) are expected to transform the possibilities for e-learning in New Zealand schools over the next five years. Under the UFB and RBI, a network of fibre optic cables is being rolled out across New Zealand. By 2016, 97% of New Zealand schools will have access to ultra-fast broadband. Those remaining 3% of schools in areas too remote for fibre optic connections will receive improved broadband services using satellite-based links or alternative technologies. In order to prepare New Zealand schools for improved broadband access, the New Zealand Government has put in place a number of programs. Once of these is the School Network Upgrade Project (SNUP). This project involves progressively upgrading internal data and electrical infrastructure in state and state-integrated schools. By October 2010, 505 schools have been upgraded. In addition, the teaching staff of 60% of New Zealand schools have completed the Information and Communications Technology Professional Development (ICT PD) program. The aim of this program is to build the e-learning capacity of New Zealand teachers.


KAREN (Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network) is a data network providing high capacity, ultra high speed connections between New Zealand's universities, polytechnics, Crown research institutes, schools, libraries, museums and archives, and out to the rest of the world. KAREN is dedicated to enabling faster, better and different education, research and innovation in New Zealand. KAREN consists of a dedicated, high performance national backbone network connecting 23 Points of Presence, or PoPs throughout New Zealand. KAREN can carry huge amounts of data 10 gigabits a second, 200,000 times faster than dial-up internet and 10,000 times faster than a standard broadband connection.

Copyright law in New Zealand

Copyright law in Education

ICT in education initiatives

In 2008 Mark Nichols provided an overview of e-learning in tertiary education in New Zealand to inform a range of initiatves funded by the Minstry of Education. 


Computers In New Zealand Schools was first published in 1989 and moved online in 2009. The journal/magazine aimed at practitioners interested in the use of computers and other forms of information and communication technologies in schools. The journal publishes articles from practitioners and researchers on any aspect on the use of ICT in New Zealand schools, including its use in early childhood, primary and secondary sectors. The articles are a mix of peer-reviewed, informational and opinion based articles, and include reports of research, software and book reviews, with an emphasis on practical applications. It is produced by the University of Otago led by founding editor Professor Kwok-Wing Lai. A column taking CINZS into Virtual Schooling column started in 2010 edited by Niki Davis.


DEANZ (Distance Education Association of New Zealand) is a national association committed to fostering growth, development, research and good practice in distance education, open learning and flexible delivery systems for education. DEANZ is made up of individual and institutional members mainly from within New Zealand but also from the Pacific Rim. Distance, open learning and flexible delivery systems use educational and telecommunications technology such as printed materials, video or teleconferencing, e-mail, internet and television. They aim to give students as much control as possible over what, when, where and how they learn. The membership comes from all sectors within education - pre-school, primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary. We are committed to lifelong learning. Membership is open to person or  institution with an interest in open flexible and/or distance learning. Members include students and parents of students as well as education providers and their institutions. The aim of DEANZ is to foster high standards in the practice of  education in New Zealand and its overseas offerings, particularly through strategies associated with open, flexible and distance learning. 

In addition to its web site and bi-annual conference, DEANZ publishes a scholarly Journal of Open Fexible and Distance Learning, the DEANZ Magazine, offers webinars and policy input. It is a member of the Tertiary eLearning Refernce Group.

E-Learning Research Network

The e-Learning Research Network is for teachers, educators and researchers to share and discuss the evidence about the impact of e-learning on New Zealand education. The goal of the network is to spread this knowledge across the sector to support quality teaching and learning. The network provides links to and summaries of New Zealand and international research, with opportunities for discussion.


Over more than a decade LEARNZ has evolved into a comprehensive virtual field programme for the education sector. It is now available free for all New Zealand registered and provisionally-registered teachers using their Teacher Registration Board number. During a field trip students stay at school but visit places they would never otherwise go to and interact with people they would never meet. Students' participation is supported by online background materials and activities, and is enabled using live audioconferencing, web board and diaries, images and videos uploaded daily.

Virtual initiatives in schools

CORE Education

CORE Education is a not-for-profit  organisation providing professional development and supporting organisational change in schools nation-wide, providing thought leadership and expertise in e-learning, research and analysis, curriculum design, leadership development, and event management. CORE has a bi-cultural ethos, with a strong Māori team focussed on Māori educational development. Through a variety of e-learning approaches, CORE Education equips learners of all ages with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. CORE’s focus in e-learning includes both the pedagogical and technological aspects of e-learning. This includes expertise in learning design, online communities, online tools for e-learning, video conferencing, and the use of advanced networks. CORE conducts quality research and evaluation relating to a range of national and international educational programmes in early childhood, schools, tertiary and industry sectors. CORE regularly reports to individual educational institutions, government, and international bodies on emerging trends involving the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education. CORE has pioneered innovation within the school and ECE sector that has a strong emphasis on the development of curriculum and leadership, focused on localised and individualised needs, and delivered as whole-institution professional learning and development programmes. CORE has managed New Zealand's major education events for some years, and built a reputation both in New Zealand and overseas for class keynotes, spotlights, and inspirational workshop programmes. CORE's popular breakfast seminars held regularly in Christchurch and Wellington are now being extended to other centres around the country.

The Correspondence School (Te Kura)

Te Kura/The Correspondence School is New Zealand’s largest school, with more than 24,000 students a year studying full or part-time, and staff based around the country. They provide personalised learning programmes for students from early childhood to Year 13, as well as for adult learners and those with special education needs. The students live in every part of the country and overseas. Depending on the course of study, they provide online support and teaching materials such as booklets, workbooks, readers, audio resources, CDs and DVDs, an MP3 recorder, interactive CD-ROMs, textbooks, mathematics and science boxes, art packs, and craft materials for technology.

Virtual Education Networks

VEN was set up in 2001 by the Community Trust of Otago to provide standards, governance and management over an educational environment. All schools which joined VEN were able to take advantage of the services that had been created for the members. VEN is registered with the Charities commission as a charitable organisation (not for profit). The company is managed in a way which reflects the needs and desires of the main users (who can only be NZ schools or educational institutions). Collaboration, communication and community are key drivers of VEN. VEN is effectively a Board of Trustees continually developing the policies surrounding the environment. Once a member of VEN, schools are able to access services such as SchoolZone and The Education Hub. VEN negotiates with the service providers and interested stakeholders on behalf of the users eg FX, Otago Polytechnic, Telecom, Editure, and the MoE.

New Zealand Virtual Learning Network

Supported by the Ministry of Education, the Virtual Learning Network is a community of primary, secondary, and area schools plus tertiary organizations, community, and government ministries and agencies across New Zealand that share expertise and professional learning, classes, and resources. Facilitated by 13 ePrincipals and supported by two senior advisors, collaboration is supported by the same tools offered to students: video conferencing, mobile phones, face-to-face events, discussion forums, blogs, wikis, and other web2.0 tools. One of the most important roles of the network is to enable a brokerage system supported by a time-tabling database by which schools in clusters (a group of between 6-10 schools) are able to share classes on a like-for-like basis, in order to extend the range of subject choices available to students. Clusters tend to be organized by geography or reflect special character networks or educational philosophy, such as schools that teach in Maori, Catholic schools, and Montessori schools, and are bound together by a verbal agreement, including a set of verbal protocols they must adhere to and are issued with before they join. Other current activities of the network include: supporting other ‘out of school’ programs and less formal events such as virtual field trips, international collaborative class projects, and inter-school competitions; expanding the eLearning tool box to include asynchronous and other synchronous tools such as web conferencing and session recording services, ePortfolios, learning management systems, and eLearning authoring tools; the provision of Professional Learning opportunities, connecting teachers, the advisory service, and experts in their fields; encouraging a move away from the delivery model of learning to a collaborative model of learning where asynchronous tools are as important as synchronous ones and video conferencing is not the only synchronous tool used; holding a monthly meeting between ePrincipals and VLN advisors via video conference to share best practices and access expertise where it is not readily available locally; ePrincipals working with schools, staff, and students to share best practices and support the needs of all within the cluster.

e-Learning Clusters

The Minstry of Education VLN provides support for a range of e-learning clusters of rural schools, which originated with CantaTech in Canterbury region around 2000. Recent research supported by DEANZ and the VLN by Micheal Barbour, Derek Wenmoth and Niki Davis (see 2011 VLN report and DEANZ webinar) was structured using the VLN Learning Communities Online (LCO) handbook.

Around twelve e-learning clusters of schools currently provide distance courses within and between their schools often using video conferencing for one hour per week. More mature clusters also support an increasing range of blended and web enhanced learning and teaching. The most mature clusters are probably CantaNet and OtagoNet and the most recently emerged serves the less rural cluster of HarbourNet on the north shore adjacent to the city of Auckland. There is also a primary e-learning cluster to support distance learning in primary schools, including additional support for language learning (Maori te reo, Japanese etc) and students with English as a second language (Roberts, 2011).

These VLN e-learning clusters have joined with Te Kura, The Correspondance School (also supported by VLN) to form a the nationwide VLNC (VLN Community).

ETime Virtual School

The eTime Virtual School provides opportunities for children in Years 5- 8 to learn in an online environment. Once students enrol they will join a virtual classroom targeted at their age level and based on the New Zealand Curriculum. They are supported by eTime's staff online and an adult at home or school, as well as the others in the class!

The eTime web site is at

New Zealand Virtual School

NZVS allows students to study courses contributing to NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement -the main school-leaving qualification) and industry based National Certificates. Thus it is a virtual college as well as a virtual school.

It is not clear if this is active.

Go Learn Online

Students can use GLO to log onto the lesson of their choice and work through the study notes in their own time before taking a short multi-choice quiz. The student can then submit the quiz, which is marked before the results are returned to give instant feedback on the knowledge they have gained. A GLO student can then see how they fared, with suggested answers helping enhance their understanding of the topic. GLO uses the latest Internet technologies to provide the lesson content and instant quiz marking. GLO is learning made easy, working to help Kiwi students get the best out of their education.

Not clear whether this service is still running. Website constructed as long as 10 years ago.

Learning Media Limited

Learning Media Limited is New Zealand’s oldest educational publishing company. They develop services and products that contribute significantly to education in New Zealand and internationally. Many of the core instructional resources used in New Zealand’s schools are developed for the Ministry of Education by Learning Media. They are New Zealand’s largest publisher of te reo Māori and Pasifika education resources. They also manage and develop education resources for the Ministry of Health, as well as working for many other corporate and public sector clients. Their innovative educational materials have been developed for international markets and are used in schools in the United States, Canada, Singapore, and in Pacific and European countries. The company has a wealth of expertise and experience and creates and delivers products and services across their focus areas of literacy, numeracy, Māori and Pasifika education, the New Zealand Curriculum, digital learning, health education, and policy and research.

OER initiatives in schools

The following is taken from but has not yet been fully checked. It was supposed to be up to date but is not. See comments in italics.

There is extensive support for OER within the New Zealand school sector. WikiEducator has an OER Resource Portal for New Zealand schools. Many dozens of individual schools have their own OER portals linked to the WikiEducator site. (Website -

The New Zealand OER Project was responsible for the creation and maintenance of, an online portal for OER resources for the New Zealand tertiary sector. This site was initially funded through the New Zealand's Tertiary Education Commission's Innovation Development Fund (eCDF) but now relies on alternative funding. It now appears inactive.

The goal of the Open Access Repositories in New Zealand (OARINZ) project was to implement a national network of open access repositories for publicly funded research and teaching repositories. This was to ensure New Zealand research institutions had the necessary infrastructure and know-how to enable them to join with the global research community to establish a network of Institutional Repositories, into which authors deposit copies of their research outputs. By putting research outputs in a repository, authors were to enhance the visibility and impact not just of their research, but that of the whole New Zealand research sector. However the site is compromised and not now used for this purpose. The entry on the research register at now leads to no outputs.

There appears to be useful activity around the development of a suite of content in OER format for a new schools-level computer science curriculum.

An OER commons for New Zealand Schools

The aim of this commons is to foster the collaborative development of a sustainable Open Education Resource (OER) ecosystem for New Zealand teachers to create, share, repurpose and reuse digital content in support of the national curriculum. This is a project developed by teachers for teachers. The reusable and portable content project is sponsored by the Ministry of Education under the Managed Learning Environment initiative and will focus on three streams: capability and community development; software and tools development to improve the usability of the technology for newcomers to collaborative online authoring and content integration with the technology platforms of the Ministry and approved LMS vendors; seeding OER content development for use in New Zealand schools.


Virtual initiatives in post-secondary education

New Zealand College of Early Childhood Education

This is a college in Christchurch which allows some of its courses to be taken via distance methods.

  • The New Zealand Childcare Association seems to use e-learning to support students, as suggested by this page: but it is hard to find exact details without a login. is a vocational training resource hub for New Zealand’s health practitioners brought to you by the Ministry of Health. The site is managed and supported by e-learning specialists, Kineo. They welcome health-related organisations to use LearnOnline as an e-learning platform. LearnOnline is designed to enable multiple stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health, Nursing Council of New Zealand, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, education and training providers and District Health Boards to have access to best-of-breed e-learning functionality and learning activities. These range from induction programmes at individual DHBs to nationwide professional development programmes such as immunisation, antenatal screening, infection control and hepatitis C - without having to replicate the technical investment for each project.

  • At the University of Canterbury, the School of Literacies and Arts in Education has a group researching into ICT in education and e-learning. Not entirely clear whether they are engaged in just research or whether they offer courses via e-learning as well.

Distance learning tertiary providers

Massey University

Massey Univesity is New Zealand's only national university, with roughly 36,000 students. It has multiple campuses in Auckland, Wellington and Palmerston North and has a 50-year history as a leader in distance ('extramural') learning. In 2009, 18,000 enrolled students were distance learners. Massey provides distance students with a blend of print-based and electronic learning activities and resources and has recently adopted Moodle (rebranded Stream) as its official Learning Management System. It has a long history of innovation in teaching through new technologies and was the lead developer of the open source Mahara eportfolio system, now being used throughout the world.

Further information about distance education is available from

University of Otago

The University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, is that country's oldest university. It had over 20,000 students enrolled during the 2007 academic year. Since 1985, the University has supported distance learning, using a variety of learning materials and teaching media. A number of courses are available in purely online mode.

The University of Otago web site is at

Victoria University of Wellington

The Victoria University of Wellington supports some distance and substantial campus online education efforts. There are central distance options for professional development and continuing education seekers; as well as degree programs run on a faculty-by-faculty basis. Level on online participation varies extensively depending on each department.

The University has about 21,000 students (including ~2800 international students), of whom 14,000 are full-time equivalent (FTE/EFTS) undergraduates. It has 1,930 full-time equivalent staff.

As noted on the Distance Learning web site, the university offers a full range of education programmes by distance, ranging from undergraduate degrees to graduate diplomas and master's programmes.

The Victoria University of Wellington web site is at

University of Canterbury

University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury College of Education brought this university into distance education when the Christchurch Teachers College merged with the university in 2008 (see Hunt, Mackey, Dabner, ... Davis et al 2011). The distance education mode is now known as a Flexible Learning Option (FLO) that complements the on campus offering in Christchurch and is blended with some face-to-face courses for study on regional campuses including Rotorua and Nelson. Culturally senstivie programmes prepare teachers for early childhood centres, schools and tertiary education. Postgraduate courses are also offered through FLO.

Almost all of the university's courses, regardless of mode, now have an associated course in the UC Moodle LMS (called Learn), with is supported by the Electronic Media group led by Dr Herbert Thomas. The adoption of blended learning and teaching and related e-learning support has been increased to strengthen resiliance, stimulated in part by the earthquake experienced in 2010. This university has also been very innoative with social networking including the recent adoption of FaceBook (see Dabner, 2011) and PeerWise (see Mackey et al, 2012).

Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

The Open Polytechic is a specialist institution of distance learning based near Wellington, New Zealand, in the area of Lower Hutt, with Learning Centres in Auckland and Christchurch. It has just over 34,000 students, equating to around 7,000 equivalent full time students. There are rather more women than men students (57:43), and around 13% of students declare themselves to be of Maori ethnicity. It uses Moodle. Courses cover the full range of post-secondary provision, including college-level and university-level programmes.

The Open Polytechic web site is at

Southern Institute of Technology

The Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) is a Tertiary Education Institution in the province of Southland, New Zealand. Its main campus is situated in Invercargill, with satellite campuses are located in Gore and Christchurch. SIT offers over 130 programmes including certificates, diplomas, degrees and postgraduate study options. SIT has around 13,000 students.

SIT2LRN is the multimedia "Flexible Mixed Mode Delivery" option offered by the Southern Institute of Technology. Its courses are delivered via their learning environment and may also include a combination of television, the internet, email and paper-based materials. Certificates and diplomas are available via SIT2LRN.

The SIT web site is at

Universal College of Learning

The Universal College of Learning (UCOL) supports a variety of online learning courses (among other learning options). UCOL was founded in 1906 as the Palmerston North Technical School in Palmerston North, New Zealand, In 1971 it became the Palmerston North Technical Institute, and in 1983, the Manawatu Polytechnic. Per the UCOL web site, the school has retained a focus on core vocational programmes, although it also delivers Foundation and Certificate programmes, Diplomas, Degrees and some Post-Graduate options (as well as community-based programmes).

A list of online course offerings/certificates can be found here:

New Zealand Virtual School

This appears to have a post-secondary aspect also.

Laidlaw College

Laidlaw College has a centre for distance learning. The Centre for Distance Learning (CDL) is an integrated part of teaching and learning at Laidlaw College. CDL courses bring together a blend of multimedia, virtual classrooms, online tutoring, and up-to-date scholarship. The following programmes are available by distance learning: Diploma of Biblical Studies, Bachelor of Theology, Bachelor of Ministries and Graduate Diploma in Theology.

International Career Institute

The International Career Institute is a private provider of education and training whose purpose is: to create and advance new and existing career prospects for its learners; to cater to a broad range of people ranging from school leavers to men and women in established careers; to offer programs that focus on the application of theory, concepts and skills so that graduates can meet future challenges that may be presented; to provide curricula developed in consultation with practitioner faculty who are industry experts.

Equine e-Learning Ltd

EeL was initiated to provide students with an interest in equine studies a pathway to a nationally recognised qualification and to encourage people to stay in the industry while studying. When students have completed the on-line work of the knowledge component, Equine eLearning and the Equine Industry Training Organisation can assist with work experience placements and assessment of the practical components of the unit standards throughout New Zealand.

Homeopathy College

This college allows its students to study homeopathy via e-learning methods such as powerpoints, videos of lectures and videos of homeopathic consultations.

Campus-based universities with significant e-learning activity

In addition to those noted above these include:

  1. University of Auckland
  2. Auckland University of Technology
  3. University of Waikato

Benchmarking e-learning

New Zealand is the home of the eMM methodology, developed by Dr Stephen Marshall]] at the University of Wellington. He was a consultant to the UK Higher Education Academy Benchmarking Exercise. After a large amount of government-funded activity (see the 9 MB report) in 2004-2005, where nine institutions were benchmarked (six universities and three polytechnics).

OER initiatives in post-secondary education

OER University

The international OER initiative OER u is headquarted in New Zealand - see A number of New Zealand polytechnics and one university are involved but activity levels currently are not yet high.

The OER university is a virtual collaboration of like-minded institutions committed to creating flexible pathways for OER learners to gain formal academic credit. (sourced from

The OER university aims to provide free learning to all students worldwide using OER learning materials with pathways to gain credible qualifications from recognised education institutions. It is rooted in the community service and outreach mission to develop a parallel learning universe to augment and add value to traditional delivery systems in post-secondary education. Through the community service mission of participating institutions we will open pathways for OER learners to earn formal academic credit and pay reduced fees for assessment and credit.


Directed by the core principles of engagement the OER university collaboration will:

  • design and implement a parallel learning universe to provide free learning opportunities for all students worldwide with pathways to earn credible post-secondary credentials
  • offer courses and programmes based solely on OER and open textbooks
  • design and implement scalable pedagogies appropriate for the "OER university" concept
  • implement scalable systems of volunteer student support through community service learning approaches
  • coordinate assessment and credentialising services on a cost recovery basis for participating education institutions to ensure credible qualifications and corresponding course articulation among anchor partners

Founding anchor partners

These are:

  1. OER Foundation
  2. Athabasca University - Alberta, Canada
  3. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University (BAOU) - Gujarat, India
  4. Empire State College (SUNY) - New York, US
  5. Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
  6. NorthTec
  7. Otago Polytechnic - New Zealand
  8. Southern New Hampshire University, US
  9. Thompson Rivers University - British Columbia, Canada
  10. University of South Africa
  11. University of Southern Queensland - Australia
  12. University of Wollongong, Australia

Anchor partners

In alphabetical order:

  1. Excelsior College, US
  2. Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada
  3. Open University of Catalonia, Catalonia and Spain
  4. Thomas Edison State College, US
  5. Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand
  6. University of Glamorgan, Wales and United Kingdom - now part of University of South Wales
  7. University of the South Pacific
  8. Wintec, New Zealand


Lessons learnt

General lessons


Post-secondary education

Apart from OER u and some activity at the Open Polytechnic there is little organised large-scale OER activity in tertiary education.

There is currently very little funding for developments related to e-learning at tertiary level.

Secondary education

There is no supervisory level between the ministry and each individual school and a recent tradition of autonomy among teachers.

There is also a national curriculum oriented to broad outcomes rather than specific syllabi.

Both these factors could be argued to make it unlikely that OER will flourish or be cost-effective for government to develop.

Potentially interesting article on benefits and barriers for e-learning in tertiary education in New Zealand:

Review of some of the effects of e-learning:

Notable practices

Culturally sensitive pedagogies inclusive of indigenous world views /kaupapa

In this bi-cultural nation the respect for New Zealand's indigenous people (Māori) is the most important notable practice, including dispelling the popular misconception that distance education does not fit with their philosophies / kaupapa. A common phrase in education is "success for Māori as Māori", which is linked with the Treaty of Waitangi.

More could be added including references on this point (e.g. Durie, 2010; Davis, 2010).


  7. Education Counts (government site - education statistics):
  8. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA):
  12. ReVica/VISCED page for New Zealand ( - now absorbed into this page on POERUP
  13. ICDE Country Report on New Zealand (

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