Tertiary sector

The New Zealand tertiary education system makes a unique and invaluable contribution to the country’s national development in all dimensions - social, economic, cultural and environmental. It provides access to a broad range of education opportunities with an increasing focus on excellence in research.

Tertiary education in New Zealand covers all post-school education from adult and community education, literacy and numeracy skills, and industry training (including New Zealand apprenticeships) to certificates and diplomas, bachelor degrees and postgraduate qualifications. These various tertiary education opportunities are delivered by many types of tertiary education organisations (TEOs).

The role of Government agencies

There are a range of government agencies concerned with tertiary education: 

  • The TEC's functions include advising on tertiary education policies and priorities. We provide Plan Guidance to TEOs that wish to receive funding, we gather and publish performance information, and we undertake reviews and consult with the sector on aspects of tertiary education.
  • The Ministry of Education advises on the Government’s Budget, leads the development of the government’s Tertiary Education Strategy and collects and publishes tertiary education statistics.
  • The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) administers the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, including registration of TEOs (other than universities) and is the body primarily responsible for quality assurance matters in the sector.
  • Careers New Zealand provide support and assistance to learners.
  • StudyLink administers the student allowances and Student Loan Scheme.
  • The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides labour market information to help TEOs
  • Immigration New Zealand collects and administers English language tuition funding for migrants new to New Zealand.

Types of tertiary education

There are several types of tertiary education in New Zealand, meeting the needs of a diverse range of people of different ages, backgrounds and learning stages.

Tertiary education in New Zealand covers:

Funding is available for various types of tertiary education.


  • Last changed: 22 June 2015
  • Last verified: 22 June 2015