New Zealand universities are committed individually and collectively to delivering high-quality teaching and learning that is of benefit to individuals and to New Zealand as a whole. Our universities have evolved over time in response to student, employer, industry, society and government needs, changing programme offerings, and opportunities offered by new forms of technology. Underpinned by strong internal and external systems and processes, the universities are collectively responsible for quality assurance across the university sector.
The Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP) sets up and applies qualification and regulation approval, accreditation and programme moderation procedures. The Academic Quality Agency (AQA) supports universities in their achievement of standards of excellence in research and teaching through regular institutional audit and the promotion of quality enhancement practices across the sector. The result is a university system that is internationally-recognised as strong and cohesive, providing students with relevant, modern and high-quality teaching and learning experiences.
Some key facts
- Our universities enrolled 173,880 students in 2016, including 51,575 post-graduate students (30%). 1
- 146,190 domestic students including 16,775 Māori students (11% of domestic students) and 11,970 Pasifika students (8% of domestic students). 1
- 27,690 international students (16% of all university students). The proportion of international students in our universities is similar to that of countries like Australia and the UK. 1
- All 8 universities ranked in the world’s top 500 (3%). 2
- 93% of international university students choose to study in NZ because of the strong reputation of our universities. 3
- The OECD 2013 Better Life Index rates NZ as a "top performing country" for the quality of its education system. 4
- Universities employ around 20,000 full-time equivalent staff. 5
- University staff achieved 66% of National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards over the past 5 years - universities employ approximately 48% of all academic staff.6,7
- Satisfaction with our physical and virtual facilities and resources rank above global levels in an annual survey of international students from 205 institutions in 20 countries.3
- Today 70–80% of NZ universities’ library collection expenditure is on electronic resources and online materials.8
- International evidence suggests that 60% of undergraduate students own 3 or more internet-capable devices and that most undergraduate students prefer and learn best in a blended learning environment. 9
- All 8 NZ universities offer pathway programmes to support and assist students to meet university entry standards. 10
- 2015 international review confirms confirmed that NZ universities’ external quality assurance audit process “meets the highest standards of independence and integrity.” 11
- 20 July 2017: "Strong endorsement for NZ university academic standards".
- 5 May 2017: "Universities high-perfoming but under-funded: Universitas 21 report".
- 30 March 2017: "Overview of assessment, quality and complaints practices".
Want to know more?
 2016 university annual reports. Consolidated/group figures.
 EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research, 2013. “ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2013.”
 University websites and calendars.
 “External Review Report: Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities”, September 2015.
Links to more resources
- Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities (AQA)
- Ako Aotearoa National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence (includes Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards)
- Ministry of Education. ”University Rankings – The performance of New Zealand universities in international rankings”