What we have heard from Tertiary Education Providers in Tāmaki Makaurau

The ākonga in Tāmaki Makaurau are currently supported by several tertiary education providers. As of 2021, there were over 25 tertiary education providers in Auckland.

Tāmaki Makaurau tertiary education providers

These include universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics, private training establishments, and vocational education providers. Some of the largest and most well-known tertiary providers in Tāmaki Makaurau include:

  • Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
  • Manukau Institute of Technology
  • Unitec Institute of Technology (Te Pūkenga)
  • Massey University Auckland
  • Media Design School

In addition to these larger institutions, there are many smaller private training establishments and specialized vocational providers that offer a range of courses and qualifications. The range of opportunities for kaimahi and ākonga is vast, from hospitality through to specialist height and access training.

Tertiary education providers have identified drivers of ākonga interest in their courses and desired modes of delivery, such as:

  • on-the-job and structured classroom time
  • online options
  • collaboration
  • courses that reflect Mātauranga Māori context.

Issues faced include:

  • demographic changes
  • specifically for Māori learners
  • Pacific learners
  • ethnic communities including recently settled migrants.

Support systems for inclusive teaching styles, communication styles, and social norms can help the region’s learners succeed on their learning journey. Timeliness of advice, accessibility for tertiary education institutions, competitive nature of Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs), adapting to technology and digital practices in line with industry needs in the region are issues that need to be addressed.

Identified drivers of ākonga interest in their courses

Tertiary education providers have identified the following drivers of ākonga interest in their courses and desired modes of delivery.

A mixture of on-the-job and structured classroom time is well received by students

However, this is only available in some parts of the region. This incurs travel and accommodation costs putting study outside the reach of many whānau.

Online options are proving popular but, this does require ākonga to have access to suitable technology and internet connectivity which is limited in many parts of the rohe.

Willingness to collaborate and create pathways

A more general observation was the overwhelming positivity from providers and their willingness to collaborate and clarify pathways amongst themselves to benefit their ākonga.

Having joined-up provider events and partnerships to encourage collaboration and information sharing on a quarterly basis will be instrumental for better meeting the needs of ākonga in the region.

Courses that accurately reflect mātauranga Māori context and considerations

Many tertiary education providers expressed an appetite and desire to further develop mātauranga Māori offerings however they are faced with limited resourcing to make this a reality.

Issues faced by the institutes and learners accessing learning

For the purposes of the current advice, tertiary education providers that offer training relevant to the Hospitality, Construction, Manufacturing, and Health sectors have been prioritised. Based on our engagement, the issues faced by the institutes and learners accessing learning are as follows.

Demographic changes

Auckland's population is becoming increasingly diverse, which can create challenges for tertiary education providers in terms of meeting the needs and expectations of a diverse student body. This may require institutions to adapt their teaching methods and curricula to better serve the needs of students from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Māori learners

As mentioned in the section above, many tertiary education providers are wanting to further develop mātauranga Māori offerings, however, are limited in their resourcing to be able to do so. Māori learners may face additional challenges in accessing support services such as:

  • tutoring
  • mentoring
  • academic advising.

This can be due to a lack of resources or cultural competence among support staff. To enshrine and embed mātauranga-a-iwi into programmes requires resourcing to support iwi and hapū groups in the region, particularly regarding access to qualification developers and qualified pedagogists.

Pacific learners

There is a need to provide:

  • english language support
  • cultural support
  • access to resources and support services to mitigate cultural barriers that many Pacific learners experience in the classroom.

Support systems for inclusive teaching styles, communication styles, and social norms can all be included help towards Pacific learners’ success on their learning journey.

Recent migrants and ethnic communities

Many recent migrants and ethnic communities may not be fluent in English. This can make it difficult for them to communicate effectively in the classroom and comprehend the course content. Recent migrants and ethnic communities may come from cultures other than those found in New Zealand. Cultural barriers in the classroom can result from:

  • differences in teaching styles
  • communication styles
  • social norms.

The provision of:

  • english language support
  • access to financial and educational resources such as textbooks, technology, and transportation, as well as cultural inclusion, can aid in the success of their learning journey.


Tertiary education providers face challenges in securing adequate funding to support their operations and provide quality education to their students, especially in the above-mentioned sectors. This can lead to financial pressures that impact the quality of education and the ability of institutions to attract and retain top talent.

Technological changes

The rapidly evolving nature of technology is creating both opportunities and challenges for tertiary education providers. On the one hand, new technologies such as online learning platforms and virtual reality simulations can enhance the learning experience. On the other hand, keeping up with these changes and investing in new technologies can be expensive and resource intensive.

Timeliness of advice to TEOs and providers

There is some concern that the advice from TEC and the RSLG advice could be better aligned, with TEOs requesting the detailed advice from RSLG being available earlier in the process, possibly in December when the broader advice is issued.

Accessibility for Tertiary Education Institutions

Most tertiary service providers are concentrated in the isthmus as well as the fringes of the west and south. Learners in Auckland do not benefit from the city's traffic and public transportation, let alone when the costs of travel are considered. In addition to the Franklin community, the Rodney community might also gain advantages from the establishment of a tertiary hub. Auckland’s traffic and public transport does not advantage learners, and higher costs associated with taking one's own vehicle, there is an undeniable demand for relevant training to be provided all around the region.

Competitive nature of TEOs

There is strong competition between tertiary education providers in Auckland, which can make it difficult for some institutions to attract and retain students. The current funding model incentivises competition relating to provision of outcomes. These factors can disincentivise collaboration and partnership amongst providers, resulting in provision outcomes that are not necessarily aligned to the needs of ākonga in the region. This can be particularly challenging for smaller or newer institutions that are not as well-established or well-known.

Skill shortages in Tāmaki Makaurau | What we have heard from Industry >