The composition of TEI councils

The composition of TEI councils

Last updated 2 November 2016
Last updated 11/02/2016

This page describes the composition of tertiary education institution (TEI) councils as specified by the Education Act 1989 (the Act).

 AUT Board 2016 Council

The Auckland University of Technology Council

Front row (from left): John Maasland (Chancellor), Sussan Turner (Pro-Chancellor), Derek McCormack (Vice-Chancellor). Second row: James Schofield, Judith Thompson, Stephen Stehlin. Third row: Lyn Lim, Sophie Hayman, Helen Gaeta, Urshula Ansell. Back row: Pat Alley, Lex Henry, Andrea Vujnovich (Council Secretary), Richard Idoine (Council Co-ordinator).
Image: Nigel King, White Door Event Photography

Council composition for universities and wānanga

The councils of universities and wānanga must have between eight and 12 members (see section 171 of the Act)

Section 171 of the Education Act 1989

If the council has 10, 11 or 12 members, the Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (the Minister) appoints four of those members.

If the council has eight or nine members, the Minister appoints three members (as set out in section 171(1) of the Act). 

In selecting council members, the candidate’s skills and experience are the most important factors. 

To be appointed, candidates must:

  • have the relevant knowledge, skills and experience
  • be able to fulfil their individual duties 
  • together, with other members of the council, be capable of undertaking the council’s responsibilities.

The Act also specifies that the make-up of the council should reflect, so far as is reasonably practicable, the ethnic and socio-economic diversity of the communities the university or wānanga serves, and the country’s gender balance. The Act specifies that at least one member of the council must be Māori.

Section 171B of the Education Act 1989

Council composition for institutes of technology and polytechnics

The councils of institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) have a total of eight members (see Section 222AA of the Act): 

  • four members appointed by the Minister
  • four members appointed by the council itself, in line with the ITP’s own rulings.

The Minister is also responsible for appointing the Chair and Deputy Chair of an ITP council (see section 222AG of the Act).

Section 222AA of the Education Act 1989 
Section 222AG of the Education Act 1989 

To be appointed, candidates must:

  • have the relevant knowledge, skills or experience
  • be able to fulfil their individual duties as council members
  • be able to fulfil the functions, duties and responsibilities of the council. 
  • It is also desirable that the council should include a Māori member and, so far as possible, reflect the ethnic and socio-economic diversity of the community it serves (see section 222AD of the Act).

More information:

Section 222AD of the Education Act 1989
Section 222AA of the Education Act 1989

How long do council members serve?

The Act provides that council members may be appointed for a term of up to four years (see section 173 of the Education Act 1989). Members may be appointed for a shorter term to help councils in succession planning. Terms of office may also be staggered so they don’t end at the same time.

Members may be reappointed for a further term. Generally, the maximum time a Ministerial appointee serves is eight years (two terms of four years each), which reflects good governance practice. The Minister may ask an appointee to serve longer, but only in exceptional circumstances.

Council members can stay in office until reappointed or replaced, so they may end up serving longer than their appointed term.