About tertiary education organisations

Mō ngā Kura Mātauranga Matua

Last updated 21 January 2021
Last updated 21 January 2021

A tertiary education organisation (TEO) is any organisation that supplies tertiary education and/or training and/or assessment services.

The tertiary education sector consists of hundreds of registered TEOs, many of which we fund.

The Education and Training Act 2020 defines the types of TEOs and the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) specifies the aims and expectations of TEOs.

The Crown has an ownership interest in Tertiary education institutions (TEIs) , which include universities , institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) , and wānanga .

We also fund industry training organisations (ITOs) , private training establishments (PTEs) , community education  providers, secondary schools, and rural education activities programme providers (REAPs) .

All TEOs can apply for accreditation to assess for New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF)  qualifications.

Before applying for accreditation, all TEOs must be registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) . To view all registered providers visit the NZQA site.

Many TEOs are represented by their respective peak bodies .

TES priority groups

The TES sets high expectations for TEO performance and prioritises an outcomes focus especially for industry, Māori and Pasifika learners and at risk young people.


Tertiary qualifications delivered by universities are quality assured by the Universities New Zealand.

Other tertiary qualifications in New Zealand, such as those developed by ITOs or delivered by ITPs, wānanga, and PTEs, are approved and quality assured by NZQA.

Types of TEOs

Industry training organisations

ITOs co-ordinate structured training for employees, both on-job and off-job.

This enables employees to gain a qualification from the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF)  while working and earning money.
ITOs are owned by industries, and receive funding from both government and industry.

While they are not owned or governed by the Crown, they are formally recognised by the Government.

ITOs cover most of New Zealand's industries, from traditional trades (such as building and plumbing, the primary industries, and manufacturing and retail) through to government and community services.

The Industry Training Federation is the peak body for ITOs. It advocates on behalf of and represents the collective voice of ITOs.


There are eight universities in New Zealand, which provide an extensive range of degree and postgraduate education of international quality.

Universities' research is carried out in a broad range of fields. They engage with external stakeholders (communities, business, industry, iwi and the research community) in the dissemination and application of knowledge and in promoting learning.
They also host the country’s Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs) .

Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara represents the country’s universities.


New Zealand’s three wānanga provide quality education using Māori ways of teaching and learning; contributing towards the survival and well-being of Māori as a people.

Wānanga also have a continuing role to play in re-engaging learners into education.

Te Tauihu o Ngā Wānanga represents the country’s wānanga.

Institutes of technology and polytechnics

ITPs focus on delivering technical, vocational and professional education up to degree and postgraduate levels.

They also promote applied research to support vocational learning.

The Metro Group comprises New Zealand's six largest ITPs and the NZITP Group represents 12 ITPs across regional and metropolitan New Zealand.

Private training establishments

PTEs deliver foundation level programmes and qualifications, up to higher level post-graduate qualifications, depending on their educational subject areas. PTEs are diverse in terms of mission, scale of operation, location, culture and educational subject area.

They are flexible in responding to government policy settings and the wide ranging needs of learners, industry, employers, local communities, Māori and Pasifika peoples and other stakeholders.

PTEs that are registered with the NZQA are eligible to receive funding through the TEC.

A PTE may be a privately owned or publically listed company, a trust, an incorporated society, or other such entity, that offers post-school education or vocational training.


As well as secondary education, many state and integrated secondary schools also offer tertiary education services. These include programmes such as Gateway and Youth Guarantee designed to support the transition from school to the workplace. Some schools also provide workplace literacy, intensive literacy and numeracy provision, and programmes.

Rural education activities programmes

Rural education activities programme providers (REAPs) facilitate education for rural communities. There are 13 REAPs around the country, providing a wide range of educational programmes for adults living in rural areas.

Community education providers

There are many community education providers (CEPs) around the country that provide tertiary education to a wide range of learners. These organisations have a variety of structures and connections within their communities to other TEOs.