How you can contribute as a TEI council member

How you can contribute as a TEI council member

Last updated 29 January 2024
Last updated 29 January 2024

This page sets out the value and importance of being a member of a tertiary education institution (TEI) council. It tells you how you can be appointed and what skills and experience you need.

Why you should consider being a council member

Being a TEI council member is an opportunity to provide leadership in a sector that is vital to New Zealand’s future. It is a chance to help guide an educational provider to be the best it can be, helping to ensure that New Zealanders have the knowledge and skills they need for lifelong success. 

How are Ministerial council members appointed?

The Minister responsible for tertiary education is responsible for appointing three to four members of each council. All other council members are appointed by the council in accordance with its own arrangements.

We look for suitable candidates to be council members of TEIs and manage the appointment process on behalf of the Minister.

We look for people with the right blend of skills and experience to make a significant contribution to the institution and the wider community.

What skills and experience do council members need?

To be eligible for a Ministerial appointment, council members need:

  • Significant experience in governance, these are not emerging director roles
  • Experience at CEO or second tier level, or equivalent
  • Strong strategic financial understanding, but you don’t need to be an accountant
  • Experience in business transformation
  • a commitment to quality education and the community served by their institution.

Candidates may also need some additional specific skills for a particular council position due to its composition, performance, strategic direction, or as prioritised by the Minister.

See TEI council members: Framework for selection (PDF 278 KB)

Diversity of council members

The Government has an expectation that Crown entities have councils that are representative of the diversity and demographic make-up of New Zealand, including gender, ethnicity, age and geographic location.

How can I apply to be a council member?

We welcome applications or nominations from people who, having read the Framework for Selection, consider they meet the criteria.

If you would like to register your interest in being a TEI council member, or wish to nominate someone please send a curriculum vitae to:

Minister of Education
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6011


The Tertiary Education Commission
PO Box 27-048
Wellington 6141

or email 

As we seek nominations from a range of sources, an application or nomination may not result in an appointment.

Note: It is a general Cabinet policy that public servants are not appointed to statutory boards and other public bodies in which the Crown has an interest, however appointments of public servants may be made under special circumstances.

Further details can be found in the Cabinet Office circular CO (02) 5 – Appointment of Public Servants to Statutory Boards.

Cabinet Office Circular CO (02) 5 – Appointment of Public Servants to Statutory Boards

The Treasury’s board appointment system

One of the sources we use to find suitable candidates for TEI councils is the Treasury’s board appointment system.

By searching the Treasury’s database for particular skills and attributes, we can identify candidates for specific appointments, so it is important that all candidates ensure their record is complete and up to date. We also use the database for maintaining TEI council membership records. 

If you would like to be considered for appointment to a TEI council, or another board that the Treasury administers, please register on the Treasury’s website.

 Board appointments – The Treasury

Registering with other agencies

We also request nominations from other agencies, such as the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, Ministry for Women and Te Puni Kōkiri, and recommend that you register with any of the following nominating agencies:

Nominations Service – Ministry for Pacific Peoples
Nominations Service – Ministry for Women
Joining a Board – Te Puni Kōkiri
Nominations Service – Ministry for Ethnic Communities
Contact Us – Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People

The Ministerial appointment process

These are the steps in the process:

  1. We identify TEI councils with Ministerial appointees whose terms are due to expire in the upcoming year and we inform the Minister.
  2. For each appointment due, we:
    • Consider if reappointment is an option. We look at the member’s contribution and the length of term already served
    • Contact the chair/chancellor to determine the suitability of the incumbent for reappointment or what the current council needs in a new member
    • Undertake a skills analysis of the council to identify skills gaps, gender balance, etc, using the TEC Framework for Selection (PDF 278 KB)
    • Follow the Cabinet Office and the Public Service Commission Guidance.
  3. We source potential candidatesfrom nominating agencies, including:
    • Ministry for Women
    • Te Puni Kōkiri
    • Ministry for Pacific Peoples
    • Ministry for Ethnic Communities
    • Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People
    • We also search the Treasury’s candidate database.
    • Where particular skills are needed, we may conduct our own direct market search.
  4. The Minister will make a call for nominations from her government colleagues, usually at the start of the year or when unpredicted resignations occur.
  5. We make recommendations to the Minister. We:
    • may recommend reappointment OR a new appointment
    • provide a copy of the council’s skill analysis
  6. The Minister’s decision(s)
    • The Minister meets weekly with the TEC SMT to discuss appointments.
  7. Cabinet is notified of the appointments
    • The Minister is the statutory “appointing authority” and informs her colleagues via the Cabinet Appointment and Honours Committee (APH)
    • The appointments are also considered at the next Cabinet meeting.
  8. The Minister sends letters to successful appointees.
  9. We notify candidates who were longlisted but not successful. We do not usually notify every nominee. However, if you otherwise met the selection criteria we may contact you to see if you wish to be considered for future appointments.

How candidates are assessed

The TEC assesses the relevant skills and experience of the candidates and considers any potential conflicts of interest.

We may discuss the role with candidates for appointment and ask about their previous governance experience and any potential conflicts of interest that may arise from an appointment.

How TEI councils can manage a conflict of interest

The Minister notifies the Cabinet Committee on Appointments and Honours of her intended appointments and reappointments to TEI councils and the minutes of that meeting are taken to the next meeting of the full Cabinet.

What happens when a council member’s term ends?

When the term of a Ministerial appointee is due to end, we will:

  • if eligible (based on the length of term served), ask you if you are willing to accept reappointment 
  • ask the Chair if they would support your reappointment – they must have specific reasons for doing so 
  • review the council’s skills composition, identifying any potential gaps 
  • advise the Minister before your term of office ends whether we are recommending your reappointment or not. 

You should not have any expectations that you will be reappointed. Council members can stay in office until reappointed or replaced, so they may end up serving longer than the appointed term.

The appointment and reappointment process follows the guidelines for board appointments issued by the State Services Commission.

Guide: Board appointments and induction guidelines – Public Service Commission

Appointment of other council Members

All other council members are appointed by the Council in accordance with its own arrangements. Councils may have slightly different requirements in addition to core governance skills. They may also consider emerging directors if the person has very close ties to the institution and the local community. Please contact the institution directly if you wish to be considered.