Why study at a polytechnic or wānanga?

Whether you're finishing high school or already in the workforce, New Zealand polytechnics offer a wide range of opportunities if you wish to pursue tertiary study. There are many polytechs (as they are usually called) throughout New Zealand, providing a range of qualifications to choose from,  including media and communication degrees, nursing diplomas, engineering certificates and language courses. The wānanga have a particular emphasis on Māori cultural studies. Study Zone has profiled New Zealand's polytechnics to give you an overview of the degree qualifications on offer, how much it costs to study there, and what student life is like at a New Zealand wānanga/polytechnic.

What education does a polytechnic or wānanga offer?

Polytechnics offer qualifications to suit students of all ages, backgrounds and experience. Each institution has a range of degrees you can study. They also have certificates, diplomas, and short courses that are all highly regarded nationally and internationally.  All polytechnic/wānanga programmes are subject to external quality assurance by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

Most qualifications found at polytechnics are vocational, meaning they are very practical and hands-on. For example, the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) has a campus dedicated to teaching the trades - engineering, plumbing, mechanics, building, for instance - where you’ll find cars being fixed and houses being built as part of the course requirements. Wānanga/polytechnics also work closely with industry bodies to ensure the qualifications and content they are offering is exactly what industries are looking for in future employees – you!

What kinds of qualifications are available at a polytechnic or wānanga?

If you’re interested in nursing, therapy or sports science; if you want to make a career out of photography, art or graphic design; if you want to turn your love of cars into a paying job; or run your own construction company, then a qualification from a New Zealand polytechnic/wānanga will set you up.

Some of the areas of study on offer at a New Zealand polytechnic/wānanga include:

  • Small business management
  • Horticulture and agriculture
  • Tourism and travel
  • Art and design
  • Construction
  • Trades and engineering
  • Education and community services

See Study Zone's polytechnic/wānanga profiles for more detailed information on the qualifications available.