Polytechnic and Institute of Technology

A polytechnic and institute of technology is a tertiary education institute that is funded by the government. 

Polytechnic and Institutes of Technology offer a course that can gain certificates, diploma undergraduate, postgraduate (up to Doctoral Degree PhD). The qualification gained from a polytechnic or institute of technology is the same degree gained from a university in New Zealand. 

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How to apply

Once you have decided on the course, go directly to the institute you want to enrol to and read their guidelines for applying. Most polytechnics and Institutes of Technology will require you to fill an online application form consisting of information such as your NSN number, 

The documents required will differ with each institute, generally, you will need these

  • Birth Certificate 

  • New Zealand Passport

  • Certificate of Citizenship for New Zealand

  • Driver's Licence

  • Academic Transcript (NZQA will provide this)

We recommend you contact the relevant institute or visit their website for the documents they require. 

Key dates

Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology start the academic year in February and finish in November.

They have around 3 or 4 terms (semesters).

Applications close for Trimester 1 in early February. 

Fees and Loans

Students who are enrolled at a Polytechnic or Institute of Technology are eligible for an interest-free student loan a student allowance and fees-free providing they meet the government's criteria. 


Fees free is a government scheme where you can get your course paid for up to the value of $12,000. This may cover your course fee for one year at a polytechnic or institute of technology. 

Here are the basic fees-free eligibility, 

 New Zealand Citizen or permanent resident

 Recently left secondary school 

 Half a year of tertiary study at an institute

How to set up a student loan

 Here is the basic criteria for student loan eligibility, read the full Student Loan Criteria here

     New Zealand Citizen

     Permanent resident - must have lived in New Zealand for at least 3 years whilst holding a residency class visa

     Refugee protected person or is sponsored.

     Must be studying at a level above secondary education

     On a youth guarantee programme

Studylink is a service provided by the Ministry of Social Development which allows students to borrow an interest-free loan whilst studying. 

You can use the student loan for Living Costs, Course fees or Course related costs. You can apply for a student loan up until your course is completed at the institute. 

A student allowance is weekly payments of money given to you by the government which is not required to be paid back to the government. The amount you receive depends on your parent's income and whether you meet the criteria.

 Here is the basic eligibility criteria for Student Allowance: 

  •    New Zealand Citizen 

  •    New Zealand Permanent Resident - Living in New Zealand for more than 3 years holding a resident class visa

  •    Refugee or Protected person or sponsored

  •    Studying full-time or part-time at an institute. 

  •    The course must be either an approved course under level 7 in the NFA framework or a bachelors degree, or an approved institute overseas. 

  •    Information that will affect your student allowance maybe

  •    Your parent's income

  •    Your income

  •    How many parents you have supporting you

  •    If you have a child 

StudyLink has a calculator on their website which allows you to calculate how much student allowance you can get

You can apply anytime up until the completion of the course, however, the payments will only begin when the application is submitted.

Apply here to get a student allowance. 


Accommodation for Polytechnic and Institutes of technology students is provided by most institutes. The accommodation varies from hall-style living, student falts, catered, non-catered, serviced or non serviced apartments 

These prices range from $100 a week up to $400 a week depending on the accommodation of choice. There are options in some cities and towns to live in accommodation open to university and polytechnic and institutes of technology students.  

If you are interested in flatting in a non-ITP provided accommodation, these websites may be useful



Polytechnic and Institutes of Technology are great for people who love to learn by doing practical work. Studying at Polytechnics and institutes of technology combines theory with practical work so you are able to apply the knowledge to experience. Polytechnics and institutes of technology also tend to have small classes with a low student to tutor ratio. Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology are flexible with study options, most polytechnics allow you to complete online study or complete the course part-time or full time so you can fit in time for work. 

Polytechnic and Institutes of Technology in New Zealand

  • Ara Institute of Canterbury (ARA)

  • Eastern Institute of Technology (Te Aho a Māui) (EIT)

  • Manukau Institute of Technology

  • Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT)

  • Northland Polytechnic (NorthTec)

  • Otago Polytechnic

  • Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)

  • Tai Poutini Polytechnic

  • The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

  • Unitec New Zealand

  • Universal College of Learning (UCOL)

  • Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

  • Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec)

  • Wellington Institute of Technology (Weltec)

  • Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT)

  • Whitireia Community Polytechnic