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New Zealand Universities

New Zealand Universities

There are presently eight universities in New Zealand in total.

They are all state-financed. There are as yet no private universities in the country. The eight universities are Auckland University of Technology (established 2000), Lincoln University (established 1990), Massey University (established 1926) in Palmerston North, the University of Auckland (established 1883), the University of Canterbury (established 1873) in Christchurch, the University of Otago (established 1869) in Dunedin, the University of Waikato (established 1964) in Hamilton, and Victoria University of Wellington (established 1897).

University of Auckland Clock Tower
University of Auckland Clock Tower


Several of the universities are descended from the former University of New Zealand, a federal university with college campuses around the country that was in existence from 1870 to 1961. The University of Otago was founded in 1869 and was the country's first. The four new universities created post-1961 are Auckland University of Technology, Lincoln University, Massey University and Waikato University.


The University of Auckland is the highest-ranked of all the universities in New Zealand. In world terms, the University of Auckland is ranked 147th in the world by the Times Higher Education World Rankings for 2021.


As of 2019, about 36% of New Zealanders between the ages of 25 and 64 had graduated from university. About 44,000 people graduate from New Zealand universities every year.

Curriculum & Fees

As in the UK, a bachelor's degree lasts three years. Fees are partially government-funded with the student's contribution also offered via a government loan.

New Zealand citizens can expect to pay between $6,000 and $10,000 per year for an undergraduate degree, and just a little more per year for a postgraduate degree.

However, students from overseas at New Zealand universities can expect to pay about NZD 22,000 to NZD 32,000 per year for an undergraduate degree. For a post-graduate course, this increases to about $26,000 to $37,000.

School of Population Health building on the Tāmaki Campus
School of Population Health building on the Tāmaki Campus


Collectively, New Zealand's universities have a total of about 30,000 researchers, and currently spend about $1.17 billion annually on research. About half of the research done in New Zealand universities is on energy, manufacturing, the environment and health.

Foreign Students

New Zealand's universities and colleges attract many foreign students especially from Asian countries, in particular China, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia. Over 30,000 foreign students attended New Zealand's universities in 2018 creating a NZ$5 billion dollar industry. Including language schools and other institutions, there were 117,275 international students in education in New Zealand in 2018. Needless to say, COVID-19 and the immigration restrictions in place because of it have severely impacted those figures.

Old Government House, Auckland University, City Campus.
Old Government House, Auckland University, City Campus

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