University of New Zealand

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University of New Zealand
Missing image
New Zealand University shield

Motto Sapere aude
"Have courage to be wise."
Established 1870
Location Nationally, all over New Zealand, however the Senate was based in Wellington.
Homepage *(see below)
Note: This university has been dissolved.

The former University of New Zealand existed as New Zealand's only degree awarding university from 1870 to 1961. It had federal structure based on that of the University of London. It was based at the Senate House on Bowen Street in Wellington, New Zealand



The University of New Zealand Act set up the University in 1870, however a formal structure was not agreed upon until 1902.

The Universities Act of 1961 dissolved the university and granted degree-conferring powers to the constituent Colleges.

The University of Otago formed a special case, because when it joined the University of New Zealand in 1874, it negotiated to keep its full university status, with the power to award its own degrees, but it agreed to indefinitely suspend awards of degrees of the University of Otago and instead award degrees of the University of New Zealand. Upon dissolution of the University of New Zealand, the University of Otago called its degree-awarding powers out of abeyance.

The Wellington Grammar School became an affiliated college of the University in 1872 and changed its name to the Wellington College and Grammar School. After the College ceased to be affiliated to the University, the College did not revert to the name Wellington Grammar School, and now it is simply known as Wellington College.

Secondary School qualifications previously awarded by the UNZ

The University used to set its own entrance examination and also used to award bursaries and scholarships to financially assist study. These were considered de-facto national qualifications since no other significant competing awards existed. These awards, New Zealand University Entrance (taken in the Sixth Form) and the New Zealand University Entrance Scholarship (taken in the Upper Sixth Form), were awarded, by examination, by the University until its dissolution. Upon dissolution awarding powers were transferred to the Government-controlled Universities Entrance Board, which formalised these as qualifications. The Universities Entrance Board was in turn amalgamated into the New Zealand Qualifications Authority in 1990.

The New Zealand University Bursary began to be awarded in 1966 after the dissolution of the University, as student retention numbers in the Upper Sixth Form increased in the 1960s and not all Upper Sixth pupils had the calibre to succeed at Scholarship level. The University Entrance Examination was last set in 1986 and until 2003 University Entrance was awarded by passing the University Bursaries Examination. The Entrance Scholarship Examination was last set in 1989 and until 2003 Entrance Scholarship was awarded to candidates coming within the 96th/97th percentile.

The Bursary and Entrance Scholarship awards finished in 2003 and have been abolished. Bursary will be replaced by the National Certificate of Educational Achievement at level III, and the Entrance Scholarship will be replaced by the New Zealand Scholarship. Both are awarded by examination, though the NCEA contains some internally assessed modules.

Te Wananga o Aotearoa

For a while now Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, a wānanga (a type of New Zealand educational institution), has been calling itself the University of New Zealand as its English translation. This institution has no connection with the former University. The confusion stems from the translation from the Maori language to English.

This institution is formally registered as a wānanga, and is to be regarded as such.

Affiliated institutions and constituent colleges

The New Zealand Vice-Chancellor's Committee ( assumed certain administrative functions exercised by the University of New Zealand upon its demise; these included the functions of the former University Grants Board and the award of scholarships offered by the University of New Zealand (except the University Entrance Scholarship see the next paragraph).

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority ( is the modern New Zealand Government body which carries out the admission certification functions (NZ University Entrance and Entrance Scholarships) of the former University of New Zealand.

College Founded/Affiliated
Christ's* 1871 Website (
Wellington* 1872 Website (
Canterbury 1873 Website (
University of Otago 1874 Website (
Auckland 1883 Website (
Canterbury Agricultural 1896 Website (
Victoria 1897 Website (
Massey 1927 Website (


  1. Christ's College disaffiliated itself when Canterbury College was established in 1873. It was a constituent college of the University of Canterbury until 1957.
  2. Christ's and Wellington were affiliated colleges, not constituents. Canterbury is therefore the first constituent college of the University. However it is important to note that these affiliates took on tertiary studies as a condition of affiliation, and did not affiliate just as a means to gain pre-eminence among secondary schools.
  3. Universities formed after the dissolution of the University of New Zealand are Waikato (1964) and AUT (2000).

External links

(See the list above for the websites of the constituent colleges)


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