New Zealand, Aotearoa, is situated in the South Pacific. Most people live around New Zealand’s coastline and in the north. The capital is Wellington and the largest city is Auckland.


New Zealand is a stable parliamentary democracy and a member of the Commonwealth. The country has a shorter human history than any other. It was discovered by the ancestors of Māori – the tangata whenua, the indigenous people of New Zealand – around the 13th century.


Following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the British Crown and the chiefs of New Zealand, large-scale European settlement occurred from the 1840s onwards. Subsequent social, political and economic changes have moved New Zealand from a colonial outpost to a multicultural Pacific nation.


New Zealand education is increasingly international in character, driven by information technology, trade, employment markets extending beyond national borders, and a well-travelled population of students, teaching staff and researchers. Education is a critical factor in developing the skills and innovation required for New Zealand to compete globally, and it plays a significant role in New Zealand’s relationships internationally


"One of the great benefits of the New Zealand education system is that student's are supported to solve problems, process information, work with others, create and innovate." - said Joel Thompson, Managing director of OutBeyond.


"The education system here has 3 levels which reflects the unique cultures and diverse society of New Zealand. Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary Schools, and Further Education."



Early childhood

(Ages 0-5)

Early childhood education provides education and care for children before they are old enough to go to school.

New Zealand has more than 4000 licensed early childhood education services available, including kindergartens, childcare centres, play centres, home-based care and playgroups.




Primary school

Ages 5-10 (Years 1-6)

Primary school students study subjects guided by New Zealand National Curriculum: English, the arts, health and physical education, languages, mathematics and statistics, science, social sciences and technology.

Students’ abilities in reading, writing and maths are regularly assessed against expectations for their age level, as set out by New Zealand’s National Standards.



Intermediate school

Ages 11-12 (Years 7-8)


Intermediate schools are a bridge between primary school and secondary school.

Primary education starts at Year 1 and continues through to Year 8. Years 7 and 8 are offered either at a primary school or at a separate intermediate school.


Secondary school

Ages 13-18 (Years 9-13)

New Zealand has three types of school:

  • state schools, where 85% of Kiwi children go
  • state-integrated schools, which may be run by a religious faith or use specialist teaching methods
  • private schools.

Students at secondary schools - also known as high schools or colleges - work towards the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Secondary schools also offer some vocational subjects, such as tourism and computing.

Some schools also offer Cambridge International Examinations and International Baccalaureate programmes.




Tertiary education

Ages 18+

New Zealand has eight state-funded universities, 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and about 550 Private Training Establishments (PTEs), which include English language schools.

Choose the type of institution that’s best for your career path:




Whichever level you're studying at, New Zealand can give you a high-quality education that will enable you to achieve your goals.