Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics

Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Chair: Graeme Hall until April 2014; currently Murray Bain
Chief Executive: Dr Caroline Seelig
Main Campus Key Main Campus
Lower Hutt
Other Campus Key Other Campus Locations
The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand delivers courses by distance learning throughout New Zealand.
Educational Performance: Confident
Self-assessment: Confident
Funding by TEC
99.6% Teaching and Learning
0.4% Research
TEC Funding
Delivery by Level
14.7% Level 1–2
31.2% Level 3–4
25.2% Level 5–6
28.8% Level 7–8
 Level 9–10
Delivery By Level
Delivery by Subject
24.5% Management and Commerce
17.6% Society and Culture
14.4% Mixed Field Programmes
14.0% Education
12.2% Health
17.3% Other
Delivery By Subject

The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand (OPNZ) generally improved its educational performance compared with the previous year and was above the ITP sector averages on some indicators. Financially, OPNZ remained in a sound position.


In the 2013 Annual Report Chair Graeme Hall reported a number of OPNZ’s achievements, including strong educational performance placing OPNZ in the upper quartile for the sector in both course and qualification completion rates. He also noted its efforts to build workforce capability, with the majority of OPNZ graduates reporting career growth and/or financial reward post study. He further highlighted the appointment of new members to council with strong governance and technology backgrounds.

Chief Executive Dr Caroline Seelig recognised a number of additional achievements, including high levels of student satisfaction and marked improvement in the educational achievement of Māori and Pasifika priority groups. Of note also was OPNZ’s strong response to national upskilling needs, by developing new qualifications, such as the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Mechanical Strands) and the Bachelor of Information Technology (offered in 2014). OPNZ also delivered National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Levels 1 and 2 programmes in collaboration with the Department of Corrections.

OPNZ completed a number of projects designed to enhance the student experience, including the establishment of a permanent video team to provide more video content, an online study plan tool and a new My Open Polytechnic app (launched in 2014).

Compared with 2012, enrolments at OPNZ were down by eight percent (399 EFTS). This reduction occurred primarily at Levels 3–4 which accounted for 31 percent of enrolments (33% in 2012). The remainder of delivery was at Levels 7–8 (29%), Levels 5–6 (25%) and Levels 1–2 (15%). The main fields of study were Management and Commerce (25%), Society and Culture (18%), Mixed Field Programmes (14%), and Education (14%).

Participation for Māori nevertheless rose significantly in 2013 (three percentage points on 2012 to reach 17%). Under-25-year-olds remained at the same participation rate as the previous year (23%). Pasifika slipped slightly from 2012 to fall one percentage point to 10 percent. Participation of Pasifika and under-25-year-olds was in line with the national tertiary-aged population. OPNZ had 39 full-fee paying international EFTS (187 students).


Educational delivery by OPNZ was above or equal to the ITP sector averages for course and qualification completions. OPNZ reported increases on 2012 rates across three of the educational performance indicators (EPIs): student retention was up 13 percentage points, student progression seven percentage points and qualification completion was up one percentage point.

Compared with 2012, Māori made strong increases in student retention (12 percentage points), student progression (eight percentage points) and course completion (five percentage points).

Financial performanceTop

In 2013 OPNZ had a net surplus of $2.6 million (4.6%), which was $1.7 million (39.0%) lower than in 2012. This is largely explained by cost savings not fully offsetting reductions in total revenue.

Total revenue decreased by $4.3 million (6.4%) from 2012 to 2013, owing to a $4.3 million reduction in government funding. Total expenditure decreased by $2.6 million (4.5%), predominantly through savings of $2.5 million in course and delivery costs from lower than expected student numbers.

Total assets increased by $3.2 million between 2012 and 2013, mainly relating to short-term investments ($2.4 million) and receivables ($1.5 million).

The clearances required for the transfer of Crown-titled land and buildings managed by OPNZ at its Lower Hutt campus into its ownership proceeded during 2013.

Two new Ministerial appointments were made in 2013, including Murray Bain as a member and Deputy Chair and Helen Robinson as a member. Murray Bain was later appointed as Chair after Graeme Hall's term as Chair ended in April 2014.

TES Priorities

Participation (SAC)
2013 Performance Open
ITP sector 
Students under 25 23% 52%
Māori 17% 23%
Pasifika 10% 11%
Course Completion (SAC)
2013 Performance  Open
ITP sector 
All  80% 80%
Students under 25 76% 78%
Māori 74% 75%
Pasifika 68% 73%
Qualification Completion (SAC)
2013 Performance  Open
ITP sector 
All 79% 73%
Students under 25 64% 66%
Māori 67% 65%
Pasifika 67% 59%
Of the tertiary-aged population in New Zealand, 13% identified as Māori and 21% as under the age of 25 years. Pasifika population figures were less than 6% (based on Census 2013).
Overview of Educational Performance
Enrolments 2013 % of ITP sector 2011 2012 2013
Student Achievement Component (SAC) EFTS 8% 5,477 5,565 5,167
SAC Students 22% 34,950 30,279 28,287
Educational Performance Indicators - SAC ITP sector 2011 2012 2013
Successful Course Completion 80% 73% 80% 80%
Qualification Completion 73% 59% 78% 79%
Student Retention 64% 30% 40% 50%
Student Progression L1-4 36% 18% 25% 32%
Overview of Financial Performance*
Summary Financial Statements ($000) 2011 2012 2013
Total government revenue $40,558 $43,614 $37,816
Domestic student fees $16,046 $16,260 $15,702
International student fees $182 $220 $359
Other income (including research) $1,716 $1,823 $3,782
Total revenue $58,502 $61,917 $57,659
Personnel $28,466 $27,909 $28,622
Total expenses $54,765 $57,579 $55,013
Net surplus (after unusual and non-recurring items) $3,737 $4,338 $2,646
Property plant equipment and intangibles $31,561 $29,298 $34,010
Total Assets $74,785 $79,169 $82,411
Equity (net assets) $58,129 $62,467 $65,513
Net cashflow from operations $9,352 $11,111 $7,264
Purchase of plant property equipment and intangibles $4,150 $4,888 $4,744
Staffing FTE 393 397 394
Total EFTS to Total Staff FTE ratio 15 : 1 16 : 1 14 : 1
Total EFTS to Teaching Staff FTE ratio (academic & tutorial) 54 : 1 57 : 1 52 : 1