Otago Polytechnic

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Otago Polytechnic
Te Kura Matatini ki Otago
OP shield 2009.gif
Established 1870 Dunedin School of Art, 1889 Dunedin Technical College, 1966
Academic staff
477.3 FTES 2008
Students 3,787 EFTS (2012)[1]
Address Forth St, Dunedin, Dunedin, New Zealand
Campus Dunedin, Auckland, Cromwell
Affiliations Public Tertiary Education Institution
Website https://www.op.ac.nz

Otago Polytechnic is a public New Zealand tertiary education institute, centred in Dunedin with additional campuses in Cromwell and Auckland.

H Block of the Forth Street Campus

Otago Polytechnic provides career-focused education and training, offering a range of New Zealand accredited postgraduate qualifications, degrees, diplomas and certificates at levels 2-9. However Otago Polytechnic has accreditation to run programmes from levels 1-10.


Otago Polytechnic traces its ancestry back to the Dunedin Technical School, which was established in 1889 to provide evening classes for working people.[2] In 1909 it expanded to offer day classes for secondary school pupils. In 1914 the name was changed to the King Edward Technical College.[3]

In 1921 the college took over the Dunedin School of Art, which was New Zealand's first art school established in 1870.[4] The college expanded further by taking on the evening and day time education of apprentices, technicians and professionals. In 1966 the college was split into a secondary school (later renamed Logan Park High School) and Otago Polytechnic, which opened on 1 February 1966.[5]


Otago Polytechnic is spread over a large geographical area with campuses in Dunedin and Central Otago, as well as a campus for international students in Auckland. The Polytechnic also carries out distance-based learning in areas ranging from Veterinary Nursing to Midwifery, and work-based learning for mature students through Capable NZ.

Dunedin Campuses

The Otago Polytechnic logo over the main entrance to F Block on Forth Street Campus

The Dunedin Campus is situated on Forth Street, Union Street, Riego Street and Anzac Avenue in Dunedin North.

The Forth Street campus buildings are situated between University of Otago campus and the Forsyth Barr Stadium, close to the edge of Logan Park. The Schools of Architecture, Building and Engineering and Natural Sciences are located on the old Rehabilitation League site on Anzac Avenue, and the prestigious Dunedin School of Art is located on Riego Street. Otago Polytechnic's library is the Robertson Library on Union Street, which it shares with the University of Otago College of Education.

In 2009, Otago Polytechnic vacated buildings in Tennyson Street, close to Stuart Street in the central city. These buildings had previously housed the School of Hospitality, Languages and Fashion, and are owned by the Ministry of Education.[6]

In 2014, a $12 million redevelopment of Otago Polytechnic's F and H Blocks began to transform the space into a contemporary learning environment and Hub. Mason and Wales were the architects for this project and stage one of construction was completed at the start of 2015, with the remaining development expected to be finished by late 2015 or early 2016.[7]

Technique training restaurant is located on Harbour Terrace and is an initiative established by Otago Polytechnic's School of Hospitality, training future chefs, hotel managers and restaurant staff under the guidance of industry professionals. The restaurant uses produce from local suppliers and Otago Polytechnic's Living Campus gardens. The restaurant offers lunchtime and evening dining to members of the public and hosts a wide range of themed events throughout the year, including midwinter Christmas dining.

There is also a Community Learning Centre in Mosgiel which delivers free and inexpensive computer training to the public, as well as holding short computing courses.

Central Otago Campus

In Central Otago the main Otago Polytechnic campus is in Cromwell on the corner of Molyneux Ave and Erris St. Programmes on offer include long and short courses in Cookery, Business, and Horticulture. Qualifications in Ski and Snowboard Instruction and Avalanche Safety are delivered from Cardrona Alpine Resort and Mount Aspiring College. Otago Polytechnic's Central campus launched a qualification in high country farming in 2014, which is the only one of its kind in New Zealand. There are two Community Learning Centres which hold computing courses as well as being able to provide career guidance and study assistance for Otago Polytechnic students - these are on the Central Otago Campus and in Queenstown. In 2009, the two Community Learning Centres in Wanaka and Alexandra were closed.[8]

Auckland International Campus

The Auckland International Campus caters to international students and offers professional qualifications in Business and Management as well as National Diplomas in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying. Classes are taught in English. The Auckland International Campus is located on Queen Street in downtown Auckland. Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand with about 1.4 million people.[9] It is New Zealand's biggest centre of business and industry and is popularly known as the ‘City of Sails’ because the harbour is often dotted with hundreds of yachts. Auckland has been rated the third best city in the world, and the best city in Asia and the Pacific for quality of life.[10]

International Students

Otago Polytechnic offers education and training to both New Zealand and international students. In 2014, Otago Polytechnic had 503 equivalent full-time international students made up from 41 different countries.

English Language Centre

Otago Polytechnic's English Language Centre offers academic and general English courses, aimed at international students, or migrants to Dunedin.[11] Otago Polytechnic's Central Otago and Auckland International campuses also offer English Language courses.

Research & Enterprise

Otago Polytechnic's Research and Enterprise service area conducts research through its four Centres of Research Expertise: Innovation, Sustainability, Health and Well-being, and Business Improvement. It also provides a consultancy services to the public, including workSpace - a commercial design studio that also specialises product development and prototyping to help transform fledgling ideas into products ready for the market.[12]

Student exchange programmes and international partnerships

Otago Polytechnic offers a range of student exchange programmes, available to Otago Polytechnic and international students.

International programmes include English language teaching internships, summer school scholarship programmes, winter school scholarship programmes, and partnerships with tertiary institutions in North America, Europe and Asia. Otago Polytechnic also runs an education scholarship programme with its sister-city, Shanghai.[13]

Staff at Otago Polytechnic

Otago Polytechnic has a workforce totalling 507 permanent staff as at the end of 2014. The turnover rate among Otago Polytechnic permanent staff was eight per cent in 2014, which is less than the corresponding national education sector of 13 per cent. All Otago Polytechnic staff are required to undergo up to date training on New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi.

Since 2007, 10 Otago Polytechnic academic staff members have won Ako National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards, and in 2014, five academic staff from the School of Hospitality's Bachelor of Culinary Arts programme together won the national team teaching award.

Sustainability/Living Campus

Otago Polytechnic has a sustainable campus. During the past three years, Otago Polytechnic has steadily increased the amount of cardboard, glass and plastic they recycle. Otago Polytechnic now recycles the following materials: paper; cardboard; glass; aluminium and steel cans; plastic types 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6; cooking oil and organic waste. The Polytechnic has also managed to reduce its amount of general waste by over two-hundred cubic metres.

Since 2012, Otago Polytechnic has implemented some significant changes to reduce its ecological footprint, including creating an internal offset scheme for staff air travel. Otago Polytechnic also recently replaced coal-fired boilers with local woodchip boilers. As well as utilising a renewable energy resource, the potash will be used on the Living Campus gardens.

The Living Campus project is the first of its kind in Australasia and involves turning Otago Polytechnic’s existing Dunedin campus into an open-air and interactive museum, a vibrant community garden and a sustainable model of urban agriculture.[14]

In 2015 Otago Polytechnic became the first polytechnic in New Zealand to achieve fair trade status.[15] The institution has been awarded the Fair Trade status in recognition of its commitment to sell only Fair Trade products such as tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate drinks in its cafes and other commercial outlets, and sourcing Fair Trade materials for its schools where appropriate. This is in line with the city of Dunedin's stance towards Fair Trade practice. Dunedin was formally recognised by the Fair Trade Association as New Zealand’s first Free Trade city in 2009.[16]

Partnership with Kai Tahu

In 2004, Otago Polytechnic signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the four Araiteuru Papatipu Rūnaka: Te Rūnanga ō Moeraki, Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki, Te Runangaō Ōtākou, and Hokonui Rūnanga. The Memorandum guides the Polytechnic's goals and activities, underpinning its Māori Strategic Framework. The MoU's principal objectives are to support and contribute to the achievement of Māori development aspirations, and work together to identify specific educational needs of Kai Tahu.

The Charity House Project

Otago Polytechnic’s Charity House project is a yearly initiative involving the Polytechnic's architecture, building and engineering students. It has been running since 2007, and has raised in excess of $820,000 for charity, with the help of over 20 local businesses that donate time, materials and craftsmanship. At the end of the year, the house is auctioned off. The proceeds go to United Way NZ, a non-profit organisation which distributes the funds to Otago charities.[17]

Student Services

Otago Polytechnic offers student services both itself in conjunction with University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic Students' Association. These include internal services such a Childcare Centre, Student Learning Centre, Disabilities Services, and Student IT Services. In conjunction with Otago University, Polytechnic students have access to UNIPOL Recreation Centre and the Robertson Library.

All enrolled Otago Polytechnic students may consider themselves members of the Otago Polytechnic Students' Association, an independent organisation run by the students and offers support, social events and clubs, access to facilities and services, and the free student magazine, Gyro.

Students' association

Otago Polytechnic Students' Association (OPSA) is the independent student association at Otago Polytechnic which provides access to many facilities and services[18] like the student ID card, Clubs & Societies centre, a second-hand bookshop, UNIPOL Sports Centre,[19] a free student newspaper (Gyro), free pool tables, free campus telephones, the Student Discount Directory, social events, and Student Job Search.

OPSA also provides support services like advocacy, campaigns, representation, financial assistance[20] and advice.[18][21] OPSA is often involved with local authorities representing a student view, especially in transportation and housing issues.[22]

OPSA also advocates everyone's right to tertiary education, and that user-pays education creates a significant barrier to this right. OPSA seeks a return to free tertiary education as it was before 1989[23]

In 2008 and 2009 OPSA took the unusual move of expelling its members involved in illegal violence at the Undie 500.[24] In 2009 OPSA campaigned against the government's removal of student representation from polytechnic councils.[25][26]


  1. ^ http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/statistics/tertiary_education/participation
  2. ^ Dougherty, Ian (1999). Bricklayers and Mortarboards: A History of New Zealand Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press. 
  3. ^ Dungey, Kim (20 Aug 2011). "Old school buzzes with new life". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Dougherty, Ian (2006). Continuing Education of Quality: A History of Otago Polytechnic and its Predecessors 1870-2006. Dunedin: Otago Polytechnic. 
  5. ^ "Organisation of Colleges". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 
  6. ^ Rudd, Allison (20 February 2009). "Polytechnic extends hospitality for students". Otago Daily Times. 
  7. ^ Elder, Vaughan. "$12m project for polytechnic". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 5 Aug 2013. 
  8. ^ Rudd, Allison (2 December 2010). "Introduction of Community Learning Centre Fees". Otago Daily Times. 
  9. ^ "2013 Quick stats about a place: Auckland region". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 7 September 2015. 
  10. ^ Tarn-Weir, Bronte. "NZ remains attractive for global workforce - Auckland third best in latest Quality of Living ranking". Mercer. Mercer NZ. 
  11. ^ "Otago English language | New Zealand regions". www.newzealandnow.govt.nz. Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  12. ^ "Projects hold big potential for city | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand & International News". www.odt.co.nz. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  13. ^ "Exchange of cultures | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand & International News". www.odt.co.nz. Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  14. ^ Vine, Gillian (1 November 2013). "Living the green dream". Otago Daily Times. 
  15. ^ "www.dunedintv.co.nz/news/otago-polytechnic-certified-fair-trade". Dunedin Television. September 9, 2015. 
  16. ^ Harvey, Sarah (4 December 2009). "Dunedin sets a fair trade first". Otago Daily Times. 
  17. ^ "All pleased by results of auction | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand & International News". www.odt.co.nz. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  18. ^ a b http://www.studenthub.co.nz/Otago/Other.aspx
  19. ^ Rudd, Allison (26 September 2009). "Unipol stake under review". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  20. ^ Rudd, Allison (26 June 2010). "Hand-to-mouth existence harsh fact of student life". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  21. ^ http://www.otagopolytechnic.ac.nz/students/student-portal/students-association.html
  22. ^ http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/__data/assets/minutes_agenda/0011/72479/ma_r_fsc_tertiaryupdate---2009_06_22.pdf
  23. ^ http://www.opsa.org.nz/campaigns.php
  24. ^ "Students face expulsion over rogue Undie 500 disorder". Stuff.co.nz. NZPA. 21 August 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  25. ^ Rudd, Allison (24 November 2009). "Chance of no representation stuns staff and students". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  26. ^ http://www.ch9.co.nz/content/bill-angers-otago-polytechnic-students-association

External links

  • Otago Polytechnic Official Site
  • Otago Polytechnic Central Site
  • Capable NZ
  • Otago Polytechnic Students' Association
  • International Education link

Coordinates: 45°51′57″S 170°31′07″E / 45.865927°S 170.518522°E / -45.865927; 170.518522

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