‘A long time in the making’ – Te Pūkenga asks for input

Over a year since New Zealand’s controversial vocational education sector merger to ‘reimagine and build world-class vocational learning for Aotearoa New Zealand’, Te Pūkenga asks for feedback on how it operates.

Published to share its vision and purpose, formerly New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST), Te Pūkenga’s Operating Model is ‘a description of the future experience for learners, employers, staff, iwi and hapū and how as a network, Te Pūkenga will advance equity, especially for Māori, Pacific, and disabled learners and staff’. And it wants to hear your thoughts. 

Te Pūkenga Chief Executive Stephen Town, formerly chief executive of Auckland City Council, took on the role in July 2020. He said, “As you’ll know, reaching this point has been a long time in the making. This mahi started over a year ago and since then we’ve worked hard to bring together all the best parts of our vocational education sector together to design Te Pūkenga. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to date.

Stephen Town
Image: tepū

“Our Operating Model must help us to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi in governance, management, and operations, as well as acknowledging Māori leadership in regional development. This is fundamental to the way we will all work to achieve equitable outcomes for ākonga Māori – Māori learners and their whānau – as well as achieve equity between peoples in opportunity and outcome.”

Town said this current phase of engagement by the country’s largest tertiary education provider will be open until November 8 and will focus on:

  • The services Te Pūkenga will offer to meet the needs of learners, their whānau and employers.
  • The experiences Te Pūkenga wants people to have when learning, teaching, and engaging. 
  • Some initial thinking about how ‘we arrange ourselves to move closer towards equity and inclusion for underserved learners and communities’.

“Te Pūkenga is seeking your feedback and engagement from everyone, including learners and their whānau, employers, iwi and interested individuals and groups,” says Town.

“I encourage you to ask questions about what is in the proposed Operating Model, join one of our Operating Model presentation sessions with Te Pūkenga senior leaders (details on how to register are set out in this newsletter), talk with your colleagues about the proposed Operating Model, and provide feedback via our online engagement website at More details can also be found on our website

“Kuhu mai ināianei! Get involved today!”

This video provides an overview of what Te Pūkenga is doing and why input is sought.


Heather Barker Vermeer

Heather has worked as a journalist, writer and editor in England and Aotearoa New Zealand for over 20 years. She fell in love with words when she received a 'Speak & Spell' tech toy for Christmas in 1984.
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