Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics

Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Chair: Graeme Hall
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
14.3% Level 1–2
32.6% Level 3–4
25.3% Level 5–6
27.8% Level 7–8
 Level 9–10
Delivery By Level
Delivery by Subject
26.0% Management and Commerce
18.0% Society and Culture
13.1% Education
11.6% Mixed Field Programmes
10.8% Health
20.5% Other
Delivery By Subject

In 2012, the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand continued to improve its educational performance, and achieved above the ITP sector average for course and qualification completion. Financially, the Open Polytechnic remained in a strong position.


In the Annual Report, Chair Graeme Hall described 2012 as another successful year with further progress on several fronts. These included learner support, technology enablement, curriculum development and collaborations and partnerships, including a partnership arrangement with the Department of Corrections to deliver offender education services in 2013. As a specialist provider of distance learning, one aim was to wrap the educational provision with comprehensive and highly effective ‘customer care’ and, to this end, the council sought advice on strategies, service concepts and structures.

In her review, Chief Executive Dr Caroline Seelig highlighted curriculum development, including a new Bachelor of Social Work that will allow graduates to gain recognition as social workers and to work in government and community settings. New qualifications were also offered in horticulture, and new pipeline qualifications planned at Levels 3–5 to strengthen pathways to higher-level qualifications. A focus on technology and innovation underpins the Open Polytechnic’s distance learning provision and, during the year, various projects were initiated that were designed to improve services and offer innovative solutions to student needs.

In 2012, the Open Polytechnic experienced a 2 percent (89 EFTS) increase in enrolments, primarily at Levels 3–4, which represented 33 percent of enrolments. Delivery at Levels 7–8 made up a further 28 percent of enrolments. Levels 1–2 and Levels 5–6 decreased as a proportion of total enrolments, and accounted for 14 percent and 25 percent respectively. The largest fields of study were Management and Commerce (26%), Society and Culture (18%) and Education (13%).

The Open Polytechnic continued to have good levels of Pasifika participation and moved above the ITP sector average in 2012 with 11 percent. Participation of Māori and under-25-year-olds remained at levels consistent with the New Zealand population as a whole but sat below the ITP sector average. In 2012, the Open Polytechnic had 27 full fee-paying international EFTS (154 students).

In 2012, the Open Polytechnic achieved well on the key performance indicators outlined in its Statement of Service Performance.


The Open Polytechnic’s educational delivery improved against all four educational performance indicators in 2012. It performed above the ITP sector average for course and qualification completion, both of which increased notably on 2011. The Open Polytechnic remained below the ITP sector average for student retention and student progression, which may reflect its role in distance learning.

Performance for the TES priority groups (Māori, Pasifika and under-25-year-olds) improved for both course and qualification completion. Pasifika students were above the ITP sector average on both educational indicators; Māori were below for course completion but above for qualification completion; while under-25-year-olds were on par with the ITP sector average for each indicator.


Dr Ray Meldrum and Dr Alan Barker, who was Deputy Chair, resigned from the council during 2012. Both resignations were Ministerial appointees, and the Minister has appointed Helen Robinson and Murray Bain to the vacant positions. The council invested in research and analysis during the year, which provided valuable input to the strategic planning process and to the polytechnic’s investment plan.

Total revenue was $3.4 million (5.8%) higher than 2011, which was almost entirely due to increased government funding. A net surplus of $4.3 million (7.0%) was reported by the Open Polytechnic for 2012, which was up on the 2011 result of $3.7 million (6.4%).

Ministerial approval was provided to the Open Polytechnic’s application for the transfer to its ownership of the Crown titled land and buildings at its Lower Hutt campus.

TES Priorities

2012 Performance OPNZ ITP sector 
Students under 25 23% 52%
Māori 14% 22%
Pasifika 11% 10%
Course Completion
2012 Performance  OPNZ ITP sector 
All  80% 79%
Students under 25 78% 78%
Māori 69% 73%
Pasifika 74% 73%
Qualification Completion
2012 Performance  OPNZ ITP sector 
All 78% 70%
Students under 25 63% 63%
Māori 71% 61%
Pasifika 81% 62%
Overview of Educational Performance – Formal SAC Funded EFTS only
Enrolments % of ITP sector 2010 2011 2012
EFTS 9% 5,760 5,477 5,565
Students 22% 37,347 34,950 30,279
Educational Performance Indicators ITP sector 2010 2011 2012
Successful Course Completion 79% 64% 73% 80%
Qualification Completion 70% 33% 59% 78%
Student Retention 60% 30% 30% 40%
Student Progression L1-4 37% 20% 18% 25%
Overview of Financial Performance*
Summary Financial Statements ($000) 2010 2011 2012
Total government revenue $47,044 $40,558 $43,614
Domestic student fees $16,048 $16,046 $16,260
International student fees $205 $182 $220
Other income (including research) $1,859 $1,716 $1,823
Total revenue $65,156 $58,502 $61,917
Personnel $36,099 $28,466 $27,909
Total expenses $59,983 $54,765 $57,579
Net surplus (after unusual and non-recurring items) $5,173 $3,737 $4,338
Property, plant, equipment and intangibles $38,095 $36,417 $34,714
Total assets $72,253 $74,785 $79,169
Equity (net assets) $55,197 $58,129 $62,467
Net cashflow from operations $11,028 $9,352 $11,111
Purchase of property, plant, equipment and intangibles $8,057 $4,150 $4,888
Staffing FTE 426 393 397
Total EFTS to total staff FTE ratio 16 : 1 15 : 1 16 : 1
Total EFTS to teaching staff FTE ratio (academic and tutorial) 56 : 1 54 : 1 57 : 1