10 min read

Exploring New Zealand's Universities: Culture, Study and Campus Life

Whether looking for a career in agriculture, medicine or academia or enrolling as a domestic or international student, New Zealand offers a wide range of higher education options for those looking to enrol in an undergraduate degree, master's or PhD programme.
By · May 9, 2024
Exploring New Zealand's Universities: Culture, Study and Campus Life

Moving Services for Students

Moving companies service trusted by thousands of students. Door to Door Delivery. Fixed Prices. Easiest Move Ever!
What are you moving?
Newshub Stuff SCOOP Yahoo!

Higher education is a popular pathway for New Zealand students.

Around 40% of all high school students in Aotearoa will go on to study at University.

New Zealand has eight universities, each with a unique culture, student programmes, coursework, and campus.

Whether you are looking for a career in agriculture, medicine or academia or enrolling as a domestic or international student, New Zealand offers a wide range of higher education options for those looking to enrol in an undergraduate degree, master's or PhD programme.


University of Auckland

Historical Background

Established in 1883, the University of Auckland is New Zealand's largest and most prestigious university. It is ranked within the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings, making it our highest-ranking university.

Over the past 140 years, Auckland University has earned a reputation for academic excellence, innovation, and a commitment to research-driven education. Its alumni include influential figures from various fields, from politics and business to arts and sciences, including Sir Edmund Hillary, David Lange, Helen Clarke, Nikki Caro and Winston Peters.

Academic Programmes and Faculties

The University of Auckland offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programmes across various disciplines. The university caters to diverse academic interests, from humanities and social sciences to engineering and law.

Auckland University is one of only two medical schools in New Zealand. It was first established in 1968. Students can study for a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at this campus, which will equip them with medical, clinical, or research skills in the medical field.

Campus Culture and Student Life

The University of Auckland has a vibrant and inclusive campus culture characterised by its diverse student body. Students from over 120 countries attend the campus. As a result, student life is a melting pot of ideas, perspectives, and experiences.

One of the distinctive features of the University of Auckland is its urban campus in the heart of Auckland City. This proximity to New Zealand’s biggest city and business district provides students with unparalleled opportunities for internships, networking, and cultural experiences.


University of Otago

Historical Background

Established in 1869, the University of Otago is distinguished as New Zealand's oldest university. The University commenced its operations in July 1871 with just three Professors teaching Classics and English Language, Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, Mental and Moral Philosophy, and Political Economy. The University added a Professor of Natural Science the following year. The syllabus was broadened to include Law in 1873 and Medicine in 1875.

Academic Programmes and Faculties

Within New Zealand, The University of Otago is ranked as New Zealand's top university for educational performance. The University of Otago offers a wide range of academic programmes with particular excellence in health sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. It is also home to New Zealand’s oldest Medical school, which is internationally recognised for producing world-class doctors and healthcare professionals. Otago’s law, business, and arts programmes consistently rank among the country's best.

Campus Culture and Student Life

The University of Otago is known for its vibrant student life. The campus is located in North Dunedin, close to the central city, and student life is one of the city's main features. The University of Otago has a diverse student body, thriving social clubs and programmes, and a strong sense of community.

One of the defining features of the University of Otago is its halls of residence, which foster a supportive living and learning environment for students. These halls each have their own distinct character and traditions, allowing new students to adjust to university life while making lifelong friendships.


Victoria University of Wellington

Historical Background

Founded in 1897, Victoria University of Wellington has evolved from small beginnings into a renowned centre of learning and innovation. Since its inception, it has remained committed to fostering intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and creativity, encouraging students to think outside the box and tackle complex challenges with fresh perspectives.

Academic Programmes and Faculties

It offers diverse academic programmes across the Humanities and Social Sciences, Science, Engineering, Architecture, Education, Law, and Business. Known for its interdisciplinary approach and cutting-edge research, the university excels in climate change research, public policy, creative writing, film and media studies, and digital innovation. Victoria University’s postgraduate creative writing programme is considered one of the best Masters of Arts programmes in the country.

Campus Culture and Student Life

The university's vibrant campus is located in Karori, just a 20-minute walk from the central city. However, some university buildings are located in the CBD as are many of the student halls. Between the city-fringe campus and the vibrancy of Wellington city, students have access to everything from art exhibitions and theatrical performances to literary festivals and music concerts. Students have ample opportunities to engage with the arts as creators and enthusiasts.

Wellington's Influence on Student Life

Victoria University's location in the capital city offers students unparalleled access to government institutions, industry leaders, and cultural landmarks, fostering a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement.

Wellington provides the perfect backdrop for student life with its vibrant arts scene, thriving tech industry, and bustling cultural precincts. From exploring the city's many cafes and galleries, interning at government agencies, or participating in community projects, Wellington city offers an enriching environment that nurtures personal growth and professional development.


University of Canterbury

Historical Background

Established in 1873, the University of Canterbury has a history of academic excellence and innovation. From its humble beginnings, UC is committed to pushing boundaries and shaping the future of education. Today, it is a leading institution renowned for its world-class research and teaching across various disciplines with a focus on engineering and science.

Academic Programmes and Faculties

UC is celebrated for its exceptional engineering, science, and technology programmes. With state-of-the-art facilities and expert faculty, the university offers students opportunities to excel in civil engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and more. Its hands-on approach to learning and innovative curriculum prepares students to tackle real-world challenges and make meaningful contributions to society.

Campus Culture and Student Life

Canterbury University is located in the suburb of Ilam to the west of the city. This gives the campus a community feel with most students choosing to live in the surrounding suburbs. UC is also known for having a thriving student life with a wide range of clubs supporting everything from photography to kayaking, board riding, brewing and outdoor sports.

Canterbury’s Influence on Student Life

Although further from the central city than Auckland, Victoria or Otago Universities, students at UC still benefit from being part of a metropolitan city. They also have the advantage of the beautiful outdoors on the doorstep of Canterbury. Students at UC have access to a wide range of opportunities for recreation, entertainment, and cultural enrichment, both on and off campus. UC is committed to sustainability, with initiatives to reduce its environmental footprint and promote responsible use of resources.


University of Waikato

Historical Background

Founded in 1964, the University of Waikato was established to meet the growing demand for higher education in the Waikato region. Since its inception, the university has remained committed to providing accessible and innovative education while embracing diversity and fostering a culture of excellence. The University is ranked 250th in the world and 1st in New Zealand for Research, based on the number of citations per faculty member.

Academic Programmes and Faculties

The University of Waikato is known for its strengths in fields such as education, law, and management. Its innovative programs and research initiatives have earned it a reputation for excellence in these areas, attracting students and scholars worldwide. The university is home to numerous research institutes and collaborative initiatives that tackle issues from environmental sustainability to indigenous rights and social justice. The University ranks 1st in New Zealand for research.

Campus and Student Life

Student life at the University of Waikato is vibrant and diverse, with various clubs, societies, and cultural events to suit every interest. The university has a picturesque campus situated on the banks of the Waikato River, which provides a great backdrop for student life.

One of the standout features of the University of Waikato is its commitment to indigenous culture and social responsibility. The university's strong ties to the local community and its emphasis on tikanga Māori foster a sense of belonging among students. Additionally, the university focuses on sustainability and environmental stewardship.


Massey University

Historical Background

Established in 1927 as Massey Agricultural College, Massey University has grown into one of New Zealand's leading institutions of higher learning. From its roots in agriculture, the university has expanded its academic offerings and campuses, cementing its reputation for innovation and excellence.

Academic Programmes and Faculties

Massey University offers a diverse range of academic programs across three campuses in Palmerston North, Auckland, and Wellington. From agriculture and veterinary science to business, creative arts, and humanities, the university caters to a wide array of interests and career paths.

Massey University is renowned for its contributions to agriculture, veterinary science, and creative arts. Its pioneering research in agriculture and animal science has improved farming practices and sustainability efforts. The university's creative arts programmes have produced award-winning filmmakers, designers, and artists.

Campus Culture and Student Life

Campus culture at Massey University differs from campus to campus but is characterised by a diverse student body, lively social scene, and supportive community. Massey University stands out for its distance learning opportunities, allowing students to study from anywhere in the world while maintaining their professional and personal commitments.

The university also boasts strong industry connections, providing students valuable networking opportunities and real-world learning experiences. Additionally, Massey University places a strong emphasis on applied research, fostering collaboration between academia and industry to address real-world challenges and drive innovation.


Lincoln University

Historical Background

Established in 1878 as the Canterbury Agricultural College, Lincoln University has a rich history of agricultural education and innovation. Over the years, the university has evolved into a leading institution known for its agriculture, environmental science, and land management expertise.

Lincoln University has a commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship throughout its curriculum and campus operations, ensuring that students graduate with the knowledge and skills to address pressing global challenges.

Academic Programmes and Faculties

Lincoln University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs across fields such as agriculture, environmental management, commerce, and food science. With its main campus located in Lincoln, Canterbury, the university provides students with access to state-of-the-art facilities and research centres.

Lincoln University has significantly contributed to agriculture, environmental science, and sustainability. Its research initiatives and collaborations have led to advancements in farming practices, environmental conservation, and food security. Additionally, the university's expertise in land management and rural development has helped shape policy and practice nationally and internationally.

Campus Culture and Student Life

Lincoln is a smaller university and campus compared to many other Universities. The campus culture at Lincoln University is characterised by its close-knit community, supportive environment, and strong sense of camaraderie.

One of the unique aspects of Lincoln University is its strong emphasis on applied research and industry engagement. The university's close ties to the agricultural sector provide students with valuable opportunities for hands-on learning and real-world experience.


Auckland University of Technology

Historical Background

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is New Zealand’s newest University. Established in 2000, it emerged from a merger of several Auckland-based institutions. With a vision to create a university that is responsive to the changing needs of society, AUT has quickly established itself as an innovative institution of higher learning.

Academic Programmes and Faculties

AUT is known for its strengths in business, engineering, health sciences, and creative industries. The university is home to several research institutes and collaborative initiatives that address real-world challenges, including developments in health technology and advancements in sustainable design and entrepreneurship.

Campus Culture and Student Life

Student life at AUT is vibrant and diverse, with various clubs, societies, and cultural events to suit every interest. The university's central location in Auckland provides students with access to a wide range of amenities, entertainment options, and professional opportunities.

One of the standout features of AUT is its strong emphasis on industry connections and experiential learning. The university's close ties to local businesses and organisations provide students with valuable networking opportunities, internships, and real-world projects that enhance their educational experience and prepare them for successful careers.

Moving Services for Students

Moving companies service trusted by thousands of students. Door to Door Delivery. Fixed Prices. Easiest Move Ever!
What are you moving?
Newshub Stuff SCOOP Yahoo!

What do our customers say?

Read reviews of Wise Move to learn stories from our customers.
$2,200
Glenfield, Auckland
Cloverlea, Palmerston North
10
Siobhan
Reviewed 2 hours ago
Amazing team, dealt with us underestimating our contents and organized another van yo pick up the remainder of our belongings. Hard working and great communication. Seamlessly moved us from Auckland to Palmerston North.
$899
Ōhope
Mount Cook, Wellington
10
Cate
Reviewed 2 hours ago
Excellent service, communication and at a great price. Also super flexible when I had to adjust things a little. I highly recommend.
$2,899
Rongotai, Wellington
Merivale, Christchurch
10
Yvonne
Reviewed 2 hours ago
Absolutely amazing people from start to finish. Would highly recommend to others and will definitely use them again without a doubt in the future. Just outstanding,thank you guys:) A+....
$50
Remuera, Auckland
Birkdale, Auckland
10
Stef
Reviewed 3 hours ago
Excellent, efficient service. Took the stress out of collecting my item when we had car troubles. Would definitely recommend!!!
$110
Highland Park, Auckland
Birkdale, Auckland
10
Stef
Reviewed 3 hours ago
Excellent, stress-free service. Highly recommend!!!
$160
Outdoor Bench Seat
Woodville
Cambridge Road, Cambridge
10
Derryk
Reviewed 3 hours ago
Great communication and service.
$1,178
Rolleston
West Melton
10
Tania
Reviewed 4 hours ago
Tony, Scotty and Jack were amazing! They were super efficient, friendly and very well organised. Our first shift in 24 years, so we were worried about finding a mover that would take care of us, but Happy Helper made the day go smoothly. Cannot recommend this company highly enough. Thanks guys!
$235
Oturoa Road
Christchurch
10
Jill
Reviewed 5 hours ago
I am very happy with this service. Puppy arrived happy and relaxed.

For every (wise)move

TradeMe purchase pickup and delivery service across NZ
TradeMe Delivery
Get your heavy-large TradeMe purchase picked up and delivered by our movers anywhere in NZ.
Learn more
Car transport nz
Car Transport
Our professional car transport teams from across New Zealand are the best at what they do.
Learn more
Motorbike transport nz
Motorcycle Transport
Our pros take everything into consideration when ensuring the safety and well-being of your bike.
Learn more
Piano transport
Piano Move
Moving a piano requires the expertise to ensure is kept safe and protected on the road.
Learn more
Furniture removals
Furniture Removals
Our teams will treat your possessions like they would their own, ensuring that the greatest care and diligence is taken.
Learn more
Pet transport nz
Pet Transport
During the transport our teams will ensure full care, well-being and friendliness as if they were our own.
Learn more
Boat transport nz
Boat Transport
Our transport teams will ensure your boats will be delivered safely, efficiently and on time.
Learn more