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Tai Tokerau Wānanga
Former names
Northland Community College (1978–1987), Northland Polytechnic (1987–2006)
Type Public NZ TEI
Established 1978
Academic staff
182 FTE Tutors[1]
Students 7,835 students or 3,221 EFTS[1]
Location Northland Region, New Zealand
Campus Whangarei, Kerikeri, Kaitaia, Rawene
NorthTec logo

NorthTec (Tai Tokerau Wānanga) is a tertiary education provider in northern New Zealand, with its main campus in Raumanga, Whangarei. NorthTec provides programmes ranging from foundation, certificate, diploma and degree levels. The degrees are nationally monitored and so can lead to postgraduate study at universities and other organisations. NorthTec works closely with local and national industries.[2]


NorthTec was founded as Northland Community College. This opened with its own campus in Raumanga Valley, Whangarei, on 1 April 1978. As such, its mission was largely to offer trade and community education. The first Chief Executive Officer was Noel Harrison.

The college grew rapidly and became instrumental in supplying Refining NZ at nearby Marsden Point, with skilled workers. By 1981, it offered more than 50 courses. In 1983, the college commenced the phased take-over of nurse training from Northland Base Hospital.

In 1989, the Whangarei District Council set up the Northland University Foundation, with a view to founding a university in Northland. To date, this aspiration has been partially fulfilled. Six university-standard bachelor's degrees are offered. Many of the degree, diploma and certificate courses can count towards degrees at other institutions.

By the mid 1980s, competing private bodies were offering trade and community courses in Northland. This was one factor which led the college to change its product offering to include higher and sometimes more academic tuition. As part of this process, it became a polytechnic in 1988 and took the name Northland Polytechnic for the next 17 years. Later in 1988, it was offering degrees and diplomas of a competitive standard.

In 1990, negotiations were concluded with the University of Waikato, which enabled courses taught at Northland Polytechnic, as it was then known, to count towards degrees at the University. By 2006, similar arrangements had been concluded with other universities, most notably, Massey University and Auckland University of Technology.

The university has staff with high academic qualifications, including several with masters’ and doctors’ degrees. NorthTec is governed by a Council, which supports the Chief Executive. The current Council Chair is Vern Dark.


NorthTec has campuses and learning centres across Northland. The main campus is located in Whangarei. In addition, NorthTec has campuses and learning centres in Kerikeri, Rāwene, Kaikohe, Kaitaia and the Rodney District.


NorthTec's main campus is located in Raumanga Valley Road, Whangarei. The Raumanga campus is set in park-like grounds and its facilities include:

  • Library
  • Fitness Centre
  • Health Centre
  • Student Cafe
  • The Apprentice Restaurant – a hospitality training restaurant that is open to the public
  • Hair and Beauty Salon – a training salon that is open to the public
  • Geoff Wilson Art Gallery

Programmes are also taught at locations across Whangarei, including Future Trades, ASB Stadium, and Kamo Road.

Bay of Islands Campus[edit]

NorthTec’s Bay of Islands campus is located on the corner of Kerikeri and Hone Heke Roads in Kerikeri. It is a mid-sized campus comprising 12 classrooms, an administration block and two computing classrooms as well as arts facilities which have kilns and pottery wheels where students can work on glass and ceramic projects. The commercial and business district of Kerikeri is within a five-minute walk from the campus.

Kaitaia Learning Centre[edit]

NorthTec's northernmost campus is located on Oxford Street in Kaitaia. The Kaitaia Learning Centre offers courses ranging from horticulture to business and construction to social services. The campus comprises classrooms, an on-site administration building, a computer suite and two large workshops for the practical delivery of trades programmes.

Rawene Learning Centre[edit]

The Rawene Learning Centre is located on Nimmo Street, in the small historic town of Rawene.


NorthTec provides over 90 courses across a range of levels: Bachelor's degrees, Diplomas, Certificates and Graduate diplomas. Subject areas taught include:

  • Agriculture
  • Applied Writing
  • Architecture
  • Arts
  • Beauty & Hairdressing
  • Boatbuilding
  • Business
  • Business Admin & Computing
  • Construction
  • E-Learning
  • Engineering (Civil & trades)
  • Environmental Studies
  • English Language
  • Fashion
  • Forestry
  • Foundation studies
  • Health & Safety
  • Horticulture
  • Maori Arts
  • Massage
  • Media Arts
  • Nursing
  • Road Transport
  • Social Services
  • Sport & Recreation
  • Te Puna O Te Matauranga
  • Tertiary Teaching
  • Tourism & Travel

NorthTec's Students[edit]

Local and International Students at NorthTec

During 2011, NorthTec provided education to 7,835 students.[1] 46% of the student body claims indigenous Māori ancestry.[3] Māori culture is thus an integral part of NorthTec’s activities. This is reflected in part by the presence of the Te Puna o Te Matauranga Marae (Māori meeting house) complex on the Whangarei campus.

International students from China, Japan, India, the USA, North Africa and other countries take advantage of the English language, hospitality, business, nursing and other quality courses on offer at NorthTec. As most of these students do not have English as a first language and are not used to the local culture, NorthTec has an active International Office to assist. This offers tuition in English and peer mentors who either are familiar with the cultures of East Asia or, where possible, senior students of similar cultural backgrounds.

Some 40% of the student body attend classes at the main campus located in Whangarei, about 160 km north of Auckland. The remainder attend the regional campuses listed above.

Notable alumni[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Dougherty, I., 1999, Bricklayers and mortarboards. A history of new Zealand polytechnics and institutes of technology, Dunmore Press, Palmerston North, New Zealand, ISBN 0-86469-346-X.
  • Goulter, J., 2004, Whangarei, capital of Northland, Advance Whangarei Limited.
  • Northland Polytechnic, 2005, A guide to campuses, courses and programmes, Northland Polytechnic Publication.
  • Northland Polytechnic, 2005, Annual report.
  • NorthTec, 2006, NorthTec Profile, NorthTec Publication.