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]
Location Dunedin, New Zealand
Affiliations Public Tertiary Education Institution
Website http://www.op.ac.nz

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

Otago Polytechnic provides career-focused education and training, offering a range of New Zealand accredited degrees, diplomas and certificates.


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

In 1921 the college took over the Dunedin School of Art, which had been established in 1870. 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.

Further information on the history of Otago Polytechnic is available in Ian Dougherty's books: "Bricklayers and Mortarboards: A History of New Zealand Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology" (Dunmore Press, Palmerston North, 1999); "Continuing Education of Quality: A History of Otago Polytechnic and its Predecessors 1870-2006" (Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, 2006) and "By Students For Students: A History of the Otago Polytechnic Students' Association 1964 to 2014 (Otago Polytechnic Students' Association, Dunedin, 2014).


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.

Dunedin Campuses[edit]

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

The Dunedin Campuses are sites on Forth Street and Anzac Avenue in Dunedin North, and Cumberland Street in the central city.

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 campus includes the Technique Training Restaurant. The Schools of Architecture, Building and Engineering and Natural Resources are located on the old Rehabilitation League site on Anzac Avenue, and the prestigious School of Art is located on Riego Street. Plans have been developed to move the Schools located on Anzac Avenue onto land currently occupied by the old School of Art buildings on Albany Street [1]. The Otago Polytechnic's main library is the Robertson Library on union Street, which it shares with the University of Otago College of Education.

In 2009, the 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.

The School of Natural Resources holds training activities on the city's Botanical Gardens. There is also a "Community Learning Centre" in Mosgiel as well as a community outreach program operating in South Dunedin. These sites deliver free or inexpensive computer training to the public, as well as holding short computing courses.

Student Services[edit]

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 Center, 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 [2].

Central Otago Campuses[edit]

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 Snowbord instruction and Avalanche Safety are delivered from Cardrona Alpine Resort and Mount Aspiring College. 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.

Studying at Otago Polytechnic[edit]

Otago Polytechnic offers education and training to both New Zealand and international students. In 2012, Otago Polytechnic had 229 equivalent full-time international students. [3]

Working at Otago Polytechnic[edit]

Otago Polytechnic aims to be one of the best employers in the education sector in New Zealand 2005 - 2007 Profile. All staff are required to undergo up to date training on New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi and maintain a standard of safe work practices and environments, free from prejudice and harassment.

Students' association[edit]

OPSA provides access to many facilities and services[2] like the student ID card, Clubs & Societies centre, a second-hand bookshop, UNIPOL Sports Centre,[3] 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[4] and advice.[2][5] OPSA is often involved with local authorities representing a student view, especially in transportation and housing issues.[6]

OPSA 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[7]

In 2008 and 2009 OPSA took the unusual move of expelling its members involved in illegal violence at the Undie 500.[8] In 2009 OPSA campaigned against the government's removal of student representation from polytechnic councils.[9][10]


  1. ^ http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/statistics/tertiary_education/participation
  2. ^ a b http://www.studenthub.co.nz/Otago/Other.aspx
  3. ^ Rudd, Allison (26 September 2009). "Unipol stake under review". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Rudd, Allison (26 June 2010). "Hand-to-mouth existence harsh fact of student life". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  5. ^ http://www.otagopolytechnic.ac.nz/students/student-portal/students-association.html
  6. ^ http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/__data/assets/minutes_agenda/0011/72479/ma_r_fsc_tertiaryupdate---2009_06_22.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.opsa.org.nz/campaigns.php
  8. ^ "Students face expulsion over rogue Undie 500 disorder". Stuff.co.nz. NZPA. 21 August 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Rudd, Allison (24 November 2009). "Chance of no representation stuns staff and students". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  10. ^ http://www.ch9.co.nz/content/bill-angers-otago-polytechnic-students-association

External links[edit]

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