How NZQA works

NZQA is an accreditation body that ensures education providers have the necessary resources to deliver programmes that lead to New Zealand’s recognised qualifications.

NZQA is also responsible for making sure that tertiary education providers, and any schools that enrol international students have the required processes in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their students.

NZQA's role

Investigating complaints about education providers is part of NZQA’s role as an education agency and as the code administrator.

Complaints allow NZQA to monitor the quality and integrity of New Zealand qualifications to keep them credible and robust, and to ensure providers have policies and practices in place that support student safety and wellbeing. Complaints form part of NZQA’s monitoring and enforcement powers to ensure that education providers are properly carrying out their responsibilities.

We will give your complaint careful consideration to see if your complaint issues fall under any regulations that NZQA can enforce. Most of these regulations identify the processes and practices that your education provider needs to have. The regulations also set the expectation that your education provider will be fair and equitable when working through those processes with you.

If you’re interested in learning more about NZQA’s regulations, you find them in the:

If your complaint issues fall under NZQA regulations, we can investigate the complaint by asking the education provider to respond to the complaint. We will then weigh up the evidence that you and your education provider have sent to us, to see if your education provider has breached NZQA regulations.

NZQA can consider whether the processes your education provider had in place were unfair, inequitable, and non-compliant with NZQA regulations. If they were, we will say so and may require or recommend improvements to those processes.

What NZQA can investigate

NZQA can investigate complaints against:

  • Private training establishments in relation to the quality of their education, overall management, and the pastoral care of learners.
  • Wānanga and Te Pūkenga subsidiaries (previously known as polytechnics and institutes of technology) for concerns relating to the quality of their education and pastoral care of learners.
  • Universities, but only in relation to the pastoral care of learners.
  • Schools, but only in relation to the pastoral care of international students.

NZQA cannot investigate complaints about:

  • Business decisions of an education provider, e.g. who it hires or when it decides not to deliver a certain a course.
  • The administrative acts or decisions of wānanga, Te Pūkenga subsidiaries, universities, or schools.
  • The quality of education delivered by a university or school.
  • Non-NZQA registered or recognised education providers.

NZQA also cannot:

  • Re-mark your assessments or overrule your grades.
  • Discipline staff.
  • Award compensation.
  • Provide legal advice.
  • Act as your advocate or agent.

Working with other complaint bodies

The issues in your complaint might be better suited to another organisation’s complaint process.

In some cases, NZQA may need to contact another complaint body to discuss the details of your complaint and decide which issues should be looked at by which organisation. The purpose of these discussions is to make sure your complaint is looked at by the most appropriate complaint body, and to make sure we give you the right information about their complaint process.

The complaint bodies that NZQA might contact about your complaint include (but are not limited to):

Other complaint bodies that may be able to help

If your concerns relate to:

You can contact:

An international student’s financial or contractual dispute with their education provider

iStudent Complaints

A domestic learner's financial or contractual dispute with their education provider

Tertiary Education Dispute Resolution

The quality of a university programme or qualification

Universities New Zealand

Administrative acts and decisions of a public education provider (universities, wānanga, or Te Pūkenga institutions)

Office of the Ombudsman

Student loans and allowances


Fees free or government funding for your course

Tertiary Education Commission

A primary or secondary school

The school board

Local Ministry of Education offices

Someone’s safety being at risk

New Zealand Police

WorkSafe New Zealand


Human Rights Commission

How information about you has been stored or used

Privacy Commissioner

Using your complaint data

Demographic details are collected so that NZQA can understand which student groups access our complaint services. Complaint data may be reported at an aggregate level, and as far as practicable, disaggregated by student groups (e.g. age or ethnicity) as part of our Code Administrator role.

Any information you provide to NZQA is subject to public release. If NZQA receives a request for this material, we will have to consider its release, in whole or in part, in terms of the criteria set out in the Official Information Act 1982. The Act requires the information to be made available unless:

  1. it is considered that there is a good reason under the Act to withhold the information; and
  2. that good reason outweighs the desirability, in the public interest, or making the information available.

The grounds for withholding information are set out in the Official Information Act 1982.


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