Interim domestic Code of Practice (current)

The Education (Pastoral Care of Domestic Tertiary Students) Interim Code of Practice 2019 (the interim Code) came into effect on 1 January 2020.

For more information on how the Education (Pastoral Care of Domestic Tertiary Students) Interim Code of Practice 2019 was developed, see the Ministry of Education page.

A new Code of Practice from 1 January 2022

There will be a new Code of Practice that applies from 1 January 2022.

See the Tertiary and international Code of Practice page for more information.

Covid-19: September 2021 Update

The lockdown has been immensely stressful for many students. Changing Alert Levels – even if restrictions are eased – can be a time of increased stress and anxiety, as students are required to make new adjustments. 

The number one priority continues to be the wellbeing of students and ensuring they remain safe during this time. 

We encourage providers to continue to uphold their international Code and domestic Code obligations. 

Student Accommodation 

As many students will be living in student accommodation during lockdown and as Alert levels change, please note that tertiary student accommodation providers must ensure the following: 

  • Appropriate welfare checks on residents, including regular checks on those identified as being at risk.

  • Managerial oversight of accommodation staff at all times (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) so that issues can be escalated when they occur.

  • Clear processes within student accommodation for responding to instances of resident behaviour that pose a risk to self or others.

  • Clear and timely escalation processes for any incidents.

  • Holding the contact details of a nominated person should a resident’s wellbeing or behaviour cause concern.

  • Providing residents with learning and peer support on self-care, positive wellbeing and how to access pastoral care services – through the provider and/or the wider community. 

Alert Levels 3 and 4 may require changes to your practice so please refer to the Guidelines for Tertiary Education Organisations on how to operate under different Alert Levels for further information. 

Student voice

We encourage you to keep in close contact with your students and continue using student voice (Outcome 6, interim domestic Code) to ensure their voices are heard and integrated into decisions and support services needed at this time. 

For example, consider inviting a student representative to your team meetings to act as a communication channel, or actively ask students during your regular welfare checks for their feedback as to what would help them right now. 

Other sources of information

  • The Ministry of Education releases tertiary bulletins as a central channel for communicating key COVID-19 information to tertiary education providers and students. You can read these here.

  • The Ministry of Health website contains a useful range of mental health and wellbeing resources your staff may find useful for themselves, or to assist students. These resources can be found here.

The NZQA Code team is here to help, so please get in touch for support or advice either via 0800 697 296 or

What is the interim Code? (He aha te Rārangi Tikanga taupua?)

The interim Code sets out a general duty of pastoral care that all tertiary education providers must have for domestic tertiary students, and specific requirements for providers that offer student accommodation.

It sets out the outcomes providers need to achieve and the processes they need to follow to implement the interim Code. Providers’ performance will be monitored and evaluated against the interim Code.

He aha te Rārangi Tikanga taupua? Kei te whakarārangi te Rārangi Tikanga taupua i ngā āhuatanga manaaki i ngā ākonga kura tuatoru nō Aotearoa hei whai mā ngā kaiwhakarato mātauranga kura tuatoru katoa, i ētahi anō herenga hei whai mā te kaiwhakarato wharenoho ākonga.

Whakatakotoria ai ngā hua hei whai mā ngā kaiwhakarato me ngā hātepe hei whakatutuki i te Rārangi Tikanga taupua. Aroturukitia ai, arotakengia ai te mahi a te kaiwhakarato e ai ki te Rārangi Tikanga taupua.

Why is the interim Code needed? (He aha e hiahiatia ai te Rārangi Tikanga taupua?)

The interim Code reflects feedback from recent consultation with students, their family and whānau, and others in the sector, which called for enhanced support for:

- wellbeing and mental health, particularly for students at risk, and

- the provision of safe and inclusive learning environments.

It was developed as part of a wider shift in the education sector to put students at the centre and in recognition of the need for improved systems and processes to ensure students receive the best possible pastoral care.

Kua puta mai te Rārangi Tikanga taupua i ngā urupare inātata nei a ngā ākonga, a ō rātou whānau, a ētahi atu o te rāngai, e tono ana i te tautoko kaha ake e pā ana ki te:

- hauora ā-tinana me te hauora hinengaro, me āta aro ki ngā ākonga tūraru

- hiahia ki te taiao ako e haumaru ai, e tuwhera ai ki te ākonga ahakoa ko wai.

I whanakehia hei urupare ki te hiahia o te rāngai mātauranga ki te whakatū i te ākonga ki te pokapū, ā, hei whakapakari i ngā pūnaha, i ngā hātepe mā reira e tino manaakihia ai te ākonga.

Aims of the interim Code (Ko ngā whāinga o te Rārangi Tikanga taupua)

The interim Code aims to address regulatory gaps relating to the pastoral care of domestic tertiary students to ensure:

- that students live in a safe environment and have a positive experience that supports their educational achievement and personal development, and

- that providers are accountable for ensuring the pastoral care needs of their students are met.

A key underlying aim is to ensure providers focus particularly on the needs of first year students, and students with specific needs, to enable them to successfully transition to tertiary studies.

In giving effect to the interim Code, providers are expected to:

- integrate the interim Code into the whole student experience

- proactively engage with students, staff and the community to capture their voices and feedback

- integrate the interim Code into their policies, procedures and practices, including processes for connecting students to specialist health and wellbeing services in the community, and

- apply learnings and feedback to continuously improve their practices.

Ko tā te Rārangi Tikanga taupua whāinga he aro ki ngā puare ā-ture e pā ana ki te manaakitanga i te ākonga kura tuatoru nō Aotearoa kia:

- noho ai te ākonga ki te taiao haumaru, kia pai ai te wheako e tautoko ai i te angitu mātauranga, i te whanaketanga whaiaro

- herea ngā kaiwhakarato ki te kimi i te ara pai hei whakatutuki i ngā hiahia manaakitanga o ā rātou ākonga.

Ko tētahi whāinga matua, he whakaarotahi i te kaiwhakarato ki ngā hiahia o te ākonga tau tuatahi, ki ō ngā ākonga whai hiahia motuhake hoki, mā reira e nuku pai ai rātou ki ngā akoranga kura tuatoru.

Ka whai take te Rārangi Tikanga taupua mēnā ko tā te kaiwhakarato mahi he:

- whakaū i te Rārangi Tikanga taupua ki te wheako whānui a te akonga

- pāhekoheko i ngā ākonga, i ngā kaimahi, i te hapori, hopukia ai ō rātou reo, ā rātou urupare

- whakaū i te Rārangi Tikanga taupua ki roto i ngā kaupapahere, i ngā tukanga, i ngā tikanga mahi, tae atu ki ngā hātepe e tūhono ai ngā ākonga ki ngā ratonga mātanga hauora, i te hapori

- whakatinana i ngā akoranga, i ngā urupare, mā reira e pai haere ai ngā tikanga mahi.

What students need to know (Ko ngā whakamāramatanga ākonga)

The interim Code sets out a general duty of pastoral care that tertiary education providers have for domestic tertiary students, and specific requirements for those that provide student accommodation.

In relation to student accommodation, providers are required to support the safety and wellbeing of students and improve the consistency of standards in student accommodation.

The general duty of pastoral care under the Code covers physical safety, access to advice and support services, physical and mental health support, freedom from discrimination and racism, support for transition to tertiary study, and the opportunity to take part in decision making on support services.

You do not need to do anything. If at any time you have concerns about something that has directly affected you or someone you know at an education organisation, you can find information on what to do on our complaints information page.

Education providers will be required to make any changes that may be necessary to comply with the interim Code.

The interim Code applies for domestic students. International students already have strong protections in place through the existing Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016, which covers safety, wellbeing and accommodation.

What providers need to know (Ko ngā whakamāramatanga whare ako)

The Education (Pastoral Care of Domestic Tertiary Students) Interim Code of Practice 2019 (the interim Code) sets out a general duty of pastoral care that tertiary education providers have for domestic tertiary students, and specific requirements for those who provide student accommodation.

All tertiary education providers are expected to comply with the interim Code. For many providers, this won’t mean a lot of change or expense because they already look after their students well.

The interim Code will apply from 1 January 2020. NZQA will take a capability-building approach in 2020, to ensure that tertiary education providers understand and give effect to their Code responsibilities, particularly their student accommodation obligations.

Providers will be encouraged to review their internal systems, informed by guidelines and workshops that will be provided by NZQA in the first half of 2020.

NZQA will investigate complaints and take follow-up statutory action if necessary, appropriate to the seriousness of the breach and the provider’s actions to remedy the problem.

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the international Code) will still apply for international education Code signatories. The only change is that the new offence and penalty provisions for pastoral care will also apply to the international Code. This is to ensure equal protection for both domestic and international students.

The interim domestic Code is for tertiary students, so the impact on schools is minimal. Schools that are signatories to the international Code will be subject to the new offence and penalty provisions.

What NZQA will do (Ko ngā mahi a te Mana Tohu Mātauranga o Aotearoa)

NZQA is the Code Administrator; and may delegate some university-related code administration responsibilities to Universities New Zealand.

NZQA will work with tertiary education providers to give effect to their student wellbeing responsibilities, particularly their student accommodation obligations.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions imposed to limit its spread, NZQA is currently revising its plan for implementing the interim Code to recognise the changing circumstances of students and providers.

Further information

For further enquiries, please email

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