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Otago education

Education services across the region are excellent with numerous rural, small town and city schools and other facilities.

Dunedin is home to New Zealand’s oldest University and an important school of medicine and its 20,000-odd students are famously known as ‘scarfies’.

If your children are New Zealand residents, permanent residents or citizens (this includes Tokelauans, Cook Islanders and Niueans), or they hold a student visa based on your temporary work visa, they can attend primary and secondary schools as domestic students. If this is not the case, you should check to see if they need visas.

Early childhood education

There are about 200 options for early childhood education (ECE) in the Otago region. They can be found on the Education Counts website.

There are many different types of early childhood services.  A key difference between these services is how much involvement they expect of the child's parents and family. The main types of early childhood education services are described on the Education Review Office website.

Types of early childhood education services | Education Review Office


Playgroups are informal sessions where caregivers and children aged 0-5 meet together in a relaxed environment. In a playgroup, parents and caregivers stay to interact with the other adults and to play with the children.

Playgroups are usually set up and run by parents and caregivers, with children choosing from a range of activities. Activities at playgroup are either free or low cost, and may include music and singing, imaginative play, outdoor and free play, or arts and crafts.

Playgroups in the Otago region | Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB)

Find a school

Visit the Education Counts website for information about schools in the Otago region, including single sex or co-educational schools and boarding schools in the region.

Information is provided on student population and attainment for each school, decile rating, website and street address as well as a link to their Education review office report.

More information on the types of schooling available in New Zealand and what qualifications are offered there can be found on the School System page.

The school system

Check school zones

Not all schools have an enrolment zone, but if they do, the TKI map will display the school's information with a Show/ Hide Enrolment zone option, and a blue marker. If you click either option a zone will appear on the map.

This website also shows transport options for the school. TKI is a service of the Ministry of Education.

Tertiary education

University of Otago - Located in Dunedin, University of Otago also has campuses in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Southland.

Otago Polytechnic - Otago Polytechnic has its main campus in Dunedin and a Central Otago campus in Cromwell.

Southern Institute of Technology Queenstown campus - The Queenstown campus has been open since 2009, and offers qualifications in 10 different subjects.

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa - One of New Zealand's largest tertiary education providers. They offer a comprehensive range of certificate to degree level qualifications.

Queenstown Resort College - Queenstown Resort College offers courses in tourism and hospitality management. - A list of tertiary courses in the Otago region.

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