Ara Institute of Canterbury/Te Pukenga



World ranking



Total: 9000

International: 15%


Undergraduate: 91

Postgraduate: 4

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Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd is the largest vocational tuition provider in the South Island, offering more than 150 internationally recognised qualifications, degrees, and graduate diplomas, provided in five campuses and by online studying options.

The institute delivers a world-class tertiary education, funded by the government, qualifying students with practical experience and knowledge to meet the demand of the industry. Ara offers relevant courses, flexible study options such as online programmes, blended delivery and part-time study options. The learning models and programme’s content are designed to prepare the students to the real-world and to help them to build valuable connections within the industry, by providing internships, workplace training opportunities and partnerships with companies.

The name ‘Ara’, is the Māori translation for a journey or a path, and it speaks for the institute’s variety of learning pathways and routes, like the rivers that criss-cross the Canterbury Plains down from the mountains to the sea. The logo of the institute contains the phrase ‘Ara rau, taumata rau’, which means ‘many pathways, many opportunities’ – as the institute is offering many opportunities to succeed.    

The institute was established in 2016 when Aoraki Polytechnic and CPIT merged, each with around 100 years of experience and success.


Ara Institute of Canterbury is dedicated to strengthening their connections with the industry and the community to further their understanding of the changing needs and skills in demand and to continuously improve their learning programmes. Also, the institute offers access to specialised research equipment such as the wellness centre and The Zone sports science.

Ara offers students to gain a formal qualification for employment, to learn the fundamentals of computing and business, or to equip themselves with useful job-hunting skills. The learning environment is friendly and supportive, and the experienced tutors of Ara are there to help you to succeed.

Students can find over 300 different study programmes in subject areas of Arts & Media, Business, Computing, Engineering & Architecture, Health, Hospitality & Services, Language, Culture & Education, Science, Agriculture & Animals, and Trades.

Also, the institute is internationally recognised as a leading English language training provider and is a member of English New Zealand, selected by students from over 30 countries. There is a wide range of courses to improve your English speaking, writing, and reading. The courses start on a weekly basis.

For students who are interested in online programmes, Ara Institute of Canterbury collaborated with few leading education providers to deliver online programmes by TANZ eCampus. The TANZ eCampus is a portal for a flexible and easy learning environment. Students can fit their study process to their lifestyle, and to decide when and where to study.

Staff and facilities

The staff at Ara is committed to delivering industry-relevant qualifications to their students and supporting them through their learning path. They provide a supportive environment, innovative spirit, and industry experience. The learning combines using virtual reality technology, iPhones, simulations and applications, and the tutors are always looking to adopt new teaching practices and technologies.

The tutors hold extensive professional experience and connections within the industries, and most of the study programmes include work-integrated studying.

Ara’s campuses are in Christchurch – City campus, Manawa campus, and Woolston campus, Ashburton, Timaru and Oamaru. The classes are small and equipped with all the necessary facilities. On campus you can find restaurants, cafés, bookstores, and beauty services, some of them are provided by students in training with a significant discount.

At the Christchurch City campus, there are also computing suits, open 24/7, and accessible by a student ID card. In addition, there is a Sports and Recreation Centre for Ara’s students, staff and community. There is a range of activities and services to support your fitness needs, health and wellness, including a gym, sports court, fitness classes, personal training, and social sports. 

Ara’s Health Centre, Te Whāre Hauora, enables students to receive discounted medical services, including visiting a GP (General Practitioner), nurses and counsellors. Students can access 3 free counselling sessions a year. 

Support services

A team of international advisors in each campus is willing to help students to meet their study goals and to adapt to the new environment and country. They can help you with advice or support related to accommodation, immigration, course works, or assessments, and they will be there for you in sensitive moments of loneliness or concern.

On campuses, you can also find the Language Self Access Centre (LSAC) and libraries, where you can easily and freely access study material to improve your English levels. The material includes CDs & DVDs, software, newspapers, TV & radio news with worksheets, dictionaries, course books, thematic books (hospitality, engineering, business, nursing, etc.), academic English books and IELTS and Cambridge exams.

Ara’s campuses offer a variety of studying support, such as the Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS). This is a weekly one-hour coordinated study group, to help students with some courses. For students who have a learning or intellectual disability, there are Supported Learning courses, which provide you with confidence, valuable skills, and independency for work and daily life. These courses include recognising emotions and life issues, communication with others and keeping yourself safe.

Student and graduates who are seeking a job can receive free advice from Ara’s Careers & Employment team regarding their career options, employability, resume’s review, interviews training and more. Students can also find assistance with accommodation arrangements. They can choose to live in homestay accommodation with a local family, to rent a private board or to share a flat with other students.

The campus of Christchurch City offers students and staff two early learning centres for their children, up to the age of 5 years old.

Student life

Ara Institute of Canterbury is encouraging students to combine their studying with a friendly lifestyle, and to experience the local Kiwi culture. They are regularly organising cultural events, exhibitions, shows, concerts and different forums.

Students can also book for discounted trips and activities to enjoy the scenic nature and to make friends. There is a strong feeling of community and you will never feel lonely or homesick with this busy social life. You can also find extreme activities, volunteering, sports, dining out and festivals.


Ara Institute of Canterbury reached the highest ranking in the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) report in 2017, placing the institute at the top of the nation’s polytechnic sector.

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