Make a complaint about a provider

Complaints relating to institutes of technology and polytechnics, wānanga and other public providers

Complaints about the administrative acts and decisions of wānanga and institutes of technology and polytechnics are within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman to investigate.

Formal complaints about educational quality concerns with wānanga and institutes of technology and polytechnics can be made to NZQA through the process outlined below.

Complaints relating to the pastoral care of international students

The Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students provides for a complaint to be lodged if a complainant feels the Code has been breached. Complaints about Code breaches should be made to the International Education Appeal Authority (IEAA). For further information and a link to the IEAA website, see the International Education Appeal Authority page on the NZQA website.

Complaints relating to registered private training establishments (PTEs)

If you have a complaint about a registered education provider, you should follow the provider's own complaints process in the first instance. If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily, you may lodge a formal complaint in writing to NZQA.

What can I complain to NZQA about?

What can’t I complain to NZQA about?

  • Course information

  • Entry and selection procedures

  • Enrolment procedures

  • Information or procedures for financial matters

  • Staff qualifications or skills

  • Student support and guidance

  • Programme content, structure or delivery

  • Equipment and teaching resources

  • Assessment processes and information

  • Management practices

  • An event that took place more than 12 months ago unless the complainant has been actively pursuing the complaint with the provider since it occurred, or the issue has only just come to the complainant’s attention due to circumstances beyond the complainant's control

  • Training or education delivered by universities

  • Appeal of an assessment result – you should follow the provider’s appeals procedure

  • The private lives of those involved with education and training

  • Issues currently under investigation, or where a ruling has already been made, by a disputes tribunal

  • Ministry of Social Development matters, e.g. loans and allowances

  • Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) matters, e.g. course-related costs, travel allowances

Enquiries and advice about making a formal complaint

If you wish to enquire about making a formal complaint or receive advice about the options available to you, please complete and submit our online Complaint Enquiry Form.

Make a formal complaint about a provider

To make a formal complaint about a provider:

  1. Download the Formal complaint form (PDF, 33KB)
  2. Send your completed complaint form, along with any supporting evidence, to:

The Complaints Officer
Quality Assurance Division
P O Box 160
Wellington 6140

or email a scan of your completed form, along with scans of any supporting evidence, to

If you need more information on the complaints process, contact NZQA on 0800 697 296.

What happens next?

Complaints about providers are handled by the Quality Assurance Division (QAD) of NZQA. When a complaint is received, the information provided is first verified and confirmed to establish that a complaint actually exists. This is usually in the form of a signed complaint form and/or some type of verifiable independent evidence. We will then contact the provider to explain the nature of the complaint and ask for a response. Throughout the investigation, both parties will be kept fully informed.

Will the provider know that I have made a complaint?

Generally, yes. In order to make a fair decision, NZQA writes to the provider to inform it that a formal complaint has been made once the information provided has been verified. The letter includes a summary of the complaint and states who made the complaint. The provider is asked to respond. This helps NZQA look at the complaint with information from all parties and make a balanced decision.

Occasionally, there are circumstances where a complainant feels there may be repercussions if the provider is given his or her name. If you want your name to be withheld from the provider, you must indicate this on the formal complaint form. Please note that NZQA does not investigate anonymous complaints (unless it is a matter that NZQA would automatically investigate – see above).

What happens if NZQA upholds my complaint?

If NZQA’s investigation shows that the provider’s policies and procedures have not been followed or that they were not applied fairly, you can use the information from the investigation to try to reach a solution with the provider. If that is not possible, you can try other avenues, such as the Disputes Tribunal, Commerce Commission or the courts.

NZQA does not get directly involved in negotiations between you and the provider for issues such as refunds or other forms of compensation. However, NZQA can require that the provider take certain actions in accordance with the legislation.


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