He kupa takamua nā te Tiamana o te poari matua me te Pouwhakahaere

Foreword from the Board and Chief Executive

NZQA’s vision for New Zealand learners to ‘Qualify for the future world: Kia noho takatū ki tō āmua ao’ urges us to consider what the future of education, work and society will be. This vision also means we must promote and ensure equitable access to qualifications; and this requires an acknowledgement that learning doesn’t stop when a person completes secondary school, tertiary education or an apprenticeship.

It is with these two areas in mind that NZQA approached an ambitious programme of work in 2018/19.

Equity of access to qualifications supports intergenerational wellbeing

Equitable access to education and qualifications is essential if we are to enable New Zealanders to reach their goals and contribute to a better society and whānau outcomes. Lifting achievement through the credibility of a world-class qualifications system supports this vision.

NZQA continues to work alongside other government agencies, schools, teachers, whānau, and student and community leaders to lift Māori and Pasifika achievement, with an emphasis on National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) subjects related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Around 4,000 people participated in either our NCEA and the Whānau workshops, or NCEA ma le Pasifika workshops in 2018/19. Each of these programmes provides the information caregivers need to navigate NCEA and support their rangitahi. Alongside established programmes such as these, one of our newer partnerships sees us supporting a group of Pasifika student ambassadors who use social media to share their experience of studying towards NCEA with their peers.

Equity also motivates our work to introduce NCEA Online. Digital assessment introduces the possibilities of reflecting personalised and culturally responsive pathways of learning. In order to maximise NCEA Online’s potential, all students need to be able to access digitally-enabled learning.

After four years of Digital Trials and Pilots, we are now moving to roll out our new assessment platform, while continuing to work closely with schools and colleague agencies on addressing challenges to participation. More than half of New Zealand’s secondary schools have indicated their desire to offer online assessment.

We are also enhancing special assessment conditions for learners with disabilities and learning support needs; and are continuing to develop our connections with those communities who most stand to benefit from the improvements.

In developing and delivering our equity work, we highly value the continued support from Ngā Kaitūhono (NZQA’s Māori external strategic group), whose members provide thought leadership in accelerating Māori learner success and the advanced use of mātauranga Māori.

New Zealand qualifications enable lifelong learning

As administrators of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) in a time of increasingly fast-paced technological and social change, NZQA needs to ensure the NZQF is flexible enough to enable the recognition of learning wherever and whenever it occurs. Alongside this, we are charged with ensuring New Zealand’s qualifications remain respected and relevant, so they can continue to be accepted as credible and robust both in the present and the future world.

Responding to the changing needs of learners – and supporting New Zealand’s social and economic needs – is a high priority, with NCEA Online and the development of micro-credentials our flagship projects in the past year as we prepare for a global, digital, connected world. While strong progress continues to be made, each of these innovations can roll out only at the pace at which education providers are confident implementing them, and at which learners and employers are ready to accept them.

To help maintain trust and confidence in New Zealand qualifications, we have continued actively monitoring and quality assuring educational outcomes in the non-university tertiary sector. Enforcing compliance with Rules tends to generate few positive news headlines, but our quality assurance role is vital to identify organisations who fail to meet the expected standards.

We also continue to pursue opportunities to make sure New Zealand qualifications are recognised and valued internationally. In June 2019 we finalised an enhanced qualifications recognition arrangement with Ireland, as we work towards our goal of reaching recognition agreements with 50 countries.

During the year we worked with our colleague agencies on the Reform of Vocational Education and NCEA review initiatives and this work will continue in the 2019/20 year.


NZQA takes seriously its responsibilities to ensure every person has an equitable opportunity to succeed, and to ensure qualifications are domestically and internationally well-regarded.

This Annual Report sets out how we have fulfilled these responsibilities and contributed to our vision of ensuring our learners ‘Qualify for the future world: Kia noho takatū ki tō āmua ao’.


Murray Strong
Board Chair

Neil Quigley
Risk & Assurance Committee Chair

Karen Poutasi
Chief Executive

 Board and Nga Kaituhono 3

Ngā Kaitūhono (NZQA's Maori external strategic group) and the NZQA Board:
From left back row: Hana O'Regan; Karen Poutasi; Rangimarie Hunia; Rahui Papa; Lyn Provost; Murray Strong; Antony Royal; Neil Quigley.
From left front row: Hōne Pereki Sadler; Sophie Tokukino; Wiremu Doherty; Kate Shevland; Mary Chamberlain; Jenn Bestwick; Merepaea Te Uira Dunn.

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