Education providers in Otago

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

Otago has educational facilities for every stage in life, from early childhood education to ongoing learning for adults. Dunedin is home to one of the country's best universities, University of Otago.

Your child can attend primary and secondary schools as a domestic student if they are:

  • a New Zealand resident or permanent resident
  • a New Zealand citizen (includes Tokelauans, Cook Islanders and Niueans), or
  • a student visa holder based on your temporary work visa.

Students who are not eligible to enrol as domestic students may be able to enrol as international students. 

Eligibility to enrol in New Zealand schools | Ministry of Education

Explore visa options to study | Immigration New Zealand 

Early childhood education

There are about 180 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, including teacher-led and parent-led services.

The Ministry of Education has a guide for parents explaining the differences between the various ECE styles.

Early childhood education providers are listed on the Education Counts website. 

Different kinds of early learning services | Ministry of Education 


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 Otago | Citizen’s Advice Bureau

Primary and secondary school

Schooling is compulsory from age 6–16.

The education system for schools is made up of 13 Year levels. Primary education starts at Year 1 and goes to Year 8 (around 5–12 years of age). Secondary education goes from Year 9 to Year 13 (around 13–17 years of age).

The school system

Find a school

There are 147 primary and secondary schools in the Otago Region.

Children usually attend a school in the area where they live, this is called a 'zone'. Many schools in New Zealand limit enrolments to students who live in their zone. However, some school don't have zones.

You can find information about the schools in the region, a link to their Education Review Office report, and their zone on the Education Counts website.

You can also search for specific requirements, including if a school is single sex or co-educational, or has boarding facilities for students.

Find a school Otago Region | Education Counts

Tertiary education

There are many options for tertiary education in the Otago Region. Qualifications offered range from certificates to PhDs.

University of Otago's main campus is in Dunedin. It's New Zealand's oldest university and is rated in the top 1% of universities in the world by the QS World University Rankings.

Otago Polytechnic's main campus is in Dunedin and has a Central Otago campus in Cromwell.

The Southern Institute of Technology has a campuses in Queenstown and Balclutha.

One of New Zealand's largest tertiary education providers, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has three campuses in the region. One in Dunedin, Wanaka and Queenstown. 

Queenstown Resort College (QRC) offers courses in tourism and hospitality management.

Home | University of Otago

Home | Otago Polytechnic 

Home | Southern Institute of Technology

Home | Te Wānanga o Aotearoa 

Home | Queenstown Resort College

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