Most learners in Aotearoa New Zealand have a great experience throughout their studies, however sometimes issues can arise. If they do, learners have a right to speak up. Raising issues early with your education provider gives you the best chance of working them out together. If you can’t resolve them together, you can get help from a range of organisations. This short guide has all you need to know about how and where to raise complaints.

Download or print a copy of this guide:

1. Let your education provider know

Start by letting your provider know if you experience an issue. An open conversation can often solve the problem without you needing to take it further.

If the person you speak with can’t help, you can use your provider’s formal complaint process instead. New Zealand education providers must have a complaint process that you can use. You will often be able to find information about their complaints process on their website, in your handbook, or by asking staff.

It can be useful to make your complaint in writing to ensure your education provider has all the details and to help them understand it.

Give them a chance to work through your complaint and to try to resolve your concerns. You can always request updates on the status of your complaint.

If you can’t reach an agreed solution, you can take the complaint further by raising it with an outside agency.


  • Prepare - Take some time to think about the issue, how to explain it and what you would like to happen.

  • Gather details - Share any useful information that you can.

  • Keep notes - It can be helpful to make a note about who you spoke with, when and what was said.

  • Save copies - Keep a record of any emails or letters about your complaint in case you might need them later.

  • Still unresolved? - Get some help! Find out how below.

2. Get some independent help

There are two main agencies who can help if you have an unresolved complaint:

New Zealand Qualifications Authority

NZQA is a government agency that can investigate complaints about:

  • the quality of education, management, and pastoral care of learners in Private Training Establishments
  • the quality of education and pastoral care of learners at Te Pūkenga or Wānanga
  • the pastoral care of learners at universities
  • the pastoral care of international students at schools
  • fee refund concerns.

For more information, you can contact:

Study Complaints | Ngā Amuamu Tauira

Study Complaints | Ngā Amuamu Tauira is a free and independent service to help domestic tertiary learners and international students resolve disputes with their New Zealand education providers.

They can assist with:

  • Financial matters
  • Contractual matters
  • Redress claims.

It’s easy to get started, simply get in touch by:

3. Something else?

Here are some other complaint bodies who may be able to help you.

In most cases you need to have complained directly to your education provider first and worked through their complaint process before you can escalate it to one of these agencies.

Fees & loans

Tertiary Education Commission

For questions about Fees Free or government funding for your course, contact the Tertiary Education Commission.

Study Link

Study Link can help with queries about your student loan, student allowance, and other payments available.

Acts & decisions


Have you been treated unfairly by a public education provider or school board of trustees? Contact the Ombudsman for help.


New Zealand Police

For emergencies, call 111 immediately. For non-urgent matters, call 105 to report an incident to the Police.  


If you have health and safety concerns about your campus or work placement, contact Worksafe.  


Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission provide free, confidential services to deal with racism, discrimination and harassment.


Privacy Commissioner

You can report complaints about how your information has been stored or used to the Privacy Commissioner.

Quality of education

Universities New Zealand

For concerns about the quality of a university programme or a university qualification, contact UNZ.


For concerns about the delivery or quality of education at non-university tertiary education providers, contact NZQA.

Other support

Advocacy and student support

Your local student services office and student associations may be able to provide you with support and advocacy services.

Legal advice

If you would like legal advice, you can contact your local Community Law office or Citizens Advice Bureau.

Not sure?

Talk to Study Complaints | Ngā Amuamu Tauira if you have any questions or aren’t sure where to get started. We’re here to help!