Skip to main content

You Belong Here

People from all walks of life are thriving at Ara and you can too. No matter where you’re at now or where you want to go in life, we can help.

At Ara, you’ll be welcomed into a diverse and inclusive community. You’ll be celebrated for who you are, and you’ll be supported and inspired to achieve great things for you and your whānau.

Here’s a sample of what Ara offers:

Somewhere to belong

At Ara, you’ll feel right at home among a welcoming and diverse community made up of a broad spectrum of individuals from all walks of life, including hundreds of Māori and Pacific students and staff, and over 50 other nationalities. We celebrate cultures, diversity, individualism and success every day, in all sorts of ways. We also welcome the community into our unique Te Puna Wanaka whare, which regularly hosts hui, wānanga and fono and is a place where everyone is welcome to visit and connect with our growing Māori team.

A place to be you

You’ll never just be a number or a face in the crowd. You’re an individual and we care about you, your journey and your success. We’ll get to know you and your needs, and you’ll get to know us. Our class sizes are generally small, so you’ll also get to know your fellow students and collaborate with them on tasks and projects.

Comprehensive student support

Our tutors and staff are dedicated to your wellbeing and success and there’s always someone to talk to if you ever need advice, guidance or just a friendly chat. We have dedicated support people – including specialist advisors for Māori, Pacific, international and disabled students - plus health and wellbeing advisors, expert learning support teams, student advocates, career and employment advisors and much more.

Expert tutors and inspiring mentors

Our tutors are experts in the subjects they teach and have years of real-world experience and contacts to share with you. They stay up to date with the latest technologies, techniques and practices (many continue to work in their chosen field) and they’re committed to inspiring you to succeed.

Hands-on learning for hands-on learners

If you learn best by doing, you’ll love learning at Ara. We focus on skills-based learning with an emphasis on practical tasks and projects plus opportunities to learn in the workplace. You won’t sit in endless lectures or need to write essay after essay. Instead, you’ll gain real skills for real jobs, and you’ll be work-ready by the time you graduate.

Did you know?

We also offer:

Held throughout the year, our Experience Ara taster days, workshops and holiday programmes are designed to give Year 9 to 13 secondary school students a feel for tertiary study.

Secondary school learners can get a head start on their careers with an Ara Dual Enrolment programme while they’re still at high school, and 16- to 19-year-olds who’ve already left school can study a Youth Guarantee course for free.

If you’re Māori or Pacific and aged between 16 and 40, you can get trade skills for free while exploring and celebrating your cultural identity.

You can enhance your skills for work and everyday life with one of our non-assessed short courses or workshops. There’s everything from Self-Esteem for Women and Digital Basics courses to workshops in Leadership, Customer Service and Conflict Resolution.

Study doesn’t have to cost the earth and sometimes it’s free. Check your eligibility for fees-free study and apply for one of our many scholarships.

Not sure what you want to do, or what step to take next? Our experienced employment and careers team can help, even if you’re not an Ara student. If you are a student at Ara, you can get help with your CV and interview skills, and access Ara’s online jobs board.


“It’s shown me my worth, my capability.”

Epe Valavala, Business

“They really believed in my potential.”

Mena Petaia, Nursing

“It's an amazing atmosphere.”

Nathanael Balasingam, Cookery

“It was awesome, even better than I’d expected.”

Tony Crawford, Trades

“I found my passion at Ara.”

Mel Ngahooro, Laboratory Science

“My tutors were authentic, motivating and inspiring.”

Rebecca Fittock, Social Work

“It’s been practical right from the get-go.”

Keren Wright, Osteopathy

“Ara’s been great, I wouldn’t study anywhere else.”

Steph Crosson, Engineering

Need some help picking the right course for you?

Get in touch, book a tour or browse the website to find out more and explore all the options