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Partnership with Ara to benefit Open Polytechnic learners based in Canterbury

Through a partnership between Ara Institute of Canterbury and Open Polytechnic, Canterbury-based Open Polytechnic learners can now access a range of services on campus at Ara in Christchurch and Timaru.

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Over the last 12 months Ara Institute of Canterbury, the South Island’s largest vocational education provider, and Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s leading online and distance learning provider, have been working together to support flexible learning options for Open Polytechnic learners. Both organisations are subsidiaries of the new national vocational education provider Te Pūkenga, and the collaborative services reflect a network approach to providing additional benefits for learners in the Canterbury region.

Under the agreement learners enrolled with Open Polytechnic will have the option of choosing to access a specified range of Ara on-campus services in addition to the services provided by Open Polytechnic. This list of services is intended to expand over time.

Glynnis Brook, Executive Director - Academic, Innovation and Research at Ara Institute of Canterbury said, "This partnership is about a new way of working that benefits learner across the Te Pūkenga network and an agreement for Ara and Open Polytechnic to work together to support flexible learning options and greater accessibility for OPNZ students based in Canterbury."

"Ara’s services will cater to OPNZ learners who benefit from face-to-face services and support, as well as having a physical campus to access internet and find a quiet study spot." Support services at Ara for Open Polytechnic learners include access to visit Ara’s Christchurch and Timaru campus libraries, access to wifi on own devices and use of computers in drop-in spaces. Learners are also eligible for a reduced rate for gym membership at Christchurch’s on-campus recreation centre.

"Access to a number of Ara’s on-campus and face-to-face services will complement and expand existing options available to our learners in Canterbury and Timaru. The partnership offers learners choice if they want to come to a campus, there’s an option to use selected facilities," says Open Polytechnic Chief Executive, Dr Caroline Seelig.

"In addition to Open Polytechnic’s core support services, this collaborative approach with Ara will facilitate increased access to services, for our learners. The Open Polytechnic will continue to provide all of its existing support for learners, like learning materials, and academic and learning support services," says Dr Seelig.

Information about this agreement and support services can be accessed here on Ara’s website.

About Ara

Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd is the South Island’s largest vocational educational provider. Ara’s objective is to empower students to build better worlds. We want every Ara student to be equipped for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and we achieve this by providing relevant courses, taught by inspirational mentors in real-life learning environments.

Website: or Phone: 0800 242 476

About Open Polytechnic

The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand Limited is the nation’s specialist provider of online and distance learning, enrolling over 35,000 mainly part-time students each year. The majority of students are adult learners combining work and study.


For more information contact:

Alice McIlhone | PR and Communications Specialist- Ara, Te Pūkenga

E:, P: +64 (0)21 275 8541

Jo Lucre | Open Polytechnic - Senior Communications AdvisorE: P: 027 456 7867