ARA Institute of Canterbury – formerly Aoraki Polytechnic 

From the start of 2016, Aoraki Polytechnic merged with Christchurch based CPIT to establish a new institution serving the Canterbury region, the Ara Institute of Canterbury. The merger will take some time to complete, and in 2016 both will be operating as they have been up until the merger.

Aoraki previously had campuses spread across the central South Island in Timaru, Ashburton, Oamaru, Christchurch and Dunedin, although as part of the new merger, the Dunedin Campus will from 2016 be operated by Otago Polytechnic. The former Aoraki Polytechnic’s campus locations are situated in areas rich in culture, offering students loads of sporting and adventure opportunities in their spare time.

Partnerships open many more opportunities for you

Ara builds on partnerships Aoraki had developed with several other tertiary providers that offer university-level study. So if you are thinking about studying primary industries through Lincoln University, maybe agribusiness management on-the-job with Primary ITO, you can do that with Ara. The smaller institution’s range of trade and pre-trade qualifications will have new scope following the merger with the larger CPIT.

Read what's involved in starting your apprenticeship

The option to start your studies closer to home, then move to a different location will be attractive for many students. Way less costs this way, and when you do move, you are ready. The chance to credit your studies toward a higher-level degree with Ara’s institution partners is available for selected Business, IT, Arts and Media, Heath and Education courses.

The V-path programme Aoraki had designed to help students who have not completed NCEA Level 2 or 3 will still be in place, providing opportunities to gain NCEA credits while participating in vocational courses. The project based learning environment aims to help the transition to further tertiary level education.

There are several accommodation options for students in Timaru, including private board, hostels and flats. Flats are available throughout the year and can be obtained through the local newspapers and real estate agents, or by contacting Client Services at all campuses.

There is some female student only accommodation available at Timaru Girls’ High School Hostel, five minutes’ walk from the Ara Timaru base. Some accommodation at the University of Canterbury may be available for Ara Institute of Canterbury students.

Ara Institute of Canterbury (formerly Aoraki) offers covering the following fields:

Applied Science & Allied Health

Architectural Studies

Art & Design





Food & Hospitality

Hair & Beauty


Music & Arts

Musical Theatre

NZ Broadcasting School

Nursing & Human Services

Primary Industries

Sustainability & Outdoor Education

Te Puna Wanaka


Ara Institute of Canterbury website

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New Zealand Polytechnics