27 October 2022 at 11:00 am

NZ’s updated Code of Practice – caring for international students 

New Zealand led the world in introducing a Code of Practice for the care of international students in 2002, and recent updates have expanded the Code’s reach and strengthened its focus on wellbeing.

Updated code

The following article is based on a presentation by Julia Moore from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) at NZIEC KI TUA 2022 in August. NZQA is responsible for administering the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 (the Code), which came into effect in January this year. 

All domestic and international tertiary students, and international students in schools, are now covered by the Code. Offshore learners are also covered, with updated guidance from NZQA explaining what is expected, and what pastoral care might be provided for people studying offshore.  

Wellbeing is closely connected with success in education, and this is recognised in the updated Code. The Code signals a new way of thinking about success for learners which includes wellbeing and acknowledges that being heard and responded to is part of wellbeing. 

“International learners should be able to have their voices heard and heeded,” Julia said. 

The Code sets a framework for the relationship between providers and students. It acknowledges solutions are best found locally, so the Code requires providers to work out what is appropriate in their own setting, and for meeting the needs of diverse learners. Learners and their communities need to be included in the design, review, and improvement of practice. Taking care of international learners has become an organisation-wide responsibility for the education provider, rather than the sole responsibility of pastoral support teams or the international office.  

“We aim to support providers’ continuous improvement in taking a whole-of-organisation approach to pastoral care, honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and responding appropriately to the diverse voices and wellbeing needs of their learners,” Julia said. 

You can listen to NZQA’s full presentation at the link below. 


NZQA holds regular workshops on the Code, and you can find out more here  

Links to further information: 

Read the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021  

Code resources for tertiary providers 

Code resources for school signatories 


If you have any questions, please email the code team at NZQA: Code.Enquiries@nzqa.govt.nz  

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