About the Council

Find out how the University Council is structured and what documents are used to govern the University.

Constitution and composition

The Council consists of 12 members of whom:

  • four are appointed by the Minster for Tertiary Education; and
  • eight are appointed by Council in accordance with its statutes.

The composition of Council is determined by the Education and Training Act 2020, Council’s Constitution (gazetted on 24 September 2015) and the Council Membership Statute (PDF).

The Nominations Panel oversees the appointment process for three of the eight positions appointed by Council. The successful candidate in the election of two staff and two student members are also appointed by Council. The final appointment is the Vice-Chancellor who is appointed ex officio for the length of their employment contract.


The Council’s key functions are set out in section 280 of the Education and Training Act 2020 as follows:

  1. to appoint a chief executive in accordance with the Public Service Act 2020, and to monitor and evaluate the chief executive’s performance:
  2. to prepare and submit a proposed plan if the institution is seeking funding under a funding mechanism that provides for funding via plans:
  3. if the institution has a plan,
    • to ensure that the institution is managed in accordance with that plan; and
    • to determine policies to implement that plan:
  4. to determine, subject to the Public Service Act 2020, the policies of the institution in relation to the management of its affairs:
  5. to undertake planning relating to the institution’s long-term strategic direction.

The Education and Training Act 2020 provides recognition of, and protection for, the institutional autonomy of the University and the academic freedom of its staff and students. In accordance with the Act, the Council and the Vice-Chancellor will perform their functions in a way that preserves and enhances institutional autonomy and academic freedom.


The Chancellor chairs Council and is responsible for providing leadership to Council in the execution and review of its governance responsibilities. The Chancellor represents Council at meetings concerned with governance issues across the sector (for example, Chancellors’ meetings, meetings with representatives of government) and provides advice and support to the Vice-Chancellor. The Chancellor is also typically the spokesperson for Council and the University on governance issues.


The Pro-Chancellor is the Chancellor’s deputy in governance and ceremonial roles and, on occasion as required, acts on the Chancellor’s behalf.


The Vice-Chancellor is Victoria University of Wellington's Chief Executive and as such is responsible for managing the academic and administrative affairs of the University. The Vice-Chancellor is the employer of all University staff.

The Vice-Chancellor is the link that connects the University's governance (Council) and management functions. All Council authority conferred on management is delegated through the Vice-Chancellor so that the authority and accountability of management is considered to be the authority and accountability of the Vice-Chancellor so far as Council is concerned.

Key governance documents

Council is responsible for setting Victoria University of Wellington's strategic direction and for monitoring progress toward attaining the strategic goals. It does this by approving the Strategic Plan pdf1.9MB which sets out the University's:

  • vision
  • context—heritage and position
  • mission and purpose
  • primary strategies
  • enabling strategies
  • values and commitments.