Strategic context

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington operates in a highly globalised environment.

The University operates in a rapidly globalising tertiary sector characterised by the emergence of elite university brands capable of operating across borders through various forms of transnational education. To thrive in this sector, a university must have an identity that is respected, clearly differentiated from other universities, and distinguished by attributes that matter to its staff, students, and communities.

Universities in New Zealand provide uniformly high-quality education of which the nation can be justifiably proud. However, it is becoming increasingly challenging to sustain this quality. Public funding has been falling behind rising costs for decades. The chronic impacts of these budgetary policies are currently compounded by declining numbers of domestic school leavers.

Universities have responded to these financial challenges in part by striving to attain scale through internationalisation. Constraints and challenges to internationalisation are emerging. The international market is increasingly more competitive. Most prominently, academic standards must be protected while the learning needs of international students and the talent requirements of their countries must also be considered. Maintaining the social licence to teach international students and avoiding unacceptable levels of financial risk are developing concerns.

The time-honoured operating models of universities are also changing. There is a trend toward disaggregation of research-led teaching and increasing mission-led multidisciplinary research. There is also a greater reliance on online or blended education and lifelong learning.

Demand is increasing for culturally responsive pedagogies of deeper resonance with Māori, Pasifika, migrant, and international students. Inspiring leadership to manage the externalities of universities and to address the existential threats of poor planetary stewardship is essential.

Our future to 2025

The unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 presented us all with an opportunity to think deeply about what it will mean to continue to be a great global-civic university in the future.

In this context, He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka pdf1.5MB offers an explicit challenge to the University and its stakeholders: How will we take ownership of our capacity to shape our collective future through to 2025? How will we foster a thriving university that recognises our values and iho given the significant uncertainties we face?

The key recommendation is the adoption of Ngā Herenga, a set of design principles that describe how we should approach developing specific responses to the future. Ngā Herenga calls us to live our values, such as kaitiakitanga, rangatiratanga and whanaungatanga, realise our goals to be place-based, bicultural and regionally connected, and work in ways that are integrated, agile and creative.

You can find out more in the report, He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka pdf1.5MB .