Understanding academic misconduct

It is important to have a good understanding of academic misconduct, and the potential consequences of this.

Academic misconduct includes plagiarism, collusion, contract cheating and research misconduct. See what these issues mean below.


Plagiarism happens when you intentionally or unintentionally present someone else’s ideas, words, images, text, or code as your own without proper attribution. Find out more about avoiding plagiarism (PDF).

Intentional plagiarism

Intentional plagiarism is when you copy the work of someone else and try to pass it off as your own. This includes attempting to disguise the plagiarism through the use of translation software, or not recognising work which is in another language.

Accidental plagiarism

Accidental plagiarism happens when you forget to give attribution to someone else's ideas, work or images. This can happen if you are not careful when you take notes. It can also happen if you are not careful to completely paraphrase the work you are using and citing. Take care when paraphrasing to ensure you have not just changed a few of words.


The rules around reusing work you have submitted previously depend on your subject area. If you are reusing work which you have previously submitted for assessment, you may need to reference yourself. Check with your lecturer whether you are allowed to reuse work. If you are, you need to reference yourself.

Enabling plagiarism

If you knowingly help someone else to copy from you, that is enabling plagiarism and is academic misconduct.

This can include uploading completed assignments to note sharing websites and social media.


Collusion is different from collaboration. Collusion means working with another student on an assignment or exam that you are meant to be working on by yourself. This includes dishonestly getting assistance from, or providing dishonest assistance to, another student when working on an individual assignment, or allowing another student to copy all or part of your exam, test, or assignment.

Contract cheating

Contract cheating is when you allow another person to write part or all an assignment, sit an exam for you, or allow a third party to produce work for submission that is not your own. This can be paid or unpaid assistance. It is acceptable to have someone proofread or give you feedback on an assignment, but writing or extensively editing a piece of work is unacceptable.

It is illegal in New Zealand to advertise or provide contract cheating services. However, numerous websites and services provide contract cheating and essay writing services for a fee. These websites often claim to be ‘plagiarism free’ and target students who are looking for support. Engaging with these services puts you at risk of blackmail, extortion, or serious charges. If you are caught engaging in contract cheating, you may be suspended from the University. Engaging in contract cheating can have long term impacts on your degree, and your career.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your studies reach out to your lecturer, Student Learning, or the University counselling service to get help. It is better to achieve a lower mark in your course than put yourself at risk of extortion, blackmail, or career damaging consequences.

Note sharing

There are lots of websites which encourage students to upload their notes in exchange for assignment help or study guides.

It is important that you are aware of potential copyright and legal implications of using these.

If you are uploading the work of your lecturers or tutors without their permission, you could be in breach of copyright as that is their intellectual property.

Uploading your own completed assignments could put you at risk of enabling plagiarism, which is a breach of the expected behaviours of academic integrity support the value of your degree.

These services have been blocked from the University network as they have the potential to be unethical and a number of these websites may also provide contract cheating services.

Academic integrity is the responsibility of everyone at the University, and we all need to work together to maintain this.