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Part Two: Delivery for Customers and New Zealanders


How well does the agency understand who its customers are and their short and longer term needs and impact?

How clear is the agency’s value proposition (the ‘what’)?

Performance Rating: Needing development need development - big.

Operating Model

How well does the agency’s operating model (the ‘how’) support delivery of Government Priorities and Core Business?

How well does the agency evaluate service delivery options?

Performance Rating: Needing development need development - big.

Collaboration and Partnerships

How well does the agency generate common ownership and genuine collaboration on strategy and service delivery with partners and providers?

How well do the agency and its strategic partners integrate services to deliver value to customers?

Performance Rating: Needing development need development - big.

Experiences of the Public

How well does the agency employ service design, continuous improvement and innovation to ensure outstanding customer experiences?

How well does the agency continuously seek to understand customers’ and New Zealanders’ satisfaction and take action accordingly?

Performance Rating: Needing development need development - big.


Education NZ views its primary customers as the New Zealand education providers. While it acknowledges that international students are the ultimate consumer of New Zealand’s international education services, it does not see them as its customer. Education NZ undertakes some work in the insights area and has recently undertaken some survey work to understand various market segments and consumer preference. It uses this to assist its customers (providers) to attract students.

If Education NZ is to deliver against its priorities it needs to redefine its relationship with international students and ensure that it understands and communicates their current and future preferences for education and the wider educational experience to providers. Education NZ risks being captured by current education providers who have expressed limited appetite or aspirations to deliver the growth required in international education if the Government’s priorities are to be met. Education NZ needs to realign its focus to partnering with providers to meet the customer demands and adopt more flexible and innovative approaches to identifying, developing and realising opportunities to meet the education demands of its international student customers.

Furthermore Education NZ has a critical role to play as the guardian of the New Zealand education brand. It will only maintain and grow the value of this brand if it ensures that its customers’ education needs and expectations are consistently met. Hence Education NZ must place greater emphasis on building connection with international students who choose to study with a New Zealand provider and understand their experience and the outcomes achieved.

Education is a rapidly changing sector with a number of disruptive developments appearing in recent years that will alter the way students experience and participate in education. Education NZ needs to be more active in monitoring global trends and shifts in education design and delivery, understanding how the learners of the future want to experience their education. It needs to use this intelligence to provide critical customer insights to New Zealand education providers so they can adapt their products and services to meet current and future student demand.

Education NZ also needs to clarify its value proposition in relation to each of its three areas of Core Business. While it has developed an understanding of its value proposition in relation to inbound international education and is working to strengthen this, it does not yet adequately understand how it adds value in relation to trans-national education or opportunities to foster wider economic connections.

Operating Model

Education NZ’s operating model is largely designed to deliver against the first of its Core Business areas: Promote New Zealand as an education destination. Its focus is on raising awareness of the New Zealand education brand overseas and promoting New Zealand’s education services and products in conjunction with New Zealand education providers. Accordingly its model encompasses two core disciplines: marketing and promotions; and business development. It works closely with current New Zealand education providers to support them to attract international students to their institutions operating across the New Zealand education system.

Education NZ’s operating model is not well placed to deliver against the second and third areas of its Core Business, namely to grow delivery of trans-national education and foster wider economic opportunities from international education. Education NZ has acknowledged it has not prioritised these areas to date and does not yet have a well-developed strategy to deliver against these goals. Accordingly it has not resolved the operating model required to support the delivery of these. Any operating model should be based on seeking value for student customer, and thus it also has the potential to change the way student attraction (Core Business 1) is delivered.

As noted in the Four-year Excellence Horizon, Education NZ needs to determine its value proposition and then build an operating model to support this. The target operating model is likely to reflect the networked delivery agency model, with high dependencies on other agencies and delivery partners while maintaining a focus on the ultimate student customers. It will need to be intelligence rich, embracing disruptive design and partnering models in a world of rapidly changing educational delivery. These and its analytical capability will make Education NZ a highly respected thought leader.

Collaboration and Partnerships

Throughout its first four years of operation Education NZ has worked to build credibility and trust with education providers. It has made some significant gains in this regard and is now generally seen as being a valuable contributor that is responsive to provider needs and providing useful market intelligence and promotion of the New Zealand brand.

The challenge for Education NZ is now to move beyond being a responder and contributor to being a critical partner. To do this Education NZ needs to be clear about its value proposition in relation to each of its areas of core business. It has already identified the provider partners (Goal 1) who represent the greatest potential for growth. It now needs to develop more strategic relationships based upon its value proposition and tailored to each partner’s unique requirements. This will help cement its role as a strategic partner.

This section of the report discusses how Education NZ is using collaboration and partnerships with education sector providers to deliver results for customers. It can be distinguished from the Sector Contribution section below which discusses how Education NZ is working with its partner central government agencies in the education and economic development sectors to ensure a coordinated approach to international education and to ensure value is delivered in a joined up way.

Experiences of the Public

This is somewhat complicated by Education NZ’s view that education providers are its customers rather than international students. Education NZ has demonstrated several service innovations in response to provider needs. An example of this is the Sector Roadmaps that represent a significant commitment to working with the sector and provide a useful set of tools to support education providers that wish to growth their international education delivery. These have met with mixed results depending on the stage of development and maturity of the sub-sector and/or provider.

Education NZ is shortly to launch its Country Activity Plans which are designed to provide market intelligence to providers based on Education NZ’s in-market intelligence and research. These are likely to be useful to many education providers but may not be relevant to some of the more established providers. As it continues to refine its approach Education NZ needs to take a more sophisticated approach to working with its strategic partners and continue to innovate its service to better meet the demands of the various provider segments.

Education NZ is growing its services to its international student customers. In the last two years it has increased its online offerings and now engages with potential students both through its customer facing website and social media. However Education NZ does not currently maintain contact with international students throughout their study journey with the New Zealand education system and so has no real visibility of how satisfied or otherwise they are with their experience.

Education NZ and New Zealand institutions participate in the International Student Barometer, a global survey of the perceptions and experiences of international students. Institution reputation and personal safety are top factors in deciding where to study. Students at universities, institutes of technology/polytechnics and private training establishments place more emphasis than the global norm on work and visa related issues ie, they see New Zealand as a place to not only study but also to work and stay. These high expectations are not always being managed. If the goals for international education are to be met, Education NZ needs to become much clearer on how it relates to international students and how it contributes value to their educational experience.

New Zealanders need to understand and embrace the benefits of international education. This can contribute to an improved student experience for both international and New Zealand students, provides the social license to operate and considerably reduces the constraints on growth at an institution and community level. Education NZ has a role, working with others, to better understand these issues and promote the considerable benefits of international education.

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