Operating Model


These frequently asked questions were shared during the Operating Model engagement activity in October 2021.

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Te Pūkenga

What is Te Pūkenga?

Te Pūkenga is a new organisation bringing together Aotearoa New Zealand’s Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) into one unified vocational education and on-the-job learning network. 


Once fully established, Te Pūkenga will provide a flexible combination of campus-based, online and work-based learning to meet the needs of learners and employers.

What is the role of Te Pūkenga?

Our aim is to create a unified, sustainable public network for regionally accessible vocational and on-the-job learning.
Our role is to create a new tertiary education provider, harnessing the collective strengths of the current network, that is focused on the learner and employer. 


The Education and Training Act sets out a Charter for Te Pūkenga – a set of enduring principles for the way that Parliament expects Te Pūkenga to operate. Those principles guide us in implementing the vision and provide us with clear expectations around:

  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi – including delivering partnership, participation, protection and equity
  • putting learners at the centre
  • working collaboratively, collectively and inclusively through partnerships
  • creating quality international education
  • striking the right balance between delivering transformational change and our core business, and
  • being accountable to all stakeholders.
Why was Te Pūkenga established?

In 2019, Education Minister Hon Chris Hipkins announced a proposal to strengthen New Zealand’s vocational education system.
Following public consultation, seven key changes were agreed as part of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) programme. 


One of these, the establishment of Te Pūkenga, is aimed at creating a unified, sustainable, public network of regionally accessible vocational education. Prior to RoVE there were 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and 11 Industry Training Organisations, all competing for the same learners. This led to duplication of programmes and nationwide recruitment activity.

What is the purpose of Te Pūkenga?

The purpose of Te Pūkenga is to provide excellent opportunities for learners and their whānau, employers, and communities to support the needs of Aotearoa New Zealand now and for the future.


Our vision is ‘Whakairohia he toki, tāraia te anamata | Learning with purpose, creating our futures’.

The Operating Model

What is an Operating Model?

The Operating Model describes how Te Pūkenga will operate in the future. It describes the future experience that learners, employers, staff and iwi, hapū and Māori will have and how we, as a network, will advance equity, especially for Māori, Pacific, and disabled learners.


The Operating Model outlines the functions of the organisation (what we will deliver) and the services (how we will deliver them) to achieve our vision, the intent of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) and our Charter.

What the Operating Model isn't

The Operating Model does not confirm our new organisational design and structure, how we govern ourselves or what our regions are. It provides the foundations to be able to have further kōrero around this in the next stage.

How has the proposed Operating Model been created? Who has been involved?

After extensive research, insights, and discussions with our network of Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and Industry Training Organisations, we designed and developed an initial high-level design of our Operating Model.


Over the first part of 2021 we co-designed a set of ideas for potential services that could remove barriers to learning and connect with employers. These became the service concepts for our Operating Model. We presented these to our network, including employers, during the middle of the year, and the feedback we received has helped inform the Operating Model.


Research used to inform the Operating Model includes (but is not limited to):


You can find these reports on the Publications page.

Who is the Operating Model for?

Our Operating Model puts learners and their whānau at the centre (te rito). This is in partnership with our staff, employers, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi partners (te awhi rito) who wrap around and support the learners.

What are the functions that are in the Operating Model?

Our Operating Model is based around describing the future functions of our network and how they are grouped to transform the way vocational education is delivered in Aotearoa New Zealand.


All the functions can be grouped into three areas:

Teaching, learning, support and navigation functions for successful learner and employer journeys. These functions determine how we interact directly with learners, their whānau, and employers to deliver high quality education and effective holistic wellbeing support. We orient the whole model towards these functions, to ensure that the needs of our learners and their whānau remain at the centre of what we do.


Enabling functions sustain the other functions and the information flows between them to enable quality, certainty, and consistency across the network. Bringing together these core enabling functions also drives economies of scale and reduces duplication within the network.


Strategic functions that interact with and support other parts of the network and system to form strategic insights and embed the network’s strategic direction. They identify opportunities for innovation, measure the impacts of initiatives and interventions, and the network’s performance.

How can I find out more about the functions – what they are and where they have been grouped?

You can find detail on the functions from page 26-33 in the proposed Operating Model.

What are Ako networks?

Ako networks are formal networks of teams who come together to use their knowledge, skills and competencies to support delivery of vocational and on-the-job learning, including degree and postgraduate programmes.


They will support the development of fully integrated learning options across all modes of delivery that may vary from learner to learner or employer to employer.


Through sharing ako (teaching and learning) we will empower staff to drive excellence in moderation, and quality assurance, completing formal capability development together, and enhancing and maintaining curriculum and resources.


These groups will include members from a range of other organisations – such as Workforce Development Councils (WDCs), Centres of Vocational Excellence, industry, employers and Māori partners – that come together for certain activities to ensure Te Pūkenga stays connected as a network and relevant.

What are regional collective impact initiatives?

Our proposed Operating Model will provide opportunity to deliver impact at a regional level by championing initiatives specific to a region and/or community. We call these regional collective impact initiatives.


Regional Collective Impact is about empowering our Ako network to deliver impact at a regional level by championing initiatives specific to a region and/or community.


As an organisation, we will work with partners on big challenges and contribute to a shared kaupapa. These will be challenges or problems or opportunities that may be bigger than any one organisation can respond to and our partners could include the Iwi, Industry, Employers, Communities, Marae / hapū or Government agencies, such as MSD or MBIE.

Are the Operating Model documents provided confidential or can I share them with others?

No, they’re not confidential and feel free to share with others, the more feedback we receive the better. All the information is available online at tepukenga.ac.nz/engagement

What is the process for confirming the Operating Model?

Three phases make up the process of confirming Te Pūkenga Operating Model:


1. Engagement on the proposed functions, with consideration to creating a single hub network for some functions alongside distributed delivery across the regions.


2. Engagement on the draft detailed functional model, draft organisational design and proposed Operating Model


3. Consultation on the proposed organisational structure and Operating Model. 

We will be presenting the proposed Operating Model to the Minister of Education in December, with feedback from phase one of engagement. This will be for the Minister to consider endorsing the model, not approving at this stage, recognising that further engagement and consultation will happen in early 2022.

What happens after the Operating Model is confirmed?

The organisational design and final draft of the Operating Model will be released in February 2022 for consultation through to April 2022.


The determination of this consultation – including structure will be released in May 2022. An implementation plan of how and when that structure and Operating Model will be applied will be included.


This will be a significant piece of work and will take some time to undertake, so we can expect this to be a phased approach transitioning us all through into 2023 and beyond.

Feedback on the Operating Model

Why are you asking for feedback on the Operating Model?

An Operating Model is key to guiding the way we work in the future and involves all of us.


We want to make sure we hear from a range of voices to make sure we’re on the right track and that our proposed Operating Model works for those who will ultimately work, and learn, within it.


Your feedback is valuable in helping the development of the model.

What is the difference between engagement and consultation?

This process is part of an ongoing conversation about the Operating Model and we are engaging with stakeholders to seek their views. In the new year, further design will occur.


If that design indicates potential changes to functional or structural models, and specifically any potential impact on positions, then we will formally consult with staff to seek their feedback. That will follow a similar process to this one.

What will happen to my feedback?

Your feedback will be collated and used to help confirm the Operating Model which will then guide future conversations with you about our governance structure, regional boundaries and organisational structure. We will be reporting back on the feedback we received from this engagement exercise in due course via your Chief Executives.

Have some aspects already been decided and are not open to feedback?

We have already engaged on the ‘connecting services’ (service concepts) so are not looking for further feedback on that. For further detail on each service concept, see Appendix 8: Service Concept Detail in the Operating Model document. However, everything else is open for feedback. In particular, we are asking you questions on:


  • Ako networks
  • the proposed functions of the Operating Model
  • how Te Pūkenga is giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • how the Operating Model responds to the objectives of RoVE
  • and any general comments you have on the proposed Operating Model and Te Pūkenga.


We’ve provided some questions for each of these topics to get you started at yourvoice.tepukenga.ac.nz

How do I give feedback?

We encourage everyone to provide feedback through our online tool at yourvoice.tepukenga.ac.nz.


We have provided a range of questions for you to give feedback on. You can comment on all or as many as you like.


Within the site you can see feedback from others and engage with it or provide your own thoughts. You also have the option to provide feedback confidentially via this platform.


You can also choose to provide feedback by email using this feedback form and emailing it to yourvoice@tepukenga.ac.nz.

Can I talk to someone from Te Pūkenga about my feedback?

Yes. You can request to speak with someone by emailing yourvoice@tepukenga.ac.nz.

Can I post in my feedback?

No, but you can print and complete this feedback form. Completed forms can be emailed to yourvoice@tepukenga.ac.nz.

Can I receive any support in completing my feedback?

Yes. If you need any support, please email yourvoice@tepukenga.ac.nz and we can arrange for someone to help you via email or phone.


We also encourage you to talk to your peers, whānau, union or manager.


If you need support in how to use the ‘Your Voice’ online space, you can find the user guide here.

Is my feedback anonymous?

You have the option of submitting your feedback confidentially which means that others in the network will not see your responses.


If you provide feedback anonymously, the team managing the feedback at Te Pūkenga will see who has provided the feedback.


This is important to ensure all feedback is considered within the right context and ensures any follow up questions on feedback can be made. Your details will not be shared further than the team managing the feedback.

Can I provide a group submission?

Yes, you can consider the questions and comment as a group. When submitting feedback via the online platform, there is a place for you to indicate that it is a group submission. You can also complete the feedback form and submit it as part of a group by sending it to yourvoice@tepukenga.ac.nz.

Audience-specific frequently asked questions