Towards a Regionally Responsive Network implementation challenges in New Zealand’s reforms to vocational education




vocational education, educational reform, centralisation, decentralisation, regional programmes, equity


New Zealand has been undertaking major reform of its vocational education sector since 2019. Changes have been extensive, including the establishment of a national delivery body (Te Pūkenga), and the formation of workforce development councils, regional skills leadership groups, centres of vocational excellence, and a coalition of expert Māori advisors (Te Taumata Aronui). While a new government is reconsidering these structures, including stating a commitment to disestablish Te Pūkenga, it is timely to explore the key policy issues facing the vocational education sector. Accordingly, this case study considers how best to balance local and national interests. We suggest changes to ensure that the sector is well structured, governed and funded, and meets the needs of the communities it serves.


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Author Biographies

Sharon Brownie, Swinburne University of Technology

Sharon Brownie is the director of health strategy and partnerships in the School of Health Sciences at Swinburne University of Technology.

Patrick Broman, Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology

Patrick Broman is a research fellow in the Centre for Health and Social Practice at Wintec/Te Pūkenga, Hamilton.

Leith Comer, Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust

Leith Comer is the chair of the Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust, Matata. 

Catherine Cooney, Kowhai Health Associates

Catherine Cooney is the director of Kowhai Health Associates.

Leon de Wet, Waikato University

Leon de Wet Fourie is the associate dean for the Waikato University Management School at its Tauranga campus.