Tertiary Education Union

The New Zealand Tertiary Education Union (Māori: Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa) is the main trade union in the New Zealand tertiary education sector, and represents the interests of more than 10,000 workers employed within the sector across New Zealand. Its membership includes academics, researchers, teachers and workers employed in all occupations in universities, polytechnics, institutes of technology, wānanga, other tertiary education providers and allied organisations.

Tertiary Education Union
New Zealand Tertiary Education Union
Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa
HeadquartersWellington, New Zealand


TEU flags at a rally in 2011

Founded in 2009, the TEU was established a result of the amalgamation of the Association of University Staff of New Zealand (AUS) and the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE).[1] The Tertiary Institutions Allied Staff Association (TIASA) voted not to amalgamate[2] and remain independent.[3]

TEU is a registered trade union in accordance with the Employment Relations Act 2000.[4] The TEU is a democratic union with strong membership participation and is governed by an elected council. Policy is determined by an annual conference and implemented by a number of committees.


MP Peter Dunne speaking at a TEU-organised Parental leave event.

As well as negotiating typical labour rights and employment issues with employers (salary levels, hours of work, etc.) the TEU has been involved in a number of national campaigns.[5]


The Union have actively supported longer statutory paid parental leave, including the recent Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill which provides six months paid parental leave and guaranteed right to return to work afterwards.[6][7][8] The bill is currently stalled in parliament.[9]

Academic Freedom


The Union have campaigned for academic freedom, running an essay competition in cooperation with Academic Freedom Aotearoa.[10][11] and giving out awards, including to Mike Joy an academic at Massey University who had a high-profile clash with Prime Minister John Key.[12][13][14]

Living Wage


Under the Employment Relations Act 2000 there are limits on what actions a union can take in support of employment relations involving employees other than union members, but the TEU supports the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa NZ which campaigns to raise the legal minimum wage.[15][16] A number of the TEU's members are paid the current legal minimum wage.[17]



The Union is present in most tertiary education institutions representing academic, purely teaching, purely research and general staff.[18]

The Union is the members' official representative in employment matters when dealing with their employers (directly or indirectly), many union members (particularly academics and researchers) are also members of the Royal Society of New Zealand (commonly via constituent bodies) as it is the peak professional body in the humanities and the sciences and has legislated roles in science and research funding.

Membership by institution
Institution Type Membership Total Staff General Members Academic Members Notable office-holders and life members
Aoraki Polytechnic ITP 97 479 0 97
Bay of Plenty Polytechnic ITP 25 177 0 25
Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology ITP 143 1057 0 143
Eastern Institute of Technology ITP 133 352 0 133
Manukau Institute of Technology ITP No Available Data
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology ITP 73 222 0 73
NorthTec ITP 126 230 0 126
Otago Polytechnic ITP 282 616 0 282
Southern Institute of Technology ITP No Available Data
Tai Poutini Polytechnic ITP 50 95 0 50
The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand ITP 80 119 0 80
Unitec New Zealand ITP 238 543 0 238
Universal College of Learning ITP 204 463 0 204
Waiariki Institute of Technology ITP 131 239 0 131
Waikato Institute of Technology ITP 128 338 0 128
Wellington Institute of Technology ITP 139 247 0 139
Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki ITP 88 116 0 88
Whitireia NZ ITP 118 257 0 118
University of Auckland University 1297 3688 473 824
Auckland University of Technology University 744 2642 62 682
University of Canterbury University 834 1644 435 577 Jack Heinemann, Garrick Cooper
Lincoln University University 281 574 136 145 Malcolm Burns, George Hill
Massey University University No Available Data
University of Otago University 508 1564 0 508 Craig Marshall (academic)
Victoria University of Wellington University 775 1701 281 494 Mere Broughton, Stephen Blumenfeld, David Weatherburn, Dougal McNeill
University of Waikato University 521 1383 169 352 Te Huirangi Waikerepuru Cat Pausé
Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi Wānanga No Available Data
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Wānanga No Available Data
All data from the 2014 TEU Annual Report[19]



Through membership of Education International, TEU is linked to international education groups worldwide, and a wide range of education unions and through membership of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, TEU works with other unions to improve the position of all New Zealand workers.


  1. ^ Education staff to vote on tertiary union The Press Sep 10, 2007. A postal ballot has been sent to members of the Association of University Staff (AUS), the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) and the Tertiary Institutions Allied Staff Association (TIASA) to decide whether or not to amalgamate.
  2. ^ "Staff veto tertiary super union". Stuff.co.nz. 6 October 2007. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Tertiary Institutes Allied Staff Association. Home Page". TIASA. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Register of unions - Societies and Trusts". 27 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Tertiary Education Union – Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa". teu.ac.nz.
  6. ^ Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill
  7. ^ "Fact Sheet – 26 for Babies Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months' Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 April 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Parental Leave – TEU". Teu.ac.nz. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Politicking stalls paid parental leave bill – TEU". Teu.ac.nz. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  10. ^ "The Dr Clara Immerwahr essay competition - Academic Freedom Aotearoa". 6 February 2016. Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  11. ^ "The Year of Conscience – TEU". Teu.ac.nz. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  12. ^ Lucy Townend (12 November 2013). "Massey ecologist wins academic freedom award". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Scientist Mike Joy ruffles dairying feathers again". Stuff.co.nz. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Dr. Mike Joy clears the air over water contamination comments - The Country - The Country News". Nzherald.co.nz. 26 August 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Living Wage – TEU". Teu.ac.nz. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Sandra Grey (@GreyNZ)". Twitter. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Victoria rejects living wage – TEU". Teu.ac.nz. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  18. ^ 2014 Annual report, https://issuu.com/nzteu/docs/teu_annual_report_2014
  19. ^ "TEU Annual Report 2014". Issuu. Retrieved 30 October 2016.