1. University of Auckland
The largest university and one of the most prestigious in New Zealand is the University of Auckland. Based among several campuses across New Zealand’s largest city, the University of Auckland ranks highly in many of the top international university rankings including being 82nd in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings and 165nd in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. The university was founded in 1883 and has made many contributions to world research such as the discovery of fighting antibacterial resistance by the team of Dr. Siouxsie Wiles who used the genes of glowworms in microbes so they were able to identify when they are killed when their light goes out.
To learn more about Auckland and what there is to do there, check out Auckland Region Guide for Backpackers.
2. University of Otago
Based in the bustling South Island city of Dunedin, the University of Otago is New Zealand’s first university. The university is famous for its grand gothic-style architecture and is said to have one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. The University of Otago particularly excels in health sciences and ranks highly in multiple international university rankings such as 151st in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. Fostering a good student lifestyle is a main priority at the university with more than 150 clubs and societies to join, plus major annual events for students.
3. University of Waikato
In the centre of the North Island, the University of Waikato has campuses in Hamilton and in the coastal city of Tauranga. The university gives international students a unique opportunity to spend time with locals as it has the highest proportion of Maori students in the country. The new student centre at the University of Waikato is modern in design and has received multiple awards for its sustainable design.
4. University of Canterbury
Another great university in New Zealand is the University of Canterbury based in the South Island city of Christchurch. Not only does the university have a vibrant student life with over 130 clubs and societies, but the campus is also based in a green suburb of Christchurch with lots of open spaces, modern facilities and close to bars and eateries. It’s an exciting city to be in during this period of renewal after the Canterbury earthquakes. There are a lot of projects to get involved with and contribute to a reviving city. The university is particularly recognised for its fine arts programs and was the first fine art school in New Zealand.
5. Victoria University of Wellington
In the heart of New Zealand’s capital city, the Victoria University of Wellington is the highest-ranked university for its research quality. It has good connections with government bodies, organisations and international agencies, being in the capital city of Wellington. The university follows a highly-successful British framework of education.
Find out more about Wellington in Wellington City Guide for Backpackers.