Equity Guidelines


All staff, students, visitors and contractors at the University.


These guidelines support the effective implementation of the Equity Policy.


Māori and equity groups

  • The University of Auckland is committed to meeting its responsibilities to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, and achieving equity outcomes for Māori as well as equity groups.
  • Māori have a distinct status as tangata whenua rather than as an equity group. The University places particular emphasis on promoting Māori presence and participation in all aspects of University life and encouraging teaching, learning and research important to Māori including matauranga Māori and te reo Māori.
  • The University’s staff and student equity groups include those who are:
    • identified in legislation and other compliance requirements; and/or
    • more likely to have experienced one or more barriers to accessing and succeeding at the University, such as discrimination, marginalisation, under-representation, underachievement in school, and/or coming from a low socioeconomic background. As such, the University particularly supports students and staff from the following equity groups in achieving their potential:
    • Pacific students and staff
    • Staff and students with disabilities
    • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Takatāpui (LGBTQITakatāpui+) students and staff
    • Students and staff from refugee backgrounds (SSRB)
    • Students from low socio-economic backgrounds (low SEB)
    • Men, women and gender-diverse people where there are barriers to access and success
  • Supporting Māori and equity groups directly contributes to fulfilling the following University objectives:
    • a diverse student body of the highest possible academic potential
    • partnerships in which the University and Māori work together to achieve their shared aspirations
    • a work environment characterised by a commitment to clear expectations, development of potential, inclusiveness, high achievement and rewarding performance.[1]
  • Equity work at the University also contributes to fulfilling broader, global equity objectives, such as those set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.[2]

[1] The University of Auckland Strategic Plan 2013-2020.

[2] Examples of relevant United Nations goals include ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, achieving gender equality and empower all women and girls, and reduced inequality within and among countries.

Equity in practice

  • The University has a statutory obligation as a critic and conscience of society to advocate for and contribute to equitable educational, economic and social outcomes including through staff and student equity.
  • The University is committed to enhancing the participation and success of Māori and equity groups both through removing barriers and actively supporting an inclusive work and study environment, serving its increasingly diverse communities.
  • Equity requires fairness, safety and inclusion, rather than treating everyone in exactly the same way.
  • The University aims for an environment in which diverse staff and students feel welcome, safe and included, free to disclose all aspects of their identities (including culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, family status) confident that they will be respected.
  • Achievement relative to opportunity should underpin decision making for staff, acknowledging that individual circumstances can affect opportunity and productivity.

Equity governance, leadership and responsibilities

  • Council is the University’s governing body and its responsibilities include to acknowledge the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, ensure that the University does not discriminate unfairly against any person and to encourage participation and success, especially for under-represented groups.
  • The Vice-Chancellor is the head of the University and is responsible for providing academic leadership, effective management; leading strategic planning and directing resource allocation to meet the University’s strategic objectives including Treaty of Waitangi and staff and student equity objectives.
  • The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Equity) provides strategic leadership for equity. The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) provides strategic leadership to guide the University’s relationships with Māori (including staff and students) and chairs the Rūnanga - the University’s Māori staff Council. The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Pacific) provides strategic leadership and governance on Pacific staff and student matters.
  • The Equity Leadership Committee advises and reports to Council through Senate on University equity strategy, plans policies, projects and outcomes.
  • The Equity Office - Te Ara Tautika leads the University’s commitment to be a fair, inclusive, safe and equitable place to study and work.
  • Faculty, LSRI and service division Equity Committees focus on student and staff equity in their areas.
  • The University is committed to a culture of safety, respect and inclusion. It will not tolerate unfairness, discrimination, bullying or harassment including on the basis of sex, marital status, ethical beliefs, religious beliefs, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, political opinion, employment status, family status or sexual orientation. Staff and students should familiarize themselves with the Addressing Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedures.
  • The University’s performance management systems Tūpu and the Academic Development and Performance Review (ADPR) support staff leadership, capability and accountability for equity outcomes.

Strategy, planning and reporting

  • The University uses evidence from research findings, data, consultation with stakeholders and national and international benchmarking to identify and eliminate unfair or illegal barriers to equity and determine where best to target strategies and support for Māori and equity groups.
  • The University’s strategic equity approach is shown in the University’s Equity Cycle, which identifies the points of intervention necessary to achieve equity outcomes
  • The Equity Policy supports the University to achieve its vision and values.
  • Through the University’s planning and reporting cycle faculties and service divisions must prepare annual plans that identify strategies to increase participation and success of Māori and equity groups using a range of Key Performance Indicators.
  • The University receives funding from Government for education provision and research. Annually, through its Investment Plan with the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) the University agrees a range of performance indicators, including targets relating to access and achievement for Māori, Pacific students and students with disabilities – who the government has identified as priority groups. The University faces penalties for the non-achievement of performance indicators.
  • TEC also provides Universities with Equity Funding (TECEF) to support improved retention and success at higher levels for Māori, Pacific students and students with disabilities. This targeted, supplementary funding is to be used in addition to faculty and service division’s budgets for Māori, Pacific and students with disabilities.
  • TECEF is allocated to faculties annually via the Equity Office in partnership with Māori and Pacific stakeholders, including via the TECEF Māori and Pacific Committee/Working Group, and disability stakeholders.

Equity strategies for students

  • If students don’t initially meet entry requirements, including Māori students and students from equity groups, there are alternative pathways to gain admission into University programmes. See Entry Pathways.

Policies, strategies and information for Māori and students from equity groups

  • Equity information for students

Policies, strategies and information for staff equity

Māori and equity group faculty contacts

All faculties have student support centres which advise Māori and equity group students, including Pacific, students with disabilities, students from refugee backgrounds, LGBTQITakatāpui+, and others.

Key relevant documents

Include the following:

Key relevant legislation & International Declarations

Key plans & strategies

Policies & guidelines

For further information, refer to the Equity Website.

Document management and control

Content manager: Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equity)
Owner: Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equity)
Date approved: December 2020
Review date: December 2023