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New Zealand

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New Zealand is a major contributor to COL’s budget and is represented on COL’s Board of Governors. Through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT), it provides support and expertise to COL’s initiatives promoting learning for sustainable development in the Pacific and other regions of the Commonwealth. Experts from New Zealand have offered technical advice on ODL, OER and curriculum design to institutions in Commonwealth Member Countries.

The Partnership for Open Distance and Flexible Learning (ODFL) in the Pacific is a 5-year project (2020–2025) funded by MFAT to support enhancing capacity and efficiency of education sectors in the Pacific through greater use of innovative delivery mechanisms and technology. COL, together with the Pacific Centre for Flexible and Open Learning for Development (PACFOLD), is implementing the project in the nine Commonwealth countries in the Pacific (Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu).

Other relevant development priorities for New Zealand that COL is contributing to are advancing climate action (through policy, capacity, resources and research) and building resilience in Small States of the Commonwealth.


Partnerships are fundamental to COL’s work. Strategic partnerships allow COL to broaden its reach and engage at global, regional and national levels, while implementation partners support COL’s work in communities and institutions across Commonwealth Member States. Partners include multilateral organisations, regional bodies, national governments, government agencies, foundations, civil society organisations, public and private (not-for-profit) institutions and the private sector. COL partnerships assist in improving and extending teaching and learning services to people in the developing Commonwealth.

COL partners in New Zealand include:

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)
  • Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand (FLANZ)
  • OER Foundation
  • Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology

Key Contacts

Board of Governors

Dr Caroline Seelig
(COL Honorary Fellow and former Honorary COL Adviser)

Focal Point

Ms Maia Hay-Newnham
Policy Officer
Partnerships, Humanitarian, and Multilateral Division
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Notable Mentions

Ms Shona E. Butterfield, CNZM, COL Honorary Fellow and former member of COL Board of Governors

Dr Robin Day, former COL Chair (Otago Polytechnic)

Dr Mark Nichols, Honorary COL Adviser

Mr William L. Renwick, member of COL’s Founding Board of Governors

Dr Linda Sissons, CNZM, former COL Board of Governors Chair and COL Honorary Fellow

The Right Honourable Sir Lockwood Smith, KNZM, former member of COL Board of Governors

Ms Jenny Williams, former Honorary COL Adviser

More Information