New programmes offered by Te Pūkenga

We have a wide range of qualifications and courses for you. Animal care, zoo keeping, pet grooming, canine behaviour and training, veterinary nursing, rural animal technology and more – we have an array of options to meet your needs.


Animal Care

New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care Level 3, 70 credits 

This programme will give you an entry-level animal care qualification. It will also give you a taste of the wider range of animal-related qualifications available and allow you to get a feel for tertiary study before attempting a higher-level qualification. 


It is’s also a great first step if you want to enter an animal-related profession such as SPCA work, pet shop work or kennel and cattery animal care. 


There are two different focus areas (strands) to choose from: 

  • Companion Animals
  • Rural Animals
  • Equine (available in 2025)


You'll learn about the health, welfare, husbandry, anatomy, physiology, and low-stress handling techniques for animals specific to the strand you choose. 


Once you’ve completed the first course, you’ll need to organise access to animal-related facilities such as SPCA, boarding kennels or catteries that are relevant for your chosen strand so you can do your 40-hour work placement. 


Below are the Te Pūkenga business divisions currently offering Animal Care.  To find out more and to apply, select your chosen business division below to be taken to their website 


Where you can study:


Animal Healthcare Assisting

New Zealand Certificate in Animal Healthcare Assisting Level 4, 120 credits

The role of an Animal Healthcare Assistant is to support veterinary nurses, veterinarians, and rural animal veterinary technicians in veterinary practices. 


Designed to create a training pathway for those wanting a rewarding career as an Animal Healthcare Assistant, this new programme recognises the role as distinct from a Veterinary Nurse or Veterinary Technician. 


This programme will equip you with the technical knowledge and skills you need to perform this job under broad supervision, including effective teamwork and communication skills. 


Right now, there are two different focus areas (strands) to choose from: 

  • Companion Animals 
  • Rural Animals 
  • Equine (available in 2025) 


Where you can study:


Avian Wildlife

Certificate in Avian Wildlife Healthcare Level 6 for Veterinary Nurses, 40 credits
Certificate in Avian Wildlife Healthcare Level 7 for Veterinarians, 40 credits 

Learn the skills you need to succeed in caring for wildlife, in particular avian wildlife, which is a different experience to working with companion or farm animals. These specialist skills are increasing in demand, especially working with rare and threatened native birds throughout New Zealand. 


The avian wildlife courses are tailored to qualified veterinary nurses and vets, through a blended mode of study delivery - with predominantly distance learning that can be down while working. Each certificate includes a week-long intensive at the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital, to put the learning into action in this specialised clinic and surgery. 


Where you can study:

Veterinary Nursing

New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing Level 6, 240 credits

In 2024, the new New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing replaces the current Level 5 and Level 6 programmes that make up the first two years of this programme.    


There will be one focus area (strand) to choose from: 

  • Companion Animals
  • Equine (a new strand proposed for delivery in 2025) 


You’ll graduate with the technical knowledge and skills you need to perform this role and will have a high level of responsibility, allowing you to operate in a wide range of dynamic settings in the companion animal or equine veterinary sector. 


You’ll be able to apply for registration on the New Zealand Register of Veterinary Nurses. 


When you successfully finish this programme, you could study the third year of the Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing to widen your career options. 


Where you can study:

  • UNITEC (Auckland) - Companion Animals
  • Toi-Ohomai (Tauranga) - Companion Animals
  • WINTEC (Hamilton) - Companion Animals
  • EIT (Napier) - Companion Animals
  • UCOL (Palmerston North, Wairarapa) - Companion Animals
  • WelTec & Whitireia (Wellington) - Companion Animals
  • Ara (Christchurch) - Companion Animals
  • Otago Polytechnic (Dunedin) - Companion Animals
  • SIT (Invercargill) - Companion Animals

Scholarships for Ākonga

Listed below are scholarships that are available to all Te Pūkenga ākonga (learners), across the network and no matter where and who you learn with. This list is constantly being updated and expanded, so check in regularly and take advantage of scholarships.


Information for work placements

Advisory Groups

To enable us to have effective education programmes that meet your needs, we need to have good engagement with industryCurrently each individual business division has an advisory group, but as we unify, we will be examining the structure of these groups and how to best meet regional and national need. 

Clinical Coaching

Our vision: Our vision is to provide Allied Veterinary Professionals with the necessary skills and support to become effective Clinical Coaches. We believe that by empowering Allied Veterinary Professionals with coaching skills, we can improve patient care and enhance the veterinary nursing profession.  


Benefits: Our clinical coaching program offers many benefits to Allied Veterinary Professionals, including:  

  • Improved confidence and skills in coaching and mentoring 
  • Enhanced communication skills 
  • The ability to support and train junior staff and students effectively  
  • The opportunity to become a role model and leader in the veterinary nursing profession  
  • Access to ongoing professional development opportunities  


What it involves: Our clinical coaching program involves a series of workshops and a community of practice designed to help veterinary nurses develop the skills they need to become effective Clinical Coaches. The program covers a range of topics, including coaching and mentoring, communication, leadership, standardisation of skills and teamwork.


Who can be a clinical coach? Our program is open to registered large animal technicians or those who hold the Certificate in Animal Technology- Rural Animal Technician (Level 5), registered veterinary nurses or veterinary nurses who hold a Diploma qualification or higher who are interested in developing their coaching and mentoring skills. To be eligible for the program, you must have at least one year of experience working as a veterinary nurse.  


How to join: To join our clinical coaching program, simply follow the link or fill out the registration form below. Once you have registered, you will receive information about upcoming workshops and how to join the Community of Practice.  


Locations of Workshops: Our workshops are held at various locations throughout the country. We aim to provide workshops in as many locations as possible to make our program accessible to all veterinary nurses. Currently workshops are being offered in Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington, Nelson Christchurch and Dunedin.  


Contact:  clinicalcoachingnz@gmail.comFacebook 

Programme redevelopment

We are developing a portfolio of integrated programmes and delivery approaches, moving away from the previous environment of qualification duplication, non-integrated delivery models and competition for learners. As one network, we are working together to unify and redevelop programmes, improve graduate outcomes and better meet industry needs.

Transformational programme unification

Reference groups of ākonga, kaimahi, industry/workforce and services users have worked on co-designing a unified programme of study that will help shape how we will deliver vocational education in the future.

We have started to transform the Animal Healthcare and Veterinary Nursing suite of programmes for new ākonga enrolling in 2023. 

New Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6)

For 2024 intakes, the NZ Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6) has been reshaped and redeveloped. Now a two-year programme, it has been redesigned to make the training pathway clearer and more industry-relevant. This programme replaces the one-year New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5), which was typically an entry requirement for the old one-year Diploma in Veterinary Nursing. 


Consultation information

Programme documentation and feedback

Te Pūkenga business divisions have worked collaboratively with ākonga (learners), kaimahi, industry and workforce partners to design and develop one unified programme for each of the following Animal Healthcare and Veterinary Nursing qualifications:

  1. 2487  New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Level 3) with strands in Companion Animals, Equine, and Rural Animals
  2. 2489  New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management (Level 4) with strands in Canine Behaviour and Training; Companion Animals; Fish, Amphibians and Reptiles; and Zookeeping. Please note that work is currently also underway for the Pet Grooming strand.
  3. 4388 New Zealand Certificate in Animal Healthcare Assisting (Level 4) with strands in Companion Animal Healthcare, Equine Healthcare, and Rural Animal Healthcare
  4. 4389 New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6) with strands in Companion Animal Veterinary Nursing, and Equine Veterinary Nursing
  5. 4391 New Zealand Diploma in Rural Animal Veterinary Technology (Level 6)

The unified programmes will be delivered by our Te Pūkenga institutes of technology or polytechnics that currently offer similar programmes, from 2023, subject to approval and accreditation. 

We have now closed consultation and are making programme updates in response to the feedback.  We will then work through the final stages of approval and accreditation.   

Additional Information: 

Te Pūkenga undertook a consultation process for this programme in 2022.  Feedback from this consultation indicated that the qualification written by Muka Tangata Workforce Development Council required a review. Muka Tangata are currently reviewing the qualification and seeking feedback from industry through their own consultation process (please contact Muka Tangata if you wish to provide feedback). A copy of the proposed qualification is available in Appendix 1 of the programme document.

Key aspects reviewed in the qualification: 

  1. The site of practicum hours.  
    These are to be completed in a suitable animal healthcare environment that allows the learner to develop knowledge and skills that align with the graduate outcomes. This may include veterinary clinics, providing healthcare services or an alternative environment where learners are able to apply the intention of the outcomes. 
  2. Practicum Hours 
    The new qualification requires increased practicum hours from 480 to a minimum of 750 hours. 
  3. Stand-alone Qualification 
    The New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6) qualification is now a 240-credit stand-alone qualification, whereas previously it was made up of two 120 credits programmes.