Te Pūkenga to co-host major international learning conference in 2025


Te Pūkenga to co-host major international learning conference in 2025

Whiringa-ā-rangi 14, 2023 | 4 min read

Te Pūkenga and Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa have won their joint bid to host the International Council for Open and Distance Education’s (ICDE) 30th World Conference in Wellington in 2025. The win was announced late last week at this year’s ICDE World Conference in Costa Rica.

Event Co-Chair representing Te Pūkenga and ICDE Board member Dr Mark Nichols says hosting this international ICDE event will put Te Pūkenga and Massey University’s innovative work in broadening access to tertiary education on the world stage.

“Many of the open universities represented across the ICDE global membership have student numbers greater than the entire New Zealand tertiary sector.

“Internationally, the trend is toward increasingly available, time independent solutions to learning where providers ensure they remove or reduce barriers to place, pace, and access. The small, distributed population of Aotearoa makes open and distance learning a key feature of our ako (learning and teaching) provision.”

Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Provost Professor Giselle Byrnes says the co-hosting will bring great benefit for both organisations.

“We’re hugely excited to be bringing this important conference to Wellington and Aotearoa and also strengthening our partnership with Te Pūkenga. For Massey University, the opportunity to work with Te Pūkenga offers enhanced opportunities for learning and sharing best practice across the wider tertiary education system. For Te Pūkenga, partnering with Massey brings vocational and academic higher education into focus.

“Besides being the ‘coolest little capital in the world’, Wellington brings together the very things any conference of this nature is concerned with – accessibility, a hub of political and policy decision-makers, a warm and welcoming Aotearoa New Zealand experience, close proximity to the outdoors, and a great launch-point for further exploration north and south. Tākina, the new conference venue, is also a natural drawcard with its centre-city location and proximity to a vibrant selection of entertainment, restaurants, and accommodation.”

Business Events Wellington manager Irette Ferreira says the win aligns with the city’s strength in the education sector. Wellington is home to several internationally recognised universities and tertiary institutions, as well as being close to the Open Polytechnic business division of Te Pūkenga and Massey University, where Aotearoa New Zealand’s leaders in open and distance learning are based.

“Hosting a conference focused on removing barriers to education also directly supports the city’s Economic Wellbeing Strategy which identifies lifelong learning and online learning as important components in the development of Wellington’s future labour market.”

The biennial event will take place at Tākina Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre in November 2025 and attract more than 800 international leaders in the field of open and distance learning to New Zealand’s capital.

The International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) is the leading global membership association working towards bringing accessible, quality education to all through Open, Flexible and Distance Learning (OFDL). It is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, with more than 320 members and partners worldwide.

ICDE Secretary General Torunn Gjelsvik says the organisations is thrilled to be organising the next World Conference in Wellington, and to highlight the diverse OFDL experience and knowledge in the region.

“We need local solutions to help tackle challenges to education on a global level and welcome OFDL experts and enthusiasts to join us in 2025.”

The conference bid was submitted with support from Business Events Wellington and Tourism New Zealand and will be organised by professional conference organiser Conference Innovators.