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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



The Department of Education has long recognised that, in order to provide reasonable equality of opportunity in education, there is a need to give financial assistance to various categories of pupils and students at primary, secondary, and university levels. Over the last 20 to 25 years especially, there has been a considerable growth and extension of the system of allowances for school pupils and university students. In general, the basis of qualification for assistance has been widened and payments have been made increasingly generous.

Both at primary and at post-primary school level, assistance is made available principally to those who, living in relatively remote country areas, would be put to considerable expense in order to attend school. This assistance most commonly takes the form of a conveyance allowance which serves in part to meet the cost of travelling to and from school. In the case of post-primary pupils, it may be provided to enable pupils to travel to a more distant school for certain specified courses not available at a local post-primary school. If there is no suitable transport service available, the Department of Education pays a boarding allowance which helps to meet the cost of boarding at or near a post-primary school. As with the conveyance allowance, a boarding allowance may be granted to pupils wishing to take certain specified courses not offered at a local post-primary school. Similar allowances are granted annually to selected pupils of proved ability who wish to follow special courses.

Somewhat similar in principle are the secondary school bursaries. These are intended to enable country pupils to attend a post-primary school which is entitled to accredit its sixth form pupils for University Entrance, but, in order to qualify for such a bursary, pupils must already have passed the School Certificate Examination and thus have given reasonable evidence of their ability to profit by further education. Another bursary known as the technical bursary is available to pupils in the fifth form who would be obliged to live away from home in order to attend the nearest school offering technical courses in agriculture, art, building construction, engineering, shorthand, typing, and homecraft.

Maori boys and girls who cannot go to postprimary school without boarding away may qualify for special government boarding scholarships. The award is based on a competitive examination. Further, in necessitous cases, the Maori Education Foundation may also provide assistance for Maori children. Special bursary allowances for post-primary schooling (war bursaries) are available under certain conditions to those whose fathers were killed or disabled in service with the New Zealand Armed Forces.

It is at university level that the scholarship and bursary system is most developed. University scholarships are awarded on the results of the Entrance Scholarships Examination and are normally tenable for the minimum period in which a scholar, devoting his whole time to study, could complete his course. In addition to the scholarship moneys, they may carry an allowance for board or travel where applicable. Apart from these scholarships which are based on a highly competitive examination, there are also a number of educational bursaries awarded on the satisfactory completion of certain post-primary school courses. The most recent revision of this bursary system, made in 1962, provides for the following bursaries which are available for general university study: fees bursaries; fees and allowances bursaries; and masters' bursaries. Boarding allowances, associated with fees and allowances, and masters' bursaries, assist students who are obliged to live away from home.

There are, of course, various important conditions governing such matters as eligibility and tenure; for detailed information, reference should be made to the University Bursaries Regulations 1962. The following summary will, however, serve to illustrate the general purpose and nature of the bursaries.

  1. Fees Bursary: This is, in general, available to all students who hold the University Entrance qualification or the Endorsed School Certificate. The bursary is tenable for the minimum period of time in which the student, pursuing his course full time, could complete that course. It provides for the payment of full tuition fees.

  2. Fees and Allowances Bursary: This is available to students who have qualified for the Higher School Certificate. In addition, students who in their first year of tenure of a fees bursary have been credited with passes in three units of an arts or science degree or their equivalent may then become entitled to the fees and allowances bursary. The bursary provides for the payment of full tuition fees and a bursary allowance increasing from £40 in the first year to £100 in the fourth or any subsequent year. It is tenable for the minimum period required for the bachelor's course.

  3. Master's Bursary: Students who have completed a bachelor's degree course in not more than one year in excess of the minimum period and who wish to take a master's degree may be awarded a master's bursary for this purpose. The bursary is awarded for one year, with provision for extension. The value is the same as for the fourth and subsequent years of the fees and allowances bursary.

The tenure of all these bursaries is dependent on the continued satisfactory progress of the student bursar, and there is provision in the regulations referred to above for suspension, reinstatement, and termination of any bursary.

All the above bursaries are available for whatever course of university study the student wishes to undertake, and no special obligation is laid on the student. There are, however, a large number of bursaries awarded for special vocational purposes and these usually require the student, on graduation, to give service with some government department or other organisation. In general, awards are competitive and are made by special selection committees. The principal bursaries in the category are:

Post-primary Teacher Studentships (Department of Education). These are granted annually to enable students to follow a university course leading to a degree suitable for post-primary teaching.

Post-primary Teacher Bursaries (Department of Education). These are awarded for courses leading to university diplomas suitable for post-primary teaching.

Medical and Dental Bursaries (Department of Health). These are awarded to selected students wishing to qualify as medical doctors or dentists as the case may be.

Dietetics and Physiotherapy Bursaries (Department of Health). These bursaries are intended to enable students to take the university courses to qualify as hospital dietitians or physiotherapists.

Public Service Study Awards (Public Service Commission). These awards are for full-time study, principally in agriculture, engineering, science and architecture. Selection is based commonly on the results gained in the Entrance Scholarships Examination or first year university examination results. The bursars are appointed to a government department and are required to render service on completion of their course. (The Post and Telegraph Department and New Zealand Railways also offer similar awards.)

In addition to the above awards, mention should be made of the veterinary science bursaries administered by the Veterinary Services Council, coal mining bursaries awarded by Mines Department, Internal Affairs arts bursaries, and special university scholarships for Maoris. Bursary assistance, covering tuition fees, is also provided for teachers who are taking single degree units part-time or extramurally.

by Harry Archibald Reeves, M.A., Senior Inspector, Department of Education, Wellington.


Harry Archibald Reeves, M.A., Senior Inspector, Department of Education, Wellington.