The Education Act 1989 (the Act) provides that the councils of universities and wānanga consist of between eight and 12 members. Changes to university and wānanga governance in 2015 reduced the size of councils and removed representative requirements.
The constitution of a university or wānanga council now has just four essentials:
If the council has 10, 11 or 12 members, the Minister appoints four of those members; if the council has eight or nine members, the Minister appoints three members (s 171(1)).
The candidate’s skills and experience are the most important factors in the selection of council members. To be appointed, candidates must have relevant knowledge, skills and experience; be able to fulfil their individual duties; and, together with other members of the council, be capable of undertaking the council’s responsibilities (s 171B).
The Act also specifies that council membership should reflect – so far as is reasonably practicable – the ethnic and socio-economic diversity of the communities the TEI serves and the country’s gender balance, and at least one member of the council must be Māori.
Following the amendments made in 2009 to the Education Act 1989, ITP councils have a total of eight members (s 222AA):
The council must appoint as members people who, in the council’s opinion, have relevant knowledge, skills or experience and are likely to be able to fulfil their individual duties as members of the council and the functions, duties and responsibilities of the council. It is also desirable that the council should include Māori and, so far as is possible, reflect the ethnic and socio-economic diversity of the community it serves (s 222AD).
The Minister is required to have regard to similar considerations when making his or her appointments to the council. Further information on Ministerial appointments to ITP councils is provided in the section “Ministerial appointment process” below.
The Act now provides that all council members (both appointed by the Minister and the council) are appointed for no more than four years (s 173). This enables the terms of office to be staggered, so that the terms of office do not all expire at the same time. Members may be reappointed for a further term.
If the term of office of a council member expires before a successor is appointed, the member continues in office until reappointed or replaced.