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Victoria University of Wellington

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    Learn about University Study in New Zealand: Victoria University of Wellington.


    The New Zealand Disability Strategy is vital to the well-being of the one-in-five New Zealanders who identify that they have a long-term impairment. By implementing the Strategy, New Zealand will become a more inclusive society, eliminating the barriers to people with disabilities participating in and contributing to society.

    The Strategy has the vision of a society that highly values the lives and continually enhances full participation of people with disabilities. It provides an enduring framework to ensure that government departments and agencies consider disabled people before making decisions.

    The University of Auckland is committed to developing a culture and environment that is inclusive of the needs of individuals with disabilities.

    Legislation that protects the rights of persons with disabilities in New Zealand:

    NZ4121 2001 Access standard and 1991 Building Act legislate building standards for people with disabilities.

    According to the Human Rights Act 1993, it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of disability. The Human Rights Act covers disabilities, which people have presently, have had in the past, or which they are believed to have. It is also unlawful to discriminate against relatives or associates of people with a disability, because of that disability. 

    The Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994 promotes and protects the rights of health and disability consumers and facilitates the fair, simple, speedy, and efficient resolution of complaints.

    The New Zealand Disability Strategy recognizes the need to address access for individuals with disabilities. One in five New Zealanders has a long-term impairment. Many are unable to reach their potential or participate fully in the community because of barriers they face doing things that most New Zealanders take for granted. The barriers range from the purely physical, such as access to facilities, to the attitudinal, due to poor awareness of disability issues.

    The aim of the New Zealand Disability Strategy is to eliminate these barriers wherever they exist.

    Kia Orite Achieving Equity New Zealand Code of Practice for an Inclusive Tertiary Education Environment for Students with Impairments supports one of the key contributions of the tertiary education system as outlined in the Tertiary Education Strategy 2007/12 - "success for all New Zealanders through lifelong learning", and, in particular, the focus on "ensuring maximum educational opportunity for all New Zealanders".

    The Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission supported the development of this Code of Practice by the tertiary education sector. It is expected that the Code will inform the activities of both tertiary education organisations and the Tertiary Education Commission in identifying, understanding and responding to the diverse needs of students with impairments.

    Classroom and Academics

    The Disability Resource Center (DRC) offers support to International Students. Some support is free for international students. However, you may have to pay for some specific support or services, such as personal note taking or sign language interpreting.  It is important that you check in advance to ensure DRC is able to meet your specific requirements. Be sure that the University can provide you with the type and level of support you are used to and that the Alternative Examination Arrangements meet your particular requirements. It is also important to bring with you full documentation outlining any learning support needs as well as any other relevant medical documentation. If you are reliant on technology you should check that your technology is compatible with that used in NZ and that back-up or repairers are available. If you take medication, check that it is available in NZ.

    If you have any questions, contact Disability Resource Center.

    All information provided to the Disability Resource Center is confidential and will not be released without a student’s express permission. If a student is an international student there MAY be charges for some forms of support services. Intending students need to check in advance with the Victoria U of Wellington.

    Services provided include:

    • Individual planning and support
    • Technology and training
    • Arranging Accessible Lecture Theatres and Tutorial Rooms
    • Reformatting of Print Materials
    • Library or research assistant
    • Note-taking Service
    • Sign language interpreting
    • Alternative Examination Arrangements
    • Mobility Parking
    • Access to rest and study rooms
    • Mobility van

    Excursions and Field Trips

    Excursions and field trips depend on individual instructors and classes. Students should talk with their instructors and DS staff as soon as possible to determine appropriate accommodations.

    Housing and Food Services

    Part of the "real" student experience involves living near the main University campus, either in a student flat or in a residential hall or college. Most of the student population is accommodated within minutes of Victoria U of Wellington.

    Being able to live close to campus and town can be especially important to a person with a disability. If you require accessible transport to get around, are easily fatigued, have difficulty walking long distances, or finding your way around, living close to campus could be beneficial. Other factors may need to be considered, for example size of bedrooms, main roads with out pedestrian crossings or traffic lights to be crossed, curbing in streets, or proximity to a bus stop.

    Residential Colleges vary in the facilities they provide for students with disabilities. It is important that students check that the particular Residential College can meet their specific needs before accepting a place. Disability Resource Center staff are happy to assist at any time.


    Available adaptive technology includes:

    • JAWs screen reader software (text-to-speech)
    • ZoomText screen magnification software
    • Ruby software. This programme reads print material out loud, with the option to save the information as an electronic file.
    • Dragon NaturallySpeaking (Professional and Preferred) voice recognition software (speech-to-text).
    • MathTalk, a software programme that assists students when dictating mathematical and statistical format
    • TEXTHELP Gold
    • CCTV - screen magnification
    • RUBY Text to Voice

    Library Services

    All libraries at the university are wheelchair accessible. Also, a library assistant can be available to retrieve resources for students (contact DI&S for more information). 


    The mobility van is a service developed to assist students with medical conditions and/or mobility impairments move more easily around campus and between campuses.

    The Mobility Van service is generally limited to between-campus runs only and is not available for pick up from home to campus. Exceptions may be made for students unable to use public transport, living in a University hostel or to/from the Railway Station.

    Additional Comments

    From the Disability Resource Center:

    Our approach is guided by the ecological model that defines disability through the holistic interconnection of person and environment (Ebersold and Evans 2003).

    One is more or less disabled based on not only their own functioning and individual resilience but also whether the built environment, technological, support systems and attitudes of those around them are accommodating and welcoming of variation in ability.