New Zealand

  • Brian Findsen
Part of the Lifelong Learning Book Series book series (LLLB, volume 22)


This chapter analyses the domain of learning in later life in (Aotearoa) New Zealand. After describing the broad social context of the country, the chapter analyses the plight of older people in anticipation of examining the concept of lifelong learning and what constitutes (older) adult education. Special emphasis is given to derivative and indigenous perspectives of adult learning, given the country’s bi-cultural heritage. In addition, the landscape of tertiary education and accompanying policy considerations are described as older adults, at least in a more formal context, sometimes learn within these parameters. Importantly, though, it is recognised that most learning for older people occurs in informal and non-formal environments. Hence, workplace learning and self-directed activities are also briefly surveyed. As an example of an innovative older adult provider, the Rauawaawa Trust in Hamilton city, consisting of Maori elders, and its holistic educational programme are analysed, particularly in relation to the institution’s engagement with the University of Waikato. The main challenge ahead is to encourage greater participation of members from marginalized older people’s groups to develop their own learning/education opportunities.


New Zealand Older adulthood Indigenous education Lifelong learning University engagement 


  1. Adult Education and Community Learning Working Party. (2001). Koia! Koia! Towards a learning society: The role of adult and community education. The report of the adult education and community learning working party. Wellington: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  2. Age Concern New Zealand. (2011/2012). Annual report – 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012. Accessed 22 Jan 2014.
  3. Ageing and Education Working Party. (1987). Ageing and lifelong learning in New Zealand. Wellington: National Council of Adult Education.Google Scholar
  4. Benseman, J., Findsen, B., & Scott, M. (Eds.). (1996). The fourth sector: Adult and community education in Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North: The Dunmore Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bishop, R., & Glynn, T. (2003). Culture counts: Changing power relations in education. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  6. Boston, J., & Davey, J. A. (Eds.). (2006). Implications of population ageing: Opportunities and risks. Wellington: Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington.Google Scholar
  7. Dakin, J. (1992). Derivative and innovative forms of adult education in Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Adult Learning, 20(2), 29–49.Google Scholar
  8. Davey, J. A. (2006). The labour market. In J. Boston & J. A. Davey (Eds.), Implications of population ageing: Opportunities and risks (pp. 189–220). Wellington: Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington.Google Scholar
  9. Davey, J. A., & Cornwall, J. (2003). Maximising the potential of older workers. Wellington: New Zealand Institute for Research on Ageing, Victoria University of Wellington.Google Scholar
  10. Department of Social Welfare. (1999). From welfare to well-being and strengthening families. Wellington: Ministry of Social Policy.Google Scholar
  11. Faure, E., Herrera, F., Kaddowa, A., Lopes, H., Petrovsky, A., Rahnema, M., et al. (1972). Learning to be: The world of education today and tomorrow. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  12. Findsen, B. (2005). Learning later. Malabar: Krieger.Google Scholar
  13. Findsen, B. (2012). University and community engagement through continuing education: The case of the University of Waikato and the Rauawaawa Trust. In P. Jones, J. Storan, A. Hudson, & J. Braham (Eds.), Lifelong learning and community development (pp. 43–55). London: Forum for Access and Continuing Education and the University of East London.Google Scholar
  14. Findsen, B., & Formosa, M. (2011). Lifelong learning in later life: A handbook on older adult learning. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Golding, B. (2012). Men’s sheds, community learning and public policy. In M. Bowl, R. Tobias, J. Leahy, G. Ferguson, & J. Gage (Eds.), Gender, masculinities and lifelong learning (pp. 122–133). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Jarvis, P. (1985). Sociological perspectives on lifelong education and lifelong learning. Athens: Department of Adult Education, University of Georgia.Google Scholar
  17. Jarvis, P. (2001). Learning in later life: An introduction for educators and carers. London: Kogan Page.Google Scholar
  18. Koopman-Boyden, P. G. (Ed.). (1993). New Zealand’s ageing society: The implications. Wellington: Daphne Brasell Associates Press.Google Scholar
  19. McGivney, V. (1999). Informal learning in the community. Leicester: NIACE.Google Scholar
  20. Metge, J. (1984). Learning and teaching: He tikanga Māori. Wellington: Māori and Island Division, Department of Education.Google Scholar
  21. Ministry of Education. (2006). Older students. Wellington: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  22. Ministry of Education. (2007). Māori participation in tertiary education 2005. Wellington: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  23. Ministry of Education. (2008). The development and state of the art of adult learning and education: National report of New Zealand. Wellington: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  24. Oduaran, A., & Bhola, H. (Eds.). (2006). Widening access to education as social justice. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  25. Phillipson, C. (1998). Reconstructing old age: New agendas in social theory and practice. London: Sage Publications Inc.Google Scholar
  26. PriceWaterhouseCoopers. (2008). Adult and community education: Economic evaluation of adult and community education outcomes. August, PWC.Google Scholar
  27. Rothwell, W. J., Sterns, H. L., Spokus, D., & Reaser, J. M. (2008). Working longer: New strategies for managing, training and retaining older employees. New York: American Management Association.Google Scholar
  28. Scott, D. (2010). Non-formal and formal learning – Adults in education. Wellington: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  29. Statistics New Zealand. (2013). 2013 census QuickStats: About national highlights. Available from
  30. Swindell, R. (1999). New directions, opportunities and challenges for New Zealand U3As. New Zealand Journal of Adult Learning, 27(1), 41–57.Google Scholar
  31. TEC Tertiary Education Commission. (2010). Tertiary education report: Introduction to the key issues in tertiary education. Available through
  32. TEC Tertiary Education Commission. (2013). Adult and community education. Available through Accessed 23 Jan 2014.
  33. Thomas, L. (2001). Widening participation in post-compulsory education. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  34. Tight, M. (1996). Adult education and training: Key concepts. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tobias, R. (2006). Educating older adults: Discourses, ideologies and policies 1999–2005. New Zealand Journal of Adult Learning, 34(1), 2–28.Google Scholar
  36. Tough, A. (1971). The adults’ learning projects: A fresh approach to theory and practice in adult learning. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.Google Scholar
  37. Tuckett, A., & McAulay, A. (Eds.). (2005). Demography and older learners. Leicester: NIACE.Google Scholar
  38. Wain, K. (2004). The learning society in a postmodern world: The education crises. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.Google Scholar
  39. Walker, R. (1990). Ka whawhai tonu matou: Struggle without end. Auckland: Penguin.Google Scholar
  40. Wenger, E. (1999). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Withnall, A. (2010). Improving learning in later. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Te Whiringa School of Educational Leadership & Policy, Faculty of EducationUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations