Ākonga (Learner) support and services

Te Whare Tapa Wha website

Te Mahi Ako's learner support system is guided by Sir Mason Durie's Te Whare Tapa Whā model of health.

The four walls of the whare are the four key areas of our health: Taha Tinana (physical), Taha Wairua (spiritual), Taha Whānau (family and relationships) and Taha Hinengaro (mental and emotional).

While you are on a learning journey with us, we'll endeavour to help you maintain your wellbeing across all these areas, so you can thrive as a person and succeed in your programme.

At Te Mahi Ako, we uphold an inclusive approach to learner support, where we prioritise the wellbeing of all learners, regardless of their international or domestic status. 

To chat with our friendly learner support team, click below to find out more and get in touch.

If you are in crisis and need immediate support, please phone 111.

Te Mahi Ako has partnered with Puāwaitanga (whakarongorau.nz) to provide independent and confidential counselling services, free for learners aged 18 years and over. Puāwaitanga offers phone or video-based counselling in multiple languages including te reo Māori.

Puāwaitanga is designed to support you over a brief period of time to strengthen your hinengaro (mental and emotional wellbeing). You will have the opportunity to choose the counsellor you'd like to do sessions with and book a time that works around your schedule. Puāwaitanga offers sessions throughout the week (including weekends) from 9am to 9pm.

To access the service, start by sending a confidential request to counselling@temahiako.org.nz.

If you or one of your whānau or friends need mental health support or information right now, you can contact one of the free helpline services listed on this page. These services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Other places you can go to for support information include:

  • Just a Thought - Free online therapy courses
  • The Lowdown - For young poeple with concerns about their mental health who are looking for support, and for friends and whānau who want to support them.
  • Small Steps - Free digital self-help tools for anyone wanting to manage stress and increase their welbeing.

You can also visit the Mental Health Foundation website for a more extensive list of other helplines and support services available in New Zealand.



Ākonga support and services

Any non-domestic learners enrolling into a level 3 or above qualification, and who do not originate from either Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, or the United States, may need to provide evidence of meeting English language proficiency requirements.

For more information regarding non-domestic learner's English requirements click here

For information regarding international visa's and international insurance click here

Here at Te Mahi Ako, we're on a mission to make education more accessible and have some exciting news to share with you. Te Mahi Ako recently took a big step forward through a new joint initiative with Generosity New Zealand, Aotearoa’s largest digital search facility for funding information.  

This new initiative will allow all affiliated workplaces, industries and learners unrestricted access to Generosity NZ’s network of funding and grant providers. Our goal is to link you with opportunities that can support your educational aspirations and projects.  

If you are affiliated with Te Mahi Ako, the first step for access will be reaching out to your regional learner advisor (RLA) for assistance. They will provide you with a code to access all the different funding opportunities. This exciting initiative is being funded until February 2024 so be sure to apply for as many grants as you like within this time!

For more information, click here to watch a brief video introducing Generosity NZ and what they are all about or, head to their website here.  

A reader/writer helps you overcome your learning difficulties during an assessment.

Click on the link below to download more information.


As with all our learners, members of the rainbow community deserve a safe, inclusive, supportive and accessible learning environment. We are committed to enabling our learners to embrace who they are and we firmly believe that this creates a better and more successful learning experience. We recognise that for our rainbow learners, this can come with its challenges and have the resources and systems in place to support you on your learning journey. See our mental health resources for more information.

Click here for a list of national and local support services.

For further support, Outline is a free and confidential rainbow support line for all ages and backgrounds. You can contact Outline seven days a week from 6pm-9pm and talk to a member of the rainbow community, who can answer your questions and is trained to listen.

·        OutLine Aotearoa

·        0800 688 5463

As a work-based learner you are balancing your studies along with your job, and all your other life commitments including friends, family, hobbies, fitness and more. Click here to open a spreadsheet of a number of services from Accident Compensation Commission (ACC), to COVID-19 Healthline, to Women's Refuge Crises Line, that might provide some useful guidance on staying well while you complete your learning.

All learners are entitled to a safe working and learning environment, free from discrimination, harassment and bullying.

What are bullying and harassment?

Harassment means behaviour towards someone that is unwelcome or offensive and targets their gender, gender identity, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, sexual orientation, age, disability, physical appearance, religion or marital status.

Bullying is any behaviour towards someone that is unwelcome and unreasonable, and includes victimisation, humiliation, exclusion, and undermining or threatening behaviour, whether by individuals or a group.

How we can help

Te Mahi Ako provides a number of steps for learners to take if they have concerns about bullying and/or harassment:

  • Start by contacting your learner advisor - or any Te Mahi Ako staff member - to discuss your concerns.
  • If you feel safe and comfortable enough to do so, try talking directly to the person who is bullying or harassing you. More on this below.
  • We will work directly with your employer, where appropriate, to tackle any issues that are taking place at work.
  • If the bullying or harassment is serious, or if nothing else works and it is still going on, we recommend you make a formal complaint. You can start this process using the confidential complaints form on our Forms page or find out more in our Ākonga (Learner) Complaints/Grievances policy, in the policy section on this page. 
Other sources of guidance
  • The Ministry of Employment provides advice on how to raise bullying and harassment with the person responsible, if that's safe and appropriate in your situation. Check it out here.
  • If you are experiencing online harassment or bullying, Netsafe NZ has a detailed guide on how to protect yourself from this behaviour through unfriending and blocking actions, and reporting harmful online content. Check it out here.

If you feel something isn't right with your experience as a Te Mahi Ako learner, you have the right to complain, and our job is to respond with fairness, consistency and in a reasonable time.

You might experience problems with your learning programme, or concerns about the behaviour of other learners/ākonga, our staff, your employer, or other people involved in your learning journey.

How to complain or raise an issue

Our Learner Support team is there to provide holistic support - that means supporting you as as a learner and as a whole person. You can talk to your Learner Support Coordinator, or any Te Mahi Ako staff member, about any problems that are impacting your ability to study, or any incidents that have made you feel unsafe while studying.

You can make a complaint or report an issue through the complaints form on our Forms page. You can also contact us at learner.support@temahiako.org.nz or 0508 475 455, and one of our team will contact you.

You'll find more information on our complaints process in our Ākonga (Learner) Complaints/Grievances policy, in the policy section on this page. This policy is in line with the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice and the NZQA provider complaints process.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, domestic and non-domestic learners can escalate the matter to the following authorities:

  •  Support services, pastoral care, quality of your programme, or the management of Te Mahi Ako - contact NZQA
  • A financial or contractual issue, contact Study Complaints. 
If you are uncertain which dispute resolution scheme applies to you, you can email risk@nzqa.govt.nz for help.


Please be aware that the Te Mahi Ako Learner Support team is not a crisis service.

If you or anyone you care about is in immediate danger, or a danger to others, then you must contact 111.

Click here for a list of helplines and support channels including after-hours services. 

There is a range of support for people with disabilities who are jobseeking or in work.

The Te Mahi Ako ākonga handbook has everything you need to know to get through your programme from start to finish. 

Check it out here.

Once you have enrolled in a Te Mahi Ako qualification, you can log in to your dedicated learner portal to view information about your training, track your progress, access learner-only resources, and receive support. Just click the login button at the top right of this site.

Many of our qualifications have an online component, and if this is the case with your programme, you will also have access to our online learning platform, from inside your portal. This is where some or all of your learning and assessment will take place.

Your literacy, language and numeracy (LLN) means your ability to understand and express information through reading, writing and numbers.

If you have any concerns about LLN, we can help with that. If you have not previously completed NCEA Level 2 or an NZQA Level 2 qualification or equivalent, we will ask you to complete an LLN assessment. Based on your results we can determine whether you need any support, and if so, tailor a plan to help you gain the skills you need to do well in your programme.

We connect eligible learners with Literacy Aotearoa, which has locations all around the country. The Rural Youth and Adult Literacy Trust also offers free literacy tuition for people in rural areas.

Feel free to have a chat about LLN with your learner support coordinator or your regional learner advisor, if you have any questions.

If you are experiencing mental health concerns, Te Mahi Ako can refer you to Puāwaitanga, our free, confidential counselling service. Check out the information on this page.

If you need to talk to someone right now, the Mental Health Foundation has put all of the national and regional helplines into this handy flip book. They update it regularly and you can even download it and take your own notes. Check it out!

Here are some other resources to help you manage your mental health with completing your studies.

As a work-based learner you are balancing your studies along with your job, and all your other life commitments including friends, family, hobbies, fitness and more. Below is a list of external resources that might provide some useful guidance on staying well while you complete your learning.

Literacy Aotearoa also offer free programmes for our learners to enrol into. They offer friendly tutor support, small group classes that can help you gain confidence, independence and employment skills.

Libraries belong to every one of us; they're places for us to learn, connect and grow. To find a library near you, click on the link to a spreadsheet listing all the libraries in New Zealand or the Public libraries of New Zealand website.

Te Mahi Ako policies

As a learner, you are entitled to view our policies, so that you can understand how we operate, and the reasoning behind our decisions and processes.

The Skills Active Te Mahi Ako Policy Manual contains all our policies which are relevant for learners. This includes: 

  • Equal Education Opportunities Policy

  • Assessment Policy

  • Cheating Policy

  • Impaired Performance/Aegrotat Policy

  • Academic Appeal Process Policy

  • Ākonga Charter Policy

  • Staff Charter

  • Ākonga Conduct and Discipline Policy

  • Recognition of Knowledge and Skills Policy

  • Ākonga Complaints/Grievances Policy

  • Withdrawal and Refunds Policy

Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners Code

Te Mahi Ako is bound the Pastoral Care Code for Tertiary Learners. This code sets out the requirements that tertiary education providers must meet in order to look after the wellbeing and safety of their learners.  

Workplace relationship agreement

A workplace relationship agreement is a contract between Te Mahi Ako and your workplace. It sets out how we will work together to ensure the success of the work-based learners at your organisation. You'll find a copy of the agreement on our Forms page.

To help understand the context for the workplace relationship agreement, we recommend reading this short piece of guidance from NZQA on the implementation of the Pastoral Care Code in workplace learning settings.

A number of people on our team will support you throughout your learning programme:

Learner advisors

Your regional learner advisor is the key contact person at Te Mahi Ako for both you and your workplace. They will help set up your enrolment, and have regular catch-ups (whether in person, online or over the phone) to make sure you're progressing. They will be there to help you navigate the work-based learning process and connect you with help when you need it.

Learning facilitators

In some cases your programme will include learning that takes place outside of your work, such as seminars, training courses or wānanga. These events or activities will supplement the skills and knowledge you are picking up on the job, and will be led by one of our learning facilitators.


Your assessor may be someone at your work who's a qualified Te Mahi Ako assessor, or an external person.  Your assessor is a subject matter expert in your field of practice, and they will assess your tasks and determine when you are competent. They may also be able to help you with questions about the content of your programme.

Learner support coordinators

Our dedicated team of learner support coordinators are based at our head office. They are there to listen and understand what's going on with you and how it might impact your learning experience. This could be anything from computer issues, literacy, or a mental health condition, through to a relationship breakdown or financial difficulties. Your learner support coordinators can provide guidance and troubleshooting to help you tackle any barriers. Find out more about them below.

You'll find more information about the rights and responsibilities of our staff in the Staff Charter policy, in the policy section above.

When you enrol with us, your workplace makes a commitment to support you in your learning programme. This means that specific people in your organisation are responsible for helping you to pick up the knowledge and skills required in your programme. This might include your manager, supervisor or senior colleagues.

This support could involve teaching you new processes and tasks, checking your work, answering questions, observing you and offering advice, helping you solve problems, or directing you to the right resources so that you can do your own learning.