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West Coast

Main Centre

  • Greymouth Pop. 13,550



  • Activities
  • Māori culture
  • Airport
  • Arts and Culture
  • Cafe Culture
  • Halls of Residence
  • Hobbit
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The West Coast is a great place to study for your future career, with many practical programmes to choose from - some in specialised areas such as eco-tourism or emergency management. West Coast schools have smaller class sizes, modern facilities and access to an incredible outdoor adventure playground.

Where can I study?

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Tai Poutini Polytechnic offers careers training from its base in Greymouth and at campuses around the West Coast. The area also has a wide selection of primary and secondary schools.

Why you should study on the West Coast

Jade carving, outdoor education, eco-tourism and emergency management are among the specialised programmes on offer at Tai Poutini Polytechnic.

The government-funded tertiary institution offers a wide range of practical programmes, with a focus on vocational education, technical and applied skills.

Many of its programmes make use of the unique outdoor environment of the West Coast, and aim to train students to meet the job needs of local employers. Tai Poutini Polytechnic is based in Greymouth and has more West Coast campuses in Hokitika, Reefton and Westport.

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West Coast schools have smaller class sizes, giving students more time with their teachers. The region has over 500 teachers, and out-of-school tutoring is available in all districts.

Primary or secondary school students on the West Coast study in safe, caring communities in rural or semi-rural environments.

While they live in an unspoilt paradise, ‘Coasters’ - the people of the West Coast - also have access to the latest technology. West Coast schools have had major investments in IT, and all have modern facilities and high-speed internet connections.

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West Coast students have fast and easy access to beaches, lakes, rivers, rainforest and mountains, and many education providers make outdoor education an important part of the school programme.

At Westland High School in Hokitika, for example, senior students can gain qualifications in rock climbing, kayaking, tramping, abseiling and navigation. There are opportunities for students to ski, snowboard and bodyboard, as well as enjoy a wide range of arts and cultural activities.

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Learn more about studying on the West Coast

Study on the West Coast and you’ll never forget your experience of the warm West Coast culture, relaxed pace of life and stunning landscapes. With affordable accommodation, no crowds and the freedom to explore the outdoors, the wild West Coast is the ultimate student lifestyle destination.

Why you should live on the West Coast

Going for a surf in your lunch break is just one way to take advantage of the laid-back pace of life on the West Coast.

With uncrowded living conditions, an excellent work/life balance and none of the pressures of city living, the Coast is a relaxed and welcoming study destination. It also has the second-lowest house prices in the country, which means accommodation is affordable for students.

Greymouth is a three-hour drive from Christchurch through magnificent scenery, and there are regular flights between Hokitika and Christchurch.

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The unique spirit of the people of the West Coast is one of the region’s greatest attractions.

Living in a rugged environment that is New Zealand’s least populated area, Coasters are known for their self-reliance, independence and close-knit, friendly community.

The West Coast has small numbers of international students, so you’re more likely to make Kiwi friends, be accepted into the community and improve your English language skills.

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Spectacular and unspoilt, the West Coast has just 32,000 people spread out along 600 kms of coastline.

It’s an area of great natural beauty with five national parks, glaciers, mountains, and rivers. The Great Coast Road, which stretches from Westport to Greymouth, was voted one of the world’s top ten coastal drives by Lonely Planet.

There are endless ways to enjoy the outdoors, including snowsports, kayaking, mountaineering, fishing and watching the coast’s spectacular sunsets. The many local sports clubs are always looking for new student members.

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Learn more about living on the West Coast

Study on the West Coast for your future career and you’ll be taught by skilled tutors with strong connections to local businesses. You may be able to support your studies with seasonal work on the Coast, which has the country’s lowest unemployment rate.

Why you should work on the West Coast

Tourism, fruit picking and fishing are among the industries that offer seasonal work to students on the West Coast.

National parks and reserves make up 85% of West Coast land - higher than any other New Zealand region. The West Coast’s conservation lands are a strong base for tourism, and the region is a globally-recognised eco-tourism destination.

While the job market on the West Coast is small, the area also has one of the country’s lowest unemployment rates.

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Tai Poutini Polytechnic has a focus on giving students training opportunities in West Coast businesses to support the local community.

The polytechnic recently opened an engineering workshop in Westport and has launched a workplace-based business enterprise degree from its Greymouth campus.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic tutors are experts in their field, maintain strong industry networks and connections and are keen to share their skills and experience.

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Students at West Coast secondary schools are able to work towards a career while still studying for their National Certification in Education Achievement (NCEA), the main secondary school qualification.

The West Coast Trades Academy enables students to develop their knowledge and skills through trades and technology programmes jointly provided by schools and tertiary education organisations.

Students can choose from subjects including hospitality, early childhood education, engineering and construction.

As well as gaining experience of the workplace, students develop personal skills such as independence, self-esteem and communication.

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Discover more about the West Coast region at westcoast.co.nz

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