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Category Human Resources
Type Policy
Approved by Council
Date Policy Took Effect 11 September 2017
Last approved revision 25 October 2023
Sponsor Equity Advisory Committee
Responsible officer Chair, Equity Advisory Committee


To ensure that the University of Otago's processes and practices uphold and promote equity outcomes, reflecting an environment in which all individuals are valued and different ways of thinking are embraced, and in which diversity, inclusivity and respect are key components of the University's overall commitment to excellence.

The University of Otago is committed to a campus-wide culture of equity and diversity that supports organisational excellence and outstanding student experiences. It enhances the University's reputation and its ability to recruit, retain, and support talented students and staff. This culture and commitment are essential to meeting the University's obligations under the Education and Training Act 2020, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and other national policies.

Organisational scope

The policy applies University wide and includes all staff, students, visitors and contractors at the University.


Fair treatment, access, participation, opportunity and advancement in every stage of education or career.
Recognition of and respect for the differences among individuals.
Equity outcomes
Measurable results of equity strategies, policies, plans, and actions.
Lesbian/gay, bisexual, takatāpui, transgender, intersex, questioning and/or queer, asexual.


1. General Principles | Mātāpono Matua

  1. The University of Otago is committed to equity and diversity and seeks to provide an accessible, inclusive, respectful and welcoming environment in which all students and staff are supported towards achieving their full potential.  The Equity and Diversity Policy affirms this commitment and summarizes mechanisms to achieve these goals.
  2. The University recognises that members of equity groups are more likely than others to experience barriers to achieving their full potential and/or to be underrepresented. Proceeding from an evidence base, the University will prioritise support for members of identified equity groups.
  3. The University recognises Māori as tangata whenua and is committed to upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Māori students and staff have a distinct status at the University under the provisions of the Treaty. This Policy supports the Māori Strategic Framework.
  4. The University recognises the special status of Pasifika staff and students and this Policy supports the Pacific Strategic Framework.
  5. The University recognises the following equity groups:
    1. Students and staff with disability and/or impairment
    2. Students who are first in their family to attend university
    3. LGBTTIQA+ students and staff
    4. Students from low socio-economic backgrounds
    5. Students and staff from migrant and/or refugee backgrounds and those whose first language is not English
    6. Women where there are barriers to access and/or success.

2. Actions | Tukanga

  1. The University will promote equity and create  an environment in which diversity and inclusivity are valued:
    1. All relevant University policies, procedures and guidelines, and associated processes will be consistent with the University's commitment to equity and diversity.
    2. University leadership will plan and take action to achieve equity outcomes established in the Equity and Diversity Strategic Framework and Action Plan, and will monitor performance in respect of this.
    3. Internal and external communication will reflect the University's commitment to a culture of equity and diversity.
  2. The University will monitor and report on existing, new or changed equity and diversity circumstances so that issues may be addressed where and when they arise. The University is committed to reporting its findings so that the university community is engaged in this process.
  3. The University will identify and support best equity and diversity practice.
  4. Given the distinct status of Māori as tangata whenua under the provisions of Te Tiriti o Waitangi the University will prioritise support for Māori through the Māori Strategic Framework and other support initiatives and mechanisms.
  5. The University will prioritise support for Pasifika students and staff through the Pacific Strategic Framework.

Related policies, procedures and forms

University Policies and Strategies:


Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

The Chair of the Equity Advisory Committee

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