Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)


Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) (Māori: Te Whare Wānanga o Murihiku) is one of New Zealand’s largest institutes of technology, with 13,758 students in 2017 for a total of 4,922 EFTs (3,989 domestic, 933 International).

Established in 1971, SIT has since become famous for its Zero Fees Scheme. The scheme, which is open to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, sees students save thousands of dollars on the cost of their tertiary education. The Institute is also renowned for the quality of its facilities and equipment.

SIT offers over 200 programs in a range of academic, technical and professional subjects at postgraduate, graduate, bachelor, diploma and certificate levels. SIT is a member of the International Association of Universities.


SIT has several campuses around Invercargill (SIT Tay Street, Downtown and SIT Sound) with other campuses located in Queenstown, Gore, Telford, Christchurch and Auckland, and has a distance education faculty, SIT2LRN. In 2018 SIT acquired MAINZ, the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand, and operates MAINZ campuses in Auckland and Christchurch.


SIT has three campuses in Invercargill. SIT’s main campus is situated either side of Tay Street. SIT Downtown is situated in the center of Invercargill’s business district and is home to SIT’s new media and arts programs. SIT Sound in the Invercargill Radio Network Building is host to SIT's audio production programs.

SIT has undertaken a major campus redevelopment plan over the past fifteen years. This includes the completion of new classrooms, development of the SIT Library complex which includes the Literacy and Numeracy Resource Center and Teaching and Development Support Unit, and the redevelopment of the Student Services area.

In 2012, SIT completed a $5.5 million redevelopment of the trades and technology teaching and learning areas which included a new Industry Training Center. 2012 also saw the redevelopment of the School of Nursing, which included the addition of a new multi-million dollar Nursing Simulation Center and the refurbishment of related facilities.


The Gore campus provides a base for the catchment areas of Eastern Southland, Northern Southland and West Otago.


The Queenstown campus operates from a new facility in the Remarkables Park retail and commercial development area in Frankton. The campus offers business, administration, computing, hospitality, tourism, sports, beauty therapy and hairdressing programs.


SIT’s Christchurch campus is based in Hornby. The campus offers specialized training in a number of areas including carpentry, electrical, refrigeration and air conditioning, roofing, automotive, sports, and mental health support.


The Telford (Balclutha) campus extends over 921 hectares of farmland with halls of residence and facilities, technical workshops (machinery, carpentry and welding), classrooms and livestock units.

Zero Fees Scheme

SIT is the only tertiary provider in New Zealand to offer a Zero Fees Scheme where New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are only required to pay material costs and not tuition fees. The scheme has been credited with revitalizing Invercargill after it attracted thousands of students south. The Zero Fees Scheme has also been extended to international students, in the form of Zero Fees English and Foundation Scholarships.

Savings for students

The Zero Fees Scheme delivers significant savings for students who study at SIT compared with other tertiary institutions. Since students need only pay for their material costs, many students graduate debt free. Students can save between NZ$7,000 to $14,000 on the cost of their bachelor's degrees.

Background to the Zero Fees Scheme

The scheme was initiated in an attempt to jumpstart Invercargill’s economy. In the late 1990s, Invercargill was suffering from job losses, closing businesses and a declining population. In an attempt to reverse this situation, and attract more young people to the city, the Zero Fees Scheme was implemented.

The scheme saw community funders contribute $7.2 million over three years to effectively pay students’ tuition fees. All students had to pay was their material costs – for things like uniforms or textbooks. The expected boost in the student population meant that, after that time – with more government funding for the extra equivalent full-time students – the scheme would become self-funding.

Zero Fees for international students

The success of the Zero Fees scheme has meant SIT has been able to keep fees for international students low. The Zero Fees Scheme has even been extended to international students, in the form of the Zero Fees English and Zero Fees Foundation Studies programs. These programs allow international students to study English or Foundation programs for free when they subsequently enroll in a one-year or longer mainstream academic program.

Facilities and equipment

The SIT Library has more than 25,000 books, 750,000 E-books, multiple online databases, and also magazines, DVDs and novels. Additional services include multi-function printers, wireless internet access and more than 20 computers for student use. There is also a group study room furnished with an overhead projector.

The SIT Gym is located on the corner of Tay and Conon Streets. It has recently undergone a complete refurbishment. Programmes are available for fitness, rehabilitation, strength, health and high performance.

The School of Hospitality has two commercial training kitchens that can fit up to 20 students each. Each kitchen is equipped with equipment for each workstation, including six burner gas hobs and convection or gas ovens. The Bungalow Restaurant is an onsite restaurant which is used for training and theory as well as practice restaurant service operations open to the public throughout the year. Café and Bar service students also operate from the Bungalow Restaurant. The Vault Café is used as a real life training environment where students prepare and present food and coffee to the public on a regular basis throughout the year.

SIT Research Institute

SIT runs an applied research program designed to support the development of its community and New Zealand industry. The SIT Research Institute is an organization which works across the faculties and schools to support and promote staff research at SIT, as well as carrying out research in collaboration with local and regional partners.

Since 2010 the SIT Research Institute has been involved in a number of local and national research projects including research projects with Water Safety New Zealand and Sport Southland to support safe swimming practices and with the Centre for Research on Children and Families at the University of Otago and Our Way Southland to strengthen parenting in the region. The SIT Research Institute also led The Committed Learners Project, a collaborative research project with other New Zealand Institutes of Technology that identified practices to foster student engagement.

Student accommodation

SIT offers accommodation at the SIT Apartments and homestay is available for international students.

From 2018 SIT offers the Mayor Tim Shadbolt Accommodation Bursary, open to students studying in Southland who are in their first year of tertiary study.

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