Our tertiary institute was conceptualised in 1987, when Hiroshi Ohashi, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees - then and today, with other experts in the educational field across the Pacific-Rim nations assembled and discussed ‘an ideal model for an innovative approach to tertiary education in the 21st century'.

Dr Kay Andersen, former Executive Director of WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges, USA)[1] was appointed as Director and supported Ohashi to lead the discussion. Dr Anderson's expertise in tertiary education and governmental approval procedures made a significant contribution to the project. Professor Emeritus Herbert Passin, from Columbia University, also joined the project. His inexhaustible knowledge of tertiary education, and the societies of the USA and Japan propelled the promotion of the project.

The discussion continued over a year and a half, delivering a new grand scheme for establishing a tertiary educational system with a consortium of campuses in Pacific-Rim nations, where credits would be transferrable and students could obtain a degree at any campus when all credits required for graduation were complete.

Our tertiary institute - known for 25 years until 2015 as IPC (International Pacific College) - was established as the first campus of the scheme in 1990, the year of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of New Zealand. Criteria for this establishment as envisaged by Chairman Ohashi included:

  1. The campus must be developed in an environment where students' lives, assets and safety would be guaranteed.
  2. The host country of the campus must offer globally-competitive tertiary education.
  3. An ideal, clean natural environment should be readily available around the campus for students to enjoy their collegiate life.

Our institute, the first campus of the grand scheme, satisfied these three requirements and has successfully supported students coming from many corners of the world with their studies. Both international students living in New Zealand, away from their home countries, and domestic students looking to create an international career. In 2000, the 10th anniversary year of IPC, the Postgraduate Programmes was launched, and the range of education greatly expanded. Today, students from some two dozen countries live and study on our campus in Palmerston North while we have cooperative links with many tertiary institutions and secondary schools throughout Asia.

The quality and achievements of our global education have been highly recognised by NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority), and we continuously received the highest result of “Category 1 (Highly Confident)” at the EER (External Evaluation and Review) in 2019.


The second campus of the scheme opened in 2007 in Okayama Prefecture, Japan. The International Pacific University, whose philosophy is to combine pedagogy, teacher education and physical education, has become a leading university in Chugoku region in Japan since its establishment.

Our institution, as the first campus in the scheme, has continued to develop our educational services with postgraduate qualifications, undergraduate degree - the Bachelor of Contemporary International Studies (BCIS) with a strong emphasis on International Business as well as its other majors (International Relations, Japanese Studies, and, TESOL & Language Studies). In April 2016, the Japanese government approved IPU Japan to launch the Bachelor of Contemporary Business Management. These developments have enabled more active exchange of students and faculty between the two campuses, which was the vision stated at the outset of the grand scheme.

Reflecting on the scheme with its proposed wide reach, an application was lodged with NZQA to change our trading name. The application was approved and we initiated the rebranding process in September 2015. Today we are known as the Institute of the Pacific United New Zealand, in short, IPU New Zealand (both names are officially registered). This name is more clearly indicative of the extent of our reach and linkages from New Zealand across the Pacific and into Asia.

Preparations are under way for establishing of the third international campus as further development of the original grand scheme. As the first campus and the central hub of the scheme, IPU New Zealand will continue developing itself as a unique tertiary institute in the Pacific-Rim nations, with its strong focus on Asia.

[1] WASC is one of the official academic bodies in the USA responsible for the accreditation of public and private universities, colleges, secondary and elementary schools.

*Note: The use of the word “University” is severely restricted in New Zealand by the Education and Training Act 2020 (section 390 (1)).