Otago polytecnic was established in 1870. Otago Polytechnic is an open institution, which is associated with the Public Tertiary Education Institution. Earlier, the institute was known as the King Edward Technical College. The institute began its operations by providing evening classes to working professionals. Later on, it started offering day classes to secondary school students. In 1921, the institute opened the school of art, which was known to be the country's first art school. In 1966, the college split into a secondary school. The institute is in partnership with the Kai Tahu institute. The collaboration helped to expand its academic curriculum.
In 2018, Otago Polytechnic officially opened its new 231-bed student accommodation complex, Te Pā Tauira - Otago Polytechnic Student Village, at its Dunedin campus. It features dorm rooms, studios and apartments. The $22 million building, designed by Mason & Wales architects, is the largest timber-framed construction in New Zealand at 6000 square metres. The sustainable, cross-laminated timber structure won two awards at the Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards 2018: Award of Excellence for Green Building and an Award of Merit for Multi-Unit Residential Property.
STAFF AT OTAGO POLYTECHNIC
Otago Polytechnic has a workforce totalling 543 permanent staff as at the end of 2017. Its pay equity gap in 2017 sat at 4.8 per cent, considerably lower than the national average of 11 per cent. All Otago Polytechnic staff are required to undergo up to date training on New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi.
Otago Polytechnic offers a range of student services, both itself and in conjunction with University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic Students' Association. These include internal services such as a Childcare Centre, Student Learning Centre, Student Health Centre, Student IT Services and Te Punaka Ōwheo, its dedicated Māori centre. In partnership with Otago University, Polytechnic students have access to UNIPOL Recreation Centre and the Robertson Library.
All enrolled Otago Polytechnic students may consider themselves members of the Otago Polytechnic Students' Association, an independent organisation run by the students and offers support, social events and clubs, access to facilities and services, and the free student magazine
The Otago Polytechnic Students' Association provides access to many facilities and services like the student ID card, Clubs & Societies centre, a second-hand bookshop, UNIPOL Sports Centre, a free student newspaper (Gyro), free pool tables, free campus telephones, the Student Discount Directory, social events, and Student Job Search.
The students' association also provides support services like advocacy, campaigns, representation, financial assistance and advice. OPSA is often involved with local authorities representing a student view, especially in transportation and housing issues