Ken Stevens and Carol Moffatt
Distance has a special meaning for New Zealanders, who live in a small and isolated country at the bottom of the globe. Primary production has always been prominent in the New Zealand economy, so it is not surprising that rural and distance education have been, and remain, important dimensions of the national social and economic infrastructure. A feature of distance education during the last decade in New Zealand has been growing reference to open learning. A decade ago Renwick (1993) suggested that 'The differences between open and distance education are matters for debate but both are usually defined in contrast with conventional face-to-face teaching. This conceptual distinction has become a settled feature of policy discourse in education.'
Just as the New Zealand economy is very open-the country trades in many areas of the Pacific basin, North America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe-so openness is a growing feature of the national education system.
This chapter outlines three areas of open learning in the New Zealand education system. At the local level, many schools have developed relationships