2. Background - Alcohol and Tertiary settings (eg Universities)

Alcohol use among tertiary students in New Zealand is widespread, having both short term and long term impacts.

Unfortunately, tertiary life is often perceived to be a subculture of alcohol consumption, where drinking is viewed as an intrinsic aspect of university life and a defining feature of being a student. Perceptions of tertiary drinking are well-established prior to attending tertiary study, whereby media images portray student culture as an acceptance towards binge-drinking behaviour.

Young adulthood is an age when hazardous drinking is at its highest. In 2019/20 in New Zealand, more than one-third (36.8%) young adult males aged 18 to 24 years reported hazardous drinking and 27.9% of young adult females. 

Studies in New Zealand had found that university students are almost twice as likely to drink more hazardously than their non-student peers (65% vs. 35%). Very hazardous drinking was found to be three times greater (31% vs. 9%). In another New Zealand study, 37% of female students and 39% of male students were found to drink to intoxication at least once per week. Factors associated with University drinking include: lower age, European or Maori ethnicity relative to Asian, Pacific and other ethnicities, living in halls of residences relative to other living arrangements and living in neighbourhoods with high numbers of liquor outlets.

For detailed information on tertiary drinking


Other useful resources

Alcohol Use and Tertiary Students in Aotearoa-New Zealand 

Tertiary Students and Alcohol Use in Aotearoa--New Zealand: an update of the research literature 2004-2010