For over 50 years EXMSS has been recognised by Massey University as the student association representing students on what is now often affectionately described as the “fourth campus” — the distance (ie extramural) study enrolment.

In contrast to MUSA, ASA and MAWSA, whose internal-student members are largely concentrated around their respective campuses at Palmerston North, Albany and Wellington, EXMSS’ members are scattered all over New Zealand, and even around the world.

Of the four student cohorts, distance students form the largest body, in terms of headcount, enrolled EFTS, and revenue generated for the University. We also differ markedly from internal students, in the sense that we tend to be more mature in years, are more often studying part-time, and commonly have a full- or part-time job and/or one or more children. This contrasts with internal students, who more typically, are recent school-leavers studying full time.

Historically, EXMSS used to be physically based on Palmerston North campus. However, in recognition of technological progress, and the increase in contact courses occurring at the other two campuses, the relevance of the single-campus presence came under question, and EXMSS made a strategic decision in 2016 to withdraw its campus presence entirely, and become a purely cloud-based organisation.



EXMSS is not part of Massey University. Although it has a relationship with the University and knows the university intimately, EXMSS is run by distance students for distance students, and maintains an independent voice. A major part of EXMSS’ duty to distance students is to hold the University accountable for its performance of distance course delivery and quality and distance education value for money, and the University’s overall treatment of distance students.

EXMSS is not currently affiliated to the national student body, the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA), but may reinstate its affiliation at a future date. However, it remains supportive of NZUSA’s overall policies and strategic directions.

In addition to being a strong student voice to the University, EXMSS is also supported by a grant of Student Services Levy funds, and uses these to provide various services to its members.

Contacting EXMSS

You can contact EXMSS via the Helpdesk


EXMSS is an incorporated society under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908. It holds current registration ID 231779 under the name “MASSEY UNVERSITY EXTRAMURAL STUDENTS’ SOCIETY INCORPORATED”, with its records viewable on www.societies.govt.nz.

The current governance and executive structure can be viewed here.

EXMSS’ co-Presidents both maintain current membership in the New Zealand Institute of Directors and as such are bound under the IoD Directors Code of Practice

Declaration of Interests

As an organisation following governance best practice principles, EXMSS maintains transparency regarding external interests of its leaders and staff. We therefore maintain an Interests Register open to public viewing.