New Zealand's top universities have been warned not to try to poach students from Christchurch as local institutions struggle with falling rolls.
Several of the country's biggest universities have launched billboard or print advertising campaigns for 2012 in the earthquake-ravaged city, despite pressures on the region's three institutions.
Tertiary Education Union president Dr Sandra Grey said it is inappropriate for universities to be trying to woo Christchurch students away at the moment.
"These are extraordinary times where we need to go to special lengths to ensure these institutions have a strong long-term future," Grey said.
"They need protection over the next few years and we would hope that the other institutions realised this and didn't advertise."
The University of Canterbury expects to lose about 1500 students in the wake of February's earthquake and has indicated it is likely to face tough financial times next year.
Lincoln University and Christchurch Polytechnic are also coming under increasing strain.
"Obviously there will still be students who, for all sorts of reasons including the ongoing earthquakes and aftershocks, choose to study elsewhere," Grey said.
"But there's plenty of information for those students around. Billboards and other ads trying to woo students away are just not necessary."