New Zealand universities have improved their standing in a major international ranking for the first time in six years.
The QS rankings place the University of Auckland at 82nd best in the world, with the other seven universities ranked between 173 and 490.
All of the universities except Otago have improved their placing.
The organisation that represents universities, Universities New Zealand, said the improvement was partly because this year's ranking puts less weight on research citations in medicine and the life sciences.
But its chief executive, Chris Whelan, said the universities had improved in other measurements, including a score based on their reputation among foreign academics.
"The academic reputation gain is important at a time when we are competing for staff and students in a hugely competitive international marketplace," Mr Whelan said.
He said, over the previous five years, the country's eight universities dropped by an average of 25 places in the QS rankings.
"This is mainly due to the funding per student being far below that received by other international universities," Whelan said.
He warned that New Zealand institutions would not be able to maintain their placings in the rankings without more funding.
The QS ranking placed the University of Auckland 82nd in the world, Otago at 173, Canterbury 211, Victoria 229, Massey 337, Waikato 338, Lincoln 373, and Auckland University of Technology 481-490.