Aoraki Polytechnic and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology have merged to become the Ara Institute of Canterbury.
Canterbury's two biggest polytechnics officially join together today, after the move was approved by the government in November.
Ara Institute of Canterbury now has more than 5500 equivalent fulltime students enrolled.
Aoraki Polytechnic has struggled recently and has recorded financial losses. In December, the government classified it as one of five tertiary institutions that were "high-risk".
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said the merger would provide the highest-quality education for Canterbury.
The merger has resulted in four staff positions being disestablished, with 14 deciding not to accept positions within the new organisation.
Otago Polytechnic has taken over the Aoraki's Dunedin campus, with transferred programmes such as early childhood education, hairdressing, journalism and film & television.
Otago Polytech gained about 24 staff and 160 students in the transfer, which took effect from the beginning of the year.