NCEA credits at levels 1 and 2 usually count towards pre-requisites, which are the minimum achievements a school requires you to have before studying a subject at a higher NCEA level. So you need to ensure you are studying and passing the pre-requisites for the subjects you might want to study at a higher level, both at school and beyond.
In NCEA level 1 maths, the majority of numeracy credits will be gained by internal assessment throughout the year. Passing the internal assessments during the year is critical to getting the credits your child needs to pass level 1 maths. The end of year external exam, while still important, carries fewer credits than in previous years.
NCEA qualifications are recognised by employers and used for selection by universities and polytechnics, both here and overseas. NCEA level 2 provides the foundation skills required for employment and includes minimum English and maths standards.
The minimum requirement to enrol at a New Zealand university is called University Entrance or UE. In 2017, for example, this meant NCEA level 3 with 14 credits in each of three of the approved level 3 subjects, plus specific minimum literacy and numeracy requirements. However, each university programme or degree has its own entry requirements, which can be higher than UE and may include minimum credits in specific subjects.