A New Zealand university gym has introduced "women only" hours at its campus gym.

University of Canterbury has launched the trial at its recreation centre to meet cultural needs.

Male-free gym sessions have been allocated between Monday and Saturday. A university spokesman says the trial was "designed to meet cultural needs" and is based on academic research.

"This isn't the first time the UC RecCentre has received this request, but it is the first time there has been suitable space resource available to trial it, and the first time there has been a formal request from a student advisory group," she said.

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The university says the gym is only reserved for women's use for less than 20 per cent of entire time the gym is open.

It said there has never been a formal request for men-only hours or space at the RecCentre.

"If there was a significant demand for men-only hours (or for any other cohort) it would go through the same process," the spokeswoman said.

"This means, any such request would need to go to a student advisory group for discussion, research undertaken, presentation to the Central Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee (Cedac) and implementation of a trial."

It has taken 4-6 months for the women's space proposal to come to the trial stage.