Student sitting at table
Student sitting at table
Becoming a teacher in New Zealand
Te ako kia mārama ki tō mātou rāngai mātauranga

Learn about our education sector

Key information about education in New Zealand
Student sitting at table

Early childhood education

Early childhood services in New Zealand are varied and include both parent-led and teacher-led services. Teacher-led services include privately owned and not-for-profit community-based services that provide both sessional and all-day programmes, such as a crèche or kindergarten. Parent-led services include Playcentres and certified Playgroups.

Some early childhood services in New Zealand have a particular language and cultural focus such as Kōhanga Reo, Puna Reo (both Māori early childhood centres) and Aoga Amata (Samoan language-based early childhood centre). Other services have a specific set of beliefs about teaching and learning, for example, Rudolph Steiner and Montessori.

The Correspondence School Te Kura provides distance early childhood education for young children who are unable to attend a service because of isolation, illness, special learning needs, or other special circumstances. 

Learn more about the early learning sector on
Early Learning launch

Key information for early childhood teachers 

Primary and secondary education

Education is free at state schools (these are government owned and funded) for all New Zealand citizens or permanent residents between the ages of 5 and 19.  

Schooling is compulsory from age 6 to 16. In most schools, children can start school the day they turn 5 years old (they don't have to wait until the start of a new school year). However, some schools have a policy of starting children at school together as a group at the start of each term.

The education system for New Zealand schools is made up of 13 year levels. Primary education starts at Year 1 and goes to Year 8 (around 5–12 years of age). Secondary education goes from Year 9 to Year 13 (around 13–17 years of age).

Learn more about the primary and secondary sectors on
Education in New Zealand launch

Key information for primary and secondary teachers

Understanding our culture

New Zealand is home to many cultures, including Pacific, Asian, European and Māori. Being a teacher in New Zealand means you are likely to experience all or many of these cultures and having a basic understanding of them will help you settle into your role.

Contact us

If you have any questions, we’re here to help.    


Freephone (NZ only): 0800 165 225

International callers: +64 4 463-8602