teach in New Zealand

Teach in New Zealand

New Zealand is a popular teach abroad destination for teachers seeking an exciting career opportunity to be a part of one of the world’s top education systems.

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Living in New Zealand

New Zealand is a country of stunning natural beauty and unique cultures, combining a population of mainly European descent with the indigenous Maori people. The country’s natural beauty and spectacular scenery attracts tourists and expats from all over the world and the nation’s friendly locals welcome newcomers with open arms.

Teaching in New Zealand

New Zealand offers an excellent education system, priding themselves for being among the top 20 countries in the world for their quality of education (according to the 2015 BBC UK Global School Rankings). While the demand for primary and secondary teachers and early childhood educators is high, it can be difficult for overseas trained teachers to secure a teaching position in the country unless you have training that’s listed on Immigration New Zealand’s skills shortage list AND the hiring body can show that it was unable to recruit a suitable New Zealand teacher. Schools and early childhood services in New Zealand are responsible for hiring their own staff. Since there is no central staffing agency or government department responsible for teacher recruitment, you must apply directly to school or institution you wish to work for. It is advised that teachers visit online teacher job boards to find and apply for teaching opportunities in New Zealand.
teaching in New Zealand

Types of Teaching Opportunities in New Zealand

The number of school teachers leaving their profession is at its lowest point in 10 years, as is the number of teaching vacancies, reducing the number of positions available for teachers looking for work. This can present some challenges to overseas trained teachers hoping to take their career to New Zealand, but that isn’t to say that there are no teaching opportunities whatsoever. Teachers who do secure a teaching job in New Zealand will need to prove their English language proficiency and have their qualifications assessed by the New Zealand Qualification for the purposes of teacher registration and starting salary. Teachers will also be required to provide a police clearance check from their home country.
teaching in New Zealand

Schools in New Zealand

There are three types of schools in New Zealand - state schools, “state integrated schools” and private schools. State schools are public schools, funded by the government, and educate the vast majority of New Zealand children (85!). These schools are free to attend, but parents may be asked for a contribution to help cover costs of activities outside of the core curriculum. “State integrated” schools are former private schools that have now integrated into the state education. These schools may be run by a particular religious faith (for example, Catholic schools) or use specialist education methods such as a Montessori school. Just over 10% of New Zealand children are enrolled in state integrated schools. Finally, private schools account for just under 5% of the student population in New Zealand, and students must pay tuition to attend.

teaching in New Zealand

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Qualifications for Teaching in New Zealand

Teachers must have a Bachelor degree and some form of tertiary degree (for example, a state or provincial issued teaching license) to be considered for teaching positions in New Zealand. Teachers will need to have their education and teaching qualifications assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and also gain registration through the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. In addition, teachers must provide a police clearance check in order to secure a teaching job.
teaching in New Zealand

Typical School Day

A typical school day in New Zealand usually starts at 9am and runs until 3-3:30pm, including two recess breaks and a lunch break throughout the day. There are four school terms in the year, with a two week break between each term and a 6-week summer holiday.

Visa Requirements for Teaching in New Zealand

There are two ways to obtain a working visa to teach in New Zealand. Depending on your qualifications, you may qualify for a working visa in which you will secure a teaching job before your arrival and your school will sponsor your visa. This may be pose a challenge, as the school needs to be able to prove to Immigration that they were unable to fill the vacancy with a New Zealand teacher. Typically, this type of work visa will be limited to teachers whose skills and training are listed on the Immigration New Zealand skills shortage list. On the other hand, many teachers qualify for a working holiday visa and begin their job search after receiving their visa and arriving to the country. In order to apply for a working holiday visa, you must:

  • Be a citizen of a country which has a working holiday agreement with New Zealand
  • Meet Working Holiday basic requirements, such as age, health and character prerequisites
  • Meet specific criteria based on the applicant's country of origin, including the length of stay and available funds
  • Have not qualified under the Working Holiday Visa Scheme before.
teach in New Zealand

TEFL Certification

Teaching opportunities for ESL teachers exist in large cities where the immigrant and refugee population is higher than the rest of the country. Teachers should hold a TEFL certification to qualify for ESL teaching positions in New Zealand, and Teach Away recommends the online TEFL certificate offered by the University of Toronto.

teach in new zealand

New Zealand at a Glance

Country Information

Capital - Wellington

Language - English, Māori, New Zealand Sign Language

Population - 4.5 million

Currency - New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

Government - Unitary state, Constitutional monarchy, Parliamentary system

Major Religion - Christianity

Climate - Temperate

Quick Facts
  • The Kiwi is a flightless bird, native to and the national symbol of New Zealand. Kiwi is also the nickname used to refer to people from New Zealand.
  • New Zealand is actually made up of two main islands, as well as a number of smaller islands.
  • New Zealand is part of the Zealandia continent, of which 93% is submerged in water.
  • New Zealand was undiscovered and completely devoid of human beings no more than 800 years ago.
  • New Zealand is considered the least corrupt country in the world, tied with Denmark.