Skip to main content
article icon

Teaching in New Zealand

Career | Published 19 March, 2012

New Zealand is a favourite destination for UK teachers lured by an attractive lifestyle and relatively easy cultural transition. However be prepared for an onerous application process

New Zealand has fewer visa options than Australia and the emigration process can be challenging and long. The New Zealand Immigration Service typically takes around 50,000 new migrants each year, and historically most migrants need a job offer first.

The bad news for teachers is that 2011 secondary and early years teacher roles were both removed from the long term skill shortage list. Employers can still recruit migrants in these roles but they will need to demonstrate they first made a genuine attempt to recruit suitable New Zealand citizens or residents. The Teach New Zealand website has some useful advice on the visa process.

Recent feedback suggests there’s a particular need for qualified teachers with experience of working with children with learning or behavioural issues. But demand does fluctuate from year to year, so do your research before you decide to relocate.

Qualifications needed to teach in New Zealand

You will have to produce evidence of your teacher education qualification in the form of a degree or diploma – these should be the original documents. For the salary assessment you also need to provide a Statement of Service detailing your previous teaching service. These documents need to be on letterhead from school or teaching authority and need to be signed by a person of authority.

Your qualifications will be assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and you will also have to register with the New Zealand Teachers Council.

Teaching pay and conditions in New Zealand

You’re looking at a starting salary of around $45,000 NZD, which works out at about £23,800. This can progress up to $71,000 (£37,167) after seven years’ service. Teachers are also eligible for additional payments f they take on extra management responsibilities.

You might also be eligible for an International Relocation Grant of between $2,000 to $4,000,  but beware if you don’t complete the minimum period of employment you may have to pay the grant back.  You’ll find more on the grant here.

You should also get overseas teacher time allowance which allows the school to provide you with an induction process. The allowance is eligible for a maximum of 10 weeks from the date employment starts.

The New Zealand school year

Like Australia, the school year starts at the end of January or early February and runs until just before Christmas.

The year consists of four terms with a two week break between each and a longer five or six week break Christmas.

The curriculum in New Zealand

The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) was revised in 2007 and gives schools direction for teaching and learning. It is a framework rather than a detailed plan and schools develop their own curriculum and teaching programmes from it.

You’ll find all the curriculum documents on the New Zealand Curriculum website.

Finding a teaching job in New Zealand

All vacancies are advertised in the official publication The New Zealand Education Gazette but you should also set yourself up with a job alert on the TES so you know when any relevant jobs are advertised in the TES.

For background information on schools visit the Education Review Office website. This organisation reviews all schools and early childhood services in New Zealand – it should give you a good idea of performance.

What it’s really like to teach in New Zealand

Here’s some feedback from the TES Teaching Overseas forum on what it’s really like to teach in New Zealand.

Go for it!

“It took me exactly one year from sending off for my transcripts and confirmation of teaching experience to arriving here ready to work (and that was with a six week delay with medical issues).  But it has been so worth it - I wouldn’t change any of the hassle for anything.  If you’re not too choosy about where you teach, getting a job is very straightforward, especially if you’re prepared to teach in a rural or socially deprived area.”

Prioritise paperwork

“I would recommend that you get your paperwork together for New Zealand Qualifications Authority and get that done before you do your ‘expression of interest’ (EOI) application as it takes ages. Otherwise, if your EOI is selected from the pool, you have a limited amount of time to get the rest of your paperwork done.”

Time the medical

“Having a medical is mandatory and costly – up to £500 - and has to be done at your own expense. Beware! The medical expires after three months, so has to be carefully timed to be one of the last pieces of the visa process. Waiting times for medicals vary on where you live in the UK, too, so you might want to consider going to one of the medical centres, recommended on the NZ immigration website, which does the necessary x-rays.“

Where to job hunt

“The NZ equivalent of the TES is the Education Gazette – and carries majority of jobs advertised.  You apply straight to the schools - or you can go through an agency.  I applied for three jobs - was offered three interviews - and got the first interview I had - a telephone interview.  I am teaching in South Auckland - in a decile 1 school – in a very social and economically poor catchment area.  Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but there are loads of jobs - especially if you are an experienced teacher.”


Keep hold of transcripts and certified copies

“You’ll need documentation from all previous employers, for the Salary Assessment stage. Newly arrived teachers are paid the starting salary for a teacher until the Salary Assessment people advise where they should be on the pay scale.” 

Find a teaching job in New Zealand on TES

View all the jobs available in Oceania

Don’t forget to set yourself up with a job alert for your chosen role so you will get the latest Australian jobs emailed direct to your inbox as soon as they become available on TES Jobs. You have to register with TES to set up a job alert but registration is quick and free.


Subscribe to the magazine

5 average rating

Comment (1)

Add your comment

Subscribe to the magazine
Join TES for free now

Join TES for free now

Four great reasons to join today...

1. Be part of the largest network of teachers in the world – over 2m members
2. Download over 600,000 free teaching resources
3. Get a personalized email of the most relevant resources for you delivered to your inbox.
4. Find out first about the latest jobs in education