Kaiwhakaako Māori Kaiwhakaako Māori

Kaiwhakaako Māori teach in te reo Māori at primary and secondary schools.

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First-year kaiwhakaako Māori must become provisionally registered with the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand Matatū Aotearoa and gain full registration after two years' satisfactory work as a teacher. On becoming fully registered, teachers are issued with a practising certificate, renewable every three years.

Kaiwhakaako Māori may do some or all of the following:

  • plan, prepare and teach programmes for primary or secondary students
  • set and mark assignments and tests
  • assess students' work
  • record children's progress and write reports
  • help children develop social skills and behaviours
  • meet with parents, whānau or caregivers
  • attend departmental and staff meetings
  • take part in or organise extracurricular activities such as sport, camps or drama
  • keep up to date with curriculum changes and assessment methods
  • maintain regular contact with local iwi, marae and community groups.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for kaiwhakaako Māori includes:

  • work with Māori
  • Māori language courses
  • marae work
  • work with young people
  • counselling
  • work with people with disabilities
  • community work.

Personal Qualities

Kaiwhakaako Māori need to be:

  • skilled at communicating with students and adults from a range of backgrounds
  • organised and good at solving problems
  • friendly, supportive, and good at listening
  • positive, enthusiastic and able to motivate children
  • creative, adaptable and resourceful.


Kaiwhakaako Māori need to have:

  • knowledge of Māori language and culture
  • teaching skills, and knowledge of different teaching methods and learning styles
  • up-to-date knowledge of the curriculum
  • assessment and planning skills
  • classroom management skills, including an understanding of behaviour management.


Kaiwhakaako Māori:

  • work regular school hours, but often work additional hours to plan lessons, assess work or attend meetings
  • may be involved in extracurricular activities during lunchtimes, weekends and school holidays or after school
  • work in offices, classrooms and marae, and sometimes at locations such as school camps 
  • may travel nationally to attend conferences and courses.

Kaiwhakaako Māoris can earn around $48K-$80K per year.

Pay for kaiwhakaako Māori varies depending on qualifications, experience and the type of school they teach at.

  • New kaiwhakaako Māori in primary schools usually earn between $48,000 and $52,000 per year.
  • Kaiwhakaako Māori in primary schools with more than two years' experience can earn $52,000 to $80,000.
  • New kaiwhakaako Māori in secondary schools usually start on about $52,000.
  • Kaiwhakaako Māori in secondary schools with more than two years' experience usually earn between $58,000 and $80,000.

Kaiwhakaako Māori may earn more at private and independent schools, and if they take on management roles.

Sources: NZEI Te Riu Roa, 'Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement, 2019–2022', 2019; and PPTA Te Wehengarua, 'Secondary Teachers' Collective Agreement, 2019–2022', 2019.

Kaiwhakaako Māori may progress to become senior teachers or heads of department, or move into management roles, such as assistant or deputy principal, or principal.

Kaiwhakaako Māori may also progress to jobs in areas such as:

  • teaching trainee teachers in tertiary institutions
  • research and policy
  • businesses such as publishing, writing and professional development training.

Years Of Training

3-4 years of training required.

Entry requirements for kaiwhakaako Māori vary depending on the type and level of school.

For primary teaching at kura kaupapa Māori (Māori medium schools)

You need to be fluent in te reo Māori, and have one of the following:

  • a three-year Bachelor of Education (Teaching) or equivalent
  • a degree plus a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching
  • a four-year conjoint degree that combines study in teaching subjects with teacher training.

For secondary teaching of te reo Māori at English medium schools

You need one of the following:

  • a degree in Māori followed by a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary)
  • a combined Māori degree and secondary teaching qualification.

For secondary teaching at Māori medium or bilingual schools

You need to be fluent in te reo Māori, and have one of the following:

  • a specialist subject degree followed by a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary)
  • a combined specialist subject degree and secondary teaching qualification.


You need to be registered with the Teaching Council of New Zealand Matatū Aotearoa.

Targeted scholarships for kaiwhakaako Māori

Scholarships are offered by the Government to encourage people to:

  • train as teachers of te reo Māori at secondary school level
  • train as Māori medium teachers.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with children.

Kaiwhakaako Māori