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Jan 5, 2020

Teaching In New Zealand

New Zealand offers an excellent work-life balance for qualified and experienced teachers, as Lynda Western explains…

Whether you’re a traveller looking for an adventurous working holiday, or looking to immigrate to New Zealand permanently, New Zealand currently has openings for Early Childhood Education (ECE), Primary and Secondary school teachers.

The implementation of some recent government initiatives means that for many overseas trained teachers it’s now cheaper and more streamlined than ever before to teach in New Zealand.

New Zealand needs more great overseas teachers because projected compulsory sector student numbers will continue to increase over the next 20-30 years; and many teachers are close to retirement age and are considering leaving the workforce.

If you’re interested in a great work-life balance, want to explore our beautiful country where the outdoor recreation is on your doorstep, and immerse yourself in our Kiwi culture and lifestyle, keep reading!


The most in-demand subjects in New Zealand are Secondary Science (chemistry, physics and biology), Mathematics, Technology (hard and resistant materials, DVC (Design and Visual Communication) and graphics, digital media and electronics), English and ICT/Computing.

Primary teachers for daily relief (supply), fixed term and permanent teaching roles are most in demand in Auckland and Wellington.

ECE teachers for daily relief, guaranteed relief, fixed term and permanent teaching roles are also in demand in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, as are Sign Language and Special Education Teachers.


There are four different New Zealand government agencies which each play a role in helping overseas teachers teach in NZ, and you’ll need to apply to either three or four of them directly.

These organisations are the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (to have your offshore qualifications assessed), the Teaching Council (to apply to be a registered teacher in NZ), Education Payroll (to submit a salary assessment once you have a job offer), and

Immigration New Zealand (to secure a visa which entitles you to work in NZ).


The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) now has a list of ‘Pre-Approved Overseas Teaching Qualifications’ which makes life much easier for many to teach in New Zealand.

If your initial teacher education qualification is on this list, and you fulfil the other exempt requirements, you may not need to have your qualifications assessed. If your qualifications are not exempt from assessment, you’ll need to submit an online application form for an International Qualifications Assessment (IQA), and upload the required documentation (all of which needs to be colour photo-copied and scanned).

NZQA will compare the content of your initial teacher education qualification to what is required in New Zealand, and reach one of two outcomes – either that this qualification meets the core knowledge requirements of a New Zealand initial teacher education qualification; or that this qualification does not meet the core knowledge requirements of a New Zealand initial teacher education qualification. The IQA will also tell you the level at which your qualification sits on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

If your qualifications don’t need to be assessed because they’re listed on NZQA’s pre-approved list, you can apply directly to the Teaching Council as a first step.

Download and complete the correct application form (for overseas trained teachers applying to teach in New Zealand for the first time, complete the EC15 form).

The application form contains a completion guide, a checklist, and list of required documentation. They require hard copies of certified copies of most documents. If you follow their step-by-step guide and send all the required documents, you can’t go wrong!


As part of a teacher supply and retention package, there are some initiatives to help streamline the process for overseas teachers coming to teach in New Zealand. It could be quicker and cheaper for you to teach in New Zealand than ever before! You may be eligible for one of the overseas relocation grants, of up to NZ$5,000 (£2,612) for school teachers, or NZ$3,000 for ECE teachers. There are a few conditions for these.


Working with an experienced recruitment consultant means that you’re getting accurate and current information about the teaching job market from the experts!

Our consultants at (EP) know their client schools well; they know what kinds of teachers their schools are looking for and have been successful in their school previously. Additionally, the team have the knowledge and expertise to support the employing schools with some of the required documentation you need for a work visa. EP will work with you, will get to know you and find the ‘best fit’ school for you!

Lynda Western is the Candidate Care Team Leader at EP, a preferred recruitment agency for the Ministry of Education in New Zealand.

Lynda is an experienced and registered teacher with teaching experience both in NZ and overseas, and prior to joining the team at EP three years ago, she worked at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority learning about overseas teaching qualifications.

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