Understanding the Key Factors Contributing to the Shortage of Teachers in New Zealand

New Zealand enjoys an international status of recognition in education, and teaching is a highly regarded profession that offers numerous teaching career opportunities. However, New Zealand is currently seeing a shortage of teachers, particularly in the Mathematics, Science, Engineering, and Technology fields. The shortage of teachers in New Zealand may also be observed in some particular locations in the country.

The importance of teachers in New Zealand’s education system is indispensable, as they are the promoters of high-class education and cultural diversity. Teachers play an important role in imparting effective lessons to students and helping them realise their full potential. They create a safe and positive learning environment and also provide pastoral support to learners. Inculcating desirable skills, attitudes, and knowledge in learners promotes a sense of lifelong learning and well-being.

The article provides an overview of teaching careers in New Zealand, reasons for the teacher shortage, solutions to address the teacher shortage in New Zealand, career and job prospects for teachers, and the future of teaching in New Zealand.

What Are the Main Causes of the Teacher Shortage in New Zealand?

Although the demand for teachers in New Zealand is immense, the following are the major factors contributing to the teacher shortage in New Zealand:

  • Ageing workforce
  • Low salaries
  • High workload and responsibilities in comparison to pay
  • Competitive job market
  • Restricted access to teachers working in rural/remote areas.
  • Limited career progression opportunities

What is the Outlook for Teaching Careers in New Zealand?

To pursue a teaching profession in New Zealand, you need to complete a teaching degree, such as a bachelor’s or master’s in education, and/or a diploma in teaching. You must also be registered with a regulatory body called the “New Zealand Teachers Council” to teach in New Zealand. The various job opportunities for teachers in New Zealand are as follows: 

  • Teachers for early childhood (0-5 years) education such as play schools, kindergartens, and daycare centres.
  • Teachers for primary education (5-12 years)
  • Teachers for secondary education (13-18 years). This includes specialised subject teachers like those for Mathematics, Zoology, Geography, etc.
  • Teachers for higher education (includes teaching in colleges, universities, polytechnics, etc.) for various specialised disciplines.
  • Teachers for imparting specialised education (includes teaching to differently-abled students).
  • Teachers for management roles (includes headmaster/headmistress, vice principal, principal, academic coordinator, etc.)

What Education and Training Programs Are Available to Address the Teacher Shortage in New Zealand?

You need to obtain a preliminary qualification in teaching and must be registered with the New Zealand Teachers Council to formally engage in teaching activities in New Zealand. As far as the primary qualification is concerned, a Bachelor of Education is essential to teach early childhood, primary, and second-grade students. A graduate or postgraduate diploma in teaching is considered preferable for tertiary-grade teaching.

In addition to this, a wide spectrum of teaching education and training programs in New Zealand motivate aspiring teachers with career opportunities and address challenges associated with the teacher shortage. Here are some of the programs available for the same:

  1. Initial Teacher Education programs are specifically intended for professionals interested in pursuing teaching as a career. The program involves theory as well as practical assignments and assessments that lead to a teaching qualification (e.g. B.Ed.).
  2. TeachNZ Study Awards are intended to provide financial aid to teachers for pursuing higher education (such as a postgraduate degree) in their field of interest.
  3. TeachFirstNZ program is a leadership development program, of duration two years, aiming at recruiting and training graduates to become teachers in schools with a lower decile rating.
  4. Professional learning and development programs provide access to online resources, mentorship, and workshop-related activities, for prospective teachers.

How Can the Education System in New Zealand Attract and Retain More Teachers?

Certain strategies to entice and enhance the retention of teachers in New Zealand are as follows;

  • Increasing the salaries and providing bonuses/incentives
  • Providing professional development opportunities
  • Providing mentorship and support
  • Promoting the essence and importance of teaching-learning
  • Improving work conditions

To address the challenges associated with the teacher shortage in New Zealand, a few solutions to address issues are sought. The government of New Zealand has initiated numerous training and education programs for the professional development of teachers and has made provisions for streamlining the process of recruiting international teachers, including those from India, to work in New Zealand. 

The government of New Zealand has also made provisions to offer decent financial compensation and incentives (e.g., relocation allowance, travel allowance, etc.) to teachers for their services. Despite these measures, the teacher shortage in New Zealand remains a challenge, as these strategies need implementation and monitoring. Offering fellowships and loan forgiveness programs to attract professionals to this pious profession is another way of addressing this challenge.

Future of Teaching in New Zealand

The shortage of learned professionals in teaching occupations is a major driver of the high demand for teachers in New Zealand. Certain key developments and trends that encourage the prospects of teaching in New Zealand include the use of digital technology tools and personalised learning software for learning activities that can accommodate online modes of teaching. 

Modifications in the current education policies also make way for teachers to adapt to newer policies and collaborate with other academic professionals to achieve common objectives. New Zealand’s education policies declare traditional teaching modes redundant and emphasise students’ physical, mental, and social well-being. Thus, the services of teachers as counsellors and psychologists are considered essential.

If you have a knack for teaching and wish to excel at it, ALLEN Career Institute is at your service. We can assist you with all possible immigration and visa formalities required to apply for a teaching profession in New Zealand.

ALLEN Career Institute’s legacy spans over 30 years in the education field, offers the best possible education to students, and helps them achieve their career goals. At ALLEN Career Institute, we offer a complete preparation and assessment package to students preparing for medical and engineering entrances. We believe in ditching the traditional classroom model of teaching and placing an emphasis on 24/7 doubt-solving and online discussion sessions.

Likewise, ALLEN Global Studies Division is a modern online platform for imparting high-quality education to students willing to pursue education in foreign universities such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. We assist you with language proficiency test preparation, tips and tricks for taking interviews and applying for visas, and other related essentials. You will get all recruitment-related formalities sorted under one roof at your convenience. Join us now!


Currently, New Zealand’s education arena observes an enormous shortage of knowledgeable and skilled teachers for varied disciplines. Besides governmental intervention,  there still exists a gap between the demand and availability of teachers in the primary, secondary, and tertiary academic sectors in New Zealand. Hence, a great deal of scope for employability lies in the teaching sector in New Zealand.

Frequently Asked Question

Can an Indian teacher teach in New Zealand?

Yes. An Indian teacher can teach in New Zealand, provided he/she has registered with the New Zealand Education Council.

What is the cost of living in New Zealand?

The average monthly cost of living in New Zealand, for one person, is between NZ$3,000-NZ$4,000.

What is the minimum teacher salary in New Zealand?

The minimum pay for a secondary school teacher lies between $51,000 and $90,000 per annum.

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