Kaiwhakaako Māori teach in te reo Māori at primary and secondary schools.
Kaiwhakaako Māori usually earn
$55K-$103K per year
Source: MoE, 2022-2025.
Pay for kaiwhakaako Māori depends on their qualifications, experience and the type of school they teach at.
- Kaiwhakaako Māori usually earn between $55,000 and $95,000 a year.
- For those working in secondary schools, this will rise to between $61,000 and $103,000 in December 2024.
Kaiwhakaako Māori who meet the criteria receive a Māori Immersion Allowance of $4,000 a year.
Kaiwhakaako Māori may qualify for higher pay and allowances if they have extra responsibilities.
They may earn more at private schools.
Sources: Ministry of Education, 'Māori Immersion Allowance'; 'Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement 2023–2025'; and 'Secondary Teachers' Collective Agreement 2022–2025'.
- Ministry of Education website - collective agreements
- Ministry of Education website - Māori Immersion Allowance
Voluntary bonding scheme in hard-to-staff schools
Kaiwhakaako Māori who work in schools identified as hard to staff may be eligible for an extra $10,500 after three consecutive years of teaching, then $3,500 after the fourth year, and a further $3,500 after the fifth year.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
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.
Skills and knowledge
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.
- 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.
What's the job really like?
Kaiwhakaako Māori video
Rochelle talks about life as a kaiwhakaako Māori – 4.47 mins.
Kei te hiakai tunu koe?
Are you still hungry?
Child: Āe. Yes.
Kei reira he mea anō a Hāneta, he mea anō kei reira.
There’s another one over there Hāneta.
Pūkana ki tō hoa!
Pūkana to your friend!
Ko Rochelle Maraea Pukeke-Pene
My name is Rochelle Maraea Pukeke-Pene.
He uri tēnei nō Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa
I am a descendant of Ngāti Tūwheretoa and Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa.
Ko au te kaiwhakaako Māori i te kura o Ngā Puna Waiora.
I am the teacher in the immersion unit at Newtown School.
Pai rawa atu tēnei mahi.
This work is awesome.
How are you all?
Kei konei te ngenge, kei konei te aha…
We’ve got some tired ones here, some others here…
Kāre e kore he mahi pai tēnei, te whakaako i wā mātou tamariki.
There is no doubt that teaching our Māori children is a fantastic job.
Tahi, rua toru.
One, two, three.
Whā, rima, ono, hī.
Four, five, six.
Ko te tikanga o tēnei mahi te kaiwhakaako Māori i roto i te kura tuatahi ko te whakaako i te reo Māori me ōna tikanga.
The main purpose of my role is to teach Māori language and customs.
Ka tīmata au ki te tāruarua i ngā momo ngohe mahi.
Every day starts with preparation of learning activities.
Ka whakarite au i ngā papamā, ka tuhi au i te wātaka mō te rā.
I prepare the whiteboard, I write up the timetable for the day.
AI te haurua mai i te waru, ka tae mai ngā tamariki ki te kura.
At 8.30, the kids arrive at school.
Mōrena. Waiho tō kōti ki roto rā.
Good morning. Leave your coat in there.
Ka kōrero au ki a rātou mō te hāwhe hāora tēnei, tae atu ki te iwa karaka.
I then talk to the children for half an hour, up till nine o’clock.
Ka noho tātou ki te karakia.
Then we sit together and recite a prayer.
Nō reira, whakapiri o tātou ringaringa.
Let’s put our hands together.
Ko te pū, te more...
The origin, the cause…
Ko te mea nui mō te karakia kia ea tō mātou wairua i roto i tā mātou mahi mō te ako i te mātauranga.
The main purpose of morning prayer is to settle us before we start our learning.
Whai muri i te karakia, ka puta atu tātou mō te whakapakari tinana.
Following prayer, we go outside for physical education.
Ka hoki mai tātou, ka whakarite mō te reo matatini.
Then we go back to start work on literacy.
Ko Melody, tō tino hīkaka ki te hono mai, māu e tīmata i te tuatahi?
Melody, I can see you’re eager to contribute, can you start first?
Melody: Is it to know, like, how much time you get?
Rochelle: Āe, ka pai. Yes, well done.
Ka pānui ngā pukapuka nui, pukapuka iti, he wānanga, he kōrererorero e pā ana ki te kaupapa.
We read large books, small books, we discuss and debate about the subject.
Whai muri i te reo matatini, ko te kai iti.
Following literacy is morning tea.
Rua tekau miniti noa iho tērā, kātahi ka hoki mai ngā tamariki ki roto, ka mahi pāngarau tātou.
That’s just twenty minutes, then the kids come back inside and we do maths.
Hāneta, tuhia te nama tahi ki te tekau, Hāneta.
Hāneta, write the numbers one to ten, Hāneta.
Tata ki te tahi hāora.
That’s for up to one hour.
Ka pai Davie, ka pai Tui, ka pai MK.
Well done Davie, Tui and MK.
Give me five.
Kei a koe te wā ki te hanga tō ake pikitia.
Now it’s your time to draw whatever picture you want.
Kātahi, ko te wā tina.
Then it is lunchtime.
Guys, if you’re eating then sit down and eat.
Now I am on duty and we just walk around and listen to what the kids are doing, and just observe.
That’s fine. Everyone can play the game, okay.
So you just join in and be careful guys.
Child: She even speaks in Māori.
Rochelle: Kātahi ka hoki mai rātou ki roto. Then they all come inside.
Ka tīni ā mātou kaupapa.
Our subjects change all the time.
Tū mai tō ringa mehemea ko Takitimu tō waka.
Put up your hand if Takitimu is your canoe.
Tērā pea kei te whakaako au i te tikanga ā-iwi, te mahi toi, te hākinakina, te ako waiata, te mahi kapa haka.
Maybe we will do social studies, art, sport, learn a song for kapa haka.
Tainui, Te Arawa, Mataatua
Ētahi wā, ka haere au ki ngā hui ā-kaiako. Ka hui tahi mātou e pā ana ki te kaupapa o te kura.
Sometimes I will go to a teachers meeting where we meet to discuss school matters.
Ko ērā te āhua o te rā.
That is how a day looks.
I haere au ki Te Wānanga o te Ūpoko o te Ika i whai au i taku tohu paerua mō te mātauranga Māori.
I went to Victoria University of Wellington where I studied for my Masters in Māori Education.
He wero i puta engari, ko te whiwhinga mōku ka taea e au te whakaako i te matauranga Māori ki wā tātou nei tamariki.
There are many challenges, but what I get out of it is the ability to teach Māori knowledge to our children.
Mēnā, kāore koe i te kōrero e pā ana ki tēnei, kaua e kōrero.
If you are not talking about this, don’t talk.
Mēnā kei kōnei au ki te whakaako i ngā tamariki Māori, kei kōnei au ki te hāpai, ki te akiaki.
If you are here teaching Māori children, you are here to support and encourage them.
We encourage them to be proud to be Māori.
It's cool to be Māori.
Kaua e whakahōhā atu i a rāua.
Don’t interrupt those two.
Kei te mōhio au i ngā uauatanga me ngā wero i roto i tēnei mahi mō te kaiako, engari, mehemea he tangata autaia, he tangata māia hoki koe, kāre e kore, ka puāwai koe i roto i tēnei tūnga.
I know there are many challenges in this job but if you are pretty good and confident, there is no doubt you will flourish in this role.
Nō reira, nau mai ki tēnei ao o te kaiako.
So, welcome to the world of teaching.
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.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Te reo Māori is required, unless you are already a fluent speaker.
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.
Useful experience for kaiwhakaako Māori includes:
- work with Māori
- Māori language courses
- marae work
- work with young people
- work with people with disabilities
- community work.
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.
Find out more about training
- Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand Matatū Aotearoa
- (04) 471 0852 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.teachingcouncil.nz
- 0800 165 225 - email@example.com - www.teachnz.govt.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Demand for kaiwhakaako Māori
There is growing demand for kaiwhakaako Māori in primary and secondary schools, because more students are attending kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori (Māori medium early learning centres and schools).
There is a particular shortage of kaiwhakaako Māori in rural and low socio-economic areas.
As a result two kaiwhakaako Māori roles appear on appears on Immigration New Zealand's Green List:
- Kaiako Kura Kaupapa Māori – Māori-medium Primary School Teacher
- Pouako Kura Kaupapa Māori – Māori-medium Primary School Senior Teacher
This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled kaiwhakaako Māori from overseas to work in New Zealand.
Most kaiwhakaako Māori work at state schools
State schools are the biggest employers of kaiwhakaako Māori. Kaiwhakaako also work at private and state-integrated schools, such as Catholic schools.
- Education Gazette, vol 99, no 2, 31 July 2020, 'Refreshed Māori Education Strategies Launched', (www.gazette.education.govt.nz).
- Immigration New Zealand, Transport Sector Agreement Finalised and Green List Changes Confirmed, 26 April 2023, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Ministry of Education, '2020 TeachNZ Scholarship Guide', accessed August 2020, (www.teachnz.govt.nz).
- TeachNZ website, accessed August 2020, (www.teachnz.govt.nz).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
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.
Last updated 15 August 2023