Please note: New Zealand Now content reflects pre-COVID-19 conditions and outlook. For COVID-19 related updates to visa and border requirements, click here.
Enjoy the professional challenges of world ranked education system, combined with a lifestyle you won’t find elsewhere.
Imagine a place where you can work to the highest professional standards, then in half an hour or less be relaxing on a beach, hiking through beautiful native bush, pounding down a mountain bike track or just chilling with friends in your back garden over a fine New Zealand wine. That’s what you can look forward to when you bring your skills to New Zealand.
Living life to the full - Joy's story of teaching in New Zealand
The one thing I knew, I definitely wasn't in England was when we saw ... Wild dolphins!
Hi there - I'm Joy Yallop, from the UK, and I've moved to Auckland and I'm now working at Avondale College.
I decided to move to New Zealand once I met my husband. When I first met him we both said what we wanted to do in life, and we both wanted to move abroad.
When we started looking into it, it was Australia or New Zealand, but moving to New Zealand, there's no animals that want to eat you ... - so that was a massive bonus.
You only live life once, so we're just going to do it! and if it didn't work out then you know, what's the worst that can happen? We could - we would go back home.
I did the SKIT teacher training course, so that's teaching in classroom, full-time really? Then the NZQA said they didn't recognize it, so I was really heartbroken - but, on the website there was a discretionary pathway where you could apply. You had to provide a lot more evidence and then it come back and I was approved, and I was on the teaching Council. So there still is hope - if I can do it, then everyone else who has done my qualification can do it.
I really enjoy it here in New Zealand and at this school, this is the only school I've worked at - Avondale College - it's huge! I've never worked in such a big school in my life.
I only know like a hundred and twenty out of two thousand eight hundred ... but with my classes I can build good relationships with them, and I feel like they really appreciate you.
I met Joy in London last year. I was interested in her CV, and I was interested in persona, but what really sold me was when she started talking about students - and she lit up.
And that was the bit that where I was sold because I thought, "You bring that to the classroom, and the students are going to be fascinated and engaged in what you're doing
and the results will come."
So when we come here, we obviously didn't want to buy because housing prices are very very expensive here. So we're renting a place at the moment. We're staying in a suburb, um - Kingsland - which is a great area near the city, but also a great location to get to work every day, and I get the train.
Me and James, I feel like we're, we're keeping more fit now because we are walking, we're doing loads of treks, and then if the weather's nice, we'll normally like go for a walk on a beach somewhere, try to go somewhere new.
But you know, we've come here for that better way of life that lifestyle, and now that we've been here nearly a year I am so grateful and I really, really appreciate everything that we've done and knowing that my family has been so supportive every step of the way. That's been a great help.
If you've never traveled before - like myself, I haven't emigrated especially to the other side of the world, Although you might be really anxious in moving ... You just need to do it.
New Zealand offers an excellent education system to work in.
It is well supported. Among OECD countries, New Zealand has been spending one of the highest proportions of its gross domestic product (GDP) on primary to tertiary educational institutions.
Education here is very focused on preparing young people for tomorrow’s world. We ranked third overall out of 50 leading countries in The Economist’s 2019 Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI). We top-scored for measures such as gender equality, civic freedom, and diversity and tolerance; and ranked fifth for our focus on critical thinking, digital skills and soft skills.
Three of our universities are in the top 300 of the 2021 World University Rankings — six are in the top 500.
You’ll be working in an education sector that is admired internationally.
HSBC’s 2020 Expat Explorer survey described the quality of education here as ‘excellent’. Respondents rated our schooling ahead of that available in Australia, Canada, the UK or the US. We’re considered among the world’s main ‘host nations’ for international students, a standing that at its peak made education our fourth biggest export earner.
If you want to teach in early childhood services or a school in New Zealand, there is a process to follow that involves four different NZ government agencies.
New Zealand has for many years faced a shortage of teachers at all levels. Foreign-trained teachers have been a key part of government efforts to close the gaps.
In the immediate future, increased retention, growing numbers in training plus more New Zealand-trained teachers returning have all combined to alleviate pressures. This is particularly so at primary levels, although pressure on the supply of secondary school teachers is expected to continue.
However, the official Skills Shortages lists still feature roles for educators at every level.
Check your eligibility
If you are an educator interested in coming to New Zealand, start by visiting the Ministry of Education hub for an overview of the process
Their site helps you work out whether you are eligible to teach in New Zealand. It then outlines the recommended route through the process, including what documentation you will need to source.
Up to four New Zealand government agencies may be involved: New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Education Council (registration), Education Payroll, and Immigration New Zealand. It’s a very thorough process and you will need to allow time to work through all the steps.
Be aware that, if you’re an overseas trained teacher, you will need to be extremely competent in both written and spoken English.
If your job is on one of the official Skills Shortages lists, it is good news for you. That is because it means the Government accepts employers need to recruit from overseas because there aren’t enough New Zealanders qualified for the role.
As at early 2021, education jobs on the Skills Shortage lists include:
Early childhood (Pre-Primary School) teacher
Primary School Teacher
Secondary School Teacher
If your job is not on a shortage list, don’t be disheartened. There are other work and visa options.
For example, If you can get a job offer and your employer can demonstrate they can’t find a New Zealander for the vacancy, then you may be able to apply for a work visa.
Alternatively, you may be able to apply for a resident visa if you meet the criteria for our Skilled Migrant Category.
There are various types of visas that you may be eligible to apply for. Work visas are for a temporary stay in New Zealand, but some can lead to residence. Resident visas, such as the Skilled Migrant Category, allow you to stay indefinitely and enjoy more of our state-funded public services.