ECAC minutes June 2023

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met from 9am to 3:30pm on 7 June 2023 at Generator Complex, Wellington. 


ECAC members

  • Kelly Seaburg, Advocates for Early Learning Excellence
  • Pauline Winter, Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA)
  • Heather Taylor, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Jenny Te Punga-Jurgens, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Simon Laube, Early Childhood Council
  • Christine Hall, Early Childhood Leadership Group
  • Lee Jones, Early Intervention Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (EIAANZ)
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa New Zealand (MANZ)
  • Allanah Clark, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Tere Gilbert, Ngā Puna Reo o Aotearoa
  • Jill Bond, NZ Kindergartens Inc.
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Lesley Hoskin, Teaching Council of Aotearoa
  • Ann Stewart, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, NZ Correspondence School
  • Cherie Marks, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Catherine Bell (on behalf), Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ.

Ministry of Education

  • Hon. Jo Luxton, Associate Minister of Education
  • Andy Jackson, Hautū – Kaupapahere, Deputy Secretary – Policy
  • Nancy Bell, Hautū, Te Mahau, Te Tai Runga (Chair)
  • Karen Walfisch, General Manager, Design, Te Pae Aronui
  • John Brooker, Group Manager, Education System Policy, Te Pou Kaupapahere
  • Siobhan Murray, Senior Policy Manager, ECE Policy, Te Pou Kaupapahere
  • Elspeth Maxwell, Manager ECE Operational Policy Design, Te Pae Aronui
  • Jane Ewens, Manager, Early Learning, Te Poutāhū
  • Megan Hutchison, Chief Advisor, Early Learning, Te Tai Runga
  • Catherine Wright, Senior Governance Advisor, Service Design Early Learning, Te Pae Aronui (minutes).

Ministry of Education Presenters

  • Rory Sudfelt, Senior Analyst, Evidence, Synthesis & Reporting, Te Pae Aronui
  • Debra Taylor, Manager, Evidence, Synthesis & Reporting, Te Pae Aronui
  • Paul Scholey, Senior Policy Manager, ECE Policy, Te Pou Kaupapahere
  • Andrea Williams, General Manager, Network & Regulatory, Te Pae Aronui
  • Rachael Vink, Chief Advisor, Learning Support, Te Tai Runga
  • Anna Priestley, Manager, National Service Support and Guidance, Learning Support, Te Pae Aronui
  • Claire Winward, Specialist Service Lead, National Service.


  • Fiona Hughes, BestStart
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation (HELO)
  • Nicola Woollaston, Hospital Play Specialists
  • Geena Fagan, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Sam Christians, NZ Home-based Early Childhood Education Association
  • Susan Bailey, Playcentre Aotearoa
  • Karen Affleck, Steiner Education, Aotearoa
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ.

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Nancy Bell

  • Nancy welcomed the group and Jill Bond opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • Minutes were confirmed and apologies were noted. Members introduced themselves and the organisations they represent.

Budget 2023

John Brooker and Siobhan Murray

  • John talked to the PowerPoint that outlined the education initiatives for early learning in this year’s Budget.
  • John and Siobhan answered members’ questions on the package. This included queries about how rate increases were calculated, and how eligibility for Māori and Pacific immersion teacher funding would be assessed.
  • Discussion on the property components of the package led to feedback about the pressure services are under due to property maintenance costs and the sustainability of services with ongoing rising commercial lease costs.

Gazetting the Curriculum Framework

Jane Ewens

  • The full framework of Te Whāriki was Gazetted in April 2023, which includes Part B – Te ao Māori interpretations of the full framework of Te Whāriki and Part C – Te Whāriki a te Kōhanga Reo, to come into effect from 1 May 2024.
  • We are developing guidance to support services in choosing the framework that best aligns with their practice. We are working with Puna reo to co-design and co-deliver PLD for services wanting to implement te ao Māori interpretations.
  • Currently refreshing the Licensing Criteria guidance to align with the full gazetted framework. The draft should be ready for sector consultation in the final quarter of 2023.
  • Members discussed in groups how services could strengthen local curriculum to reflect the full framework of Te Whāriki, and to consider what could be included in future curriculum guidance.

Early Learning Action Plan update

Megan Hutchison

Megan introduced the Early Learning Action Plan dashboard and welcomed the team to give updates on some key areas of progress.

Data and Insights by Rory Sudfelt

  • Rory presented on 3 follow up questions from the March ECAC meeting around the teaching workforce and children who do not attend ECE.

Regulatory Update by Paul Scholey

Paul gave an update on the developments in the regulatory review workstream since March:

  • Work is now complete on gazetting the criteria for Māori immersion services and iwi/Māori organisations excluded from network approval (ELAP 5.1).
  • Minister is seeking to defer regulating for 80% qualified teachers to next term of government; the revised timeframes are to be confirmed (ELAP 3.1).
  • Key priorities for next quarter include a focus on completing changes to regulations that have been consulted on already such as strengthening Person Responsible requirements, other Tranche 2 changes, and amendments to Regulation 33 to clarify existing provisions which support implementation of network management (ELAP 5.1).
  • Currently establishing the advisory panel to support the development of guidance and advice on centre design, wider environmental factors, and group size (ELAP1.3).
  • Work is ongoing to support Māori immersion services and Pacific bilingual/immersion services, including introduction of an immersion teaching allowance for these services in response to sector feedback.
  • There was feedback from members on the Ministry needing to have a strategy and take a more connected approach on planned work like qualification requirements, ratios, group size and funding, rather than considering these in isolation as separate ELAP actions.

Network Management by Andrea Williams

  • Andrea discussed the Early Learning Network Applications for Approval, including the number of applications in progress and the number approved so far.
  • Currently updating guidance for applicants in response to application trends.
  • Feedback from members is that there can be urgency to open a new service when there is a community need, but the process is slowed down due to requirement to go through Network Management process; Ministry is considering best way to manage these situations.

ELAP update by Megan Hutchison

  • Megan summed up the main movements in the ELAP reporting since March and commented on the ELAP data around participation and funding band percentages.
  • There was a request for the Ministry to provide regional and ethnicity breakdowns to understand the full picture of participation.
  • Additional feedback requesting regional breakdown of service closures and waiting list information. The Ministry only asks about waiting lists in the ECE Census, so this is not collected regularly enough to report 3 monthly on the ELAP. However, the number of services opening and closing, and the net effect of this, is analysed to understand provision for tamariki and can be discussed further at the next ECAC meeting in September.
  • It was noted that the dashboard will shortly be re-done to add the 2024 timelines onto page one.

Associate Minister of Education 

Hon. Jo Luxton

  • Nancy welcome Hon. Jo Luxton to her first meeting in her new role as Associate Minister of Education. The Minister gave an introduction and welcomed questions from members.
  • Members discussed various topics with the Minister including Budget 2023, the proposal of 20 Hours ECE extended to 2-year-olds, pay parity and the challenges facing the home-based sector.

Workshop session: Learning Support

Rachael Vink, Jane Ewens, Anna Priestley, Claire Winward

  • The Ministry has moved to an inclusive framework, namely Te Tuapapa o He Pikorua, which sees learning supports as part of day-to-day teaching and learning, removing the limitations of the traditional framework.
  • Te Tuapapa o He Pikorua aligns with Kōwhiti Whakapae which is designed to support kaiako to notice, recognise and respond to learners to enhance the assessment process. The first step involves services setting the environment to allow kaiako to respond to children in ways that scaffold, consolidate and expand their capabilities. This also helps kaiako notice when a child’s learning progress suggests there is a need to respond with adaptive teaching practices or to seek further support.
  • Discussed a partnership approach to providing learning support with the collaboration of kaiako, learning support practitioners and Te Mahau staff to ensure the needs of a range of ākonga are met.
  • Members workshopped some key questions to inform the Ministry’s practice in responding to the needs of services to support ākonga learning.
  • Members gave positive feedback to the shift to the new model but noted the ongoing time constraints as a limiting factor to engaging with new practice. The Ministry discussed building connections across the sector and encouraged members to reach out to their local Te Mahau offices for ongoing collaboration.

Wrap up

Nancy Bell

  • The discussions from the day will be compiled and used to further inform the Ministry’s work.
  • Members expressed their thanks to the ongoing mahi and Nancy thanked members for their engagement and participation throughout the day.

Meeting close

Kathy Wolfe

  • Jill closed the meeting with a karakia.

 Action items



Invite ERO to future ECAC to discuss expectations for services Catherine Wright

6 September 2023 ECAC Meeting

Share Network Management slides post-meeting Catherine Wright Complete
Further discussion on number of centres opening and closing at next ECAC quarterly meeting Nancy Bell 6 September 2023 ECAC Meeting
Send out ‘He Pikorua in Action – Reflective Questions’ to members who request one Catherine Wright Members will contact Catherine

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