New campaign to attract te reo Māori teachers

A new te reo Māori advertisement on TV this week aims to grow the number of additional teachers New Zealand needs, with real stories about what motivates teachers and gives meaning to their work.

In what is a fitting tribute to Te Wiki o te Reo Māori | Māori Language Week, this commercial is one of the first to be aired on mainstream TV entirely in te reo Māori, without subtitles.

Ministry of Education Associate Deputy Secretary Pauline Cleaver says the Ministry has taken this approach to underline the importance of our Māori language.

“We really need great teachers to help reach the Government’s goal of ensuring our education workforce can use te reo Māori correctly everyday,” she says.

“We now have almost 200,000 students throughout the country learning te reo Māori, with schools increasing access to the subject, and some colleges making it compulsory in the first year. We need more great te reo teachers to meet this demand,” she says.

The story is part of our “become a teacher” campaign capturing everyday experiences teachers share with their students, which impart life skills, such as kindness, self-confidence, and resilience - along with academic learning.

The te reo Māori commercial follows a class of students whose favourite teacher is moving to another kura. To show their appreciation and respect, they arrange a surprise and take the school bus to the new kura on her first day. As she is being welcomed, the surprise is revealed when her father calls on her old students - who perform the haka and appeal to her new kura to look after their taonga (treasure).

“We know good teachers make a huge difference to a child’s learning, and the work they do is so very valuable. This campaign aims to share with New Zealanders what motivates teachers and why they are proud to teach,” Ms Cleaver says.

To assist in increasing the number of teachers of te reo Māori, and other areas where there is a shortage - such as in the subjects of mathematics, science and the technologies - the Ministry has a range of initiatives.

These include:

  • TeachNZ Scholarships and Study Awards. Course fees have been paid for almost 80 career changing trainees to study an approved Māori-medium teacher education qualification this year – with full-time students also receiving an allowance of $30,000 for each year of study. This includes 65 Career Changer trainees at primary level and 14 at secondary level. 
  • More than 70 scholarships have also been awarded for new Maori-medium trainee teachers at primary and secondary level this year – with the package covering course fees and an allowance of $10,000 over the period of full-time study.
  • A further 30 Kupe Scholarships for Maori and Pasifika High Achievers have also been awarded this year – for applicants that have completed at least one full year of an approved teaching qualification. 
  • The results of a pilot programme to help retention rates of Maori-medium teachers are currently being evaluated. 
  • Funding has been made available for a total 1000 teacher education refresher places - to remove cost barriers so trained teachers can return to the classroom faster. 
  • A Voluntary Bonding Scheme has been expanded to encourage new teachers to work in decile 2 and 3 Auckland schools, and nationwide in identified subjects and Māori Medium Kura. A total 300 teachers who started their role in 2018 were eligible for the expanded scheme.

To find out more about the campaign and view the TV ads:

For more information email



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