Ikura | Manaakitia te whare tangata: Period products in schools information for schools and kura

The page includes information for schools and kura opting-in to Ikura | Manaakitia te whare tangata.

Opting-in to Ikura | Manaakitia te whare tangata - Period products in schools

According to the Youth19 survey fact sheet, approximately one in 12 students reported having missed school due to lack of access to period products.

Students can miss out on learning, sporting and cultural activities, and feel embarrassed and ashamed if they can’t access products to manage their periods. This negatively impacts their achievement and wellbeing.

The Ikura | Manaakitia te whare tangata initiative is available to all state and state-integrated schools and kura in New Zealand. Research shows that the average age young people start menstruating is decreasing. As a result, access to period products is needed in primary and intermediate as well as secondary schools.

Initial feedback indicates that access to period products is already a concern for a number of schools. Some are already providing products to students through charitable providers or by using their own resources. There are also schools where a need may not be so obvious, for example, a boys’ school that joins with another school for classes or across year groups and includes ākonga of more than one gender.

Taking part in the initiative is not compulsory. Schools and kura are best placed to understand local needs and can decide if it is in their best interests to opt-in to receive period products. We would expect school boards to be involved in decisions to opt-in.

Any state or state-integrated school or kura in New Zealand can choose to opt-in to receive free products for all students.

To opt-in to the initiative, please email AccessToPeriodProducts@education.govt.nz with your school details.

Access to free period products: information fact sheet for schools and kura (English) [PDF, 74 KB] 

Access to free period products: information fact sheet for schools and kura (Te Reo Māori) [PDF, 73 KB]

Memorandum of Understanding

Schools and kura opting-in to the Ikura initiative are asked to enter a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement which sets out how we will work with schools and kura and what we expect schools and kura to do to ensure the success of the Ikura initiative. As part of the MoU schools and kura agree to:

  • encourage students to take products
  • make sure enough product is ordered so that students can
    • take home products to manage their whole cycle, and
    • have products available on-site in case they are caught unprepared
  • manage how products are distributed to students and make sure access is easy and discreet
  • manage replenishing dispensers, including the labour cost of doing so (eg this could be arranged via the school’s cleaning contract or managed by staff).

Ordering products

Schools and kura can order products through their Ikura OfficeMax account by entering their account details into the website(external link), once they have opted into the program.

To opt-in, please contact the Ikura inbox,   AccessToPeriodProducts@education.govt.nz

For ordering support please reach out and we will get you in touch with your OfficeMax account manager. 

Transcript - How to order period products for your school or kura

Audio Visual
OfficeMax is proud to be the distribution partner and ordering support for this important initiative. This short video guide will help get you started with ordering period products from OfficeMax Title page with Ikura logo.
Title reads ‘How to order period products for your school or kura’.
Subtitle reads ‘A Ministry of Education run initiative’.
Body reads ‘Providing barrier-free access to period products, to support the wellbeing of our ākonga’.
First, you will need to access the OfficeMax website at www.officemax.co.nz(external link) View of OfficeMax Home Page
To access your Ikura account, you will need to click Login/Register Cursor moves over ‘Login/Register’ button to right hand side of screen
Enter your username and password, then click login A pop-up screen shows a username and password field and a ‘login’ button.
An email address is entered in the username field, then a password, before the login button is selected
If you are new to ordering from OfficeMax online, then you will have received an email containing your username and password. If you have not received this email, please get in touch with your OfficeMax Account Manager or email ikura@officemax.co.nz. The webpage displays ‘Select your account’ and there are two account options to select from
If you already use the OfficeMax website, then you will need to ensure you select the dedicated Ikura account. This is identifiable by the word Ikura, followed by your school name  The cursor hovers over the account that has the word Ikura in the account name
All products available as part of the initiative will be found on the home page The website shows the landing page with an Ikura banner, and all the Ikura products in a grid view
If you are unsure how much product to order for your students, then click See Allocations on the Ikura banner  Cursor moves over the ‘See Allocations’ button on the Ikura branded banner
Please note there is enough product available to cover every student’s full menstruation, and the Ministry of Education encourage students, to take enough product home to manage this.  The webpage displays text and a table with suggested ordering guidance, based on the number of students enrolled
To order period products, simple scroll to the product you wish to order  The webpage returns to the landing page and the cursor scrolls down to the the Ikura products in a grid view
adjust the product quantity  The cursor hovers over a product, then clicks the ‘+’ button twice to adjust the quantity to 2
and click add to cart  The cursor then moves to the right and hovers over the ‘Add to Cart’ button
When you're ready to check out, hover over the green cart symbol, and click Checkout  The cursor moves to the top right of the screen, and hovers over a green button with a shopping cart icon. An orange button that says ‘Checkout’ appears below the green cart button. The cursor hovers over the button.
From the Shopping Cart screen, you will have the opportunity to review the items that you've ordered, and the quantity, before clicking Continue to Checkout  The webpage displays the shopping cart. The page starts to scroll, where all the items in the shopping cart are visible. At the bottom of the webpage on the right-hand side, there is a green button ‘Continue to Checkout’. The cursor hovers over the green button.
A pop up will appear to remind you that you will not be charged or receive an invoice for period products ordered  A pop up window appears over the shopping cart page. The pop up window says ‘Important Information’ and the body text reads the same as the voice-over.
Click confirm, and then Continue to Checkout  The cursor selects a check box in the pop up window that says ‘I confirm that I have read and understood’, then the cursor hovers over the green button ‘Continue to Checkout’
You will need to review the delivery details  The webpage displays the delivery details. The delivery address fields are pre-populated and greyed out.
You will be required to enter a customer reference, usually your name.  The words ‘Enter Name Here’ are typed in the ‘Customer Reference’ field
Your school address will automatically populate, but if there are specific delivery instructions, then you can enter this The cursor hovers over the free text field for delivery instructions
Then click Continue to Payment The webpage scrolls down and at the bottom of the webpage on the right-hand side, there is a green button ‘Continue to Payment’. The cursor hovers over the green button.
In the payment screen, as there are no charges, scroll down and click Place Order on Account, to complete your order, and send for processing The webpage displays the payment screen. The webpage scrolls down and at the bottom of the webpage on the left-hand side, there is a green button ‘Place Order on Account’. The cursor hovers over the green button.
For further information in regards to the initiative, Please contact your OfficeMax Account Manager, or visit the Ministry of Education website Title page with Ikura logo.
Title reads ‘For further information’
Body reads ‘Please contact your OfficeMax Account Manager or Visit the Ministry of Education website www.education.govt.nz and search ‘Ikura FAQ’.

Available products

Regular and super pads and tampons are available. These products are easy to use and appropriate for a broad range of students’ age, developmental, and cultural needs in a schooling context. We are also exploring making other products available, such as panty liners. Long term availability of these new products will depend on uptake from students.

Brown paper bags are also available to support students to discretely access and take-home product.

At this stage applicator tampons are not available to order through the initiative. Research on what students prefer and how they use products has informed what products are have been chosen, are easy to use and appropriate for students.

As this initiative develops, we will explore more how we can support the use of sustainable products, such as reusable menstrual cups and period underwear alongside educating students around these products. Whilst other reusable products can provide a longer-term more environmentally friendly option, they are not always suitable for the age range and cultural diversity of young people in schools. Some young people can find it challenging to use these at school and are uncomfortable carrying used products in their schoolbags.

Non-branded products will be available from Term 4, 2022. This change will remove the day-to-day influence and perceived value of branded product on students and their families, and normalise period products as a necessity. No other changes have been made to the products provided by the initiative.

We will continue to seek feedback from schools, kura and students and reassess the product range if needed.

Reusable Products Trial

The Ministry will be trialling reusable period products in seven schools during Term 1 and 2, 2023.  This is in response to students requesting reusable options. The products that will be available for the trial include period underwear and menstrual cups. An external evaluator will report back on various aspects of the trial, with outcomes helping to inform future policy decisions. The evaluation is expected to be finalised by the end of 2023.

Posters to support the initiative are available in Te Reo Māori and English.

Ikura Reusable Trial Poster - Te Reo Māori [PDF, 180 KB]

Ikura Reusable Trial Poster - English [PDF, 180 KB](external link)

To further support in the use and care of the products, the following resources have been created. Resources are available in Te Reo Māori and English.

Ikura Reusable Trial Product Brochure - Te Reo Māori [PDF, 928 KB]

Ikura Reusable Trial Product Brochure - English [PDF, 794 KB]

How much product to order

Schools and kura are encouraged to provide enough product so that students can take it home and safely manage their full cycle.

Each school or kura can order up to a maximum allocation based on their school roll. Product allocations are based on the average number of menstruating students in each school, calculated as follows: 

  • 6.3% of female students from Year 1 – 6  
  • 49% of female students from Year 7 – 8 
  • 100% of female students from Year 9 – 15 . 

The initiative allows for 20 individual pads or tampons per student, per monthly cycle. This works out as about two packs of pads or three packs of tampons, per student, per month. Product allocation is for ten months per year.

Based on this we have developed the below ordering guidance. When ordering products schools should consider storage they have available, and remember that they are able to order product as often as needed.

Initial ordering guidance for one month*

No. of students


(Year 1-6)


(Year 7-8)


(Year 9-13)

50 female students

8 packs

61 packs

125 packs

200 female students

32 packs

245 packs

500 packs

500 female students

79 packs

613 packs

1250 packs

1,000 female students

158 packs

1225 packs

2500 packs

*This ordering guidance reflects the number of female students and estimated menstruators on the school roll. However, it is important to consider students from the LGBTQI+ community who may also require period products. 

Managing access to products in schools

When thinking about where ākonga can access products, the more options the better. This may be from the school office, bathrooms, a teacher, counsellor,  accessible storage cupboards or any other safe communal space where ākonga can discreetly access products without having to ask. We would also encourage ākonga to take product home with them during school term and school holidays to cover their full menstrual cycle.

We often hear feedback from schools and kura about what they are doing to support ākonga to access ikura (period) products. We have developed a guide with ideas on how you can make products accessible for ākonga – Making Ikura Products Accessible for Ākonga PDF [PDF, 506 KB]


Schools and kura with more than 100 menstruating students can also choose to have dispensers installed on site, such is bathrooms, so that students can access products if they are caught unprepared.

Eligible schools and kura will be contacted directly by OfficeMax to arrange installation. It is expected that all schools and kura who want and are eligible for dispensers will have them installed by the end of Term 2.

Dispensers are allocated at one dispenser unit per 100 menstruating students. The location and number of dispensers installed may vary depending on bathroom locations and the number of students who need products. Schools and kura are encouraged to work with OfficeMax to identify the number of dispensers and most suitable locations where students can easily access products discreetly. 

Schools and kura are responsible for ordering products and restocking dispensers. This is set out in their Memorandum of Understanding.

If a dispenser is damaged, please contact OfficeMax to arrange a replacement.

Some schools and kura may already have dispensers and do not require a new one. We encourage these schools to opt-in to the Ikura initiative and order products to restock their existing dispensers.  

We may also be able to provide a dispenser to schools with a small number of menstruating students depending on their situation and what is available from the supplier. Please contact the team at AccessToPeriodProducts@education.govt.nz

Sanitary bins

Sanitary bins should be available close by. Schools and kura are responsible for the day-to-day management of the initiative including appropriate sanitary disposal. This is set out in the Memorandum of Understanding.


Ikura Comic Series - Te Reo Māori [PDF, 18 MB]

Ikura Comic Series - English [PDF, 18 MB]

This is a series of resources to support pre and early menstruators, and their peers, to learn about ikura (periods), and how the Ikura initiative can support ākonga by providing period products in schools.

This resource has five comics, along with supporting information aimed at young people. Younger children may benefit from reading this resource with an adult to support.

Whānau Resource - Te Reo Māori [PDF, 5.5 MB]

Whānau Resource - English [PDF, 5.6 MB]

This resource has been created to support whānau when having conversations with young people about ikura (periods). They have been designed to complement the comic resources above, but can also be used on its own. 

Schools can order printed copies of these resources through their OfficeMax(external link) account.

We are interested in hearing your feedback on this resource. Please provide any feedback via AccessToPeriodProducts@education.govt.nz

Information for parents and whānau

We have developed information for schools and kura to share with parents and whānau. This information covers the range or products available and how schools might distribute these products to students.

Download information for parents and whānau-English [PDF, 45 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau-Te Reo Māori [PDF, 40 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau -Fijian [PDF, 42 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau -Kiribati [PDF, 36 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau-Samoan [PDF, 36 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau-Tokelauan [PDF, 36 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau-Tongan [PDF, 43 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau-Tuvaluan [PDF, 41 KB]


Posters are available to promote access to period products in schools and kura. These are available in te reo Māori, English and Pacific languages.

Access to period products poster-English [PDF, 76 KB]

Access to period products poster-Te Reo Māori [PDF, 59 KB]

Access to period products poster-Fijian [PDF, 51 KB]

Access to period products poster-Kiribati [PDF, 49 KB]

Access to period products poster-Niuean [PDF, 50 KB]

Access to period products poster-Rotuman [PDF, 55 KB]

Access to period products poster-Samoan [PDF, 49 KB]

Access to period products poster-Tokelauan [PDF, 51 KB]

Access to period products poster-Tongan [PDF, 52 KB]

Access to period products poster-Tuvaluan [PDF, 50 KB]

Further educational posters are available through the OfficeMax ordering systems. These cover topics students have identified as important, including what is normal and what menstruation means for different cultures.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please get in touch with your Education Advisor or email accesstoperiodproducts@education.govt.nz.

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