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, school simply needs to complete this short online response: Register your school or kura – online form (external link)(external link).

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

Currently schools and kura can order products from Down the Back of the Chair.(external link) 

As part of implementing phase two of the initiative, schools and kura will gradually move to a new ordering system provided by OfficeMax. Each schools and kura will be contacted directly by OfficeMax with details on how to order.

Schools and kura with more than 100 menstruating students that choose to have a dispenser installed will move to the new ordering system during Term 1 and 2. Schools and kura that are not eligible for a dispenser will move to the OfficeMax system from Term 2. Until then, schools should continue to order from Down the Back of the Chair so that students continue to receive products.

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.

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

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

Primary

(Year 1-6)

Intermediate

(Year 7-8)

Secondary

(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

There may be some initial support required from schools as we provide period products eg distributing products to students. As we refine the delivery model to provide a more tailored approach we will work with schools, kura and suppliers on what this will look like and how we can do this with minimum burden for schools.

Young people are often embarrassed to talk to adults so we will work with schools on the best way to deliver products discreetly that minimises interactions with staff, depending on what works best at their school. This may be from a central collection point such as the school office, a teacher, counsellor or other trusted adult. Schools and kura can also order brown paper bags for students to take product home.

Dispensers

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.

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

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 Office Max and Down the Back of the Chair 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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