Board elections

Information and links to resources and funding for board member elections.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Proprietors
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Teachers
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau

This guidance helps boards understand how their election cycle works. Boards can also access elections funding information including how to receive and claim Ministry support. 

Triennial elections

State and state-integrated school/kura elect their parent and staff representatives to their board every three years, called triennial elections. 

Mid-term elections

Boards can also choose to have a an election cycle for parent representatives which allows some of its parent representatives to be elected at a mid-term election. This is 18 months after the triennial election. The remainder of parent representatives are elected at the triennial elections.

For example, a board can have three of its five parent representatives elected at the triennial election, with the remaining two representatives elected at the mid-term elections.

If your board opts in to mid-term elections, please let the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) know, so that you will receive funding and updates for mid-term elections.

Email the Ministry



A by-election may need to be held if a vacancy for a parent, staff or student representative arises on the board. 

Student elections

For schools/kura with students in Year 9 or above, student elections take place in September each year. 

Election planning

The Education (Board Elections) Regulations 2000(external link) set out the timeline that an election must follow. The New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) have resources to help plan an election.

See NZSTA’s School Trustee Elections site.(external link)

Election extensions

If, for any reason, the board is unable to run the election according to the timeline, the election period may be extended. If you require an election extension, please contact your local Ministry office

Election validations and invalidations

If the Ministry of Education is alerted to possible irregularities within an election process, we are required to gather more information to understand what has happened.

The Ministry will review the process to determine whether there has been an irregularity in the process, and if so, whether that irregularity could have materially affected the outcome of the election. Following this, the election may be validated, or invalidated and a new election may need to be conducted. 

If you are aware of any issues relating to the election process at a school or kura, please notify the Ministry of Education as soon as possible. Elections can only be declared invalid within 60 days of the election, and by notice in the New Zealand Gazette. 

Board elections funding 

We provide funding to schools for running elections. Mid-term and triennial election funding is provided through the operational grant instalment. By-election funding must be claimed directly from us by schools.

Read more at our Board elections funding page. 

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