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. 

Electronic School Board Elections

Changes have been made to the Education (Board Elections) Regulations 2022(external link) to enable electronic voting for school board elections. The regulations set out technical and process standards to ensure electronic school board elections are performed safely and securely, secretly, and in a manner that can be audited and validated by the Ministry of Education.

Where a board decides to use electronic voting processes, paper forms will still be made available to voters who cannot or do not wish to participate electronically.

The regulations set out that accredited providers must be used for parent and staff elections but are not required for student elections.

NZSTA can assist with election advice for Boards that choose not to use electronic voting. Contact NZSTA at

Accreditation scheme 

To support school boards to hold elections electronically, the Ministry set up an accreditation scheme so that school boards can be assured that providers meet the process and technical standards to deliver safe and secure electronic elections.

The criteria which the providers are assessed against covers:

  • ensuring protection of personal information in line with the Privacy Act 2020, and voters’ private information is protected from typical cyber-security threats
  • that votes are secret, and each voter is not identifiable from their vote
  • that voters can only vote once, and duplicate papers can be identified
  • that electronic platforms are aligned with NZ Government Web Standards and includes accessible formats
  • that systems are auditable, and votes can be validated by the Ministry.

Accredited provider

The following provider has been accredited to provide electronic voting services for the 2022 triennial school board elections.

CES (formerly Canterbury Education Services)

Accreditation for the online voting component only has been granted until 30 June 2023.

For further information, contact CES.

Website: School Board Elections - CES ( link)

Phone: 0800205267


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