State school property management

Learn about your obligations for managing school property and access the property occupancy document, which outlines your school board's specific legal responsibilities.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Principals and tumuaki
  • Property manager

Our role and responsibilities

We are responsible to the Government for making sure that you:

  • care for school property
  • follow Government and Ministry spending rules when using your property funding
  • spend your funding in a way that will get the best educational outcomes for your school.

We do this by:

  • developing policies and procedures so you can meet all legal requirements and Ministry standards for school property
  • allocating property funding through various funding programmes so you can build and maintain school property
  • providing information and advice about how to manage school property using this website as your main resource
  • supporting you when property at your school is affected by disasters or other problems
  • monitoring your compliance so we can assure Government that you're using the funding well and caring for property at your school.

Your role and responsibilities

We notify you, the board of a state schools, of your responsibilities for managing school property in a property occupancy document (POD).

To manage property at your school, you must:

  • maintain your school property
  • upgrade and modernise your school buildings
  • plan for whether you will need new capital works at your school (such as new buildings and services).

The board's responsibilities are to:

  • make sure your school charter outlines how your school property will contribute to raising student achievement
  • make sure property work that you commission complies with all legal and Ministry requirements. Part of your role is to hire the right people, like project managers and contractors, to do your property work. You should make sure that the people you hire meet all legal and Ministry requirements, have an appropriate level of skill for the job, and are working in a healthy and safe environment
  • develop a 10 Year Property Plan (10YPP) to plan for the right amount of space and to care for school property so that your school provides the best learning environment
  • manage capital building projects, meeting the Ministry’s project management requirements
  • oversee your school’s day-to-day maintenance to keep it in good order and repair.

10 Year Property Plan

Project management

The property occupancy document

The standard property occupancy document (POD) helps you understand your role and manage property at your school effectively. It lists your obligations for managing school property.

The POD is like a lease, with the Ministry as landlord and boards as tenants. It is a legally binding document, so when a board is elected, it is effectively agreeing to the terms and conditions in the POD.

To learn more about how to comply with it, you need to be familiar with the rest of our guidance on property and school transport.

Property and school transport

The POD is not negotiable

The POD is generally not negotiable. This is because we expect a certain standard for each school’s property management. It also reflects all current Ministry and legal requirements.

You do not need to sign the POD because it is not an individual negotiable contract. It continues to apply to your school even when new board members are elected.

Legal process for the POD

Section 161, Education and Training Act 2020 gives the Secretary for Education authority to notify the POD. That is, when we publish a notice in the New Zealand Gazette, all state school boards are notified of, and must comply with, the POD.

Section 161 Education and Training Act 2020 – NZ Legislation(external link)

The New Zealand Gazette is the official publication of the New Zealand Government. It is used to notify official business.

Whenever any changes are made to the standard POD, the Ministry re-notifies the POD in the New Zealand Gazette.

New Zealand Gazette website(external link)

Most recent update

The POD was last updated and notified in 2022.

Board responsibilities under the POD – New Zealand Gazette(external link)

Having individualised PODs in unique contexts

If your school has unique or different requirements, you may need an individualised POD. For example, a school on leased land will have different requirements in relation to the land.

If you need an individualised POD, we will send it to you in a letter. This letter amounts to ‘notification’ under section 161 of the Education and Training Act 2020. Individual PODs are not published in the New Zealand Gazette.

Signing a memorandum of acknowledgement

We ask the board of each new or merging school to sign an acknowledgement of the POD. By signing you're showing you're aware that the POD is the basis of your school occupancy. Even if you don’t sign the memorandum, the POD still applies.

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