A short guide to education and schools in the Whangarei District

Local's Tips

BABY SITTERS & CHILDMINDERS must be 14-years of age or older to have legal charge of your children. Babysitters will often be referred by friends and family or from within your community neighbourhood. ALWAYS ask for a reference.

The education system in New Zealand is largely paid for by central government Our schools provide academic, cultural and skills based learning and, technology is an integral component in the classroom. All children and students are encouraged to participate in sporting activities and our schools have excellent facilities, including comfortable green spaces, well stocked libraries, gymnasiums, and many have swimming pools.

The school year runs from January to December and is divided into four terms. The longest break happens over summer, beginning in December with school restarting in February. 

All children must be enrolled in school by the time they are 6 years old, although most start soon after their 5th birthday. Primary Schools cater for children from Year 1 up to Year 6, with most children attending an Intermediate School for Years 7 and 8. Rural schools can have classes that teach from primary to secondary students.

All Primary and Intermediate Schools are co-educational i.e. teaching both girls and boys. Secondary schools cater for children from Year 9 to Year 13. Students may then attend university or other tertiary establishments.

State Schools are funded by the Government however some private or State Integrated schools are partially or completely privately funded, and may have religious affiliations.

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

There are many early childhood options for your child and each type has its own way of working with children and their parents.

Kindergarten
Children are supervised by qualified teachers and half-day sessions are held for different age groups, starting from age 3 and going to 5 years old. There may be a small charge to attend. Find more information at the Northland Free Kindergarten Association.

Day Care Centres
Most Whangarei suburbs and communities offer privately owned day care facilities for your child. There are charges for day care, but a tax rebate may be available. Contact the IRD for further information on tax rebates.

Playcentre
Playcentres are run by parents and their philosophy is all around the importance of parents as educators of their own children. For more information visit the  Northland Playcentre Association.

Te Kohanga Reo
Te Kohanga Reo are total immersion preschools, where Te Reo Maori or the Maori language is the only language spoken, for children aged up to 6 years. Te Kohanga Reo was first established in 1982 to promote, support and encourage the retention and growth of Te Reo Maori or the Maori language, recognising that quality of learning and development of mokopuna (children) comes from the collective strength of the whānau (extended family). For further information, visit Te Kohanga Reo or phone the local Trust on 09 435 9090.

Home Based Childcare Services
As the name suggests, this service is based in the caregiver’s home. Caregivers may be qualified teachers. Some providers include  PORSE , Barnardos and BJs Homebased Childcare.

PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Whangarei ihas some great urban and rural primary schools that offer your child the best start to their education. These schools are often also the heart of their local communities. You will find a database of all Whangarei schools at Te Kite Iperangi.

After-school care
After-school care is available at some schools and with some private providers. Talk directly to the school your child attends for options.

INTERMEDIATE SCHOOLS

These schools provide Year 7 and Year 8 classes and offer core subjects and a wide range of specialist technical classes. The three located within the city boundaries are:

SECONDARY SCHOOLS

Secondary schools in Whangarei City offer a wide range of subjects and good sporting facilities.

Other secondary schools in the District can be found here.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

The government provides funding for Special Education services and support for children with special education needs. Special education teachers and aides are available in schools throughout Whangarei District. Extra help, adapted programmes, learning environments, or specialised equipment or materials to support students is provided. For more information, take a look at the Ministry of Education Te Takuhu o te Matauranga.

Blomfield Special School provides holistic education, care requirements and specialist service needs for students, 5 - 21 years old, who have intellectual disabilities and/or related physical challenges.

TERTIARY INSTITUTES

NorthTec and The University of Auckland Faculty of Education (Tai Tokerau Campus) run full degree courses in Whangarei. NorthTec offers a wide range of vocational subjects up to a Diploma level. It provides industry-focused education with flexible learning options. The University of Auckland offers a range of education / teacher training.

Te Wananga o Aotearoa is one of New Zealand's largest tertiary education providers and is guided by Māori principles and values. A comprehensive range of certificate to degree qualifications is offered including courses in small business, computing, social work, teaching, Māori performing arts and te reo Māori.  to New Zealanders of all ages and walks of life.

DISTANCE LEARNING

Study from home through distance or correspondence learning, generally with online courses, is available through the Open Polytechnic and Massey University.

COMMUNITY EDUCATION

Community Education offers a range of short courses on a variety of subjects in a fun environment. The classes usually run in the evenings and are available to adults.