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.

Many who emigrate to New Zealand are pleasantly surprised by the things that New Zealanders may take for granted - the education system is largely paid for by the New Zealand 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 makes the most of our fabulous summer, beginning in December and 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 who then may then attend university or other tertiary establishments.

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


There are many early childhood options for your child and each type has its own way of working with children and their parents. There will be somewhere close by that will suit you and your family.

Children are supervised by qualified teachers and run half-day sessions 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 here Northland Free Kindergarten Association.

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

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 is total immersion preschool for children aged up to 6 years, where Te Reo Maori or the Maori language is the only language spoken. 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 care-giver’s home and care-givers may be qualified teachers. Some providers include  PORSE , Barnardos and BJs Homebased Childcare.


Whangarei is well served by great urban and rural primary schools that will give your child the best start into 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.


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:


There are four mainstream secondary schools in Whangarei City, all offering a wide range of subjects and good sporting facilities.


Te Kura Kaupapa Maori is a total immersion school where the only language spoken is Te Reo Māori. There is one kura in Whangarei, called Te Kura Kaupapa Māori O Te Rawhiti Roa, phone 435 4488.


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 is the only school in Whangarei and Northland, which provides holistic education, care requirements and specialist service needs for students, 5 - 21 years old, who have intellectual disabilities and/or related physical challenges.


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.


You can also study from home through distance or correspondence learning, generally with online courses, through the Open Polytechnic and Massey University.


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 aimed at adults.