Media Releases

Kindergarten teachers accept latest collective agreement offer

12 May 2023

Kindergarten teachers have voted to accept their latest collective agreement offer.

The offer sees several significant gains for teachers including sick leave increased to 15 days, a cultural allowance for kaiako Māori, and increases to head teacher professional time.

NZEI Te Riu Roa kindergarten members undertook strike action earlier this year and rejected two previous offers before receiving this improved offer which included substantial change on key claims.

"This was the first strike action that kindergarten teachers have taken in decades. We knew that what we were fighting for was worth it for the wellbeing of kaiako and tamariki,” says kindergarten teacher and negotiating team member Reweti Elliott.

The cultural allowance is the first recognition for kaiako Māori in kindergarten, an allowance that is regularly recognised in primary and secondary schools.

“A dear friend wrote me a whakataukī for the process: ‘Kapohia te toi runga’ which means ‘to strive for excellence in all we do'. It is a big responsibility to hold te reo and tikanga in our kindergartens and support tamariki in that journey. Kaiako Māori can now feel valued and respected in their mahi.”

However Elliott says there is still much more work to be done in the early childhood space and kindergarten teachers are working alongside workers across the ECE sector to push for further change.

“The early childhood sector is in crisis. We will be using the Fair Pay Agreement process to push for change on the many unresolved issues including inadequate ratios, non-contact time and pay for our relievers and head teachers."

Kindergarten members are supportive of their colleagues in primary who have rejected their offer. They will continue to cheer them on as they fight for an offer they too can accept.