Ministry of Education (New Zealand)

Last updated

Ministry of Education
Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga
Agency overview
Preceding agency
Jurisdiction New Zealand
Headquarters33 Bowen St,
Annual budgetTotal budgets for 2019/20 [1]
Vote Education
Vote Tertiary Education
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Iona Holsted,
    Chief Executive and Secretary for Education
Child agencies

The Ministry of Education (Māori: Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga) is the public service department of New Zealand charged with overseeing the New Zealand education system.


The Ministry was formed in 1989 when the former, all-encompassing Department of Education was broken up into six separate agencies.


The Ministry was established as a result of the Picot task force set up by the Labour government in July 1987 to review the New Zealand education system. The members were Brian Picot, a businessman, Peter Ramsay, an associate professor of education at the University of Waikato, Margaret Rosemergy, a senior lecturer at the Wellington College of Education, Whetumarama Wereta, a social researcher at the Department of Maori Affairs and Colin Wise, another businessman. [2] The task force was assisted by staff from the Treasury and the State Services Commission (SSC), who may have applied pressure on the task force to move towards eventually privatizing education, as had happened with other government services. [3] The mandate was to review management structures and cost-effectiveness, but did not include curriculum, teaching or effectiveness. In nine months the commission received input from over 700 people or organizations. [4]

The Picot task force released its report Administering for Excellence: Effective Administration in Education in May 1988. The report was critical of the Department of Education, which it labelled as inefficient and unresponsive. The task force conceived of the school charter as a contract between school boards, the local community and central authority and the government accepted many of the recommendations subsequently published in their response - Tomorrow's Schools . This recommended a system where each school would be largely independent, governed by a board consisting mainly of parents, although subject to review and inspection by specialized government agencies. Another recommendation was that boards of trustees were made responsible to the Minister of Education, who gained the power to dismiss boards.

The Picot report became the basis for a drawn out process of educational reform in New Zealand starting in 1989. [5] When National was elected in October 1990, it carried out a further series of educational reviews culminating in the publication Education Policy: Investing in People, Our Greatest Asset. This resulted in further modifications to the structure of education reform, and according to one academic, created "a system which is a far cry from the Picot intentions... There has been an ongoing series of changes and reassessments that has caused chaos, confusion and massive insecurity throughout the education sector". [6]


The Ministry's role is to "shape an education system that delivers equitable and excellent outcomes". [7] It is not an education provider. That role is met by licensed early childhood services, individual elected Boards of state schools, the proprietors of State-integrated schools, registered private schools and tertiary education providers. The Ministry has numerous functions - advising government, providing information to the sector, providing learning resources, administering sector regulation and funding, and providing specialist services. The Ministry works with other education agencies including the Education Review Office, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, the Tertiary Education Commission, Education New Zealand, and the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. [8]

Although the Ministry's primary purpose is to in ensuring equitable and excellent outcomes, it is also the mechanism through which the Government of the day implements its education policy. When government changes aspects of its policy on education, the Ministry is responsible for implementing those changes. Sometimes the Ministry ends up in the difficult position of trying to implement politically induced changes in education policy to which teachers, parents, and school boards may be opposed. Changes introduced by the National Government in 2008–2012 are an example. [9]

In order for the Ministry and the wider education sector to perform its role effectively, it is dependent on taxpayer funding provided by Government. When government increases funding or requires financial cutbacks, this also impacts on the ability of the Ministry to fulfil its role. In 2013, the Government provided about $12.2 billion to fund education in New Zealand. [10] By 2021, the Education budget was some $16.3 billion. [11]


The Ministry serves 1 portfolio, 1 minister and 3 associate ministers. [12]

Hon Chris Hipkins Lead Minister (Ministry of Education)
Minister of Education
Hon Jan Tinetti Associate Minister of Education
Hon Kelvin Davis Associate Minister of Education (Māori Education)
Hon Aupito William Sio Associate Minister of Education (Pacific Peoples)

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Foxton, New Zealand</span> Town in Manawatū-Whanganui, New Zealand

Foxton is a town in the Manawatū-Whanganui region of New Zealand - on the lower west coast of the North Island, in the Horowhenua district, 30 km (19 mi) southwest of Palmerston North and just north of Levin. The town is located close to the banks of the Manawatu River. It is situated on State Highway 1, roughly in the middle between Tongariro National Park and Wellington.

A Crown entity is an organisation that forms part of New Zealand's state sector established under the Crown Entities Act 2004, a unique umbrella governance and accountability statute. The Crown Entities Act is based on the corporate model where the governance of the organisation is split from the management of the organisation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Zealand Qualifications Authority</span> Educational authority in New Zealand

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority is the New Zealand government Crown entity tasked with administering educational assessment and qualifications. It was established by the Education Act 1989.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Minister for Māori Development</span> New Zealand minister of the Crown

The Minister for Māori Development is the minister in the New Zealand government with broad responsibility for government policy towards Māori, the first inhabitants of New Zealand. The Minister heads the Te Puni Kōkiri. Between 1947 and 2014 the position was called Minister of Māori Affairs; before that it was known as Minister of Native Affairs. As of November 2020, the Minister for Māori Development is Willie Jackson.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ministry of Health (New Zealand)</span> New Zealand government ministry

The Ministry of Health is the public service department of New Zealand responsible for healthcare in New Zealand. It came into existence in its current form in 1993.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">District health board</span> Defunct health provider in New Zealand

District health boards (DHBs) in New Zealand were organisations established by the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 under the Fifth Labour Government, responsible for ensuring the provision of health and disability services to populations within a defined geographical area. They existed from 1 January 2001, when the Act came into force, to 30 June 2022. Initially there were 21 DHBs, and this was reduced to 20 organisations in 2010: fifteen in the North Island and five in the South Island. DHBs received public funding from the Ministry of Health on behalf of the Crown, based on a formula that took into account the total number, age, socio-economic status and ethnic mix of their population. DHBs were governed by boards, which were partially elected and partially appointed by the minister of Health.

The New Zealand Department of Education was, prior to 1989, the public service department of the New Zealand Government that was responsible for pre-tertiary education.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of education in New Zealand</span> Aspect of history

The development of state education in New Zealand has been shaped by social and political interactions between Māori as tangata whenua of the land, missionaries, settlers, voluntary organisations and those charged with consolidating central state control. While the initiatives and systems were driven by colonial ambitions to protect and civilise the indigenous people through assimilation, and install a model of education based on European concepts of the purposes and delivery of learning, there have been times when Māori actively engaged with the process to retain their traditional knowledge and language. Examples of this were Māori participation in the early missions schools, contestation and resistance against many processes of Native schools and the establishment of Kura Kaupapa Māori. Following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, New Zealand became a British Crown Colony, and by 1852 the state of New Zealand had assumed a full legislative role in education. A series of acts of parliament have attempted to resolve differences between competing interests as the country faced social, cultural and economic challenges. This has continued, arguably, as a desire for democratic and progressive education and the creation and ongoing reform of an education system that aims to reduce inequalities and enable social mobility. As a response to criticism of the education system and the role of the state in managing and delivering equitable learning, there were radical reforms in the late 1980s. These changes resulted in the establishment of self-managing schools and a decentralization of the system, with the Department of Education being replaced by the Ministry of Education whose role has been to implement government reforms. Some of these, in governance models for schools, assessment and reporting, class sizes, payroll, school closures and building maintenance, have been controversial.

Inland Revenue or Inland Revenue Department is the public service department of New Zealand charged with advising the government on tax policy, collecting and disbursing payments for social support programmes, and collecting tax.

Whetumarama Wereta is a Māori political scientist and statistician from Lower Hutt, New Zealand. She belongs to the Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui iwis. Wereta has served as the Mäori representative on several government commissions or committees on the electoral system, education and justice.

Te Puni Kōkiri is the principal policy advisor of the Government of New Zealand on Māori wellbeing and development. Te Puni Kōkiri was established under the Māori Development Act 1991 with responsibilities to promote Māori achievement in education, training and employment, health, and economic development; and monitor the provision of government services to Māori. The Māori name means "a group moving forward together".

The Ministry for Women is the public service department of New Zealand charged with advising the government on policies and issues affecting women. It was formerly called the Ministry for Women's Affairs (MWA), but it was announced that the name would be changed to Ministry for Women in December 2014. The minister in charge of the department is the Minister for Women, currently Jan Tinetti.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Institute of Environmental Science and Research</span>

The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) is a New Zealand Crown Research Institute (CRI). Its purpose is to deliver scientific and research services to the public health, food safety, security and justice systems, and the environmental sector to improve the safety of, and contribute to the economic, environmental and social well-being of people and communities in New Zealand.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Healthcare in New Zealand</span> Overview of the healthcare system in New Zealand

The healthcare system of New Zealand has undergone significant changes throughout the past several decades. From an essentially fully public system based on the Social Security Act 1938, reforms have introduced market and health insurance elements primarily since the 1980s, creating a mixed public-private system for delivering healthcare.

The Picot task force was set up by the New Zealand government in July 1987 to review the school system. The mandate was to review management structures and cost-effectiveness, but did not include curriculum, teaching or effectiveness.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Local government in New Zealand</span>

New Zealand has a unitary system of government in which the authority of the central government defines sub-national entities. Local government in New Zealand has only the powers conferred upon it by the New Zealand Parliament. In general, local authorities are responsible for enabling democratic local decision-making and promoting the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of their communities, as well as more specific functions for which they have delegated authority.

Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand is a public health agency established by the New Zealand Government to replace the country's 20 district health boards (DHBs) on 1 July 2022. Health NZ will work alongside the Māori Health Authority (MHA) and Public Health Agency to manage the provision of healthcare services in New Zealand. Its chief executive Margie Apa was appointed in December 2021.

Te Aka Whai Ora – the Māori Health Authority (MHA) is an independent New Zealand government statutory entity tasked with managing Māori health policies, services, and outcomes. The Health Authority will work alongside the Ministry of Health and the public health agency Health New Zealand, the latter of which will replace the 20 existing district health boards (DHB). On 20 December 2021, Riana Manuel was selected to be the Chief Executive of the agency, which would be a permanent agency on 1 July 2022.

Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People is a government ministry within New Zealand's Ministry of Social Development. Its mission is to improve outcomes for disabled people in New Zealand, reform the wider disability system, and coordinate the Government's disability policies. Whaikaha formally came into existence on 1 July 2022.


  1. "Total Appropriations for Each Vote". Budget 2019. The Treasury. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  2. Fiske & Ladd 2000, pp. 48.
  3. Roger Dale and Joce Jesson (1993). "Mainstreaming Education: The Role of the State Services Commission" (PDF). New Zealand Annual Review of Education, 7, 7-34. Retrieved 13 December 2010.[ permanent dead link ]
  4. Levin 2001, pp. 44.
  5. Levin 2001, pp. 45.
  6. The Myth of Partnership: Educational Reform and Teacher Disempowerment
  7. [ bare URL PDF ]
  8. [ bare URL PDF ]
  9. [ bare URL PDF ]
  10. Teachers want Government to 'come clean'
  11. "Hey big spending: The Budget in five charts". 20 May 2021.
  12. "Our Ministers". Ministry of Education. April 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2020.


Coordinates: 41°16′32″S174°46′44″E / 41.275615°S 174.778782°E / -41.275615; 174.778782