The Education and Training Bill: Te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Education and Training Bill aims to give all learners a more high-quality, culturally responsive, seamless and inclusive education, from early learning, through schooling, and into tertiary education, vocational training and employment. The Bill is not yet law.


The Bill is the biggest rewrite of education legislation in decades. Much of its content gives effect to the Government’s plans to transform the education system, following the Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation and the Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce report.

The Bill incorporates and replaces the Education Acts of 1964 and 1989, and also incorporates the Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Act and the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill which is currently before Parliament.

The Bill has been referred to the Education and Workforce Committee for public submissions. These close on 14 February 2020.

Education and Workforce Committee – NZ Parliament (external link)

Proposed changes

As a partner to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Crown has a duty to actively promote and protect Tiriti rights and to develop education settings in a way that reflects Māori-Crown relationships.

The Education and Training Bill includes a new clause that sets out the key Te Tiriti o Waitangi-related provisions in one place. Currently, there is no such clause in the Education Act 1989.

Giving better effect to the Treaty of Waitangi at the national level (external link)

Statement of expectations

To address education agencies’ obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Bill allows  the Ministers of Education and Māori-Crown relations: Te Arawhiti, after consultation with Māori, to issue a statement specifying what education agencies must do to give effect to the Public Service Bill expectations that relate to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The intention of the statement is to provide greater specificity around what those education agencies must do to be Tiriti compliant.

School boards to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Bill proposes that one of the primary objectives for Boards of Trustees will be to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi by:

  • working to ensure their plans, policies and local curriculum reflect local tikanga Māori, mātauranga Māori and te ao Māori
  • taking all reasonable steps to make instruction available in tikanga Māori and te reo Māori and
  • achieving equitable outcomes for Māori students.

This objective is intended to take effect on 1 January 2021 to give schools more time to prepare to implement it.

School boards to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (external link)

Supporting Te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Government has agreed to establish a new Education Service Agency (ESA) as a part of a redesigned Education Ministry. The primary purpose of the ESA will be to deliver more responsive, accessible and integrated local support to meet the educational needs of learners/ākonga, parents, families and whānau, and educators and school leaders. 

The ESA is part of the Government’s response to feedback, from participants in the Korero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, and the report of the Tomorrow’s Schools taskforce, on what needs to change in education.

Full report: Supporting all schools to succeed: Reform of Tomorrow’s Schools system (external link)   [PDF 2MB]

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