National | Kaiako

'This is a big moment': New Kōhanga Reo pay scale promises significant pay rises

Source / File

Some 2000 kōhanga reo staff are expected to receive a significant pay rise as the result of the introduction of a new pay scale.

Most kaiako will see an average increase in pay of around 35 per cent, Associate Minister of Education (Māori) Kelvin Davis said Wednesday in a press release.

Under the new rates a full-time kaiako will start on $59,358. Previously, the average pay for a kaiako at a kōhanga reo was $44,000.

"This is a big moment. For decades now kōhanga reo kaiako have been paid significantly less than their counterparts and this fixes that," Davis told 1News.

"Previously each whānau in each kōhanga reo determined what the pay rates were for their kaiako so now with the pay scale it's easier for kaiako to see the progressions they'll make over a number of years."

The new pay rates will help kōhanga kaiako and kaiawhina (support staff) to cope with the cost of living pressures, Davis said, and extend to kōhanga reo staff working as kaiako (including those currently without Tohu Whakapakari – the main qualification for kaiako), kaiako matua (senior teachers), kaiawhina (supporting kaiako) and kaiwhakarite (support staff).

"This represents one of the most significant boosts to kōhanga reo since the movement began in 1982 and I know it will have a huge impact for almost all kaimahi."

An additional $76 million over five years is being allocated to improving pay as part of the Crown’s response to findings by the Waitangi Tribunal around the financial stability of the kōhanga movement.

About a third of the country's 460 kōhanga reo have so far signed up for the new pay framework, with the total expected to climb to 380 by later in the year.

"It's early days; as the Kōhanga Reo National Trust goes around the country and talks to each of the whānau I'm sure that everybody will see the benefits," Davis told 1News.