Only two new charter schools, one in Hamilton and one in Napier, have been approved to open in 2017, adding to the eight already operating.
Education Under-Secretary and Act leader David Seymour said only two were chosen from 26 applicants, both of which would have a special Maori character.
But he knew of several that would be applying again in 2017 for 2018 openings.
Quality was more important that quantity, he said.
The two new schools are
• Hamilton - Te Kōpuku High: a co-educational composite secondary school for years 7 to 13. It will have a late immersion kaupapa Māori special character, and will target Māori students. Sponsored by Kia Ata Mai Educational Trust. Opening roll of 90 with a maximum of 300 by 2021.
• Napier - Te Aratika Academy: a single sex (male) senior secondary school for years 11 to 13. It will have a vocationally-focused kaupapa Māori special character, and will target male Māori students. Sponsored by Te Aratika Charitable Trust. An opening roll of 67, with a maximum of 200 by 2019.
An application by John Tamihere on behalf of Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust in West Auckland broke down near the end of negotiations, partly over whether the trust should have the status of a Treaty of Waitangi partner.
Seymour told reporters at Parliament that sponsors of Partnership Schools, the official name for charter schools, were "some of the most heroic people" he had ever known.
They had set up schools in some of the shortest time frames and aimed to raise achievement for students who were not engaged in the state system.
"Vanguard Military School has taken on 60 kids who previously were not attending any school whatsoever when they came to Vanguard."
Most schools had had positive results, some within their first year.
But they had also found themselves "the constant focus of relentlessly negative attacks" from other sectors of the education system who seemed to believe that the education system was funded for them, rather than for kids.
"I don't think it is entirely fair that our Partnership school sponsors have had to be their own PR agents while also setting up schools in quite heroic and successful ways but nevertheless that is part of the reality they face."
Te Aratika Trust is a new charitable trust formed by Te Aratika Drilling, a civil construction firm across the North Island.
Ronnie Rochel, the director of the company, said that since 1998 she had been working and mentoring young men.
"I am passionate about providing a platform for change," she said.
She saw many young boys come in to apply for jobs and although they had been through the school system, they were were not employment-ready.
Cath Rau for Kia Ata Mai Educational Trust said Te Kopuku High would be the first partnership school in Hamilton.
The trust was both the sponsor and deliverer of the curriculum. The trust had for the past 20 years supported kohanga reo and kura wharekura.
"We saw an opportunity through the partnership school initiative to use the cumulative knowledge and experience that we have gained in the Maori medium pipeline and provide an educational opportunity for Maori students in Hamilton who have not yet had the opportunity to learn te reo Maori or to learn in a kaupapa Maori context."
She said the Partnership school would give the trust a lot more control than it had before.