Early childhood education teachers in Hawke's Bay say the region is staring down the barrel of a "chronic shortage" of qualified staff.

They are part of a nationwide campaign launched by the NZEI teachers union in Napier this week, pleading for a cash injection from the Government to bridge the pay gap between childcare centres, kindergarten, primary and secondary schools.

Kristi Lampitt, a teacher at Colenso Early Childhood Centre, said there was a 55 per cent decrease of people studying early childhood across New Zealand.

"We are staring down the barrel of a chronic shortage of qualified ECE teachers.