Covid-19 and fees-free courses have been credited for the increase.
The new test is considered "gold-standard" and enables women to test themselves.
Needing to buy uniforms, stationery and bags can put pressure on families.
Mya Dickens, 7, is ready for school.
Group urges people to stay home until lack of spread confirmed; ex-MP says action illegal.
There will be precautions in place at the commemorations to keep everyone safe.
Commemoration events in Northland will still go ahead.
Smith accepted the honour on behalf of her team at Ocado.
Around 140,000 students in New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Niue sat exams last year.
The workshop will give youth the chance to try their hand at filmmaking.
NCEA exam results will be available online next week.
Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu said the New Year Honour was humbling.
Kiro's ultimate goal is to ensure every child born in this country is loved and cared for.