Northland teachers and principals have started their day of striking by picketing at intersections around the region.

Educators lined main roads holding signs like "Can you read this? You're welcome", "Think we can't wait this out? We have bladders too", and "This wouldn't happen at Hogwarts".

Whangārei teachers striking at the Kensington intersection. Photo / Tania Whyte
Whangārei teachers striking at the Kensington intersection. Photo / Tania Whyte

Joseph Tobin, who teachers years 4, 5 and 6 at Hora Hora Primary School, has been teaching for four years and said he was striking because education was not valued.

"We're losing existing teachers but not getting new teachers."

Advertisement

Tobin and his colleagues have been picketing at the intersection in Maunu this morning.

Joseph Tobin, who teachers years 4, 5 and 6 at Hora Hora Primary School, said he was striking because education was not valued. Photo / Tania Whyte
Joseph Tobin, who teachers years 4, 5 and 6 at Hora Hora Primary School, said he was striking because education was not valued. Photo / Tania Whyte

He said it had been brilliant hearing the toots of support from the public.

"It's encouraging and it feels like we're doing the right thing and that the public backs us."

Tobin has had jobs in farming and pest control which earned him more money than teaching, but he said there was "no question" teaching was the most stressful.

READ MORE: Day of disruption as teachers walk out on 773,000 children

More than 2000 teachers are expected to be striking in Northland today.

At 11am today in Whangārei teachers will gather at Mander Park before marching at 12pm through Central Ave, Water St, Bank St, Cameron St, Walton St, Dent St, Lower Dent St and finishing at Hihiaua Park for a rally from 1pm to 1.30pm.

Meanwhile, in Kaitaia the march starts from 12pm at Jaycee Park and will head through town to the old Pak'nSave car park for a rally.

Advertisement

The strike comes after members of education unions NZEI Te Riu Roa - which represents primary school teachers and principals - and the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) - which represents secondary principals and teachers - voted in favour of taking joint strike action.

Bridget O'Rourke, Whangārei Girls' High School PPTA branch chair, said she was striking so students had access to quality teachers. Photo / Mikaela Collins
Bridget O'Rourke, Whangārei Girls' High School PPTA branch chair, said she was striking so students had access to quality teachers. Photo / Mikaela Collins

Bridget O'Rourke, Whangārei Girls' High School PPTA branch chair, said she was striking so students had access to quality teachers and to address the crisis in education.

"I'm proud of everyone coming down today. I'm striking because I'm sick of seeing education in crisis. We've got teachers leaving, teachers not coping, people who could come in to education are not coming into it. People are fed up so we really need to make this united stand,' she said

Kerikeri Primary School staff make their feelings known at the Countdown roundabout during the country's biggest ever teachers' strike. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Kerikeri Primary School staff make their feelings known at the Countdown roundabout during the country's biggest ever teachers' strike. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Meanwhile, in Kerikeri, more than 30 teachers, parents and pupils — mostly from Riverview School and Bay of Islands International Academy at Te Tii — staged a protest at the Heritage Bypass roundabout from 8am.

At the other end of town about 40 teachers and supporters from Kerikeri High and Kerikeri Primary schools made their feelings known at the Countdown roundabout with placards such as ''Over worked, under paid'' and ''It's not about $, it's about the kids'', while many motorists tooted in support.

The teachers plan to resume their protests at 3pm.

Teachers march through Whangārei. Photo / Tania Whyte
Teachers march through Whangārei. Photo / Tania Whyte

THE MARCH

What seemed like an endless stream of Northland teachers have marched through Whangārei.

About 2000 teachers, principals and supporters gathered at Whangārei's Mander Park at 11am. What started out as a crowd of hundreds quickly grew to thousands.

A karakia was said, and a waiata was sang before the march began at 12pm.

The line of teachers marching through the city of Whangārei seemed never ending. By the time the teachers at the end reached the intersection at Bank St, the front of the march was not in sight.

Signs were plastered with messages like "The 90s called, they want their salary back" and "WTF Chris - Where's The Funding?"

Members of the public who were in the CBD stopped to cheer for the teachers. There were even groups who had stationed themselves at different points along the march route to stand in solidarity with teachers.

The crowd arrived at Hihiaua Park at the Town Basin around 12.30pm where they stopped to listen to speeches.