Rotorua primary and secondary school teachers are lining the footpaths this morning as part of an unprecedented joint strike.

About 150 chanting teachers are armed with placards on Te Ngae Rd, while about 200 people are protesting on the Old Taupo Rd/Pukuatua St intersection. Cars are tooting as they pass.

Young children are standing with them, holding signs they've made themselves.

Will Cunliffe, 7, is out "supporting mum and dad and supporting teachers".

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Both his parents are teachers and have sacrificed today's income for the strike.

His father, Michael, a teacher at Lynmore School said the lack of resources and long hours meant kids in the classroom as well as at home suffered.

"We're burning the bloody daylight hours, its not fair," he said.

"We can't run schools on aroha alone" read the sign Lynmore principal Lorraine Taylor held.

Teachers are striking in Whakatāne today

More teachers have trickled on the sidewalk of the busy intersection.

Teachers, children and even dogs are bombarded by toots of support.

"We need more teachers!!! Our kids deserve quality education" another sign read.

A motorbike slowly drove past revving along the line of protesters.

Chloe Slater, 9, from Lynmore School supporting the strike. Photo / Ben Fraser
Chloe Slater, 9, from Lynmore School supporting the strike. Photo / Ben Fraser

A reporter at the scene said the toots were deafening, either being held down or beeped several times.

A police van sounded a horn as it drove up to the intersection.

A whistle is being sounded and arms are waving.

Teachers protesting outside Boys' High

Mokoia Intermediate teacher Tracey Low said it was "really heartening to hear all the toots".

She said it showed how many people supported a better education for their children.

"If the Government could hear all the support... and its just a small corner in our town."

About 81 per cent of schools in the Bay of Plenty have shut today for the strike, affecting 55,043 students in the region.

A protester is ready for battle in Rotorua. Photo / Ben Fraser
A protester is ready for battle in Rotorua. Photo / Ben Fraser

At 11.15am the members of the New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) and Post-Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) unions will meet at the Village Green for speeches.

At 12pm they'll march from the Village Green up the sidewalk on Fenton St, turn right on to Amohau St then on to Ranolf St and finish at Kuirau Park.

They are inviting members of the community to join in support.

Upwards of 100 teachers from Edgecumbe and Whakatāne schools were at Whakatāne roundabouts as part of the "mega-strike".

Armed with placards and flags, the teachers and supporters encouraged toots from morning motorists as they drove by.

Following the gathering at the roundabouts, the protesters then gathered outside the Whakatāne District Council building before moving to The Gap on the town's main street.

A spokeswoman from NZEI said about 90 per cent of Whakatāne primary teachers and principals, and area school teachers were NZEI members.

Teachers on strike

Posted by Rotorua Daily Post on Tuesday, 28 May 2019


Earlier in the week NZEI Rotorua branch manager and Mamaku School teacher Joanne Collyer said the strike would be "a very historic moment in the history of education in Aotearoa".

The NZEI strike is about pay and workload with primary teachers wanting to double non-contact time to two hours a week, reduce class sizes and increase resource teachers and a special needs co-ordinator (Senco) in every school.

Sue Stanway (left) and Susan Cantlon protesting on Te Ngae Rd. Photo / Ben Fraser
Sue Stanway (left) and Susan Cantlon protesting on Te Ngae Rd. Photo / Ben Fraser

The PPTA wants an extra hour of non-classroom time, increasing that to six hours per week, as well as additional extra non-contact time for middle managers.

The Ministry of Education has offered both unions pay rises of 3 per cent a year for three years, plus an extra step at the top of salary scales that would take the total pay rise for a majority of teachers to 12.6 per cent over three years.

The Government's offer is a $1.2 billion deal over four years.