A nationwide teachers strike will affect Rotorua schools and parents next month, with local educators describing the move as disruptive but necessary.

Primary teachers and principals around the country have voted to strike for half a day on August 15, and Rotorua teachers will be among them.

The strike announcement follows more than 100 meetings around the country co-ordinated by New Zealand's largest education union, New Zealand Education Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI).

At the meetings, attendees voted whether to accepted the Ministry of Education's pay offer or reject it and strike. The Rotorua meeting was held on June 28.


Principals and teachers asked for more time to teach and lead, more support for children with additional learning needs and better pay to help address the teacher shortage.

Teachers and principals will strike from 1.30pm to 4.30pm on August 15.

Rotorua Principals' Association president and Rotokawa School principal Briar Stewart said teachers were aware the strike would be disruptive but they needed to send a message.

"Teachers are very aware it will be disruptive for families and children at a local level. However teachers are pretty insulted by what's come back in negotiations."

Rotokawa School principal and Rotorua Principals' Association president Briar Stewart. Photo / File
Rotokawa School principal and Rotorua Principals' Association president Briar Stewart. Photo / File

Stewart said locally, teachers believed the strike needed to be from 9am onwards but the three-hour work stoppage had been agreed on.

"There are some realities that need to hit home at a government level around understanding the challenges for teachers.

"The three hours is what's been agreed to, however I know in Rotorua the teachers were adamant it needed to be a full day for it to have any kind of impact."

Stewart said the strike would be called off if the Ministry of Education came back with a better offer addressing workload, remuneration, recruitment and retention.


"It would have to be fairly significant. The teachers are unhappy so there would have to be a significant shift."

She said parents would have to make their own arrangements for their children on the day of the strike.

"A strike is a strike. It does fall on the parents to make arrangements and teachers are uncomfortable with that. Children are the heart of what we do so it's massive to make this kind of decision.

"Our parents have been so supportive of the teachers and what's going on."

Stewart called the situation dire.

Ministry of Education deputy secretary early learning and student achievement Ellen MacGregor-Reid said it was disappointing NZEI members had rejected the offer.

"The offer ... would see the beginner teacher rate increase to $50,280 a year, rising to $55,030 in 2020.

"The offer would also see ... the starting base remuneration of a principal of a school of 50 or fewer students increase to $92,873 in 2020.

"The ministry's negotiations with NZEI will continue over the coming weeks.

"We are disappointed escalated strike action is being discussed while negotiations are ongoing."

Horohoro School principal Eden Chapman hoped the Government came back with a better offer so the strike wouldn't go ahead.

"Principals and teachers don't want to strike because of the disruption it causes," Chapman said.

Horohoro School principal Eden Chapman. Photo / File
Horohoro School principal Eden Chapman. Photo / File

"We are facing a real crisis.

"What we're asking for is about fixing a broken system to have a positive effect on education for kids."

NZEI's lead negotiator for teachers, Liam Rutherford, said the current crisis would become a disaster if the Government did not get serious about the issues facing the profession.

The offer
- Pay rate for trained teachers to increase by between 6.1 and 14.7 per cent over three years.
- Cumulative increase of 14.7 per cent for graduates with a teaching degree ($47,980 to $55,030) over three years and a 14.2 per cent cumulative increase for graduates with a subject degree and graduate teaching diploma ($49,588 to $56,638) over three years.
- Base salary rates increase over three years.
- Classroom release time increased from 10 to 12 hours per term.
- Principals' pay increase by 6 to 11 per cent.