Kua Tae Te Wa - It's Time

Aug. 15, 2018, 6:30 p.m.

Teachers, principles & whānau of the Far North gathered in the town of Kaitaia to march and participate in the first national primary schools teacher strike since 1994.

Rally organiser Justine Gambel says “It was really important that our town done this because 24 years ago they bused down to Whangarei but I want us to do it in our community” Gambel goes on to say “Parents, children our whānau are here so it was important that it was done here”

Thousands rallied up and down the country to send a strong message to the Government that it’s time to address the major issues impacting on the primary education sector. The New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) members are focusing on four main issues:

  1. Teacher shortage crisis

  2. Time and workload

  3. Salary/ remuneration

  4. Career development

As the NZEI members go through negotiations for the Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement this year, the message is that they will be standing together for the students and for an education system that values, attracts and retains the amazing teachers who are entrusted with the education of our children.

Kaitaia Primary School Principal Brendon Morrissey says “teachers and principals need to be a wee bit more valued in terms of the mahi that they do” Morrissey also emphasises that fact that a teachers/principals work hours are not simply 9 to 3 as some may think and working through the holidays is a reality for many including Morrissey who also mentions that he has not had a holiday this year.

Rebecca Donovan is training to be a teacher and she speaks about seeing the impacts on her mother who is also a teacher. Donovan says “last week she was sick with a huge chest infection, she was still going in to school half past seven in the morning to try and make sure the kids weren’t going to be split up and to make sure the kids had a reliever”

Recruiting and retaining teachers is in crisis mode. Gambel speaks to this issue saying “we’ve got an aging teaching population, we’ve got teachers leaving and the problem is just going to compound” Principal Morrissey says “I advertised a couple teachers jobs last term,  got no applicants”

With banners flying, people in the town centre of Kaitaia passionately chanting and the sound of horns beeping in support of this historic strike, Gamble makes a final statement saying “you know when you’ve finally reached that breaking point and you snap and you go i’ve had enough we’ve gotta fight, so we are now fighting.

The general message is that the NZEI members want to make teaching an attractive and valued profession.

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