Northland education

For its relatively small size, Northland offers an excellent range of educational opportunities.

Facilities cover every level, from early childhood education to tertiary opportunities and ongoing education for adults.

Your child can attend primary and secondary schools as a domestic student if they are:

  • a New Zealand resident or permanent resident
  • a New Zealand citizen (includes Tokelauans, Cook Islanders and Niueans), or
  • a student visa holder based on your temporary work visa.

Students who are not eligible to enrol as domestic students may be able to enrol as international students. 

Eligibility to enrol in New Zealand schools | Ministry of Education

Explore visa options to study | Immigration New Zealand 

Early childhood education

There are about 220 options for early childhood education in the Northland Region.

There are many different types of early childhood services, including teacher-led and parent-led services.

The Ministry of Education has a guide for parents explaining the differences between the various ECE styles.

Early childhood education providers are listed on the Education Counts website. 

Different kinds of early learning services | Ministry of Education 

Find Early Learning Services Northland Region | Education Counts


Playgroups are informal sessions where caregivers and children aged 0-5 meet together in a relaxed environment. In a playgroup, parents and caregivers stay to interact with the other adults and to play with the children.

Playgroups are usually set up and run by parents and caregivers, with children choosing from a range of activities. Activities at playgroup are either free or low cost, and may include music and singing, imaginative play, outdoor and free play, or arts and crafts.

Playgroups in the Northland Region | Citizens Advice Bureau

Primary and secondary school

Schooling is compulsory from age 6–16.

The education system for schools is made up of 13 Year levels. Primary education starts at Year 1 and goes to Year 8 (around 5–12 years of age). Secondary education goes from Year 9 to Year 13 (around 13–17 years of age).

The school system

Find a school

There are more than 150 primary and secondary schools in the Northland Region.

Children usually attend a school in the area where they live, this is called a 'zone'. Many schools in New Zealand limit enrolments to students who live in their zone. However, some school don't have zones.

You can find information about the schools in the region, a link to their Education Review Office report, and their zone on the Education Counts website.

You can also search for specific requirements, including if a school is single sex or co-educational, or has boarding facilities for students.

Find a school in Northland Region | Education Counts

Tertiary education

In Northland, tertiary education in a wide range of subjects is available from NorthTec.

It delivers programmes ranging from foundation, certificate, diploma and degree levels at a number of locations throughout the region.

Northland also has a University of Auckland campus in Whangarei, which offers education and social work courses. 

There are also two Wānanga providers in Northland.

Study options | NorthTec

Study options at Tai Tokerau Campus | University of Auckland

Home | Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

Home | Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

Search for a course or training provider |

Adult Community Education

NorthTec also offers a range of introductory Adult Community Education (ACE) courses from sites around the region.

These give you a taste of the subject you’re interested in and can provide the foundations for a short course, certificate, diploma or even degree. For information, check the NorthTec website.

Another ACE option is Community Education in Whangarei (CEW). Based at Kamo High School CEW offers courses in the evening and some weekends.

Adult Community Education (ACE) | Northtec

Home | Community Education in Whangarei

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