Education in Hawke’s Bay

Quality education is the backbone of New Zealand society and Hawke’s Bay schools provide a broad range of academic subjects along with the opportunity to take part in sport and the arts. The schools are focused on providing the best possible education which will give the students a great start in their quest to conquer life’s challenges.

Students have the choice of single-sex or co-educational (combined sexes) secondary schools, and state schools are secular (non-religious/ spiritual). The timetable is arranged around subjects, and students experience a broad and balanced curriculum. All schools offer a wide range of sporting and cultural activities outside the school hours of 9am to 3pm – such as orchestra, theatre, music and dance groups and sports.

There is a compulsory national curriculum for Years l to 10 and some specialisation is possible, especially in Years 11 to 13. The curriculum allows for greater choice as students approach the end of their school years and as their ideas about future directions/vocation become clearer. Schools recognise and provide for the diverse abilities and aspirations of their senior students in ways that ensure strong pathways are created for future study and work.

Students can specialise within learning areas or take courses across or outside learning areas, depending on the choices that their schools are able to offer. The curriculum gives teachers flexibility to apply their professional knowledge. They can personalise learning to the needs of their students and communities.

The New Zealand Curriculum has eight Learning Areas: English; Mathematics and Statistics; Science; Social Sciences; Health and Physical Education for your own well-being and for others around you; The Arts, including Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts; Technology; Learning Languages such as Te Reo Maori, Mandarin, Latin, Spanish and French.

The curriculum lists seven core values: Excellence; Innovation inquiry and curiosity; Equity; Community and participation; Ecological sustainability; Integrity; Respect.

“We do all kinds of field-trips, so school’s actually fun. That’s new for me!”
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NCEA. Examination System

New Zealand has a unified system of qualifications called National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), controlled by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

The certificate has three academic levels at secondary schools – Level 1 at Year 11 (usually 15years of age); Level 2 at Year 12 (16 years) and Level 3 at Year 13 (17 years). The examinations are a mixture of school­-administered tests that are monitored nationally and centrally-set examinations at the end of the year.

There are particular requirements including passes in Mathematics and English for University Entrance.



For further information on the New Zealand education system, visit the New Zealand Education ThinkNew website.

We Look After Students

We care about the well-being of our international students. The Ministry of Education’s Code of Practice sets out the minimum level of care and information for schools, institutes and education agents involved with international students. One of the responsibilities is arranging accommodation. Some schools have boarding facilities and there are plenty of homestay opportunities.

You will have an amazing experience in our proud, friendly, diverse and safe region.

We look forward to seeing you in Hawke’s Bay.