Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ

Teach First NZ Overview

At Ako Mātātupu, we are working to end educational inequality in Aotearoa. We support amazing people to lead systemic change through our award-winning two-year Graduate Programme. Are you ready to create change?

Potential is distributed equally across socioeconomic lines; but in today's Aotearoa New Zealand, opportunity is not. Currently, New Zealand has one of the highest levels of educational inequality in the developed world, ranking 33rd/ 38 countries in the OECD. Our system is 4X more likely to fail students from low-income backgrounds. We are working to change this.
Ako Mātātupu is an innovative national not-for-profit organisation, and we are looking for promising leaders to tackle inequality.
Teach First NZ Overview

We hire students studying

Arts & Humanities
Information Systems
Computer Science

Available Positions

Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ

The Teach First NZ Leadership Programme


Graduate Jobs

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35 Days


All Subjects . . .

This Graduate Programme provides an opportunity for you to join a national movement for systemic change, to make a meaningful impact, and to develop as a leader.
Our Teaching and Education Leadership Programme has been identified as offering one of the top Graduate Development experiences in New Zealand. We support participants to develop their abilities as communicators, influencers and changemakers, in a way that no other programme can.
Upon graduating from the Teach First NZ Programme, you will be awarded with a fully scholarshipped Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching.
Acceptance into the Teach First NZ Programme means that you can:
  • Be a part of a national movement towards change 
  • Make a real difference in the community and in the lives of our rangatahi 
  • Develop your leadership skills and potential 
  • Gain an internationally recognised teaching qualification as a Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching 
  • Access an international network of participants, alumni, education leaders and businesses
  • Be paid a full salary as you learn 
  • Receive a competitive salary, as well as 10 weeks of annual holiday, and 
  • Receive a fully funded Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching
Teach First NZ Programme
Ako Mātātupu: Teach First New Zealand's programme
Recruiting outstanding individuals
We recruit outstanding individuals with academic expertise as well as a range of skills and experiences. Our participants and alumni all have one thing in common - the drive to lead change.
The Summer Intensive
Once accepted, your Ako Mātātupu journey begins in November with a 9 week Summer Intensive training. This is a live-in learning experience, with a focus on developing the skills and knowledge to prepare you for working in the classroom from the beginning of the upcoming school year.
The Intensive balances learning and development with plenty of social activities and fun. Over the Intensive, you will form strong and lasting friendships with your cohort members who are a main network of support and learning for you throughout the 2-year programme. Over the Intensive, your accommodation, food and travel costs are covered by Ako Mātātupu to allow you to focus on getting the most out of the 9-week programme.
Ako Mātātupu's programme
"This program allows me to work with amazing young people every day, and support them to make good decisions on their own terms."
Nick Parkin, Cohort 2018 Programme Participant, Teaching English at Onehunga High School
Inspirational leaders
After two intense, challenging and unbelievably rewarding years, you’ll have completed the Teach First NZ Programme and be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.
Equipped with an impressive array of skills and experiences you have gained through the program, it is now up to you to choose whether you choose to stay in the classroom, or move into other sectors where you can continue to make social change.
The bigger impact
Inequality is complex. It takes a constellation of people - each with their own unique positioning, experiences, insights, and motivations - to achieve equity in our schools and in our society. After you've completed the program, we support you to make an impact in whatever way is right for you. Whether it's stepping up to a new leadership role within school, working in government, through the charity or business sector, or starting your own social enterprise, our alumni movement is designed to help you to achieve positions of influence across a variety of sectors in order to help orient you towards making lasting contributions to an equal Aotearoa New Zealand.
Learn to Teach, Learn to Lead
Hear from some of our alumni!

Monty Jones
Teach First Graduate Monty Jones
Bachelors of Science and Economics graduate from the University of Auckland
Currently teaching Mathematics at Tamaki College, Glen Innes

Three years ago, Monty Jones side-stepped his corporate career path to join the Teach First NZ program. Here he shares a few words about what evoked this change of path and why he calls this shift his "best life-defining decision to date."
What made you want to change career from a corporate career to work as a Teach First NZ participant?
I decided to change from a graduate program with a multinational corporation after stumbling across my original application letter to the university. In this letter, I wrote that I was not sure what job I wanted to have, but that I wanted to get up each morning and know that I was making a positive difference. Teach First NZ provides an unparalleled pathway to do this.
What would you say to those who say teaching is not a rewarding career path?
Teaching is the first vocation that I have been proud to tell people about when they ask "So, what do you do?". This is because teaching in schools supporting low decile communities is such a challenging, rewarding and unique experience. I have become immersed in a community that does not have a high median income but is rich in culture, talent, and passion. I am inspired by the youth that I deal with on a daily basis and whatever I go on to do in life, I will take this experience with me.
What has been the most rewarding thing about your career change?
  • Having a job that I want to get out of bed for and that I know I am doing the best I can to improve educational outcomes for our tamariki.
  • Getting the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities at school. (For example, I have just arrived back from a day kayaking from Okahu Bay and have helped a student overcome their fear of water)
What would you say to those who are thinking about joining the programme?
It was a very hard call to decide what I wanted to do with the next step in my life, but joining Teach First NZ is an amazing opportunity and it has been my best life-defining decision to date.

Alumni Destinations
Ruby Hale
Teach First Graduate Ruby Hale

"How I became a Policy Analyst"

Ruby Hale, an alumna from the inaugural 2013 Teach First NZ Cohort, is currently working as an Assistant Policy Analyst at the Ministry of Education. Here, she shares a few words about her journey, her motivations, and some advice to live by.
Kia ora! Tell us a bit about yourself
My name’s Ruby, and I’m an alumna of Teach First NZ: Ako Mātātupu’s inaugural 2013 Cohort, where I taught English at Alfriston College in Manurewa. I’m currently working as an Assistant Policy Analyst at the Ministry of Education.
What drew you into this sector?
Originally, I had a strong interest in aid and development and was really fascinated by issues of global inequality. Working with the Salvation Army in Christchurch really brought to my attention the issues of inequality and inequity in Aotearoa. I saw education as having the potential to be used as a tool to promote equity, and for giving people opportunities to make positive changes in life. Throughout my time as a participant and an alumna of the Teach First NZ Programme, I always maintained an interest in the bigger systems and structures of the education system and their role in either promoting equity or perpetuating inequity or both. After completing further study in Public Policy, I’ve made the move into the Policy space, working in the Pasifika Education Policy team at the Ministry of Education. I see Policy as an opportunity to make sure that the education system is responsive to everybody, and to ensure that it gives everybody a fair and equitable chance. As it stands, there’s more work to be done.
More stories about our alumni in our blog here.
At Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ, we are looking for outstanding individuals.
Our participants do not start out as qualified teachers - in fact, they come from a range of academic disciplines and backgrounds.
To meet our eligibility criteria you must:
  • Hold New Zealand Citizenship or a Permanent Residency Visa; 
  • Not hold a teaching qualification;
  • Have a Bachelor's degree in any subject, with 4 papers in:
    • Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, General Science) 
    • Mathematics 
    • Technology 
    • Digital Technology 
    • English 
  • OR: Have a Bachelor's degree in any subject, and be proficient in: 
    • Te Reo Māori
    • A Pacific Language
Want more information? Sign up to receive an information pack here, or take our eligibility quiz here.
Learn to teach and learn to lead with Teach First NZ

The online application is your first chance to share your story: your experiences, achievements, and motivations for working towards social change in Aotearoa. It should take between 1-2 hours to complete. You will be contacted in early April with further details about the next stage of your application.
Phone Interview
After submitting your application you will hear back from us at the start of April. Successful applicants will be invited to a phone interview, which is an opportunity to discuss your alignment in further depth through a 20-30 minute phone conversation. Face-to-face interviews are possible for those who prefer kanohi ki te kanohi, covid-19 restrictions willing.
Online Ako Centre
Success here will lead you to an online Ako Centre, incorporating a pepeha process, an interview, a group exercise, a sample teaching lesson and self-reflection exercises. 
If you are successful at an Ako Centre, congratulations! You will be made an offer to start your leadership journey with Ako Mātātupu. The programme commences in November 2022.
Contact us
Our recruitment team are here to help and keep you informed every step of the way, so if you're ever unsure of the next stage then don't hesitate to get in touch.
Email: apply@teachfirstnz.org or call: 0800 TO LEAD