Te Waka Whakarei Career Changer Scholarship

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Applications for the Te Waka Whakarei Career Changer scholarships are now closed. Notifications will be sent on 1 December 2022.

A Te Waka Whakarei Career Changer scholarship supports you to change your career and follow your passion for te reo Māori.


The scholarship provides financial assistance so the loss of income you experience while studying is not a barrier to obtaining a teaching qualification.

The scholarship is designed to assist applicants studying to teach in:

  • Māori Medium immersion early childhood education centres
  • Māori Medium immersion primary schools or kura
  • Māori Medium immersion secondary schools or wharekura
  • English Medium secondary schools, teaching te reo Māori as a language

There are options for graduates and undergraduate, from Early Childhood through to secondary and wharekura.

If you are proficient in te reo Māori, have a wealth of life experience and want to become a kaiako, this could be the scholarship for you.

As a Te Waka Whakarei Career Changer Scholar you gain access to:

  • Course fees to study an approved teaching qualification
  • An allowance of $30,000 per year, over the period of your study (limited to three years)

Career changer allowances may be counted as an income for benefits and student allowances. 


To be eligible, you are required to:

  • Be changing your career or profession to teaching
  • You must have at least 12 years work experience or equivalent experience (either paid and unpaid) since leaving school


  • Be an unqualified teacher currently working in a centre or school (such as a Teacher Aide) have a Limited Authority to Teach or a kaiārahi I te reo


  • Be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • Be enrolled on or intending to enrol in one of the approved initial teacher education qualifications listed on our website

Career Changer definition:

  • You must be changing career or profession to teaching
  • You must have at least 12 years work experience or equivalent experience
  • (either paid and unpaid) since leaving school.

Unpaid work experience includes:

  • Any involvement you have had in the community or with community groups
  • Stay at home parents who have community / school involvement
  • Vocational placements
  • Unpaid internships

Scholarship applications must be submitted by 11:59pm on the closing date. Applications received after this time will not be accepted. 

Please note: If you have already completed Initial Teacher Education Training or are already a registered teacher you are not eligible to apply for the TeachNZ Scholarships. Instead, we have Study Awards on offer - please look here.

Approved teaching qualifications are determined by the Teaching Council. They may be updated throughout the duration of the year. 

Choosing the right course | TeachNZ

Fees and allowance payments are only paid upon meeting the requirements of a scholarship. To receive allowance payments you are required to be a full-time student (or have ‘limited full-time statuses from StudyLink) and pass all of your academic year.

Further terms and conditions apply.


To apply for a scholarship you must complete an online application form. The application form will be made available when the 2023 scholarship programme opens.

You will need to create a user account in order to apply for a TeachNZ scholarship. To create a user account go to the application form and click 'log in' in the top right hand corner. 

Creating a user account registers you for personalised access to the TeachNZ system for applying for a scholarship and you will be asked to provide your personal email address. Your user account helps you provide TeachNZ with information that is needed to apply for the scholarship. 

You must submit your application on or before the application round closing date.

You can apply for multiple scholarships, but can only be granted one. Part-time options are available.

Video Requirement

As part of the application process, you are required to produce a short three minute video and provide the link in your application form. Please refer to the information here about preparing your video.

The programme is inclusive and rewards outstanding applicants. Outstanding to TeachNZ goes beyond academic achievement. The programme recognises passion, leadership, good communication, lived experiences and also places value on Māori and Pacific cultural competencies and language skills.

Notification and Accepting a Scholarship

If your application is successful, we will email you a scholarship offer with an agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the scholarship. Example terms and conditions for the Te Waka Whakarei Career Changer are available to download on this page.

We will also contact you if your application was unsuccessful and to let you know if the assessment panel have rewarded you with a reserve or alternative scholarship offer.

Contact us

Remember, we're here to help. If you have any questions, you can email us on teachnz.admin@education.govt.nz or call us during business hours on 0800 165 225.

You can also learn more about our scholarships by watching the videos and exploring the links on the left of this page.

Past recipient story

New Zealand Teachers Council New Zealand Education Gazette New Zealand Qualifications Authority Immigration New Zealand