New Zealand Early Childhood Teacher Salaries

Salaries are annual unless otherwise stated.

Salary and wage information for New Zealand professions is compiled regularly by analysis of New Zealand jobs advertised in major publications. Salaries are annual unless otherwise stated. Job ads in New Zealand often do not mention remuneration. Salaries are generally negotiable, within limits.

Early childhood teachers work in kindergartens (state-run early childhood centres) or in private education centres.

There are three main qualifications for this occupation:

Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) – three year course
Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) – one year course
Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) – three year course.

There is a shortage of early childhood teachers in New Zealand and this occupation is on the Immediate Regional Skill Shortage List.

Starting salaries for early childhood teachers range from $46,000 to $48,000 depending on qualifications. Experienced early childhood teachers in senior positions can earn between $60,000 and $75,000.

Early Childhood Teacher Salaries / Wages in 2020

PositionSalary / Wage $Location
Early Childhood Teacher – Babies or Preschool40,000 – 80,000North Shore, Auckland
Qualified Early Childhood Teacher30 – 33 per hourAuckland
Early Childhood 2IC70,000 – 80,000Auckland
Fully Certificated / Registered ECE Teacher25 – 35 per hourAuckland
Early Childhood Teacher48,000 – 52,000Auckland
Qualified Early Childhood Reliever28 – 30 per hourMarlborough, Blenheim
Qualified Early Childhood Teacher26 – 30 per hourManawatu, Palmerston North
Unqualified Early Childhood Reliever19 – 21 per hourWellington
Early Childhood Teacher29 – 32 per hourChristchurch
Head Teacher – Kindergarten77,000 – 85,000Canterbury

For comparison, the average hourly wage in New Zealand for the quarter ending 31 March 2020 was $33.20 according to Statistics New Zealand. This would give an annual average salary of around $65,600, working standard full-time hours (38 hours).

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22 thoughts on “New Zealand Early Childhood Teacher Salaries”

  1. I am planning to move to New Zealand later this year. I’m a qualified nursery nurse/ early years practitioner here in Scotland (SVQ level 3, equivalent to NVQ level 3 in England). I have 14 years’ experience of working with children.
    I’d like to find a job in a kindergarten in or near Palmerston North.
    Will my qualification be recognised in NZ? Is there a way to translate it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Holly,
      I am the same position. Did you find the answer to your question?
      Any help would be really appreciated.
      Thanks in advance,

    2. No, ECE teachers in NZ all have Teaching degrees. You will be able to find work as an unqualified teacher but not with the Kindergaten Association who only employ qualified teachers.

    3. Hi I qualified with the NNEB in England in 1987. When I first came to NZ in 1995 it was recognised. The system changed now is not recognised nor my 30 years experience. I am retraining doing degree Batchlor of teaching ECE 3 years!!! Nz is my home I love it but check carefully or you may find your qualification is not recognised. It is expensive to try to get papers cross credited especially international ones. Do you research. Go on NZQA website. NZ is well worth it and we are short of ECE teachers. You’ll get relieving work but maybe only as unqualified. Good luck.

    4. Probably not but you will be able to work as an aid while studying our ECE…our ECE is based on NZ Maori so its very specific to NZ but you can still work in an ECE centre as unqualified and therefore much lower wages while you retrain. Some of your papers may be cross credited but you will still be quite short of getting a full ECE degree…

  2. Hi
    I work 37.5hours a week in a Montessori focused EC centre in Paeroa. I have a Bachelor’s in teaching and I am a full registered teacher. How much should my hourly pay be?

    1. You should be able to access the pay scale on a website. If they’ve opted in for pay parity it should be same as kindergarten depending on your experience

  3. Hi I have worked for a centre as a reliever and full time for 6 years and now working as a baby tacher. I have diploma level 5 and in my 2nd year of bechalor of teaching how much should i be getting paid?

  4. Hi, I have a friend who has been working in the same ECE centre for over 5 years and is unqualified (yet to start study as she completes various English tests). What could she expect to be paid hourly?


  5. I work as a Manager for an Out Of School Care and Recreation Programme for a state school. My salary is taken care by the Board of Trustees of the school. I work 40 hours per week and there are 12 people working under me. The programme has around 20 kids in before school care, 80 kids in after school care, 30 kids in extra curricular activities and 65 kids in Holiday Programme.

    I want to know how much should I get paid?


  6. I am a qualified ECE teacher working in Wellington area, holding a Bachelor or Arts and Graduate Diploma in Teaching ECE. I am getting a very low pay rate which is $20.00 per hour but I am looking for another job that pays me in regards to my level of qualification.
    However, I am towards completing my Postgraduate Diploma in ECE and Professional Development. Therefore, I want to know what hourly rate should I be getting if I choose to work at an non-governmental organization, private or mainstream please?

  7. Hi! I am fully registered ECE qualified with international Montessori 2-6 qualification and have been working full time as a preschool Montessori teacher in the Manawatu region at the same preschool for six years. I am looking towards the future and needing to know whether I am being paid what I am worth.

  8. Hi, I currently live in australia, and have a cert 3 in childrens services, which is a child care assistant (no lesson planning etc) would i need to re-study to obtain another degree in new zealand if i was to move there with my husband (im aussie hes maori) or what position would i be suitable for? as i would prefer to walk straight into work then have to study again.. does nz offer traineeships to work while you study? any help is great thanks

  9. Hi,

    I am a qualified ECE teacher with my diploma in teaching and bachelors of education, head teacher for under 2s and will have my full registration in november this year. I have been qualified for 4 years now. How much should I be getting paid?

  10. Hi Joy,

    Yes i feel you are being seriously underpaid as your are qualified. Have you started your teacher registration? I would seriously be doing comparison with other centers in your area. I am in 2nd year still studying and i am getting $17 per hour relieving. i go up to $18 in 3rd year and expect to start around at least $21 minimum. Please contact NZ teach or Ministry of ED as well. We are experts and professionals, not babysitters..

    Good luck.

    1. Hi Joy, thank you for your reply to the message. It helped me too as I am still studying but went for a job interview at a Kidicorp ECE centre. They said because I am unqualified, I would get $14.25 an hour!

  11. I have a conjoint Degree of Education Auckland University with Dip ECE Auckland Teachers Training College. I have 13 years of experience. What would be a fair hourly rate if working as a relief teacher

  12. Hi, i finished my bachelor of teacing degree last year and then i moved to palmerston north. The centre im at pays me (and others) under $20 an hour, am i being… played?

  13. I will be fully qualified in May-June this year with a degree in ECE. I was wondering what the average hourly rate is in the Waikato region.

  14. Hi,

    I am almost finished my second year in my ECE bachlor, next year will be last.

    Around how much should I be paid??


  15. Hi Sona,

    Although it depends on organization but a qualified teacher is paid around $25 NZ per hour. I am a graduate diploma student in early childhood education.


  16. I work only 15 hours for an early childhood centre, I am holding the Bachlor of early childhood education, how much should be my hourly pay
    kind regards

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