Boards of Trustees

Access data from the Boards of Trustees collection, and publications and analysis based on the data.

Boards of Trustees Election Results, Key Findings, Data and Publications:

Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report. For links to results, indicators, statistical data and publications from the Boards of Trustees elections, please refer to the 'Related Pages' inset box (top right).  For links to Boards of Trustees information on related websites please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box (right).


All of New Zealand's state and state-integrated schools have a board of trustees. The board of trustees is the Crown entity responsible for the governance and the control of the management of the school. The board is the employer of all staff in the school, is responsible for setting the school's strategic direction in consultation with parents, staff and students, and ensuring that its school provides a safe environment and quality education for all its students. Boards are also responsible for overseeing the management of personnel, curriculum, property, finance and administration.

Trustees are elected by the parent community, staff members and, in the case of schools with students above Year 9, the students. The principal is also a member of the board.  The board can also co-opt additional trustees.  Co-option cannot be used to fill casual vacancies on a board; a board must hold a by-election to fill the casual vacancy or fill the casual vacancy by selection having first given consideration to the requirements of schedule 23, clause 13 of the Education and Training Act 2020.

A standard board of trustees' membership includes:
  • between three and seven parent elected trustees;
  • the principal of the school;
  • one staff elected trustee;
  • one student elected trustee (in schools with students above Year 9);
  • co-opted trustees; and
  • up to four trustees appointed by the proprietor (in state integrated schools only).

Boards of trustees must hold elections for parent and staff trustees every three years (triennial election).  A board may also decide to adopt a mid-term (staggered) election cycle where half the parent representatives are elected at a mid-term election (18 months after the triennial election) and the remainder are elected at the triennial election.  Elections for student trustees are held annually in September in schools with students above Year 9.

Triennial elections have been held every three years since 1989.

A by-election can occur at any stage in the election cycle if an elected trustee resigns from the board and thereby creates a casual vacancy.  Although the major changes in board membership occur in triennial election years, there is still some fluctuation in intervening years due to casual vacancies, by-elections, selections and mid-term elections.

The following table shows the type of board membership and the numbers based on the 2007 triennial election results.

Type and Number of Board Members (2007 Triennial Elections) 
Types of Board Membership
Parent elected trustee
Co-opted trustee
Principal/acting principal
Staff elected trustee
Student elected trustee
Ministerial appointed trustee
Proprietor appointed trustee
Other organisational appointed trustee

Demographic information on the trustees is collected throughout the year. An extract of this data is archived on December 1st each year and forms the basis of boards of trustees' analysis.

Boards of trustees' information is available by type of member, position on board, ethnicity, gender and previous experience.

Support for Boards of Trustees

Educational Leaders

The  Educational Leaders website, formerly LeadSpace, is for principals and school leaders.  School leaders will find resources relating to management and professional development.

Ministry of Education

The  Education Government website has information to support school boards of trustees, as well as information for schools, boards and staff.  For information on legislation and governance, requirements for funding and e-admin visit the  school page on the Education Government website

New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA)

The  New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) represents the views of, and supports and provides services to member boards of trustees.

New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) key areas of activity are:

  • representation to central government and other agencies of the views of member boards of trustees
  • production of number of publications such as a monthly magazine (STAnews), and other written material, including the NZSTA Trustee Handbook, An Introduction to Trusteeship (A Guide for School Trustees) and various employment and governance related publications
  • provision of "added value" services for member boards of trustees
  • the provision of support, training and professional development for boards of trustees

Also provided, under contract with the Ministry of Education, for all boards:

  • provision of an expert personnel/industrial relations advisory service to boards of trustees
  • provision of 0800 helpdesk facilities, on all aspects of trusteeship
  • an Emergency Staffing Scheme (ESS)