New Zealand recognises ECEC heroes in Ngā Hautipua Kōhungahunga awards

New Zealand recognises ECEC heroes in Ngā Hautipua Kōhungahunga awards

by Freya Lucas

March 15, 2021

“Incredible examples of heroism” have been acknowledged in New Zealand’s early childhood education (ECE) Hero/Ngā Hautipua Kōhungahunga awards, held earlier this month in honour of Children’s Day


Recipients were recognised for innovation during the COVID-19 lockdowns, support that went above and beyond for families after the Christchurch shootings, mentoring children to be environmental enthusiasts, and tirelessly advocating for a better, more just early childhood education system, amongst other outstanding practices. 


Backed by NZEI Te Riu Roa union, the Kōhungahunga awards aimed to recognise early childhood professionals and their teams for showing heroism in their profession after a particularly tough year.


“We asked parents, educators, and those in the wider community to tell us about the heroism they’ve seen in early childhood education – and we were blown away,” the union’s National Executive representative for early childhood education Virginia Oakly said.


“The nominations tell a story of dedicated, talented experts throughout the country who really care about the tamariki they work with and the communities they work in. The panel had a tough time making their decisions, but the people they’ve chosen have all made incredible contributions to the profession, and to their communities.”


Her sentiments were echoed by NZEI Te Riu Roa President Liam Rutherford who said that the awards represent “a small way for us to recognise our incredible early childhood educators, and the phenomenal work they do,” in setting up New Zealand’s children for success during their critical first 1,000 days of life.


To view a full list of the recipients, please see here