Te Whatu Kairangi

Aotearoa Tertiary Educator Awards

Te Whatu Kairangi celebrates outstanding educators across the entire tertiary education sector who are making a difference to learners, their whānau and communities. These awards are about building sector capability for learner success in Aotearoa NZ.

We want to hear about the outstanding mahi being done by Aotearoa tertiary educators from right across the sector, no matter what they teach or train, and the organisation they do it in. This includes educators from Adult & Community Education providers, Industry Training Organisations, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics, Private Training Establishments, Universities, Wānanga and more.

Through these awards, outstanding tertiary educators have the opportunity to:

  • Share their commitment to and practice in building educational capability and sustained learner success
  • Showcase how you are responsive to student needs
  • Reflect on and strengthen their teaching or training practice
  • Enhance their careers 
  • Access monetary grants to advance their work

Te Whatu Kairangi is one of the most well-recognised and respected tertiary education awards programmes in Aotearoa. So, whether you’re submitting or supporting a nomination, being part of these Awards is being part of something big.

Nominations for 2022 have closed. Details about the 2023 awards will be released later in the year.

Learn about the significance of Te Whatu Kairangi here

Awards categories

In 2022, up to nine awards of $20,000 each will be awarded under the General and the Kaupapa Māori Awards. An Enhancing Pacific Learners Endorsement, with an additional $5,000 grant, is also available.

The Prime Minister’s Educator of the Year Award, with an additional $10,000 grant, will be awarded to the nominee whose portfolio best exemplifies the overall criteria.

The inaugural categories for 2022 focus on some of the important challenges facing tertiary education today; and the awards criteria has a strong focus on evidence of sustained contribution to and impact on learner success, and the subsequent impact on whānau, communities, and employment outcomes. The categories are listed below.

  • Advancing approaches to, and the outcomes of, work-based learning.
  • Achieving diversity and inclusion for improving outcomes for: Māori learners; Pacific learners; neurodiverse learners; and/or learners with disabilities.
  • Innovation in learning, teaching, and curriculum (including developers, educators, or combinations).
  • Progressing educational partnerships and collaboration. 
  • Initiatives for progressing hauora and wellbeing in education.
  • Progressing seamless ākonga transitions between contexts. 

Please read the 2022 Procedures Guidelines and Criteria booklet for more information on this year’s awards categories and criteria.

Who can enter

We welcome and encourage nominations from any tertiary educator who has been working in an education position for at least four years full-time, or equivalent, and is employed with an organisation that receives Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) funding. Please read the 2022 Procedures Guidelines and Criteria booklet for more information on who is eligible to submit a nomination.

How to enter

Nominations are to be submitted here with a word count limit of 4,500 words. Please read the 2022 Procedures Guidelines and Criteria booklet for more information on the steps to submitting a nomination.

Nominations must use the Microsoft Word template. Submit the nomination including the Word document, any video or audio files. The online submission also includes the nomination form and the educator history form.

Details about the 2023 awards will be released later in the year. Nominations close at 5:00 pm, Friday 23 June 2023.


About the Awards

These national Awards were established in 2001 to celebrate and promote sustained excellence in tertiary teaching and have grown to be one of the most well-recognised and respected tertiary education awards programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand.

From 2008, Ako Aotearoa has managed Te Whatu Kairangi (previously named the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards) on behalf of the Ministry of Education. Since then, we have recognised and celebrated more than 150 innovative, passionate, outstanding tertiary educators from Adult & Community Education, Industry Training Organisations, Institutes of Technology/Polytechnics, Private Training Establishments, Universities and Wānanga.

Watch the launch of Te Whatu Kairangi

Learn about the significance of "Te Whatu Kairangi" here

Read about the 2021 awardees here

More information

Please contact us if you have any questions about the Awards, or check out our Frequently Asked Questions.