About the Awards

Te Whatu Kairangi celebrates outstanding tertiary educators who are making a difference to learners, their whānau and communities.

The awards include:

  • Kaupapa Māori Award presented to individuals or groups whose practice incorporates te reo Māori, tikanga Māori and mātauranga Māori.
  • Le Moana Mua Award for Pacific educators, available to both individuals and groups.
  • General Award with specified criteria applicable to both individuals and groups.
  • Te Tohu Reo Māori award, presented to individuals, recognising the practice of kaiako who teach te reo Māori (new in 2024, read more below).

The awards offer $20,000 for a group award and $15,000 for an individual award. 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.

Download the Te Whatu Kairangi flyer and share it with your networks.

Who can apply?

All Aotearoa tertiary organisations from right across the sector, may nominate for Te Whatu Kairangi. That is any organisation that receives Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) funding. This includes Te Pūkenga, Private Training Establishments, Adult & Community Education, Wānanga, Universities and more. 

Process for nominations

The webpage on entering the awards has more information about submitting a nomination including the full criteria guidelines and submission templates.

Benefits of nominations

The process of writing a nomination is valuable. It helps the nominee to think about their practice and to think carefully about what they do and how they do it. The nominee can assess the information they have and identify areas of their teaching that can be developed. The nominee’s practice can be further strengthened by gaining high-level feedback on the portfolio from colleagues and others.

Through these awards, tertiary educators can:

  • Share their commitment to outstanding practice in building educational capability and sustained learner success.
  • Showcase their innovative work and responsiveness to student needs.
  • Reflect on and strengthen their teaching or training practice.
  • Enhance their careers.
  • Access monetary grants to advance their work, enhance their career, promote good practice and benefit learners.

Awards history

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 2007, Ako Aotearoa has managed the awards on behalf of the Ministry of Education. Since then, we have recognised and celebrated many innovative, passionate, outstanding tertiary educators from Industry Training Organisations, Private Training Establishments, Adult & Community Education, Wānanga, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics, Universities and more. 

Supporting Documents

Information sheet

The Significance of Te Whatu Kairangi

The term Whatu Kairangi is adopted as the name of Aotearoa's Tertiary Teaching Awards. Explore the significance of 'Te Whatu Kairangi'.

(PDF, 222 KB)

  • 24 July 2023

Related Content

Te Whatu Kairangi Award | Le Moana Mua winner Filoi Genevieve Togiaso and Ako Aotearoa Board Chair Derek McCormack

Enter the Awards

Learn more about the award categories and criteria, and how to submit an entry.

TWK 2023 awardee collage

Awardee Community

Since 2007, the awards have celebrated over 276 outstanding tertiary educators.

rauaroha korowai

Rauaroha – korowai

Rauaroha is the korowai that is placed on the shoulders of the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award recipient at Te Whatu Kairangi. Read the story behind Rauaroha here.


Ako Aotearoa Academy

The Ako Aotearoa Academy of Tertiary Teaching Excellence (the Academy) is a professional community of innovative, passionate tertiary educators recognised and celebrated through Te Whatu Kairangi.

Prime Minister’s Educator of the Year Award 2023 Dr Ēnoka Murphy

Te Tohu Reo Māori Award

Te Tohu Reo Māori award is an important new addition to Te Whatu Kairangi that recognises the practice of kaiako who teach te reo Māori. 

Te whatu kairangi awardee

Te Whatu Kairangi Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers about Te Whatu Kairangi, including eligibility, categories and criteria and how to submit a nomination.