New Zealand School Uniform: School Type

Figure 1.--Most New Zealand secondary schools, like this state boy's school in 1983 require school uniforms. This is true both in the state and private sector. Virtually all single-gender schools require them as well as most coeducational schools. Presumaby this is the 5th form. We are ot sure what the M means. The boys look to be about 15 years old.

There are several different types of New Zealand schools. There are different levels, sectors, religious schools, gender, and residential arangements. There are differences concerning uniform conventions at different types of New Zealand schools. The levels are the same as he standard around the world, primary and secondary. the two basic sectors ar private (indpendent) and public. New Zealand as a vibrant, but rather small private sector. The primary pr parochial sector is the catholic schools, but there are other Christian schools. The Catholic schools have been integrated into the public schools beczuse they were hving trouble financing them. The process provides for the schools retaining their special character. State schools are mostly coeducational, but there are several singl gender secondary schools. There are both coed and single gender pricate schools. Boarding schools are mostly private schoolsm but several stte secondary schools associated boarding hostels. Uniform trends vary in the different school sectors. School uniform regulatins tend to be most strict at private schools, alothough some state schools also give consziderable attention t uniform. One distinctive feature of New Zealand school uniforms is that only the secondary students wear the uniform, at least at most state schools. At parochial and private primary schools there are uniforms.


There are substantial differences concerning school uniform at primary and secondary schools. Most state primary schools do not require a uniform. Private and Catholic elementary schools, however, are an exception and do mostly require uniforms, although this has begun to change a little in recent years. The uniforms at New Zealand schools generally follow the typical traditional British school uniform of sweater, tie, shorts, and knee socks. Almost all New Zealand secondary schools have required school uniforms. A few coed schools have dropped the requirement, but most schools still continue to require uniforms--at least until the 6th form. Private secondary schools give considerable attention to uniform. Most state secondary schools also have uniforms, however, uniform standards vary substantially from school to school.


School uniform varies to some degree by sector. There are great differences with school uniform conventions between state and private sector schools at the primary level. Most state primary schools do not have uniforms. An exception here is the parochial scgools and other formerly private schools that have been integrated into the state sector. Many private schools in the 1990s were incorporated into the state sector. There are fewer differences between the state and private secondary schools. Although this iha changed somewhat in recent years as uniform requiremens at some state schools have been relaxed. This varies somewhat because almost all private schools give considerable attention to school uniforms. Private schools tend to have more elaborate uniforms. Blazers in particular are more common at private schools. Attitdes toward uniform are more varied in the state sector. Some state secondary schools are quite strict about uniform, but this is not the case at all state schools.

Parochial Schools

The Catholic Church has sponsored quite a number of schools in New Zealand. Catholics in New Zealand had the same experiene as Catholics in America, they faced a public school systems largely controlled byProtestant educational authorities. Irish immigrants were the first Catholics to reach New Zealand in large numbers. And thus Irish Catholics were especially important in establishing Catholic schools. They continue to be the largest group supporting Catholics schools in New Zealand. Other Catholics have emigrated to New Zealand, but noe one group was as important as the Irish. The Catholic schools in recent years have been integrated into the state system. Even after integrating with the state system, the Catholic schools are allowed to retain their unique character, Unlike state primary schools, the Catholic primary schools normally required uniforms and continue to do so.


New Zealand primary schools are mostly coeducational, except for a few private schools. Primary schools we believe were always coeducational. This was certainly true in rural areas where because of the size of the schools, coeducation was the only practical alternative. I'm not positive, but I believe that even in the towns and cities the state primary schools were coeducational. This probably was not the case for the private schools. The situation for secondary education was different. Secondary education until after World War II was much less commo than it was today. Most early secondary schools were founded as single-gendr schools. Since World War II many schools have shifted to coeducation and almost all of the new schools opened have been coeducational schools. Private schools have been slower to shift, but many of them are also now coeducational.

Residential Arrangements

Parental attitudes toward residential arrangements have gradually shifted. Many parents choosing private education used to follow the British system emphasizing boarding. This has declined considerably, especially for the younger children. Several city schools have closed oarding facilities and boarding enrollment has declined. Boarding for older children has held up better. One factor in New Zeland was that quite a number of children in rural areas could not practically attend day schools. This was especially the case at the secondaty level. Thus parents chose private boarding schools. Quite a number of state secondary schools opened hostels to also accomodate these youths. Boarding schools have a range of rules about wearing the uniform which vary widely from school to school.


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Created: November 21, 2003
Last updated: 8:54 PM 8/1/2017