Migrants Tales – Teacher finding it impossible to change jobs, and Novopay stuff-ups

teaching in NZ not easy

Teaching in NZ is not easy, be prepared for some hardship

Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand taken from around the net.

Today’s tale was recently published on an emigration forum. The author is a British immigrant based in Invercargill and started teaching there in April 2013.

If you are a teacher thinking about emigrating to New Zealand please read this article and do your research thoroughly before you commit. In particular, research problems with Novopay, we suggest you start with facebook.com/pages/Share-the-Pain-Novopain/134659276716803 , and with the links at the end of this article.

Like many migrants in New Zealand the author soon found that the job she accepted didn’t live up to how it was ‘sold’ to her. However, due to an oversupply of teachers in New Zealand, she’s now finding it impossible to change jobs. We suspect that the small town ‘network’ may also be undermining her without her knowledge.

She also had problems with being put on an unqualified teachers wages when she arrived (this is quite common for teachers in NZ, even before Novopay) because Novopay claimed she hadn’t obtained a full career history on headed paper from every employer she’d ever worked for in the last 17 years – such records simply aren’t kept in the UK.

Also, Novopay refused to accept a scanned copy of her signature and she couldn’t provide an original until she arrived in NZ to take start her job. If this happens to you be advised it can take up to six weeks to sort out, so have enough cash to live on while you’re waiting, and waiting and…

Here’s her tale and some of the responses it got.

I am a teacher of 17 years. In the UK I never had trouble getting interviews, in fact I always got at least an interview for every job I applied for.

Here in NZ the job has not turned out to be as was ‘sold’ to me so I am trying to find another.

I have applied for over 30 and not had a single interview. I have tried a range of jobs equal to, lower and higher than my current one. I have even tried jobs that are education based but not in schools. I can’t seem to get a single interview.

I have kiwi-fied my CV, I have had someone look at it. My employer knows how I feel and is ‘supporting my decision to leave’. I have residency so my decision wont affect my visa.

How do I crack the job market?

Do teaching jobs only come up in Nov/ Dec? I don’t remember seeing them much before now but is that normal? Am I stuck in my current post for another year?

Any advice appreciated before I completely crack up.


“Teaching jobs thin on the ground”

Sorry to hear of your difficulties. My husband and I have both found that success in the job market is ‘who you know, who you talk to or foot in the door’.

Are you in a position where you could do relief work next year? It’s how I secured my full-time position last year. I’ve been offered an 0.2 release position for next year too after relieving for just a few weeks at my daughters’ school (and my experience is far more limited that yours). I’m hoping it might lead to more….

Teaching jobs are certainly thin on the ground. I really hope you find a solution that works for you

“Finding a teaching job is a nightmare”

Trying to find a teaching job is a nightmare. Way too many applicants, one local school received over 300 applications for a recent teaching position

“Worst profession to be in right now”

Probably the worst profession to be in right now – teachers in jobs are clinging to them like life rafts. 300 applicants pr advertised job is correct. And hundreds of graduates being churned out from the universities ready for their first teaching roles, and hardly a hope of getting started, except for a few days relieving here and there.

Jobs do tend to be advertised in November, as schools get ready for the new year, but you’ll find a trickle throughout the year. That’s when things get really desperate!

As mentioned above, it is not what you know, but who you know – it seems like that is everything in NZ, and exceptionally so with teaching. Can you ask your current Head or DPs if they have connections with other schools that might have vacancies – even if it is LTR?

Related stories on the net

Don’t blame Novopay, baffled teacher told 8/12/2013-

A Wellington teacher almost $8000 out of pocket after months of Novopay stuff-ups is stumped about how to recoup his lost savings.

Scottish-born Douglas Robb moved to New Zealand as the head of faculty for computing at Wainuiomata High School in 2004…


Thousands sent incorrect pay slips in latest Novopay blunder 3/10/13

The troubled Novopay system has been hit by another embarrassing blunder.

The school payroll service has been plagued with problems since its roll out over a year ago. At least $20 million has so far been spent trying to fix it.

In the latest mishap, tens of thousands of teachers and support staff have been sent pay slips telling them they are on leave until May next year…


Government wants NovoPay overpayments back 24/10/2013

The Government is shifting its focus in the Novopay payroll debacle to recovering more than $10m in overpayments to about 12,500 school staff.

The Government is also kicking in another $6m to pay for technical support and training for Novopay support staff and school payroll administrators…

FAQ – Novopay – what’s been happening 21/3/13

We know Novopay will continue to be an ongoing pain to schools, teachers and support staff over the coming months so we’ve set up a new Share the Pain – Novopain facebook page.
We hope this will provide another avenue to share stories and to keep the pressure on to get the debacle resolved…


3 thoughts on “Migrants Tales – Teacher finding it impossible to change jobs, and Novopay stuff-ups

  1. Yeah, feel sad for you that you ended up in Invercargill, probably the worst place in the country, and freezing cold.

  2. Invercargill is an especially backward cesspool of New Zealand. Take everything you dislike about New Zealand and multiply it by a factor of three and you will get Invercargill.

    I once had to go to Invercargill on business and I was wearing a suit. The people would stare at me as if I had come from another planet. When I went to the airport to leave, I learned that the company had booked my flight for the wrong date and I had to change the flight at the last minute. The bumpkin from Air New Zealand seemed especially keen to stick it to me with the fee for changing dates. Fortunately, the company took care of it, but the way he stuck the dagger to charge the fee with a smile will never escape me.

    Many migrants and even the genuinely nice Kiwis are oblivious to how people sabotage those that do not belong to the club. New Zealand institutions such as schools, media, and the government promote the false notion that everyone has a fair go and that corruption/nepotism only happen overseas. Just as I did, many migrants seem to think that the problems they encounter are an aberration. It is only after they see the same thing play out in several different places that they realise the whole country is stuffed.

  3. Your strategy should be to cut your losses and leave New Zealand as soon as your circumstances allow. You will not find a decent post in Invercargill. It is a small provincial New Zealand town and you are not part of the gene pool. If you have to remain in NZ then move to Auckland where the chances of finding some kind of post might be higher than zero. Do not buy a house. Do not transfer substantial funds to NZ. Start applying for teaching posts in UK, Canada, Australia, in fact anywhere in the world other than that impoverished backward country in which you currently reside. Start saving for your exit airfare. Yes I am a qualified teacher. Yes I did find a post in another provincial NZ hell hole but only because the hours were so limited and pay so poor that no ‘local’ would do it (we lived off my wife’s earnings). Yes we got out and have never looked back. You wanted advice. You got it.

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