New Zealand School Trustees Association on Triennial School Trustee Elections

With 2019 being a Triennial School Trustee Election year, all boards should be preparing for a changing of the guard. The New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA), in partnership with the Ministry of Education,supports boards and returning officers through the election process.

Succession planning and induction procedures are especially important in an election year (both triennial and for mid-term elections). A succession plan helps ensure a good mix of representation and expertise on a board. An induction plan assists in bringing new trustees up to speed as quickly as possible, and a well-functioning board helps ensure the main focus is achieved – that students are achieving well and enjoying their time at school.

School Trustee Election

At this time, it would be wise to discuss which current board members do or do not intend to stand for election this year. Given that the election of school trustees is a democratic process, there are no guarantees that those who stand for re-election will be elected back onto the board, but all being well in the eyes of the school community, it is likely that they will. Therefore, it’s possible to judge fairly accurately which areas of expertise and experience and characteristics required on a board. For example, this could be people with:

  • leadership skills
  • strategic skills
  • analytical skills
  • communication skills
  • the ability to be a good team player.

In promoting the upcoming election, it may be useful to give an indication of the requirements of school trusteeship, including the areas identified above. It is also important that those members of the community who are considering standing for election do so fully informed of what the work of a school trustee entails.

The following questions may assist to confirm good succession and induction procedures are in place:

  • Has the board discussed, defined and documented its roles?
  • Is governance documentation shipshape and ready for handover to new board personnel following the elections?
  • Has the board made available relevant information for prospective trustees to consider before deciding to stand for election?
  • Will the board hold information evenings for prospective trustees about the roles and responsibilities of school governance?
  • Does the board have a planned induction programme?
  • Does the board have an up-to-date governance manual or induction pack for new trustees?
  • Has the board got a plan for ongoing trustee professional development?

Triennial Board of Trustee Elections key dates

The suggested common election date is Friday 7 June 2019 and below are the key events when using this date:

Select Returning Officer by  Wednesday 1 May 2019
Close Main Roll  Noon Wednesday 8 May 2019
Call for Nominations by  Friday 10th May 2019
Close Supplementary roll  Noon, Wednesday 22 May 2019
Nominations Close  Noon Friday 24 May 2019
Voting Papers Sent by  Wednesday 29 May 2019
Election Day (voting closes)  Noon Friday 7 June 2019
Count Votes  Thursday 13 June 2019
Board Takes Office  Friday 14 June 2019


Further information on the Triennial School Trustee Elections and elections resources is available at

You can also connect with the NZSTA via TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn.

And you can also connect with the Ministry of Education via TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn.