Trustee Elections and Appendix 2

Ngā Pōtitanga Poari Kaitiaki

Confirming eligibility to become a trustee

When someone stands as a candidate in an election or by-election, they must complete a declaration on the nomination form that they have read the ineligibility criteria. The grounds of ineligibility are in section 103 and on the back of the nomination form.

Before a person is co-opted, or appointed as a trustee, the person must confirm to the board that they are, to the best of their knowledge, eligible to be a trustee, having regard to the grounds of ineligibility in section 103. There is a special form they must complete, Eligibility Attestation Form.

All new trustees are requested to complete APPENDIX 2


To assist Boards and Returning Officers with managing the election process, view the following information:

  • What is a Trustee? - details what a trustee is and what they do

  • Becoming a Trustee - includes information on the role of parents, trustees, student trustees, and staff trustees

  • Returning Officers - this link gives access to the Returning Officers' Handbook, cover notices, letters and declarations, and FAQs. It also gives access to election forms and appendices. (Note: you will need a Returning Officer's login to access appendix 1 and some of the election forms)

  • Board Resources - includes information on mid-term elections, casual vacancies, changing the number of parent trustees, election forms and appendices, media releases and memos, succession planning and promotional materials

  • Election Promo Documents - allows Boards and Returning Officers to customise election pamphlets using their school's Returning Officer contact details

  • Election Planning - provides details on election planning and the Election Planner Tool

  • Appoint a Returning Officer - contains details of how to appoint a Returning Officer using the rates set by the Ministry, along with a template for appointing a Returning Officer

Returning officers should go here to register for any triennial or mid-term election and for any by-election. Registration enables returning officers to access the election forms and appendix 1 needed for the election. It also enables them to input details of their election process, including the number of positions and the number of nominations received for that particular election.


NZSTA, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, supports boards and returning officers through the election process. 

School trustee elections involve the largest number of candidates and voters of any democratic process in New Zealand.

Every three years state and state integrated school communities elect their parent and staff trustees to help govern their schools. Right now boards around the country are preparing to hold their 2019 triennial school board of trustee elections.

Some boards opt into the staggered (mid-term) election cycle. This means that these schools hold triennial elections for some of their parent trustees and mid-term elections for the remaining parent trustees. The mid-terms are held 18 months after the triennial elections. The next mid-terms are due to be held on 7 December 2020.

Find out more information about the staggered (mid-term) election cycle, here.

To find out important dates to help the board with its election planning, use our Election Planner Tool to calculate the required deadlines and timeframes.


2019 Triennial Board of Trustees Elections

The period from 17 May 2019 until 21 June 2019 has been gazetted by the Minister as the range of dates for the Board of Trustees Triennial Elections for 2019. Read the Gazette notice, here.

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

You can use the Election Planner Tool to calculate the key dates for the 2019 elections.

We will be sending board chairs, principals and returning officers updates on getting ready for the elections, see the Trustee Election Memos.

Appoint a returning officer 

Most boards appoint the same returning officer to run both the parent and staff elections. Most boards also find it convenient to set the same election date for both elections. These decisions are usually made by the board at the same time and recorded in the board minutes. Find out more about appointing a returning officer, here.

The board needs to give its returning officer a written letter of appointment

If your returning officer is already a member of staff, they still should receive a letter of appointment, unless the role of returning officer is already included in their job description. Contact Advisory and Support Centre on 0800 353 284 for more information and advice about this.

After the election

Complete Appendix 1

The returning officer needs to complete Appendix 1 - Candidates and Election Results as soon as possible after an election. 

You must be logged in as a returning officer to access this form, and it is accessed under the Returning Officers menu.

Complete Appendix 2

The returning officer can also ensure that Appendix 2 - Change in Membership of Board of Trustees is completed by all newly elected trustees.

It is the board's responsibility to ensure this online form is completed by every new trustee that takes office following an election, by-election, selection (to a casual vacancy), co-option; and when there is a change in principal or chair.

The form does not have to be completed by re-elected trustees unless their status has changed e.g. a trustee becomes Chair, or a Chair reverts to being a trustee.

Returning officers

Returning officers need to register to gain access to certain information on the returning officers’ web pages and to update school election information.

For information and advice please call 0800 ELECTIONS (0800 353 284) or email

NZSTA Election Advice

Email or call 0800 ELECTIONS (0800 353 284).

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© 2018 New Zealand School Trustees Association