Teen Parent Schools in New Zealand


Taonga Education Centre



The school was launched in 2002 under a partnership between James Cook High School and the Taonga Education Centre Charitable Trust, after enquiries by the local Maori Women’s Welfare League who saw a need in this area. In 2005 the school became a teen parent unit attached to James Cook High School. The TPU staff endeavour to instill in students a commitment to achievement and a lifetime love of learning.

Our students have access to social workers, health carers and their children can attend the adjoining early childhood centre. All students participate in field trips, guest lectures and workshops. Taonga actively promotes a wide range of learning experiences for the students and provides ongoing opportunities for them to acquire independence and leadership skills.


We also offer:

  • A positive and supportive learning environment where academic achievement is a priority.
  • The opportunity to complete National Certificates in Educational Achievement Levels 1, 2 and 3.
  • Experienced, high quality staff.
  • A safe and caring environment with other teen parents.
  • STAR courses and the Gateway programme.
  • Holistic education programme which includes te reo Māori, Health, Parenting skills, Early Childhood education, Lifeskills, Sport and Recreation.
  • Assistance with transport.


Education Opportunities

Most subjects offered at other secondary schools are offered at the teen parent unit. Some subjects are taught as a class and some are provided through The Correspondence School with a registered teacher on site supporting students. In addition to academic subjects, students take part in classes on child health and development, early childhood education, health and physical education, Māori, life skills (for example cooking, drivers’ license training and first aid) and outdoor education (students participate in the Young New Zealanders’ Challenge, formerly called the Duke of Edinburgh Award).


Staff Credentials

The school is staffed by registered secondary school teachers specialising in a range of subject areas. Currently Taonga employs three teachers, one full-time and two part-time.


Taonga Benefits

Students at the teen parent unit enjoy a broad education (academic education tailored to their needs as well as health and social education on relevant topics) and ‘wrap-around’ health and social services (including whānau support workers, a community health worker and a registered nurse) reinforced by various visiting community services ( such as legal and youth services).


The big emphasis in all our services is on personal growth and development and raising self-esteem.