Student Trustees

Matters specifically focused on student trustees

Want to know more about being a student trustee? The Student Representative Handbook outlines some of the key points you need to know. 

Student Trustee Elections held annually in September

Boards of state and state-integrated schools with students above Year 9 must hold a student trustee election in September each year. The only exceptions are if an approved constitution published in the New Zealand Gazette, or a constitution in a state-integration agreement doesn’t specifically include a student trustee. Refer section 98A of the Education Act 1989.
Note: This section replaces section 105A and applies to all alternative constitutions, whenever approved. 

The Election Process

The election process begins when the board of trustees sets an election date for the student election and appoints a Returning Officer (RO) to manage the election process.  Boards must formally appoint a RO at least 37 days before the election date.


Any student enrolled full time in Year 9 and above, and under the age of 20, is eligible to stand for election and vote in the school board election for a student trustee. Student trustees have equal standing, voice, accountabilities and vote as other board members, but they can't be the board chair (neither can the principal nor staff trustee).  They're not just there to be seen and not heard.

Ensuring the students at your school have the opportunity to know what it's all about before they stand and vote is important. If they want to know more about the board of trustees system, or what a trustee does, they should know where to access information, and where to go to place their nomination and their vote.

It is then up to students to make sure they use their democratic right to vote for someone they think would do the job well. 

Let students know that their vote counts - if they don't vote, they will miss an opportunity to have a say in the governance of their school.

Returning Officer

Once the board of trustees has appointed the RO, the board's involvement in the election process is focused on promoting trusteeship in general and the elections in particular.  The board must also ensure that the RO has access to all information and resources necessary to fulfill their responsibilities.  

The Returning Officers' Handbook 2019-2022 has all the detailed information RO's need to undertake their role effectively.  The timeline for the election process is also included in the handbook. 


Resources available online including templates for notices and declarations can be accessed here.

For more information

Email or phone NZSTA Advisory and Support Centre on 0800 782 435.

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