Te Puiaki Kaiwhakaako Pūtaiao The Science Teacher Prize 

Are you a teacher that has a proven passion for science1 education who inspires students, staff in your school and your communities? If so we would love to receive your application!


  • This Prize will be awarded to a  registered kaiako teacher who is teaching science1 to school-age children (in a primary, intermediate or a secondary New Zealand registered school or Kura Kaupapa) and who has been in the same role for at least 12 months prior to their nomination.
  • The kaiako/teacher needs to be nominated for this Prize. The nominator needs to take the first step of clicking into the portal.
  • The teacher/kaiako (nominee) must be either a New Zealand citizen or a New Zealand permanent resident.
  • The teacher or kaiako (nominee) must have had five years of scienceteaching experience in New Zealand.
  • In the case of secondary school teachers, the majority of their teaching time must have been devoted to teaching science1 subjects.
  • The recipient of the Prize is expected to remain in the teaching profession for at least the year following the presentation of the Prize.
  • Re-application by nominees from previous years is encouraged and welcomed, as long as the eligibility criteria continue to be met. However past winners of the Prize will not be eligible to enter a second time.

1 Taken to include teaching relevant to any of the science, technology, mathematics, pūtaiao, hangarau or pāngarau learning areas of the New Zealand curriculum.


  • The Science Teacher Prize is worth $150,000. The recipient will receive $50,000 with no expectations on how the recipient spends this and the recipient’s school/kura will receive $100,000 to use for the development of science in their school1.


Nominees should present an application that addresses the three criteria questions.

  • What is your high quality pedagogical approach that sits behind your teaching and learning of your tauira/students. This is not limited to the following examples.
      • creating a supportive learning environment
      • encouraging reflective thought and action
      • acknowledging the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māturanga Māori in your science1 teaching
      • facilitating shared learning
      • making connections to prior learning and experience
      • enhancing the relevance of new learning
      • providing sufficient opportunities to learn
      • inquiring into the teaching–learning relationship.


  • Provide a range of evidence that your actions have led to improved outcomes in science1 for the students you teach in your classroom. Evidence will vary depending on whether you are teaching in a secondary or primary setting.


  • What is your influence on engagement and delivery of science1 in your school’s community and at a local and/or national level   

e.g. (this could include support of colleagues at your school; participating with scientists/technologists or others in your hapori community to create opportunities for your school and your contribution to the awareness of science at a local and/or national level in Aotearoa.

Your answers should be cross referenced with an Evidence Portfolio that you will include also on the Application Template. Each application will be assessed in the context in which the nominee is teaching (relative to the opportunities reasonably available to a primary, intermediate or secondary teacher). Assessment will include consideration of referees’ and nominees statements.  A nominee may be requested to attend an interview.

1 Taken to include teaching relevant to any of the science, technology, mathematics, pūtaiao, hangarau or pāngarau learning areas of the New Zealand curriculum.


The secretariat gives no undertaking to keep confidential any information provided in the on-line entry form unless this is identified as information that should be treated as such. Information may, for example, be used to prepare promotional material for the Prize in future years.

Please note that information provided in the nomination may be subject to the Official Information Act.

Entry Process

  • The teacher kaiako (nominee) will need to be nominated by a person (nominator) who is knowledgeable about the nominee’s work and able to comment on all of the criteria.
  • In addition, the nominee’s Principal or Tumuaki will be required to complete a Referee Template. The Principal must not be the nominator.
  • The teacher or kaiako (nominee) will be asked to answer questions as in the above criteria and agree that any information provided in the nomination may be used in publicity for the Prize.
  • The teacher or kaiako (nominee) will need to include a Curriculum Vitae (two pages) and an Evidence Portfolio (maximum of ten pages)

Selection panel

Panellists are appointed by the Chief Executive of the Royal Society Te Apārangi based on the recommendation of the panel Chairs. Appointments are made on a year-by-year basis for each calendar year. Panellists must be experienced in an appropriate field or community and may be drawn from outside Aotearoa New Zealand if necessary.

The panel will consist of established leaders and researchers in their field and communities.  We will also aim to bring emerging people to panels to ensure diverse views and allow for the development of people and new talent.

In considering the suitability of potential panellists, the following requirements for panel composition should be considered as appropriate:

  • Mix of discipline/expertise
  • Sector and institutional balance
  • Rohe geographic representation
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender balance

Royal Society Te Apārangi is committed to following best practice in being inclusive of diversity within our activities.

It is recognised that occasionally members of the selection panel will know applicants, or have other conflicts of interest. They will be expected to declare all conflicts of interest when these situations arise. In the case of knowing an applicant, the Chair of the selection panel will rule if this is significant enough for the judge to be stood down from the committee for that applicant. (In the case of the Chair having a conflict of interest the decision will be made by another member of the Panel who has been identified in this role at the beginning of the process).

The selection panel will not enter into any correspondence concerning its deliberations. All inquiries should be directed to the Secretariat. The Secretariat will not disclose information on matters such as ranking, or names of nominees.

Panel members 2021

Paul Neveldsen (Chair)

Kim Nikora

Venkat Reddy

Erina Butterworth

Dr Michelle Dalrymple

Hēmi Whaanga


The Secretariat for the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes is the Royal Society Te Apārangi, If you have any questions then please make contact with

Ngā Kaiwhakahaere the Secretariat
The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes
C/-Royal Society Te Aparangi
PO Box 598

Waea telephone: (04) 470 5762

Īmēra email: pmscienceprizes@royalsociety.org.nz


  • The kura school will use the $100,000 for the development of science1 in their school.
  • The winner may be expected to be involved in promotional opportunities appropriate to receiving The Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize.


  • The winner is expected to make themselves available for half a day January/February to meet with the Prime Minister’s Science Prize media liaison personnel in preparation of media material and photos.
  • The winner will be announced in February/March/April.  (date to be confirmed)
  • The winner will be expected to make themselves available for that announcement in Wellington.

Need help?  Have other pātai questions?

Ngā Kaiwhakahaere the Secretariat for The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes is Royal Society Te Apārangi.  Contact details are:

Ngā Kaiwhakahaere the Secretariat
The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes
Royal Society Te Apārangi
PO Box 598

Waea telephone: (04) 470 5762

Īmēra email: pmscienceprizes@royalsociety.org.nz



How to apply

Once you have read all the information above and are ready to read about the Application Process please click Apply Now



Supported by the New Zealand Government with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.  Nā Te Hīkina Whakatutuki te mana hāpai.