Schools finder's fee for recruiting teachers from within New Zealand

What is the Domestic Finder’s Fee? 

The Domestic Finder’s Fee (DFF) is a new initiative designed to support those early learning centres and schools/kura that have difficulty attracting and retaining qualified staff. The DFF recognises that sourcing new teachers/kaiako from overseas is currently challenging due to measures necessary to control the transmission of COVID-19.

ECEs or schools/kura recruiting teachers/kaiako already living in New Zealand and returning to or beginning teaching may be eligible for reimbursement of up to $3,000 (GST exclusive) for actual incurred recruitment costs.

Is our ECE or school/kura eligible?

An ECE or school/kura may be eligible if:

  • The ECE is in a NZDep2018 decile D8, D9, or D10 location as per the Ministry of Health Deprivation Index;  OR
  • The school/kura is a Decile 1, Decile 2, or Decile 3 New Zealand state or state-integrated school/kura or is classified as a “hard to staff” state or state-integrated school/kura; OR
  • The position being filled is a STEM, te reo Māori or Māori Medium position.

Additionally, the teacher/kaiako appointed by the ECE or school/kura:

  • Must be a former or beginning teacher/kaiako who is registered and certificated by the Teaching Council, who has not been teaching in any New Zealand ECE or school/kura within the last 3 months before commencing employment in the ECE or school/kura;
  • Must have accepted an offer of employment from the ECE or school/kura as a teacher/kaiako (not a reliever, teacher aide or Limited Authority to Teach) on a full-time or part-time basis (either permanent or fixed term) for at least 12 months and for new employment starting after the 13th of October 2020.

Finally, the ECE or school/kura:

  • Must apply after the teacher/kaiako commences employment in the ECE or school/kura, and within 3 months of the teacher/kaiako commencing employment in the ECE or school/kura.

What expenses can I claim?

Expenses for recruitment up to $3,000 (GST exclusive) can be claimed. Please note that you cannot apply for the Domestic Finder’s Fee for a teaching position if you have used a subsidised recruitment service from either of the Ministry’s contracted recruitment agencies for the position.

For each expense you claim, please upload a matching PDF copy of each receipt or invoice that shows clear evidence of the expense description and amount. Bank statements cannot be accepted as evidence of expenditure

How to apply?

You must have all your expenditure documents, as well as details about the teacher/kaiako and position on your computer before starting your application.

Use the application form at the top right corner of this page to apply (only online forms and uploaded documents are accepted).

In the application you will enter a list of the eligible expenses you wish to claim, including a description and amount.

Upload the following documents:

  1. Evidence of expenditure for all expenses being claimed (bank statements cannot be accepted as evidence);
  2. A GST tax invoice from the ECE/school/kura to the Ministry of Education with the reimbursement amount.

You will be asked to indicate your acceptance of a set of declarations.

Once submitted, you will be notified of the application outcome within 4 weeks of receipt of your application. If your application is approved, you will receive payment in a single lump sum.

What information is shared?

Please note, the Ministry of Education will use the information collected on your application together with the information held in Education Service Payroll to:

  • Consider your application for a Domestic Finder’s Fee payment;
  • Administer your payment(s).

For these purposes, the Ministry of Education may share your information with the Inland Revenue Department. The Ministry may contact the Teaching Council to request details of the teacher’s/kaiako's registration status. The Ministry may also use this information for statistical and research purposes.

Under the Privacy Act 1993 the teacher/kaiako has the right to request access to all information held about themselves and to request corrections to that information, and you have the right to request access to all information held about yourself and to request corrections to that information.

Where can I get more information?

Send an email to or phone us on 0800 165 225.

New Zealand Teachers Council New Zealand Education Gazette New Zealand Qualifications Authority Immigration New Zealand