Govt supports free period products in over 2000 schools within one year

  • 96% of estimated menstruating students receive free period products
  • 2085 schools involved
  • 1200 dispensers installed
  • Supports cost of living, combats child poverty, helps increase attendance

Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti today hailed the free period products in schools, Ikura | Manaakitia te whare tangata, a huge success, acknowledging the vital role of schools, students and whānau in growing the free period products initiative which now involves than 2,085 primary, intermediate, kura and secondary schools.

Speaking at Heretaunga College to mark one year since the initiative was introduced to schools, she said it may have started small with a pilot of 15 Waikato schools, “but overwhelming demand and support, means we are now reaching 96 percent of estimated menstruating students.”

“The results speak for themselves backed up by the feedback we hear from students, principals and teachers across the country who are unified in describing the positive impact the free period products in schools is having.” 

Tinetti paid particular tribute to Heretaunga College for being a lead supporter of the initiative, “which today has provided more than 700 thousand packs of product to 216,000 estimated menstruators in participating schools and kura.”

Between 2021 and 2024 Government will spend around $25 million on the initiative which will continue to run at least until June 2024.

Students have clearly told us, during the trial and the roll out so far, that they value choice in the type and size of product provided and how they get it, such as dispensers in bathrooms, ordering a bulk supply, or access via a trusted staff member. The current focus is on refining deliveries, introducing a broader range of products and additional access methods for students, including the installation of dispenser units in larger schools. To date, more than 1,200 dispenser units have been installed in over 300 schools and kura.

The Ministry of Education has recently selected a supplier who will be developing a range of student facing resources. These will align with the New Zealand curriculum and will be engaging, encourage conversation and strengthen understanding of menstruation and wellbeing.

Ikura | Manaakitia te whare tangata removes one of the barriers that prevent children and young people regularly attending school. Providing free period products is one way Government can support whānau and positively impact children’s wellbeing.

The initiative compliments more than 75 initiatives included in the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy launched in 2019. It sits alongside other initiatives such as free school lunches, cheaper visits to the doctors, and the school donations scheme that will help families with the costs of essentials.