Rainbow Teachers

Rainbow paint brush 

PPTA's Rainbow Taskforce for Safe Schools has been operating for about 14 years. Its job is to help make secondary schools safe and welcoming places for  lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex students, family/whanau members and teachers.

Link to PPTA webpage Contact Rainbow taskforce members

pdf icon Affirming diversity of sexualities and gender identities in the school community: guidelines (2012)

Link to PPTA webpage Resources for LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex) students, teachers, and families/whanau

PPTA maintains an email network for members interested in being kept informed about issues for LGBTI teachers and students and about the work of the Rainbow Taskforce.  You don't have to be LGBTI yourself, just interested in the issues and keen to support PPTA's work in this area.  The network receives an average of one email per term with news, links to interesting articles, and so on.  If you would like to join this network, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and ask to be added to the list.

2015 Pink Shirt Day date, Friday 22 May

Would you like to join PPTA’s Rainbow Taskforce for Safe Schools?

Would you like to be a member of PPTA’s Rainbow Taskforce for Safe Schools?

We are seeking expressions of interest from members who would like to fill a vacancy that has occurred on the Rainbow Taskforce.  This is for a two-year term commencing January 2016.

 icon Self nomination form for PPTA Rainbow Taskforce (January 2016)

What does the Taskforce do?

The Rainbow Taskforce was first founded in 1993 (under the name Safe Schools Taskforce).   It has been working since then towards the goal of making all schools safe and welcoming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex students, staff and family/whanau members.   It meets about twice a year for a full day meeting, and at other times in conjunction with PPTA events such as Annual Conference and the Issues and Organising seminar.   The Taskforce

1. Provides advice to the Executive, to branches and to members on LGBTI issues

2. Works politically to influence policy and practice on LGBTI issues

3. Liaises with other organisations, e.g. SS4Q, to advance the union’s agenda

4. Reports regularly to Annual Conference on its work

5. Currently, some members of the Taskforce have been helping with the work of offering anti-homophobia workshops in schools for staff professional learning and development.  The union has been offering up to 20 of these per year since 2012.     


Rainbow taskforce 2015

Contact names for the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA) Rainbow taskforce representatives. The Rainbow taskforce meets regularly and is happy to hear from members.   

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Melville High School
Kia ora te whānau. I am head of special needs at Melville High School, Hamilton. I have almost always taught learning challenged or dis-engaged students, and I always seem to bat for the underdog! I am married to my partner Anna, and between us we have 11 grandchildren, all of whom keep us very busy. I have always wanted to help our students, and keep them free from prejudice and bullying.   

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Avondale College
Kia ora. As a senior specialist teacher of Biology and in my role as the Specialist Classroom Teacher at Avcol, I have the good fortune to work with both staff and students toward creating safe, inclusive and engaging learning environments in which all students can be who they are and strive achieve at the highest levels. Serving as a part of the leadership team for PB4L at my school has assisted me in developing whole school strategies to combat the issues of bullying and exclusion; from the school yard to classrooms, playing fields and the gymnasium where I coach the school volleyball teams. As the current Rainbow Taskforce Convener I have been involved on the steering committee for Pink Shirt Day, participated in the development of the Inside Out teaching and learning resources in collaboration with Rainbow youth and Core Education, and facilitated PPTA Safer Schools for All professional development sessions for schools, university teacher trainees and the Auckland School Nurses Group. I look forward to continuing this PLD and collaborating with other teachers passionate about making a difference or gender and sexually diverse students across Aotearoa.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Fairfield College
Kia ora koutou. I am a school guidance counsellor at Fairfield College and the PPTA Executive member for Waikato. I have been on the Taskforce since 2010 and have been privileged in working with committed colleagues. My passion is social justice for all. " Be kind and treat people the way you want to be treated". He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata". No reira tena koutou katoa.  

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Newlands College
Jerome is in his fifth year of teaching, and has shown leadership on LGBTI issues in his own school including establishing, with the help of his colleagues, a support group for LGBTI students.

Michael Tarry - Hato Petera College

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Opotiki College / Te Huarahi representative  
Kia ora koutou o nga hau e wha. I am the Guidance Counsellor at Opotiki College and the Te Huarahi Maori Motuhake rep for Mataatua. I have just joined the Rainbow taskforce.
I care about fairness and treating people well and I am looking forward to working with the taskforce. team in 2015.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - PPTA National Office


Notes from the Rainbow Taskforce meeting of 31 July 2014

rainbow paint brushNotes from the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) Rainbow Taskforce meeting 31 July 2014

New members
Youth 2012 reports
Pink Shirt Day 2014
Day of Silence 2014
Core Education video teaching resources
PB4L Bullying guidelines
Rainbow Network


Notes from the Rainbow Taskforce meeting of 4 October 2013

Notes from the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) Rainbow Taskforce meeting 4 October 2013.

Pink Shirt Day
Changes in youth groups
Safer schools for all workshops
Youth 2012 research
CTU Out @ Work
Membership of the Taskforce
Next meeting

Pink Shirt Day

We talked about our experience of working with the Mental Health Foundation who now organise Pink Shirt Day. Shawn Cooper, who is based in Auckland, will join the Pink Shirt Day committee along with Judie Alison, and he may be able to get to some of the meetings in person.  His school, Avondale College, had a lot of activity on Pink Shirt Day 2013.

Pink Shirt Day in 2014 is Friday May 23 – put it in your calendars.  


Notes from the Rainbow Taskforce meeting 1 Mar 2013

Notes from the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) Rainbow Taskforce meeting 1 March 2013.

Transgender students
Out @ Work Kamp
Rainbow Network
Pink Shirt Day
Report Back on LGBTTI Symposium
Safer Schools for All workshops
Changes in taskforce membership
PPTA President's comments

Next meeting is Friday 4 October 2013

Transgender students
We discussed what advice we should be giving to schools about processes when they enrol a student who is transgender.  The Massachusetts material recently received is very helpful, but the legal framework here may be a little different.  There appears to be no best practice across government, and being transgender tends to be problematised instead of normalised.  We agreed to seek advice on this from the Human Rights Commission and to work towards producing some material for schools ourselves.

Link to pdf on external website Guidance for Massachusetts Public Schools Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity

Out @ Work Kamp
This is in the holidays this time, and we decided to send four members of the Taskforce to the Kamp to represent PPTA.

Link to external website More information about the CTU Out@Work Network

Rainbow Network
The Taskforce was worried that nowhere near all our GLBTI members knew about this email network, even though an invitation to join the list the Network is on our website.  We agreed to try to find more ways to get members to sign up to it.   We also decided to email a summary of each Taskforce meeting to the network so they would be more aware of our work, and put this on the PPTA website.  

Link to PPTA webpage Login to sign up for Rainbow Taskforce e-newsletters

Pink Shirt Day
This is on May 17th this year and is being coordinated by the Mental Health Foundation.  PPTA has not been contacted by them, and we decided to make contact and remind them of our importance to getting things happening in secondary schools on Pink Shirt Day.

Link to external website Pink Shirt Day - Where's the power?

Report Back on LGBTTI Symposium
Lex Davis had attended on PPTA's behalf a symposium in Auckland titled  "˜LGBTTI Wellness and Suicide: What do we need to change?' organised by a range of organisations.  It was a really good day.  The key presentations to the symposium can be seen on video.

Link to external website Videos from LGBTTI Wellness and Suicide: What do we need to change?


Safe classrooms for all. Anti-homophobia workshops in schools

Speaking out - antihomophobia workshops article graphicThe New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) Rainbow Taskforce report on their "Safe classrooms for all" anti-homophobia workshops in schools.

Speaking out

A trial of anti-homophobia workshops in schools this year has been a huge success with demand well exceeding expectations.

Offered through PPTA's rainbow taskforce, the "Safe Classrooms for All" workshops were designed to help staff deal with issues around homophobia and transphobia and the impact this has on gay and transgender students.

PPTA advisory officer Judie Alison, who presented the workshops along with rainbow taskforce members Lex Davis and Jo Belgrave, said extra sessions had to be arranged to meet demand from schools.

"The invitation sent out to schools said that because 2012 was a trial year we would be able to offer only 10 workshops "” but the demand was far in excess of what we had expected. In total there were inquiries from 21 different schools," she said.

At the time of writing 15 workshops had been held in a wide range of schools "” area schools, co-ed and single-sex, urban and provincial and high and low decile.

Judie said many teachers were surprised by figures presented that showed LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) students were over-represented in alcohol, drug and self-harm statistics.

Results from the Youth '07 report "” a health and wellbeing study of 8000 secondary students from years 9 to 13 "” showed that suicide attempt figures over a 12-month period were five times higher for same/both-sex attracted students than their opposite-sex attracted peers and that three times as many were bullied at school on a weekly basis.

Judie said the study, conducted by the University of Auckland's faculty of medical and health sciences, gave workshop attendees a stark example of the issues LGBTI students face.