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Latest News

As our Muslim brothers and sisters mark the month of Ramadan, we reflect again on the tragic events of March 15th and the many much-loved and valued men, women and children who were taken. 

Many of us were shocked that such a thing could happen in Aotearoa.  We think of ourselves as an inclusive society, and while it has been encouraging to see the outpouring of support, we have also had to face the fact that racism and hatred are alive and well in our nation.


May 2019 - Kia ora koutou!

2019 has seen the Youth Employability Programme: Licence to Work (YEP) continue to grow — with our newest region, Tauranga, achieving remarkable buy-in from local schools as the result of some clever work by key people. However, this is Tauranga’s story, and I shall let them tell it.

Thank you to everyone for your contributions to our inaugural YEP newsletter. I am hoping that the newsletter will be an effective way of sharing news stories and good practice ideas.


May 2019 - The Ministry of Education's School Leavers’ Toolkit schools-facing website is now available at http://www.school-leavers-toolkit.tki.org.nz/

The website has a sorting tool that helps schools find resources to support the teaching and learning of key workplace competencies, civics education and financial capability for students in years 7–13. The resources linked to through the sorting tool were identified during a stocktake carried out in 2018.


January 2019 - The Government needs to double its equity funding for education.

New Zealand has one of the widest achievement gaps for students from poor families in the world and, according to the Tomorrow's Schools report, spends only half as much as comparable countries on equity funding for schools.

That has to change if we're serious about ensuring every child and young person has what they need to thrive and contribute. 


January 2019 - Talking Matters director Alison Sutton joined 3,400 practitioners, researchers and policy makers at the Zero To Three Conference in Denver in October.  

"It was incredibly stimulating," Alison says. "Talking Matters will be drawing on the insights for months to come." 



January 2019 - COMET has three new board members - Tracy Massam, Richard Thornton and Finau Glen Tuala. Their appointments were approved by Auckland Council in December 2018.  


November 2018 - Like the title of a rather forgettable 2010 movie, we all want to believe that “The Kids are All Right”. Unfortunately, there’s increasing evidence that’s not true. NZ’s youth suicide rate is the worst in the developed world ...


October 2018 - Doing YEP: Licence to Work has taught Ana Lose Niu a lot of new skills. “It’s a good course and it’s changed me,” says the Y12 student from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate. 


October 2018 - Why does talking with babies in their first 1000 days matter so much? Because it builds their brains and sets them up for success in education and in life, Talking Matters director Alison Sutton told the movers and shakers at the annual NEXT Foundation Outlook Breakfast in Wellington. "We want to get talk high up the child wellbeing agenda." 


NEW! The latest information and statistics on education, training, skills and employment for each of the 21 local board areas.

Plus commentaries on key issues and trends for the eastern, western, central northern and southern board clusters.


October 2018 - Where does our money come from? What do we spend it on? Performance reports on all our projects - plus stories and photos about the families, children and groups we work with.


Talking Matters on 1NEWS

Click on the thumbnail to watch

1 NEWS, 14 October 2018

New research shows a baby’s babble can indicate whether they’ll grow up to be good readers. “Often people think that their babble means nothing but that's not true,” says Emma Quigan from Talking Matters. “Babies are born ready to communicate.”  


August 2018 - Out now! Our SouthSci Showcase 2015-17 has stories and photos from all 24 of our participatory science projects funded during the first three years.  


 Learners in Auckland are missing out on great teachers because of unreasonable English language requirements for migrant teachers - requirements that most New Zealand-born professionals would struggle to meet. 

These unnecessarily high, academic IELTS requirements are contributing to our worsening teacher shortage and harming the early childhood sector in particular. 

That's why at COMET we are backing a call for Parliament to review the application of IELTS requirements, especially for Pasifika ECEs. You can help by circulating a petition from the Early Childhood Council.



August 2018 - We had the pleasure of attending the premiere of Le Malelega a le To'elau's video about the power of the Talanoa Ato or basket, developed as part of our Talking Matters campaign.



August 2018 - We are honoured to welcome our new kaumātua - Tame Te Rangi (Ngāti Whātua) and Rereata ‘Ral’ Makiha (Te Mahurehure, Te Arawa). 


August 2018 - Ten new SouthSci projects are underway in 2018 in south Auckland with topics ranging from edible insects and bioplastics, to raising queen bees and ‘smart’ recycling bins that signal when they’re full. 


July 2018 - Invitation for Māngere parents and teachers to join Talking Matters working group


June 2018 - The deadline for submissions on the Government's Education Conversation - Kōrero Mātauranga has been extended to 15th June. If you haven't had your say yet, why not get some ideas from the feedback at our annual COMET stakeholders' consultation?


Submission on EdConvo18

June 2018 - Key messages from our own experience about what's important for education in future. Download our submission (pdf).


June 2018 - COMET Auckland board member Caroline Ligi Harris is breaking new ground in trades training. 




June 2018 - Thanks to everyone who took part in our annual stakeholder survey. A fantastic 90.6% (that’s the dark blue and green in the pie chart) rated COMET’s work in supporting education and skills throughout Auckland as valuable or very valuable.



May 2018 - NEXT Foundation has announced it is extending its investment in Talking Matters, a COMET campaign that promotes the importance of rich language and interaction with babies and young children. 


May 2018 - The first Tāmaki Makaurau Education Forum for 2018 highlighted the kaupapa of taiohi with a report back from April's Youth Wānanga by students from kura kaupapa and mainstream schools, and a presentation from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.


May 2018 - Our STEM and SouthSci manager, Dr Sarah Morgan, was the opening keynote speaker at the inaugural STEAM Education Summit in Auckland. 


 April 2018 - We’re pleased to announce funding for our first participatory science project for 2018 – algae for biofuel at Manurewa High School.


 April 2018 - More than 60 rangatahi from high schools and wharekura around Auckland took part in our inaugural Youth Education Wānanga.


Latest Snapshot Auckland is out now - March 2018

COMET Auckland is delighted to release Snapshot Auckland 2017, the latest in our popular series of data updates on education, training and skills in Auckland. 

Snapshot Auckland 2017 brings together useful information on learning pathways in Auckland, from early learning, through school to tertiary education and employment.

It looks at enrolments, staffing ratios, learning of te reo Māori and other languages, achievement and qualifications, and post-study employment and earnings.  

We’ve got some more detailed commentary below, but some of the highlights include:

  • A special feature on how the high and rising cost of housing and living in Auckland is affecting education for students, families and teachers. 

  • Data on school leavers that show we are failing to prepare significant numbers of young Aucklanders to earn a living, with more than 25,000 aged 15-24 not in education, employment or training last year.

  • Challenging statistics on te reo Māori and other languages in schools.

So there is still a great deal to do to make our education system more equitable for all Aucklanders. We need different kinds of collaboration if we are to transform the lives of our children, families and communities.

We hope you find our Snapshot Auckland 2017 useful to start discussions around education, skills and life-long learning in communities.

The snapshot can be downloaded from our website so please feel free to share the link with your networks and on social media. We would welcome your comments by email as well.    

Please contact Shaheeda to order a printed copy. 

We are now working on data snapshots for each of Auckland Council’s 21 local boards.


Snapshot Auckland 2017 looks at how the high and rising cost of housing and living in Auckland is affecting education.



Snapshot Auckland 2017 shows we are failing to prepare a significant number of young Aucklanders for employment.


Snapshot Auckland 2017 raises some challenging statistics on learning of te reo Māori and other languages in schools. 


PS: About National Standards

You will notice Snapshot Auckland 2017 includes data on National Standards. With the Government’s decision to scrap National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori we understand the 2016 figures in our snapshot will be the last to be reported, certainly on a regional or national level. We are looking at other ways to report on primary and intermediate achievement in future.  


December 2017 - Students from East Tāmaki School took centre stage to present their worm tea chemistry project at the annual Science Communicators Association of NZ conference.   



November 2017 - Our first iwi-led SouthSci project trialling a flounder hatchery to restock the Manukau Harbour, now has live fish in the tank. 


 October 2017 - The launch of COMET's special Five Years Report by councillor Penny Hulse was a highlight of our AGM in Glen Innes. The report looks at COMET's move to a regional organisation with Auckland's amalgamation, at our achievements and the challenges ahead. 



October 2017 - We’ve had a birth in the family! The Talking Matters Movement is the result of connecting the inspiring mothers from Granger Grove with Insight Tamaki, a collective of parent social researchers. 


October 2017 - Some of the wonderful work of our budding scientists was on show at the 2017 SouthSci symposium hosted by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare this month.  


October 2017 - Around 60 students from three Auckland secondary schools graduated with their Licence to Work at a special ceremony this month.