Groups representing teachers and principals are not impressed by the government's decision to create a new set of education awards worth more than $100,000 a year.
Education Minister Hekia Parata announced the Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards on Thursday.
The awards of $20,000 each will be given in four categories - governance, leading, teaching and engaging with parents and communities.
Ms Parata says there will also be a $30,000 award for the partnership or group with the most impact in raising student achievement.
She says the awards will recognise and celebrate education success.
But education unions the Post Primary Teachers Association and the Educational Institute say if the Government wants to improve education, it should spend more on teachers' training and conditions.
Entries close at the end of March and winners are announced in June.