School Uniforms in New Zealand

Traditionally, many New Zealand intermediate and high schools, and state-integrated and private primary schools, have followed the British system of school uniforms, although it is common in state schools for the boy's uniform to have a jersey and grey short trousers rather than a blazer with tie and long trousers. This usually consists of a variety of the following apparel: for boys, a business-style shirt with an official school tie, and long or short trousers; and for girls, a blouse, and a plain and/or plaid (usually tartan) skirt, and in some schools, especially in the South Island, kilts. Both sexes wear an 'official' school jersey. Blazers and jackets are of varied colours according to the school - dark or light blue, grey, crimson, scarlet, green or black. Some follow the British practice of having contrasting colours edging the lapels and jacket fronts. Caps have generally been discarded since the 1970s but in many primary schools there is a compulsory broad-brimmed floppy hat, in the school colours, to help prevent sunburn. Where short trousers are worn, boys are usually required to wear long dark socks, which may require garters to hold them up. Since 1990 an increasing number of school include sandals as the standard summer footwear.

During the 1980s and 1990s there was a tendency for the traditional uniform to be replaced by cheaper and more 'modern' options: polo shirts, polar fleece tops, or a complete doing away with uniforms in favour of mufti. Intermediate schools usually provide the option of skirts or culottes for girls and sometimes shorts while boys will wear shorts. Bike shorts or tights are sometimes worn under girls' skirts and dresses. Some high schools have introduced trousers as an option for girls instead of skirts, however demand is low with several Christchurch high schools estimating only 1% of girls at their respective schools wear trousers.

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