WELLINGTON, May 24 - The initiative, designed to give young people an insight into elections and voting before they turn 18, has 100,000 schoolchildren signed up from 541 schools to engage them at the time the country's general election is looming.

That compares to 78,000 students in 2014.

"The high number of early registrations shows schools are keen to give their students an opportunity to learn about the electoral process," says chief electoral officer Alicia Wright.

Kids Voting provides schools with resources to run a mock election that could include candidate debates and developing campaign material.

"Voting is a lifelong habit [and] the earlier young people start to vote, the more likely they are to keep voting," Wright said.

"It's a practical way to show students how our electoral system works and helps them get ready to vote when they turn 18."

About half the schools taking part are primary or intermediate and half are secondary schools.

The General Election is on September 23.