The research, undertaken by The Navigators, found that 85 per cent of those surveyed supported increased pay for teacher aides.

There was also strong agreement – 90 per cent – for more support for teacher aides, and 91 per cent agreed that students with additional learning needs also require more support.

There was a high level of agreement – 81 per cent – that ECE teachers need more support, and 77 per cent agreed that ECE teachers need a payrise.

Sixty per cent of those surveyed believe ECE teachers are underpaid because they are female.

A total of 1015 New Zealanders took part in the survey.

NZEI president Lynda Stuart said it was encouraging to see that the wider public understood and appreciated the value of the work these educators are doing.

"The days of employers saving money by underpaying female-dominated workforces are thankfully coming to an end.

"The Government has made it clear that it wants to end this injustice, and this research shows that New Zealanders agree," she said.

Coinciding with the release of the research findings, NZEI has this week launched a pledge for government-funded pay equity for school support staff and early childhood educators.

The pledge is part of the ‘Mana Taurite, Fair’s Fair’ pay equity campaign, which aims to end the historic underpayment of workers in female-dominated education roles.

NZEI is currently negotiating with the Ministry of Education for pay equity settlements for support workers, teacher aides, ECE workers and school administration staff.

“This work is mainly done by women and should be valued and paid fairly,” Stuart said.

“The handful of men in these jobs will also benefit from a pay equity settlement because they're also being underpaid for doing 'women's work.'”