Quality initial teacher education (ITE) builds on student prior knowledge. Students bring a wealth of life and career knowledge and skills to inform the planning of our Technology Education programmes, as an essential starting point. This paper seeks to establish a clear benchmark for planning programme origins through identifying and incorporating the real nature of our student entry understandings. We outline a large-scale New Zealand study that explores student entry understandings of technology and Technology Education. The scope of the study involves 906 ITE student teachers across early childhood, primary and secondary sectors. A questionnaire, held on the first day of each programme, initiated the research by investigating the influence of demographic and other factors on student attitudes and understandings of technology and Technology Education. Results revealed that participants viewed technology positively, and understood the role and importance of key aspects of technology and therefore the place of Technology Education, this however varied between age and sectors. Findings have informed current programme planning, by providing an appropriately targeted approach to initial ITE Technology Education delivery. The resulting programme delivery will go some way to ensuring an informed common message will reticulate to communities and schools about the real benefits of learning the technology way. These findings also provide a solid basis for a national longitudinal study.Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe; E kore to tātou waka e u ki uta.Don’t paddle out of unison; Our canoe will never reach the shore.