The lobby group Family First says a survey shows half of New Zealanders support the reintroduction of corporal punishment in schools.
The group's national director, Bob McCoskrie, believes that support will have grown, following two incidents involving students with knives at school in the past week.
"We got rid of corporal punishment because, we were told it would get rid of violence in the school playground and it was sending the wrong message. The question we need to ask ourselves is, has it worked?" he said.
But the president of the Principals' Federation, Ernie Buutveld, says reinstating corporal punishment in schools would be a backwards step.
He says adults need to demonstrate to young people the non-violent ways of dealing with conflict.
"The question I have for those people who want corporal punishment reintroduced, is if we are going to treat our youth like that, should we beat our adults as well?" he said.
"We've moved away from that a long time ago. If it's not right to treat adults this way why on earth are we thinking of treating our children in this way. It's almost as it we hate our children."
The telephone survey canvassed one thousand people nationwide and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2%.