New Zealand’s histories to be taught in all schools

Issue: Volume 98, Number 18

Posted: 24 October 2019
Reference #: 1HA1BQ

On 12 September Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced that New Zealand’s histories will be taught in all schools and kura by 2022.

The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa will be updated to make learning New Zealand’s histories explicit, so that all learners and ākonga are provided with opportunities to learn about the events that have shaped our nation, and the different perspectives New Zealanders have of these events.

The curriculum changes will come into effect in 2022. They will be gazetted during 2020 in order to give schools and kura time to prepare to implement them.

The joint announcement on 12 September was made on a day that brought our collective history into the spotlight through three connected events that highlighted the importance of our history for those living today and for generations to follow. Fittingly, the announcement also fell during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.

The day began with the unveiling of a plaque at Parliament commemorating the New Zealand Wars – giving these conflicts the same status as famous overseas military campaigns. The New Zealand histories announcement followed.

Later in the day the Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, hosted the first reading of the Te Pire Unuhia Hara kai Runga i a Rua Kēnana: Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill, giving effect to the agreement between the Crown and Ngā Toenga o Ngā Tamariki a Iharaira me Ngā Uri o Maungapōhatu Charitable Trust.

“The need for this bill is a living example of the way the experiences of our ancestors continue to impact upon their descendants, and the kinds of steps that are needed to right past wrongs,” she said.

Importance of learning range of stories

In making the New Zealand histories announcement, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of learning the full range of our national stories.

“This Government is committed to a better New Zealand that we can all be proud of and which recognises the value of every New Zealander,” she said.

“We have listened carefully to the growing calls from New Zealanders to know more about our own histories and identity.”

The national curriculum currently enables schools and kura to decide how New Zealand’s histories is covered, but variation in delivery means too much is left to chance in the teaching and learning of this history, Ardern said.

Updated curriculum

The updated curriculum will span the full range of New Zealanders’ experiences and is expected to include:

  • the arrival of Māori to Aotearoa New Zealand
  • the first encounters and early colonial history of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi and its history
  • the colonisation of, and immigration to, Aotearoa New Zealand, including the New Zealand Wars
  • the evolving national identity of Aotearoa New Zealand in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Aotearoa New Zealand’s role in the Pacific
  • Aotearoa New Zealand in the late 20th century and the evolution of a national identity with cultural plurality.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said it is important for learners and ākonga to understand New Zealand’s histories as a continuous thread, with contemporary issues directly linked to major events of the past.

Diversity is our strength

“Our diversity is our strength, but only when we build connections to each other. We can move forward together, stronger when we understand the many paths our ancestors walked to bring us to today.”

The Ministry of Education will work collaboratively with experts and the community to develop a New Zealand histories curriculum update, Chris Hipkins said.

“The Ministry will call on historical and curriculum experts, iwi and mana whenua, Pacific communities, students and ākonga, parents and whānau, and other groups with a strong interest in shaping how
New Zealand’s histories are taught.”

Once the updates to the curriculum are known, existing supports will be reviewed and an implementation package with teaching and learning resources will be developed ready for the 2022 school year.

The package will allow schools and kura to include the new content and learning expectations in their local curriculum, working in partnership with their local communities and mana whenua.

Q and A

What year levels will be supported?

The changes will cover the entire breadth of the national curriculum. This means we would expect New Zealand’s histories to be taught as part of the local curriculum and marau ā kura across all levels of schooling.

The changes will include identifying the learning at each level of the curriculum relating to the themes, events and perspectives that should be explicitly included in local curriculum and marau ā kura.

Learning areas, including social sciences and tikanga-ā-iwi, are compulsory from Years 1–10. From Year 11 students specialise in subjects from across the curriculum, including history.

Will this mean New Zealand’s histories will become a compulsory subject?

Yes. New Zealand’s histories will be an explicit part of the social sciences and tikanga-ā-iwi learning areas, which are compulsory.

It will be expected that New Zealand’s histories will be taught as part of the local curriculum and marau ā kura at every level of the curriculum.

What effect will the histories change have on the rest of the curriculum?

No other parts of the curriculum will be altered, but they will benefit from the addition of New Zealand’s histories.

The update will enrich the learning experiences in each kura and school’s local curriculum and marau ā kura, using content that directly relates to their communities.

What will be taught at each year level under the changes and how will it be different from the status quo?

It is too early to say what will be taught at each level. Details of what will be taught, and when, will form part of the Ministry of Education’s discussions with those who have an interest in how the curriculum will be shaped.

The Ministry will need to work with a number of stakeholders, including those with curriculum and historical expertise, iwi and mana whenua, and the young people, their whānau and their communities who petitioned so hard for this change.

This will reset a national framework that ensures all learners and ākonga are aware of key aspects of New Zealand’s histories, and the ways in which they have influenced and shaped our nation.

This will include identifying the learning at each level of the curriculum relating to the themes, events and perspectives that should be explicitly included in local curriculum and marau ā kura.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 2:04 pm, 24 October 2019

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