NZ history to be taught in all schools

New Zealand history will be taught in all schools and kura by 2022, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

“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,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“We have listened carefully to the growing calls from New Zealanders to know more about our own history and identity. With this in mind it makes sense for the National Curriculum to make clear the expectation that our history is part of the local curriculum and marau ā kura in every school and kura,” Jacinda Ardern said.

The National Curriculum currently enables schools and kura to decide how New Zealand history is covered, but variation in delivery means too much is left to chance in the teaching and learning of New Zealand history, Jacinda Ardern said

“The curriculum changes we are making will reset a national framework so all learners and ākonga are aware of key aspects of New Zealand history and how they have influenced and shaped the nation.” 

They will span the full range of New Zealanders’ experiences and are expected to include:

  • The Arrival of Māori to Aotearoa New Zealand
  • First encounters and early colonial history of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi and its history
  • Colonisation of, and immigration to, Aotearoa New Zealand, including the New Zealand Wars
  • 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 evolution of a national identity with cultural plurality

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

“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 to develop a New Zealand history 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 history is 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

When will the changes be introduced?

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.

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 a kura throughout the compulsory curriculum.

The changes will include setting specific achievement objectives at each level of the curriculum that clarify 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 schools can choose which subjects their students are required to take.

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

We will expect New Zealand’s histories to be taught as part of the local curriculum and marau a kura at every level of the compulsory curriculum.

Will New Zealand’s histories be included in NCEA?

Yes. The curriculum changes and NCEA change package will provide opportunities for New Zealand histories.

How much will this cost?

Initial work to be done in the 2019/2020 financial year will be funded through Ministry of Education baselines. This means that there is no initial additional funding required at this stage.

What effect will this have on the rest of the curriculum?

The curriculum is being updated to make explicit the expectation that New Zealand’s histories are taught as part of the local curriculum and marau ā kura in every school. No other parts of the curriculum will be altered through this change.

Who will be involved?

The Ministry of Education will work collaboratively with historical and curriculum experts, iwi and mana whenua, Pacific communities, the sector, students and ākonga, parents and whānau, and other groups with a strong interest in shaping how New Zealand’s histories is taught.

What will happen if a school decides not to teach the New Zealand history curriculum?

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 Ministry will review and adjust supports to help schools meet this expectation, so that a lack of knowledge or capability does not stop schools and teachers using the curriculum.

ERO reviews look at how schools reach positive learning outcomes – knowledge, skills, attitude and habits – for all children and young people. Their indicators include that students learn, achieve and progress in the breadth and depth of The New Zealand Curriculum and/or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. Making expectations for New Zealand histories explicit within The New Zealand Curriculum and/or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa will support ERO to identify whether schools need to make improvements in this area.

What will be taught at each year level under the changes and how is it 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 stakeholders, including historical and curriculum experts, iwi and mana whenua, Pacific communities, the sector, students and ākonga, parents and whānau, and other groups with a strong interest in shaping how New Zealand’s histories are taught.

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 it has influenced and shaped our nation.

This will include setting specific achievement objectives at each level of the curriculum that clarify the themes, events and perspectives that should be explicitly included in local curriculum and marau ā kura.

What happens next?

The first step is to collaboratively develop a New Zealand’s histories update to the National Curriculum with historical and curriculum experts, iwi and mana whenua, Pacific communities, the sector, students, parents and whānau, and other groups with a strong interest in shaping how New Zealand’s histories are taught.

Once the content for the updates is known, existing supports will be reviewed and an implementation package will be developed that will enable all schools and kura to include the new content and learning expectations in their local curriculum and marau ā kura, working in partnership with their local communities and mana whenua.