Ministry of Education reveal plans to teach the history of colonisation in schools

Headlines 03/02/2021

The Ministry of Education revealed its draft of the new New Zealand history curriculum today, and they've asked for feedback from the public.

The new topics in the proposed curriculum include the arrival of Māori, early colonial history, Treaty of Waitangi, the New Zealand wars and New Zealand's role in the Pacific.

The Government initially announced their plan to alter the way our country's history is taught in school back in 2019, with the hope that it is to be taught in all schools and kura by 2022.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that the previous education model left too much to chance, with schools being allowed to make their own decisions around how our history is taught.

The new curriculum was already tested in schools in late 2020, but now they are seeking public feedback on the proposed changes.

The public will be able to read the draft content and complete an online survey from today, running until May 31.

The content will then be taught in schools and kura in 2022 from entry-level in year 1 to year 10. From year 11, when students elect their subjects, it will be optional.

The seven themes the Government agreed to in 2019 were:

  • 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.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said he expects the curriculum will "help students get a stronger sense of how the past has shaped who we are".

"In practice, learners across New Zealand will explore the stories that are unique to us. In Te Tai Tokerau, for example, I know people will be interested in learning about the battle that took place in Ruapekapeka during the Northern Wars in the 1800s," he said.

"In Waikato, ākonga may learn about the invasion of Waikato led by Governor George Grey and the implications this had for people living in the region...

"We want all New Zealanders to have their say on the draft content and we are hoping to hear from as many people as possible. I urge all New Zealanders who are interested in our history and kura to provide feedback."