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Including New Zealand history in curriculum applauded

Media release: 12 September 2019

Changes announced today by Government to the school curriculum to better reflect key aspects of New Zealand’s history have been welcomed by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage Chief Historian Neill Atkinson.

“Ensuring our young people learn and have a better understanding of the experiences and events which have shaped our nation is a significant step towards building confident and connected communities,” Neill Atkinson said. 

“The changes being made aim to reset the national framework which will see more schools and kura teach fundamental aspects of our country's history by 2022.

“These include the arrival of Polynesians in Aotearoa, early encounters between Māori and Europeans including Tuia – Encounters 250, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and early colonial history, the New Zealand Wars, the close connection with our Pacific neighbours, the development of New Zealand’s identity and nationhood, and the long history of immigration that has created an increasingly diverse nation.

“In 2040 we will mark the 200th anniversary of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Over the next 20 years, we have an opportunity to develop a deeper, more inclusive sense of nationhood – or Aotearoatanga – by understanding and coming to terms with our history, including the difficult histories of internal conflict.

“Manatū Taonga has a range of resources to support this curriculum change. These include the Te Ara – Encyclopaedia of New Zealand and New Zealand History websites, which provide extensive content on many aspects of our history, culture and society.

“Another one of our projects, Te Tai – Treaty Settlement Stories, will make an important contribution to awareness of iwi history and Māori-Crown relations.

“Te Tai aims to increase understanding about Te Tiriti settlements, the history behind them and their ongoing impact. This includes a focus on iwi telling their own stories, together with a suite of education resources to help schools explore their distinctive, local stories.

“A knowledge of history and understanding of different perspectives can help promote tolerance and creates social cohesion and connection, which is central to improving wellbeing,” Neill Atkinson said.

Updated on 19th September 2019