Aotearoa history to be taught in all schools from 2022

By Tumamao Harawira

Tragic events like the invasion of Parihaka are likely to be incorporated into history lessons in schools and kuru kaupapa from 2022.

New Zealand history will be taught in all schools and kura by 2022 but there will be widespread consultation throughout the country in the leadup to the 2022 school year.

“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,” Prime Minister 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,” Ardern said.

But there are concerns from some Māori teachers about the quality of teaching that will be provided.

New subjects

Hēmi Taitin, the principal of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Kōtuku says, "with the lack of general knowledge of New Zealanders regarding their own history, there will be issues over the competency of teachers throughout the motu."

Māori teacher Rhys Wīhongi of Kia Aroha College goes a step further, saying "There is a history of oppression of anything Māori in mainstream education for almost two hundred years, so how can we expect to have a quality of education?"

Some of the subjects expected to be included in the curriculum are:

  • the arrival of Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand;
  • first encounters and early colonial history of Aotearoa New Zealand;
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi and its history; and
  • colonisation of and immigration to Aotearoa New Zealand, including the New Zealand land wars.

"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," 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.” 

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