New Zealand history to be taught in all Kiwi schools from 2022

The Government will make changes to the education curriculum to "make clear the expectation" New Zealand history is taught in all schools and kura from 2022.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement on Thursday, saying that the Government was "committed to a better New Zealand" and "recognises the value of every New Zealander".

Currently, the national education curriculum allows schools and kura to make their own decisions over how New Zealand history is covered. But Ardern said that leaves too much to chance.

"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.

"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."

It is expected that our history will be taught at every level of compulsory curriculum. From Year 11 schools choose what subjects their students must learn.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the ministry will work with key groups to develop the history update and what topics should be taught at what year level.

"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," said Hipkins.

"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."

Topics expected to be included in the curriculum changes include:

  • Arrival of Māori in New Zealand
  • Colonisation
  • The Treaty of Waitangi
  • New Zealand's role in the Pacific

A petition was presented to Parliament in June with more than 3500 signatures calling for "the coherent teaching of our own past across appropriate year levels in our schools".

The petition was in the name of Graeme Ball, the chairperson of the History Teachers' Association. He told Newshub earlier this year that there needed to be a consistent set of guidelines on what should be taught.

"If we had the primary sector doing its thing, and intermediate thing doing its thing it will be just more of the same," he said.

Changes to the curriculum will be gazetted in 2020 to give schools time to prepare.