Me tiro whakamuri, kia anga whakamua. 

If we want to shape Aotearoa New Zealand’s future, start with our past.

Social sciences creates a curiosity about and respect for places, people, cultures, and systems. Students learn to contribute, participate, and take positive action as informed, ethical, and empathetic citizens with a concern for the wellbeing of communities and a commitment to a fair society for all.

Learning in the social sciences aims to help students thrive in the diverse communities and environments of Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond. This includes understanding the mutual responsibilities to Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi of tangata whenua and tauiwi as they live together in relationships that promote respect for one another, tikanga, and the natural environment.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories supports this aim through its focus on stories of interactions across time that connect people to each other and to place. Students will build understandings about how Māori, and all people for whom New Zealand has been and is their home, have shaped Aotearoa New Zealand’s past.

This will help them make sense of the present and inform future decisions and actions.

There are three elements in the Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum content: Understand, Know, and Do. Teachers design learning experiences that weave these elements together so that student learning is deep and meaningful.

At years 11–13, students deepen their understandings, knowledge, and practices through subjects that draw from Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories.

Selecting meaningful topics

Selecting meaningful topics is critical if students are to deepen their understanding of the curriculum’s big ideas and be able to apply them to both familiar and new contexts. Teachers will choose topics that have personal and social significance for society and that engage students at local, national, and global levels.

When selecting a topic, teachers can ask the following questions:

  • How will the topic help students explore the big ideas: the foundational and continuous history of Māori, the impact of colonisation and settlement, the power people and groups hold, and the relationships that shaped our history?
  • How will the topic draw on stories, examples, and perspectives so that students learn about the history of their local area and of Aotearoa New Zealand?
  • How will the topic draw on stories from iwi and hapū about their history in the rohe?
  • How will the topic support student-led inquiries into the history of Aotearoa New Zealand, the rohe, and local area?
  • In what ways is the topic important to the rohe or local area now?
  • How will this topic support students to apply their learning to new and more complex contexts?

Teachers can then support students to use inquiry practices within the local curriculum, so that students are thinking critically about the past and the different ways in which it is interpreted.