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New Zealand history to be compulsory in all schools by 2022

New Zealand history will be taught in all schools and kura by 2022, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

New Zealand history will be made compulsory in all schools and kura within the next three years, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

Students will be taught about the arrival of Māori to Aotearoa, first encounters and colonisation, Treaty of Waitangi, the NZ Wars, immigration to NZ and the country's evolving identity.

Currently, schools can choose how they cover New Zealand history.

"But variation in delivery means too much is left to chance in the teaching and learning of New Zealand history," Ardern said.

The move comes after a History Teachers' Association petition to make the subject compulsory in schools. 

The Association's chairperson, Graeme Ball, said the number of people who learned about New Zealand's history was shameful.

"Too few New Zealanders have a sound understanding of what brought the Crown and Māori together in the 1840 Treaty, or of how the relationship played out over the following decades," he told Radio NZ.

Ardern said the government had listened carefully to the growing calls from New Zealanders to know more about their 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."

Related articles: A landmark study of the NZ Wars and important contribution to change | History teachers decry 'shameful' ignorance of colonial, Māori history | Why we need to open up about past Māori and Pākehā conflict

The Ministry of Education will work collaboratively to develop a New Zealand history update, Chris Hipkins said.

“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.

“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.”

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