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The New Zealand Curriculum Treaty of Waitangi principle

Welcome to The New Zealand Curriculum Update

Curriculum Updates support school leaders and teachers as they work to design and review their school curriculum in line with the New Zealand Curriculum and with current knowledge and understandings about effective classroom teaching.

Curriculum Updates are published in the Education Gazette and are available online.

This Update focuses on The New Zealand Curriculum principle of the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications for teaching, learning, and the school curriculum.

Teacher and students.

This Update supports schools in understanding and enacting the curriculum principle of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Treaty of Waitangi is one of the eight principles that provide a foundation for decision making within The New Zealand Curriculum:

The curriculum acknowledges the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the bicultural foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand. All students have the opportunity to acquire knowledge of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga.

NZC, p. 9

A recent Education Review Office report (2011) states that many school leaders and teachers are finding the Treaty of Waitangi principle challenging to implement. In schools where the principle is evident:

  • te reo Māori me ōna tikanga are valued and promoted in school management and in teaching and learning, for example, through pōwhiri, karakia, and kapa haka
  • all students have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori and to understand and celebrate the place of Māori as tangata whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • established relationships with students, parents, whānau, iwi, and other community members support Māori students' learning.

ERO suggested that many schools could improve their practice, for example, by:

  •  building their understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications for school policy, organisation, and planning
  •  consulting the local Māori community about the school's direction and their aspirations for Māori students.

Schools need to consider to what extent the Treaty of Waitangi principle is evident in the interpretation and implementation of their school curriculum and is enacted in their classrooms.

Download the full print version: Issue 16: January 2012 (PDF, 1 MB)