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Treaty of Waitangi

About the Treaty of Waitangi principle

The Treaty of Waitangi is one of eight principles in The New Zealand Curriculum that provide a foundation for schools' decision making.

The Treaty of Waitangi principle puts students at the centre of teaching and learning, asserting that they should experience a curriculum that engages and challenges them, is forward-looking and inclusive, and affirms New Zealand’s unique identity.

"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."

The New Zealand Curriculum, p 9.

What is the Treaty of Waitangi principle?

Looking at the Treaty of Waitangi curriculum principle
Wharehoka Wano shares his ideas about the importance and meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi curriculum principle. Whare offers schools simple strategies to get started and describes what might be seen in classrooms where the Treaty of Waitangi principle is enacted.

The New Zealand Curriculum Principles: Foundations for Curriculum Decision-Making – The Treaty of Waitangi
This is ERO's second evaluation report examining how the NZC principles are embedded and enacted in schools. The descriptors of how the Treaty of Waitangi principle is evident can be used to help you reflect on your practice.

"In schools and classrooms where this principle was very evident there were high expectations for the achievement, attendance and behaviour of Māori students. The programme incorporated aspects of te ao Māori. Tikanga Māori was valued and promoted. There were opportunities for all students to hear and use te reo Māori. Students had opportunities to participate in kapa haka and pōwhiri.

In these schools targets were set for Māori student achievement and these were reported to the board and the Māori community. The school consulted its Māori community and called on their expertise to provide advice and guidance. Māori were well represented on the board. A strategic plan outlined a planned approach to raising the achievement of Māori learners. Trustees made available sufficient funding to provide for a Māori dimension across the school."

The New Zealand Curriculum Principles: Foundations for Curriculum Decision-Making, July 2012, p 18

Leading from the Middle: Educational Leadership for Middle and Senior Leaders
Leading from the middle (2012) promotes culture as one of four categories or areas of practice for school leaders. Principals and middle leaders are prompted to consider the Treaty of Waitangi / Te Tiriti o Waitangi in school decision making.

"Middle and senior leaders have a key role both in contributing to the building of a positive and inclusive whole school culture, and in ensuring this culture is reflected within their own particular areas of responsibility. In achieving this they will show that they value diversity within the school, and recognise that culture counts in improving teaching and learning for all (Bishop and Glynn, 1999). School leadership will consider the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi / the Treaty of Waitangi by building a sense of identity, actively protecting and preserving the Māori language and connecting the culture of the community and whānau to what is valued in each school."

Leading from the middle, 2012, p 14

NZC Update 16 – The Treaty of Waitangi principle
This update is structured around partnership, protection, and participation – three broad Treaty of Waitangi principles suggested by the 1988 Royal Commission on Social Policy. You may find it helpful to consider these principles as you work to enact the Treaty of Waitangi principle at your school.

Updated on: 26 Mar 2019