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Social sciences

Teaching time requirements

From the start of Term 1, 2024 school boards must ensure their school's teaching and learning programmes meet requirements for structuring teaching time for reading, writing and maths in Years 0 - 8. Specialist schools with students in Years 0 - 8 must ensure this from the start of 2025.  Kura with a specified kura board must ensure this from Term 3, 2024.

See Gazette Notice 2023-go5904 and Changes to legislative requirements for school boards on NZC Online.


Aotearoa New Zealand's histories and Te Takanga o te Wā

Understand the big ideas of Aotearoa New Zealand's history. Know national, rohe, and local contexts. Do thinking critically about the past and interpreting stories about it. The learning that matters.

From 2023, Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories and Te Takanga o Te Wā will be taught in all schools and kura.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories sits within social sciences in The New Zealand Curriculum. It is part of the social sciences learning area because it encourages learners to be critical citizens - learning about the past to understand the present and to prepare for the future.

In October 2022, a notice was issued in Te Kāhiti o Aotearoa | The New Zealand Gazette to make Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories a formal part of the national curriculum from 1 January 2023.

The notice can be found at Ngā tauākī Marautanga ā-Motu / National Curriculum Statements - New Zealand Gazette.

The 2007 social sciences curriculum expectations are set out below and remain in place. The Aotearoa New Zealand Histories expectations which have been added to these can be found here: Aotearoa New Zealand histories in the New Zealand Curriculum. (PDF)

Resources and support materials are available at Aotearoa NZ's histories.

Refresh of Social Sciences

The full Social Sciences learning area is being updated as part of the refresh of The New Zealand Curriculum.

While the new Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum content must be taught in schools there is no requirement for schools to implement the remainder of the refreshed te ao tangata | social sciences learning area until the beginning of 2026.

The refreshed Social Sciences learning area is available now for schools to explore in preparation.

Over the next three years, boards, principals, teachers and schools should become familiar with the content, so they can plan for how they will implement the new curriculum area, and begin when they are ready.

Why study the social sciences?

Through the social sciences, students develop the knowledge and skills to enable them to: better understand, participate in, and contribute to the local, national, and global communities in which they live and work; engage critically with societal issues; and evaluate the sustainability of alternative social, economic, political, and environmental practices.

Students explore the unique bicultural nature of New Zealand society that derives from the Treaty of Waitangi. They learn about people, places, cultures, histories, and the economic world, within and beyond New Zealand. They develop understandings about how societies are organised and function and how the ways in which people and communities respond are shaped by different perspectives, values, and viewpoints. As they explore how others see themselves, students clarify their own identities in relation to their particular heritages and contexts.

Published on: 08 Apr 2014