< November 2021 newsletter

More on our highly unsatisfactory new NZ history curriculum

Haka performed in front of the Ōhinemutu pā, which withstood the assault by Te Waharoa in 1836. PUBL-0014-53, Angas, George French, 1822–1886: War dance before the Pah of Oinemutu, near Rotorua Lake. J.W. Giles lith., 1847. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.

Following the comments we made last month about the inexplicable decision by the Ministry of Education not to release for public viewing submissions made on the proposed new history curriculum, look at what noted  historian Dr Paul Moon says about how the exercise was handled. 

“First, the content - the curriculum’s authors bypassed altogether concerns raised by experts over significant omissions. ... Puzzlingly, these points of the submission were largely ignored”.

“The second area of unease over the curriculum relates to its ideological tilt. ...” 

“…..the curriculum overall has been marred to some extent by a concoction of clumsy content selection, the intrusion of ideological elements, and a consultation process that was more perfunctory than purposeful”.

“Finally, there is the unusual process by which this new curriculum was developed. The ministry obscured details of those responsible for drafting it, and introduced an opaque public-submission process, with an external company with inadequate expertise on history hired to review the submissions. And strangely, no precise terms of reference for the review of submissions were published, no criteria for evaluating them was outlined, there was no feedback to submitters, and as it turns out, no material changes to the curriculum were made”. 

Dr Paul Moon is Professor of History at Auckland University of Technology. He has written over twenty-five books on aspects of New Zealand history. Read Paul’s full commentary ‘New history curriculum off to a worrying start’ HERE

Under the current administration, it appears the true history of New Zealand is to be suppressed. Instead, our school children will be taught a particularly biased interpretation of our history.

No society can address important issues without a comprehensive and accurate understanding of its past, and it is not always obvious at first glance which books on our history are pushing an ideological agenda. However, we can recommend the following books – albeit a limited list:

  • The Penguin History of New Zealand, by Michael King
  • The Treaty and its Times, by Paul Moon and Peter Biggs
  • The Kingite Rebellion, by John Robinson
  • New Zealand; the Fair Colony by Bruce Moon. To purchase a copy, contact [email protected]

Further reading

Newsroom: Phillip Temple. Telling it like it was: the timid curriculum

Go back to the November 2021 newsletter


Start From Scratch: The New Zealand Histories Curriculum

Sean Plunket recently asked one of our top historians, Dr Paul Moon, Professor of History at Auckland University of Technology, for his view on the new history curriculum to be taught in New Zealand schools. His answer? Start from scratch. Continue reading