Changing the education curriculum for New Zealand: Part 2

In the last article I looked at the 2007 changes to the New Zealand education curriculum. I showed how the structure of its delivery could be changed for the better and introduced the areas of focus that the new curriculum would have.

In this article I look at the core subjects and how their curriculum could be improved to make New Zealand once again a nation with a top notch education system.

D = Domestic; I = International; G = General


This was one of my favourite subjects right through intermediate and high school. After the compulsory Social Sciences (Social Studies)ended at the end of Year 10, I went into both Geography and History. In the latter stages of high school I dropped history and focussed on Geography, which I would eventually do a Bachelor of Science in.

  • Social Studies – (D) New Zealand Politics/Parliament; Drug/Alcohol risks; Basic law and Civics (I) Indigenous culture; World Event; Global themes (e.g. disarmament; human rights; environment) (G)Current affairs
  • Geography – Natural Hazards; Environment and Society; International nation case study (G)Temporal and spatial patterns
  • History – (D) N.Z. History 1880-Present; 1800-New Zealand Land Wars; N.Z in World Wars One and Two; Challenges and Crises in New Zealand (I) International crises; figures of global importance
  • Legal Studies – Commercial law (contracts, etc); criminal law; individual rights and responsibilities; international law


Largely I thought the science curriculum was alright, though I think there needs to be an increased focus on Earth Science in New Zealand. Science’s biggest challenge stems from a lack of institutional support rather than a bad curriculum.

  • Earth science – plate tectonics; sedimentary,metamorphic and igneous rocks;
  • Chemistry – Organic chemistry; inorganic chemistry; industrial chemical use and formation
  • Physics
  • Biology – Human body, dissection,


I thought on the whole the New Zealand English curriculum was okay. However there needs to be a couple of significant amendments to ensure that people know how to write reports and essays in appropriate formats and learning to use appropriate syntax. Whilst Shakespeare was useful in respect to understanding plays, the emphasis on him I thought was too much. The items listed below are largely reflective of what I remember being taught in English which I did up to and including Year 12.

English language structure; Essay/Report structure; (D) N.Z. literature; N.Z. film; N.Z. theatre/stage production; Creative writing; Debating; (I) International theatre


I largely enjoyed this, just to get out of the classroom and stretch my legs more than anything else. Most activities were no problems, except gymnastics. It was compulsory in Years 9-11. I think the only change I’d have made from what I remember is a period of being taught eating healthily.

  • Swimming – everyone should do this in all years (I only remember Year 10)
  • Team sport
  • Ball skills
  • Athletics – long jump; high jump; shot put; discus; javelin

Part 3 finishes my commentary and recommended changes on the New Zealand curriculum.

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