National submits on New Zealand history curriculum

The National Party agrees that teaching New Zealand history to our kids should be a core part of the curriculum, but we have serious concerns around elements of the current proposal, National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories is designed to be taught every year from years 1 to 10, with the same three ‘big ideas’ repeated and explored each year.

“Repeating and exploring the same themes for 10 years is a recipe for boredom and disengagement. Māori history, colonisation and the effects of power in our country, year in year out, will elicit only groans by years 6 or 7 unless the teacher is a miracle worker.

‘The three ‘big ideas’ are themselves too narrow. They don’t do justice to our rich and multi-layered history in this country.

“They risk rendering our history as a simple division between oppressors and victims.

“That’s part of the story, but so is a reflection of what we’ve achieved together – in the creation of prosperity, in the support of those in need, in the expansion and curtailment of our freedoms, in the exuberance and creativity of our emerging New Zealand culture, and so much else.

“The proposed curriculum also includes gross simplifications, which National’s submission draws attention to. 

“The risk is that if enough people conclude the curriculum has been politicised, successive governments will feel the need to change it, furthering a sense of politicised curriculum. That is in no one’s interest.

“The Prime Minister promised New Zealanders a history curriculum that would promote a ‘better New Zealand’. National doesn’t believe the current proposal does that.”

Paul Goldsmith’s submission on behalf of the National Party caucus is attached here.