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Social Sciences Online. Ministry of Education


The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa are the guiding documents that together form the national curriculum for New Zealand schools.

The social sciences are one of eight learning areas described in the curriculum, and social studies is the foundation, integrating subject for the social sciences at years 1 to 10.

Links to key curriculum documents for social studies are provided here:

  • The New Zealand Curriculum: Social sciences

    This section of the New Zealand curriculum website has information about the social sciences as a learning area, the learning area structure, and the achievement objectives for levels 1 to 8.

    Resources and information relating to the previous (1997) curriculum document may continue to be used as supporting documents when planning teaching and learning programmes.

    Download a PDF version of Social Studies in the New Zealand Curriculum.

  • Understanding the social sciences as a learning area – A position paper

    This position paper, written in 2008, highlights the importance of the social sciences and the place of social studies as a social science in the New Zealand curriculum. It focuses on the broader social sciences and includes classical studies, economics, geography, history, and social studies, along with other related subjects developed by schools for senior levels.

    It brings together historical developments, research findings, and curriculum, assessment, and resource initiatives to provide a discussion of how the social sciences learning area is defined, and how teachers, teacher educators, and researchers can move forward with a stronger sense of shared understandings.

  • The New Zealand Curriculum

    The New Zealand Curriculum sets the direction for teaching and learning in English-medium New Zealand schools. It has been mandatory since February 2010.

  • Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

    Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the curriculum for Māori-medium teaching, learning, and assessment, was launched in September 2008. It is New Zealand’s first curriculum to be developed and written in te reo Māori and sets the direction for teaching and learning in Māori-medium schools and settings.

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