The New Zealand Curriculum sets the direction for teaching and learning in New Zealand schools. Every school curriculum must be clearly aligned with the intent of this document, schools have considerable flexibility when determining the detail.

The New Zealand Curriculum specifies eight learning areas: English, the Arts, Health and Physical Education, learning Languages, Mathematics and Statistics, Science, Social Sciences, and Technology.

Learning Areas

  • English is the study, use, and enjoyment of the English language and its literature, communicated orally, visually, and in writing, for a range of purposes and audiences and in a variety of text forms. Learning English encompasses learning the language, learning through the language, and learning about the language.
  • The Arts are powerful forms of expression that recognise, value, and contribute to the unique bicultural and multicultural character of Aotearoa New Zealand, enriching the lives of all New Zealanders. The arts have their own distinct languages that use both verbal and non-verbal conventions, mediated by selected processes and technologies.
  • In Health and Physical Education, the focus is on the well-being of the students themselves, of other people, and of society through learning in health-related and movement contexts.
  • Learning a new language provides a means of communicating with people from another culture and exploring one’s own personal world. Languages are inseparably linked to the social and cultural contexts in which they are used. Languages and cultures play a key role in developing our personal, group, national, and human identities. Every language has its own ways of expressing meanings; each has intrinsic value and special significance for its user
  • Mathematics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships in quantities, space, and time. Statistics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships in data. These two disciplines are related but different ways of thinking and of solving problems. Both equip students with effective means for investigating, interpreting, explaining, and making sense of the world in which they live.
  • Science is a way of investigating, understanding, and explaining our natural, physical world and the wider universe. It involves generating and testing ideas, gathering evidence – including by making observations, carrying out investigations and modelling, and communicating and debating with others – in order to develop scientific knowledge, understanding, and explanations.
  • The Social Sciences learning area is about how societies work and how people can participate as critical, active, informed, and responsible citizens. Contexts are drawn from the past, present, and future and from places within and beyond New Zealand.
  • The Technology learning area incorporates a range of specialist subjects which use practical and intellectual resources to develop and communicate a range of products and systems (technological outcomes). Technology education explores how; beginning with a need or opportunity, new products and systems are developed and how these developments impact on our world. Quality outcomes result from thinking and practices that are informed, critical, and creative.