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Part A: Infographic about learners

Infographic about learners

Part B: The New Zealand 1999 Curriculum

The New Zealand Ministry of Education introduced a new curriculum in 1999 with a principal emphasis on the learning area of health and physical education, the new curriculum with titled ‘Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (HPENZC) (Ministry of Education, 1999). HPENZC replaced the initial separate curriculums for health and education that were introduced in 1985, and 1987 and it marked a major change from the moral approaches of the previous health and education approaches that looked at health and education as only encompassing care of the body, physical health, movement skills, and the prevention of diseases. Aside the above, the new curriculum thought to add other holistic orientation features which further included emotion, mental, spiritual health, and the social notions of health. The 1999 curriculum also focused on the general political and social contexts of health and an individual’s position within them. In simple terms, the 1999 New Zealand curriculum attempted to seek a balance between the global social concerns and the extremes of an individual. Partly, the New Zealand Curriculum was largely influenced by the British and Australian physical education curriculum writers who had begun to draw on the critical theory and contested the nature of the physical and health education as a subject matter in their countries. In the same way, the writers of the 1999 New Zealand curriculum borrowed tents of the social critical theory to write the new curriculum. Although the writers maintained the tenets of the old health and physical education curriculum: biophysical knowledge and physical skills, the writers also alluded the importance of cultural, sociological, and psychological knowledge as means to attain a holistic understanding of health and physical education in the new curriculum.

HPENZC emphaises four fundamental conceptions to justify the socio-cultural and primary elements of the new curriculum to reinforce physical and health education amongst learners. These include; health promotion, ecological perspective, values, and attitudes in the New Zealand dialect of ‘Hauora.’ Hauroa is Maori terms which denotes well-being. The terms is further contextualized and linked to the broader society in a socio-ecological viewpoint. This analyses the self of an individual in the context of the society and others (Culpan, 1998). It also looks at the processes of health promotion, values and attitudes within a social justice framework. The 1999 New Zealand framework draw international praise for its critical and socio-cultural orientation. For example, Penny and Harris (2004, p. 103) were positive about the form and content of the new curriculum. The authors claimed that the new curriculum gave breadth in term of both activities, and issues that enhance and affect health in terms of its cultural specifics and social constructs. While Tinning (2000) was critical of the 1999 New Zealand Curriculum, the author was supportive of its social critical agenda and emphasis of social justice. Tinning’s only concern was if its aims were realistic and achievable.

While the 1999 New Zealand curriculum required teachers and policy makers to adopt different ways of thinking on how to implement the curriculum to enhance the health of their learners, it is not surprising that there have been radical changes in primary physical education (PHE) in primary schools in the country. Relatedly, primary physical education in primary schools in the country today takes form of play, sports activities, games, adventure, recreation, and expressive movements in the diverse social and physical environments. These activities are thought to promote the social and physical health of the learners. This is in part implementation of the socio-cultural tents of the 1999 New Zealand Primary and Health Education Curriculum. Notably, the physical activities of play, sports have been continued to strengthen the learner’s physical strength which physical promotes physical health whereas activities like recreation, adventure and expressive movements fortify the socio and cultural tents as the pupils practice in groups regardless of their cultural backgrounds. In the same way, there have been initiatives to promote health in areas like South Canterbury, New Zealand through improving nutrition, ensuring sun protection practices in school, promoting mental health activities such as warning learners against substance abuse, violence, and reducing risk-taking behaviors amongst learners (Calder et al., 2017).

Over all, physical education remains a primary consideration in New Zealand’s primary education curriculum (Benedict, Gordon, & Cowan, 2011). It is also important to note that the 1999 New Zealand Curriculum was an encompassing curriculum written with the attempt to encompass the broader concerns that influence physical health. Whereas many of the underlying tents of the curriculum have been adopted and embraced today, the New Zealand curriculum continues to evolve by consistently changing philosophical frameworks that underpin the health and physical education learning area in the country. In any case, fully implementing the 1999 curriculum was a huge epistemological and personal challenge that required the involvement of various stakeholders like the government, public, health institutions, and policy makers working in education settings to promote health programmes, ensure the socio-cultural dynamics as envisioned the curriculum. The dearth of the various stakeholder involvement in the new curriculum meant that not all aims of the curriculum would be met. However, glad that the latest primary physical and health education curriculum developments have continued to draw to the HPENZC in appreciation of its underlying dimensions.

Part C: Three Everyday Practices

To encourage inclusion, intersectionality, equality, as well as improve the students welfare, whilst observing the standards/requirements of the New Zealand Education Leadership Programme (NELP), a school or kura as also known in New Zealand can apply the below mentioned three factors: 

  • Empowering Platforms for Digital Storytelling
  • Compliance with NELP's Expectations: NELP implores leaders to embrace technology use to cultivate the culture of innovation in education. This compliance goal aligns with the use of digital storytelling (Statement of National Education and Learning Opportunities, 2023).
  • Enhancing Student Experiences: The NELP also encourages schools to create digital space/platforms where students can communicate or voice their viewpoints, stories, and experiences in the form of blogs posts, videos, or podcasts. The stories may revolve around their cultural origins, challenges that maybe facing or those that they have overcome, interests, or hobbies. Besides promoting the spirit of understanding and empathy amongst the learners, this practise established a chance for all learners to be considered.
  • Challenges: Giving the required practical support, ensuring the privacy and safety of the users, as well as solving challenges related to cyberbullying or inappropriate content are some of the issues that require systematic consideration.
  • Sessions for Virtual Reality (VR) Wellness
  • Alignment with NELP's Expectations: NELP implores leaders to embrace technology to enhance their ability to in education and focus on wellbeing. For example, implementing VR wellness sessions aligns with either goal.
  • Enhancing Student Experiences: Apply virtual reality technology, design immersive and engaging wellness training exercises to enhance the learner’s experience (Technology in the NZC. Technology and Values). These sessions may include; taking the learner’s to mindful setting, unwind outdoor settings, or engaging in seminars on issues relating to managing stress and emotional intelligence. Lastly, the learners may participate in instructed meditation and relaxation exercises by using VR that facilitates stress reduction and promotes self-awareness.
  • Challenges: Using VR technology requires initial investment in software and hardware, and ensuring that every stakeholder is able to access the VR gear (Technology in the NZC. Technology and Values). Finally, the school management/IT department ought to provide guidance on the proper, safe, and responsible use of VR.
  • Workshops on Inclusion led by Peers
  • Compliance with NELP's Expectations: NELP requests leaders to promote inclusion and equity. Through engaging the learner’s as leaders in ensuring a more inclusive school culture, peer-led inclusion seminars ensure this objective.
  • Enhancing Student Experiences: Inspire learners to arrange and chair seminars and debates regarding topics about diversity, and equity (Education and Training Act 2020, 2023). In due course, this culture will enhance the learning experience for the learners. Learners will gain from each other’s shared experiences, and views by engaging in the workshops and debates which encourage open sessions for discussion. Also, this culture enables learners to proactively influence the ethos of their school.
  • Challenges: Making sure that the seminars and debates are diverse and accommodative to every member’s views, according the students the required training and support to the student organisers, and avoiding the possible resistance from some parties are some of the potential problems which might be met.


One ‘Bold’ ‘Audacious’ Change

An audacious change will involve establishing a countrywide "Equity Resource Centres" (ERCs) to change the present educational system and be in line with the goals of the National Education Learning Priorities (NELPs) in New Zealand. The centres can serve as locations which are strategically located in the traditionally secluded societies, with the aim of ensuring all learners have access to learning support and opportunities.

Identification of Systemic Inequity: The current funding model for education that primarily depends on local property taxes shows total inequality. The model promotes educational inequality by enabling strong funding gaps between the underprivileged, and well-funded schools.

Systemic Inequity in Education: Given the funding model's inequitable allocation of education resources, the disparities in education are widened. Students from poor family background are forced to contend with substandard facilities, limited access to advanced coursework, and fewer seasoned teachers. Unfortunately, this contravenes the NELPs' objective of ensuring every learner can afford quality education.

Impact on Learners: Learners from poor family backgrounds are unduly sabotaged by the unfair education funding inequality, which impairs their academic performance and sometimes careers thus limiting their future prospects. In the end, this limits career advancement and expands the career achievement gap amongst the nationals.

Steps to Address the Problem and Bring About Long-Term Change

  1. Establish ERCs: Establish working corporations with neighbourhood associations and public sector organisations to start ERCs in under-served regions. The facilities should offer resources such as qualified educators, technology access, extracurricular, and tutoring activities.
  2. Promote the use of a fair funding formula which will ensure equitable education resource allocation depending on the needs of the students instead of property taxes. As a result, changes in policy and legislation are needed.
  3. Professional Development: Fund school administrators and teachers professional development to equip them with modern knowledge to teach learners and use modern education tools like technology.
  4. Establish support networks for students through establishing collaborations with the neighbouring societies, such as iwi and whanau. Engage the society in the making of decisions and care givers and parents in the learning process of their students.
  5. Relevance of the Curriculum: Make sure the curriculum integrates the traditional viewpoints and knowledge of the learners and thus applicable to the different needs of the society (The New Zealand curriculum / Kia Ora).
  6. Carry out regular assessments to assess the progress made to reduce the inequalities in education. Hold the decision makers and educational institutions accountable in achieving the equality objectives, and continued inequity if it persists.
  7. Encourage research and innovation within ERCs to identify and implement the ideal measures to tackle the inequities in the education sector. Share the best practical measure with the nation.

This all-inclusive strategy, if used with stakeholders, enhances the students learning outcomes since it addresses the underlying disparities in the education sector, and aligns it with the NELP objectives, and guarantees all learners access to affordable and high quality education. In summary, the strategy founds an all-inclusive framework for a continuous change by tackling issues regarding the school's culture, assessment, teaching and learning, curriculum, and community ties



Benedict, D., Gordon, B., & Cowan, J. (2011). What is Physical Education in Primary Schools in Aotearoa/New Zealand? Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education, 2(3/4), 5-16. What is Physical Education in Primary Schools in Aotearoa/New Zealand?

Calder, K., Begg, A., Thompson, L., Williams, D., Bidwell, S., & Brosnahan, N. (2017). Education setting-based health promotion in New Zealand: evaluating the wellbeing and vitality in education (WAVE) programme. Health Promotion International.

Culpan, I. (1998). Physical education in the new curriculum: Are we agents of the State? Journal of Physical Education New Zealand, 31(1).

Education and Training Act 2020. (Version as at 24 August 2023).

Ministry of Education. (1999). Health and physical education in the New Zealand Curriculum. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Penney, D., & Harris, J. (2004). The body and health in policy: Representations and recontextualisation. In J. Evans, B. Davis & J. Wright (Eds.), Body knowledge 18 Teachers and Curriculum, Volume 9, 2006 and control: Studies in the sociology of physical education and health. (pp.96-111). London: Routledge

Statement of National Education and Learning Opportunities 2023.

Tapasā: cultural competency framework for teachers of Pacific learners. Tapasā: cultural competency framework for teachers of Pacific learners :: Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Tātaiako: cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners. Tātaiako: cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners :: Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Technology in the NZC. Technology and Values. Technology and values / Technology in the NZC / Welcome to Technology Online - Technology Online (

The New Zealand curriculum / Kia Ora. (August). Kia ora - NZ Curriculum Online.

Three kings Primary School website.

Tinning, R. (2000). Seeking a realistic contribution: Considering physical education within HPE in New Zealand and Australia. Journal of Physical Education New Zealand, 33(3), 8-21

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