Terms of Reference for the New Zealand’s Histories Ohu Matua (Reference Group)


In August 2019 Cabinet agreed to initial actions arising from the Curriculum, Progress and Achievement Ministerial Advisory Group’s June 2019 report. One of the initial actions was to establish an agreed process for updating the National Curriculum.

On 12 September 2019 the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, and the Minister of Education, Rt Hon Chris Hipkins, made a joint announcement that the national curriculum will be updated to make explicit the expectation that New Zealand’s histories is taught to all students in New Zealand schools and kura from

The Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga and wider public discussions identified that many felt the education system was not meeting New Zealanders’ expectations in relation to teaching Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories. This particularly includes Te Tiriti o Waitangi, colonisation, the Land Wars and waves of

As a consequence of this, the Minister of Education has prioritised updating the national curriculum – The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa – to make learning Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories explicit.

The update will provide a national framework that ensures all learners are aware of key aspects of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories, and the ways they have influenced and shaped our nation.

The Ministry of Education (the Ministry) will draw on the knowledge and skills of a wide range of people to collaborate with them to design, develop and implement an Aotearoa New Zealand histories curriculum that is representative of the histories of all New Zealanders and is fit for purpose for teachers, leaders, ākonga
and their whānau.

The Purpose of the Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories Ohu Matua (Reference Group)

Te Ohu Matua will provide a broad range of perspectives – including of ākonga, whānau and communities – to inform the design, development and implementation of the Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum content, resources and supports.

It will include Māori, Pacific, history and curriculum experts, leaders and teachers from the schooling sector, and others with a strong interest in shaping how New Zealand’s histories are taught.

There will be sub-groups focusing on curriculum content and curriculum supports. Further sub-groups with a particular focus will be formed as required.


Te Ohu Matua will work with the Ministry to inform the development and implementation of an update to the national curriculum to make explicit the expectation that Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories is taught to all students in New Zealand schools and kura from 2022.


The scope of the Ohu Matua is to:

  • contribute expertise, views and knowledge from a wide range of perspectives
  • consider feedback gathered through engagement
  • provide advice to the Ministry to inform the design, development and implementation of Aotearoa
    New Zealand’s histories curriculum content, resources and supports
  • engage with their networks to seek feedback and socialise the work of the group.

Functions of the Ohu Matua

The role of the Ohu Matua is subject to these Terms of Reference.

The Ohu Matua will provide:

  • an ‘on the ground’ view to feed into the work
  • a source of broader perspective that will feed into the thinking and advice to the Ministry
  • a vehicle for bringing diverse voices into the process (e.g. iwi, hapū, parents and whanau, student
    voice, disability perspectives, curriculum academic expertise).


Members of the Ohu Matua will represent the broad range of stakeholders who have an interest in shaping how Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories are taught, including Māori, Pacific, people with disabilities, ākonga and whānau, history and curriculum experts, leaders, teachers and academics.

If Ohu Matua members cannot attend a meeting during the term of this group, minutes of the meeting and any supporting documentation will be provided and a verbal update available if required.


The Ohu Matua members will not be paid, however the Ministry has a budget to operate this Group, including offering all Ohu Matua members Teacher Release Days or the equivalent, and travel/accommodation costs. Travel arrangements will be made for all members.

The Ohu Matua and its members will not have an independent budget.

The Ohu Matua will conclude at the end of 2021.


The Ministry will provide the secretariat role, and will ensure there is appropriate support for the Ohu Matua.


The Ohu Matua will not make media statements about Aotearoa NZ’s Histories without the prior agreement of the Ministry of Education. If members of The Ohu Matua are asked to provide comment on any issue relating to education by a third party (i.e. other than the Minister or Ministry), they will forward the question or request to the Ministry through the New Zealand Histories mailbox.


Meetings of The Ohu Matua will be held in Wellington.

We expect that the Ohu Matua will meet up to five times in 2020; three full days between now and the end of June with a further two days in the latter half of the year. We expect up to four meetings throughout 2021 (four full days) before the Ohu Matua concludes at the end of 2021.

The agenda and papers for meetings of the Ohu Matua will be circulated to members six working days in advance of each meeting, and draft notes from the meeting will be circulated to Ohu Matua members no later than five working days after each meeting.

Conflicts of interest

Members should avoid situations that might compromise their integrity or otherwise lead to conflicts of interest.

If a member becomes aware of an actual or potential conflict of interest, they will advise the Ministry of Education immediately.

The work of the Ohu Matua is confidential, unless otherwise agreed by the Ministry. Members of the Ohu Matua will maintain this confidence, and will not disclose information about the operations of the Ohu Matua to any person without the above agreement.

For your information:

Current descriptions of the groups

Te Whakaruruhau will guide each phase of the project across the national curriculum. Te Whakaruruhau will comprise of pākeke recognised for their experience and knowledge in Māori history, whakapapa, mātauranga Māori and Māori specific narratives. They will provide us with insight into Te Tiriti o Waitangi in a post settlement era.

Ohu Matua/Reference Group will inform the design, development and implementation of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories in the national curriculum, Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and The New Zealand Curriculum, and provide a vehicle for broad engagement to ensure there is breadth of collaboration and
feedback. It will be comprised of curricula and history experts, Māori, Pākeha, Peoples of the Pacific, migrant communities, disabled peoples, teachers and curriculum leaders.

Working groups will be drawn from within the Ohu Matua to focus on and progress certain aspects of this mahi. Others may be asked to join the working groups if specific skills are required.

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