Te Whāriki (2017) is launched

What a privilege it was to be on the team that revised Te Whāriki (see https://education.govt.nz/early-childhood/teaching-and-learning/ece-curriculum/te-whariki/the-writers-of-the-update/). We were so fortunate to have the leadership of Nancy Bell and the wisdom and experience of our kuia and kaumatua who led the original curriculum development 21 years ago. We were also pleased with the engagement of the ECE community who provided us with considered and thoughtful feedback that made the final version both richer and contemporary (see https://education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Early-Childhood/ONLINE-Te-Whariki-Update-Long-v21A.PDF).

The new document was launched just before Easter this year and is exciting both in its content and its visual presentation.






Kathy Wolfe, the chief executive of Te Rito Maiaha offers the following report of the launch of the document: https://www.ecnz.ac.nz/te-wh-riki-and-te-wh-riki-a-te-k-hanga-reo-launch

Kathy notes that “the updated document is visionary, fresh and engaging and has not lost its core purpose.”  She identifies seven key shifts:

  • deciding what matters
  • using the learning outcomes
  • assessment practice
  • broad and deep curriculum
  • affirming children’s unique cultural identities
  • involving parents and whanau
  • personalised pathways from early learning to school and kura

A few thoughts from me:

Significantly, the document has had a symbolic whāriki (p. 11) gifted to us by a weaver, rather than the kete-like symbol of 1996.

 The vision for children remains, but recognises children in the present as well as future as being competent, confident and capable.

“Underpinning Te Whāriki is the vision that children are

competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society. (p. 5)”


Te Tiriti o Waitangi commitments begin the document to highlight the bicultural commitments of the curriculum. The principles, strands and goals remain and stand the test of time in their foresight of being about children’s holistic learning and the skilful and thoughtful role kaiako (our new word for all those who educate children) play in creating and engaging with teaching environments that foster this learning. Whakatauki are used throughout the document to highlight key ideas about children, their families and histories, and important messages and metaphors about learning and teaching. For example:

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini.
I come not with my own strengths but bring with me the gifts,
talents and strengths of my family, tribe and ancestors. (p. 12)

The most significant change is reducing the learning outcomes from 118 to 20. This is more manageable for teachers to engage with and pay attention to in children’s learning over time. More on these in a future post … to highlight where working theories sit and belong in the new document.


Ministry of Education. (2017). Te Whāriki. He whāriki matauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early childhood curriculum. Wellington: Ministry of Education.


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