Social Studies

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

Through the social sciences, students develop the knowledge and skills to enable them to: better understand, participate in, and contribute to the local, national, and global communities in which they live and work; engage critically with societal issues; and evaluate the sustainability of alternative social, economic, political, and environmental practices.

Students explore the unique bicultural nature of New Zealand society that derives from the Treaty of Waitangi. They learn about people, places, cultures, histories, and the economic world, within and beyond New Zealand. They develop understandings about how societies are organised and function and how the ways in which people and communities respond are shaped by different perspectives, values, and viewpoints. As they explore how others see themselves, students clarify their own identities in relation to their particular heritages and contexts.

The Learning areas include: Social Studies, History and Geography.


History presents students with the dilemmas, choices, and beliefs of people in the past. It connects students with the wider world as they develop their own identities and sense of place. Students engage with history at personal, local, and international levels. They investigate the histories of their communities, New Zealand, and the wider world.


Geography seeks to interpret the world and how it changes over time – past, present, and future. It explores the relationships and connections between people and both natural and cultural environments. Geography investigates the ways in which features are arranged on the earth’s surface. It describes and explains the patterns and processes that create them.  Students learn to think spatially and use maps, visual images and new technologies, including geographical information systems (GIS), to obtain, present and analyse information.

Social Studies student’s Activities