St John’s College offers History from Years 11 to 13.

   History Field Trip, Alexander Redoubt Pirongia

Why do we study History?

History fires our curiosity and imagination

History invites us to ask and helps us to answer today’s questions by engaging with the past and imagining and speculating on possible futures.

History presents us with the dilemmas, choices and beliefs of people in the past.

History connects us with the wider world as we develop our own identities and sense of place. We engage with history at personal, local and international levels.

History is a research led discipline

History encourages an informed understanding of the origins of our diverse society in  New Zealand. An awareness of history inspires us to become confident, questioning and empathetic individuals.

History is dynamic and exciting

As we develop our understanding of the nature of historical inquiry, we employ a robust methodology. We learn to ask and answer important questions, evaluate evidence, identify and analyse different interpretations of the past and substantiate arguments and judgments. We can see why and what we are learning and we can debate the significance of the history we learn.

History prepares us for the future

History equips us with knowledge and skills that are valuable and useful throughout life. These include research techniques, the skills needed to process and synthesise varied and complex materials, the skills needed to give clear and effective oral and written presentations, and the ability to articulate ideas and make them clear to others.

With these skills, we enhance our employability and are able to participate actively and critically in our societies.


A primary aim of this school’s courses is to develop your potential, intellectually and socially.

Intellectual growth in History will be catered for by the development of the skills of information gathering, processing and presentation which are a central focus for all our courses. These skills are becoming increasingly important with the ongoing information revolution which demands greater skills in these areas.

The course will also focus upon knowledge and concepts that will assist you in your understanding of yourselves as members of society locally, nationally and internationally.


  • To develop in you a critical understanding of yourselves as New Zealanders -  your heritage, cultures and shared values.
  • To compare our attitudes with other societies and other times.
  • To explore those processes which have shaped and are shaping the world we live in.
  • To develop the skills of historical enquiry and interpretation:
    • Problem definition
    • Information gathering
    • Information processing
    • Information presentation
  • To encourage an understanding of people in other times and places.
  • To develop in you the ability to enter imaginatively into events of the past.

   History Field Trip, Pukekohe Presbyterian Church 1862


The following skills are central to the aims of the course:

Information gathering

  • To be able to develop information-gathering abilities appropriate to year 13 students.
  • To examine, select and record information in an organised fashion.
  • To gather information from as wide a range as possible, e.g. posters, pictures, documents, cartoons, films, libraries, interviews, maps, graphs, newspapers etc.

Information processing

  • To be able to develop information-processing abilities appropriate to year 13 students.
  • To sift information from a variety of sources, choosing what is and is not appropriate.
  • To distinguish and recognise fact from opinion.
  • To recognise specific points of view, bias and propaganda.
  • To recognise and understand terms historians commonly use.
  • To comprehend historical relationships.


  • To be able to present findings in a manner appropriate to year 13 students, using a variety of different media.
  • To recall specific points of view.
  • To present an argument and support it with well-chosen evidence and reasoned conclusions.
  • To present material which is accurate, logical, concise and clear.
  • To apply recognised historical conventions.
  • To present material in a wide variety of forms, e.g.  prose, reports, articles, essays, discussion, debate, role play, posters, time lines, slides, videos etc.