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Representations of Aotearoa New Zealand

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Writer: Sam Cunnane

Media: Drawing and Graphic Design

Curriculum Level: 5

Year Level: 10

Duration: 7 - 9 periods

Assessment: Tchr & PeerImages shown in this unit and supporting information are sourced from, and can be accessed through the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Te Porere - The Flag of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, C1860s

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Side of 'Fernleaf' Butter Box, C1940s

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Canoe Poi Dance Poster, 1950s

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

This resource is offered as an example of a unit that engages with the "front end" of The New Zealand Curriculum (2007) - considering Vision, Principles, Values, and Key Competencies, as well as Achievement Objectives.*Teachers are encouraged to use or modify this work in any way they find helpful for their programmes and their students. For example, it may be inappropriate to assess all students at level 5.


Students will investigate a selection of representations of Aotearoa New Zealand (Flags, Souvenirs, NZ Design). They will think critically about what these representations communicate about the people, place and culture of Aotearoa NZ. Students will then produce a design for their own flag or poster representing Aotearoa NZ.



Confident - producing a design representing themselves as people of Aotearoa New Zealand helps students to develop confidence in their own identity. Connected - working in pairs and small groups enables students to develop their ability to relate well to others. Producing a design which is based on their national identity enables students to reflect on themselves as people who are members of communities and international citizens

Actively involved - reflecting on, and making art works in response to, their national identity motivates students to be more active participants in a range of social and cultural contexts.

Lifelong learners - comparing traditional and contemporary approaches to presenting elements of national identity helps students to develop critical thinking skills. Producing an art work in response to a range of motivations helps to develop students' creativity.


High Expectations - there are near endless opportunities for students to strive for personal excellence through the production of art works: students are challenged to make an art work that clearly communicates their ideas, while being technically and pictorially well made.

Cultural diversity - students are introduced to designs which represent a range of cultures which contribute to our national identity. They are required to bring aspects of their understanding of our national identity to the design of their flag or poster, and share these with other members of their class. Inclusion - working together to analyse a selection of presentations of national identity helps them to develop an awareness and appreciation of others' perception of what it means to be a person from Aotearoa New Zealand.

Coherence - students make links to other curriculum areas (particularly Social Sciences) through the study of historical representations of national identity.


Excellence - students are encouraged to aim high through the use of high quality art works as exemplars of good practice.

Innovation, inquiry and curiosity - students are encouraged to think critically, creatively and reflectively throughout the art-making process. Diversity - students are encouraged to value diversity through the use of exemplars showing a range of cultural identities.


Thinking - students will critically analyse visual and written information about how Aotearoa New Zealand was and is represented to the rest of the world.

Using language, symbols and texts - students will make meaning from the symbols and texts they are presented with, and use symbols to produce their own visual texts.

Managing self - students will work to present a completed design by a set deadline.

Relating to others and Participating and contributing - students will interact with their classmates in small and large groups to investigate information and generate and critique ideas.

UC - Understanding the Arts in Context Students will investigate and consider the relationship between the production of artworks and their contexts and influences. Students will investigate the ways in which artists make art works to comment on social and environmental issues.
PK - Developing Practical Knowledge Students will apply knowledge of selected conventions from established practice, using appropriate processes and procedures. Students will apply knowledge of a range or mixed media art-making processes (painting, sculpture, collage, installation) in the production of a mixed media art work.
DI - Developing Ideas Students will generate, develop and refine ideas in response to a variety of motivations, including the study of established practice. In response to the study of selected art works students will generate, develop and refine ideas about a social or environmental issue and present these ideas in visual form.
CI - Communicating and Interpreting Students will compare and contrast the ways in which ideas and art-making processes are used to communicate meaning in selected objects and images. Students will compare and contrast (through group discussions) the ways in which ideas about social and environmental issues are communicated through selected objects and images.


  • Printed versions of selected Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa assets or access to assets online for three groups of students
  • Paper, pencils, coloured drawing media (pencils; pens; colour paper; computers and printer)
  • Presentation space - could be a classroom wall or space in a foyer or school library
  • 'Paste Up - A Century of New Zealand Poster Art', by Hamish Thompson, 2003 will be useful


Flags  Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Souvenirs  Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

NZ Design  Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Assessment Schedule

Teaching and Learning Sequence - Teacher Copy

Student Information Sheet

Student Task Sheet

Māori Sovereignty Flag, 1990

New Zealand Company Flag

Trade Union Banner

Te Porere - The Flag of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki,C1860s

Cigarette-Box Holder 1939

Paua Surfboard

Souvenir Māori Doll, 1950s-60s

Souvenir Māori-Style Toothpick

Side of 'Fernleaf' Butter Box, C1940s

New Zealand's First Postage Stamp, 1855

TEAL Poster

New Zealand Railways Cup and Saucer

Canoe Poi Dance Poster, 1950s

Printing this unit

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