Cultural Equity in Policy and Pedagogy: An Issue for Visual Arts Education in Aotearoa New Zealand

Jill Smith
Vol 23, Number 2, p.125
The New Zealand Curriculum Framework (Ministry of Education, 1993) and The Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2000) provide policy direction for New Zealand schools. Conceived in a climate of New Right ideology these policy statements largely overlook issues of cultural equity other than by token reference to New Zealand’s bicultural identity, the Treaty of Waitangi, and a need to respect the diverse cultures of a multicultural society. In calling for the displacement of a monocultural view of curriculum and the importance of action for cultural equity in a democratic society, this paper focuses on the visual arts discipline in the arts curriculum. It recommends the instigation of a critical approach to policy and the implementation of a critical pedagogy that would embrace democratic responsibility as a significant component of visual arts education This approach would give students from diverse cultures a voice by furthering the opportunities to explore the place of values, traditions and histories that recognise and embrace cultural differences.