Much is invested in, and expected of, a New Zealand curriculum. Following curriculum developments in the 1990s, a curriculum stocktake was carried out from 2000 to 2002, to investigate issues such as the manageability of the current curriculum, and the capability of teachers to meet the demands of the curriculum. At the same time, research findings were emerging from reports commissioned by the Ministry of Education, summarised in the Best Evidence Syntheses (BES), identifying that the most important influences on student outcomes are the quality of the teaching in the classroom, and schools’ partnerships with families and communities. Accepting that it matters what teachers teach, the New Zealand Curriculum Project, implemented in March 2003, was committed to a participatory process. The intention was to redevelop the New Zealand curriculum, in partnership with the sector, to build knowledge about the national curriculum. The focus of this article is the development of the draft New Zealand curriculum: English medium only.