Here is a unique historical review of the provision of gifted education in New Zealand from 1878–2005. The author identifies periods when the education system led to the neglect of gifted and talented children but also highlights times when experimentation in gifted education has been encouraged.
With inspired leadership from 1935#8211;1960, there was an awakening of interest in gifted children followed by national encouragement of local initiatives in their education from 1960#8211;1967. The new millennium has brought a resurgence of interest and activity with encouraging signs that schools are identifying their gifted and talented students and catering for them in different ways.
This historical account is valuable in giving us a window on the past, the opportunity to reflect, and a forward look at possible developments. Hopefully, today’s innovations will help New Zealand grow an education system in which all children, including the gifted and talented, are supported in realising their full potential.
Danny Knudson’s interest in gifted education dates back to 1966 when he was appointed adviser for gifted children in Otago. He has since lectured at the Dunedin College of Education, and recently retired after 23 years as principal of George St Normal School. He holds a PhD from the University of Otago where his special field was the history of gifted education. In 2005, Dr Knudson was awarded the Queen’s Honour, MNZM, for services to education.