In a year of unprecedented events in New Zealand’s history, in which I was to lose people close to me and in which I saw firsthand the toll taken on my hometown community of Greymouth and my current place of residence, Christchurch, I cannot reflect on this year in curriculum without relating it to those events. As I write this, the clean-up of the oil spill following the Rena’s grounding off Tauranga is also underway—another example to support the points I will make.
In this editorial I would like to tie together notions of crisis, curriculum and citizenship. In a previous Curriculum Matters editorial, I presented a broad definition of curriculum (Mutch, 2009). This explored curriculum from society’s aspirations, through official documents, to teachers’ interpretations and students’ responses. In the 2011 editorial, I will link the way in which the official curriculum has interpreted society’s aspirations and how the responses to the disasters of the past year demonstrate particular ways in which New Zealanders act as citizens when faced with major crises.