Enterprise, Self-Help and Cooperation: A History of Outdoor Education In New Zealand Schools to 1989
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis traces the development of outdoor education in New Zealand schools. Part one deals with precursors to outdoor education, from the late nineteenth century to 1938, and in part two school camping experiments and the expansion of outdoor education are examined. Outdoor education was stimulated by subject specialists working for education boards and the Department of Education, and the end of the period studied coincides with the disestablishment of these administrative bodies in 1989. Where possible, comparison with overseas developments is made. Outdoor education was adopted and expanded in New Zealand because political, economic and ideological circumstances favoured it. Progressive-liberal influences on education fostered acceptance of physical, recreational and practical activities and emphasis on the interests and needs of individual pupils. Social and economic policies of the later 1930s to the 1960s established a climate in which innovations that broadened the school curriculum were acceptable. From the late 1960s the struggle to resource outdoor education was exacerbated by its rapid rate of growth. The government funding attained was never sufficient and community support remained vital. Safety concerns from the 1960s to the end of the period precipitated efforts to establish teacher training and by the 1980s there was a growing professionalism among outdoor educators. Links between outdoor education and the school curriculum at both primary and secondary levels were maintained by changes in terminology but its central concerns with social and moral education, environmental studies, physical activity and communal living in natural environments remained. Unlike most other curriculum innovations of its time, outdoor education was initially viewed as a teaching method and it did not attain formal subject status until the 1980s.