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Exercises and worksheets for highschool students.

New Zealand curriculum framework

How to use the worksheets

Worksheet contents

How to participate

Worksheet 6: Building a multicultural society

Ways to identify and combat discrimination

  • Culture and Heritage: Levels 7 & 8
  • Place and Environment: Level 5


  • To introduce students to New Zealand's 1994 Human Rights Act.
  • To help students understand what it feels like to be taunted or ignored because they are different.
  • To focus on the methods students could use to change their perceptions of others and to create a more inclusive school environment.


Each student should have a copy of "Anna's Story" by the Race Relations Office, from the 1994 DecisionMaker Guidebook, Parliament and government, page 11.

  1. Discuss terms 'dislike' and 'discrimination'.
  2. Read "Anna's Story", members of the class could take parts.
  3. Read the worksheet and discuss the questions.

    Or, search for the Diversity Action Programme on the website
  • Discuss terms like "desecration of graves", religious and ethnic intolerance" and "interfaith
  • Read speeches on interfaith, such as by Prime Minister Helen Clark, and act parts of the people she mentions
  • Read the worksheet and discuss the questions.

Parliament passed the Human Rights Act, and it came into law in 1994.
The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against people on the grounds of sex, marital status, religious or ethical belief, race or colour, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, political opinion, employment status, family status or sexual orientation.

The Race Relations Office also must encourage positive race relations through education. One way of helping to do this is to uncover the motives behind what actually is happening in situations where people feel they are being attacked or discriminated against because of the kind of person they are.

Get into groups or pairs and discuss the following questions. You might like to come up with some recommendations at the end of your discussion session.

    1. What is really happening in "Anna's Story," and what are the Duiversity Action Programme and the Interfaith meetings reacting to?
    2. What do you think Anna, and Muslim and Jewish minorities, are feeling? What could they do about their feelings? Can you suggest ways they might handle the situation?
    3. How do you think Willie, and Somali families, are feeling? What do you think is causing them to feel that way?
    4. Willie, and minorities, are trying to get attention from some other people. Why does he want her to notice him, and they want others to notice?
    5. What do you think the teacher, Mrs Love, and other New Zealands, did?
    6. Has anything like this happened in your class or in your whole school? If it has, talk about what happened and what you and/or your teachers did to deal with the problem.
    7. How could you make new students who come from different cultures feel they belong to the school?

    For further reference
    See also:

    Healing the past, building a future.
    Children have rights too!

Follow up activities

Identify a TV show, cartoon, comic or book in which a person is treated or judged unfairly because they are different.