Although located on the other side of the world, some 12,000 miles away, New Zealand has been strongly influenced by English attitudes, customs and traditions since being created a British colony under the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. New Zealand society has been dominated by European settlers and their descendants (known as pakehas), often at the expense of the indigenous Maori population. In adopting British values and practices, educational institutions and processes in general and schools in particular were central to the colonisation of New Zealand. It might be expected, therefore, that the overall historical framework of changes in English education would have found especially strong echoes and reverberations in the case of New Zealand. There are certainly clear similarities that may be discerned in the reforms that took place, in New Zealand as in England, in the 1940s, and also in subsequent developments in the 1960s and the 1980s/1990s. On the other hand, educational reform in New Zealand has also involved important local and specific factors that modify, and to some extent challenge, straightforward assumptions about global patterns or colonial assimilation.