At Te Hononga Civic offices, students investigate how Christchurch City Council operates. They meet experts who work here, as well as engage in an authentic problem-solving activity. The session concludes with a visit to the Council Chambers.

city building

Students learn about how Christchurch City Council works to make Christchurch a sustainable, fun and liveable city through a visit to Te Hononga, the central headquarters in town.

Year level 7 to 13
Curriculum level 3 to 8
Availability Monday mornings only (all year round)
Minimum 4 weeks notice required when booking
Times 9.30am to 12.30pm
Site Christchurch City Council Civic Building 
Cost Free
Number of students Maximum of 30 

Risk analysis and management (RAM)

Programme outline

Key concepts

  • Local government
  • Active citizenship
  • Sustainability
  • Council Chambers
  • Operations
  • Decisions
  • Laws.

Lesson description/intentions

Learn how Council works to make Christchurch a sustainable, fun and liveable city through a visit to Te Hononga, the central headquarters in town.  

Students will gain an understanding of what Council does, meet experts who work here and take a decision making role as they plan how to spend ratepayer's money.  

We conclude with a visit to Council Chambers to see where key local government decisions are made.

Possible success criteria

Students may be able to:

  • understand why the Council is so important to the people of Christchurch
  • explain how Council is organised to make Christchurch a fun, liveable, workable city
  • identify how Council is governed and by which processes
  • understand how Māori as tangata whenua influence Council decisions
  • investigate how decisions are made within Council to make Christchurch a great liveable city
  • engage with the process of democratic decision-making within the local Council body.

Key competencies

  • Using language, symbols and texts: students use oral, written and visual texts to understand key terms.
  • Thinking – students will use creative, critical and meta-cognitive processes.
  • Managing self – encouraging students to manage their group projects and act independently.
  • Relating to others – students are expected to work together in teams.
Learning areas Strands Curriculum level Achievement objectives
Social Sciences Social Studies 3
  • Understand how people make decisions about access to and use of resources
  • Understand how groups make and implement rules and laws
Social Sciences Social Studies 4
  • Understand how the ways in which leadership of groups is acquired and exercised have consequences for communities and societies
  • Understand how formal and informal groups make decisions that impact communities

Social Sciences Social Studies 5
  • Understand how systems of government operate and affect people’s lives, and how they compare with another system
  • Understand how the Treaty of Waitangi is responded to differently by people in different times and places
  • Understand how peoples management of resources impact on environmental and social sustainability
Social sciences  Geography 6
  • Understand how natural and cultural environments have particular characteristics and ow environments are shaped by processes that create spacial patterns
Social sciences  Economics 6
  • Understand how as a result of scarcity, consumers, producers and government make choices that affect New Zealand society


"Variety of learning opportunities; environment of building was fantastic, interactive activities, collaborative work, Council Chambers visit"  – Year 8 teacher.

"Group task – good to see problem solving"  – Year 9 teacher.