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.

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.

city building

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-12.30pm
Site: Christchurch City Council Civic Building (Te Hononga)
Cost: Free
Number of classes: Maximum of 30 students

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:

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