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91012: Describe aspects of a contemporary New Zealand geographic issue

Updated December 2017. This document has been updated to reflect the change from “assessing” strengths and weaknesses to “describing in detail” - version 3 of the standard.

The parameters of the contemporary New Zealand issue are identified in Explanatory Note (EN) 3 of the standard.

The nature of the issue

A description of the nature of the issue will ideally include:

  • an outline of the issue
  • a description of the significance of the location (a map could be included)
  • a description of the related natural and/or cultural features
  • a statement or inference of the effect of the issue on people and the environment.


The viewpoints can be from an individual or from a group. Two or three different viewpoints would be sufficient. The description of the viewpoints must relate directly to the geographic issue.

For the requirements of ‘fully describing the different viewpoints’, see EN2 for the Excellence criteria. A comprehensive response relies on the student having a sound understanding of both the issue and the points of view being considered.

Describing strengths and weaknesses

There is no longer a requirement that two strengths and weaknesses are considered for each course of action. The progression is from a description for Achieved to a detailed description for Merit. Detail refers to further development of the evidence through the inclusion of specific information, such as quotes, statistics etc.




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