Page 7 – Expressing your opinion

Use the topics in the Disasters category of NZHistory.net.nz  for the following activity ideas.

Any tragedy on the scale of those examined in NZHistory.net.nz involves a degree of finger-pointing or desire to find something or someone to blame. Official investigations held after such events did not always meet with universal agreement. Some people questioned the outcome of these inquiries. In the case of the Erebus disaster this resulted in prolonged litigation.

This activity involves selecting one of the three disasters covered in NZHistory.net.nz and expressing an opinion as to the findings of the investigation into its causes. One key aspect to consider is whether or not people involved could have chosen a different course of action and whether this could have avoided the disaster occurring in the first place or in some way minimised its impact.

A number of formats could be used to explore this idea:

  • You are the editor of a newspaper. Write an editorial of between 75 and 100 words outlining why you either agree or disagree with the findings of this inquiry. The purpose of the editorial is to express an opinion one way or the other, so there is no sitting on the fence! Consider whether you believe the public has been given all of the facts in this case.
  • Imagine you have been summonsed to a court of inquiry into this event. You may have been a survivor from the event itself or perhaps involved in the search and rescue mission. Outline to the person heading this inquiry your opinion as to what was the main cause of this event and what – if anything – could have been done differently to avoid or minimise the effect of this tragedy.
  • You could be sitting in the tearoom at your place of work discussing the aftermath of this tragedy with your workmates. Create an imaginary conversation between three or four colleagues about this event and the outcome of the official inquiry. This could be written as a script and then played out in front of your class.
How to cite this page

'Expressing your opinion', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/classroom/social-studies/disasters/expression-opinion, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 12-Jul-2017