Classroom ideas - the Vietnam War

This page contains a broad outline as to how the material on the Vietnam War could be used by teachers and learners studying history at NCEA Level 1 and in particular the popular topic of New Zealand's Search for Security 1945-1985. 

Students in particular will find this to be a concise summary that will assist them with revision.

We welcome feedback. Please use the comments box at the bottom of this page.

Vietnam War 

Social Studies and contain educational resources and other historical material on New Zealand’s involvement in Vietnam. allows veterans, their families and the wider community to contribute their memories and memorabilia – including photos, letters and diaries – to a digital history archive.

This material has been developed to provide teachers and students with activities and teaching strategies to explore the experiences of New Zealanders and the Vietnam War. This material will develop students’ knowledge and ideas about New Zealanders’ experiences of this conflict and the impact of the war on New Zealand society. This material has been developed to reflect both the aims and requirements of NCEA history and the Social Studies curriculum.

This resource has been designed for use with students from Years 7-10, although not all suggested activities are suitable for all levels.

Some background info for teachers and students – Fact sheets

Activity ideas

Note: In these fact sheets a number of words have been underlined. Check student understanding of the underlined words and if necessary see the glossary at

NZ Forces in Asia 1948-72

NCEA History Level 1 

In the aftermath of the Second World War it became clear that New Zealand could no longer rely on Britain for it's defence. Attention turned to the United States which brought New Zealand into the Cold War and the United States' determination to contain the spread of communism in Asia. New Zealand became increasingly involved in Asia after the Second World War including military involvement in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam. The Vietnam War did, however, see more New Zealanders questioning the influence of the United States on New Zealand foreign policy. This was an unpopular war that other allies of the United States such as Britain failed to support. This contributed to a sense in New Zealand that we had no place in this conflict.

This feature can provide students with a context in which to prepare for:

  • achievement standard 1.5, by describing the causes and course of this historical development as well as the consequences of these developments.
  • achievement standard 1.6 as the Cold War and emphasis on Asia had a significant impact on the shaping of the identity of New Zealanders
  • achievement standard 1.3 as there are any number of excellent historical sources relating to these developments which can be used as practice for final assessment

For more detail of specific activities relating to this topic see: New Zealand's Search for Security NCEA History Level 1

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