Values, Ethics and Theology (Mātauranga Hāhi)

Values, Ethics and Theology (Mātauranga Hāhi)

​Vision – We strive to teach and live the values of Jesus Christ and to give our students an experience of a Catholic Community. We aim to make what we teach and practice, tangible and real for our students.

Values, Ethics and Theology (previously called Religious Education) in the senior school is assessed using Achievement Standards. Within the programme we look at History, Ethics, Philosophy and Catholic Theology.

The Courses followed at St. John’s College are from “Understanding Faith”, the official programme for Religious Education for Catholic Secondary Schools in Aotearoa/New Zealand, approved by the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand.


Mr Conor Bolton – Year 12 RE,  Year 13 RE, (HOD)
Mrs Carmel Spencer – Year 9 RE, Year 10 RE, Year 11 RE, Year 12 RE, Year 13 RE
Mr John Bishop – Year 9 RE, Year 10 RE
Mr Joseph Jackman – Year 9 RE, Year 10 RE, Y11 RE
Mr Damian Whitten – Year 10 RE


Catholic education is about giving our students the chance to encounter Christ. Part of this process is providing them with the knowledge to do this. Therefore, Values, Ethics and Theology (Religious Education) is the foundation subject of our College. Its aim is to build a nurturing community environment characterised by Christian virtues, expressed within our living, Catholic and Marist traditions. Students are encouraged to develop skills and attitudes to enable them to engage with what is going on in the world around them. The course is designed to challenge their thinking, touch their hearts and develop an understanding of who they are and why they are here.

Students study history, ethics, philosophy, scripture, and theology to understand and engage with Catholic beliefs. Our program is based on the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Curriculum “Understanding Faith” as part of the New Zealand curriculum area of Religious Studies.

At the senior level, the course offers 18 credits at NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3. These credits count towards the literacy element of NCEA at Level 1 and the Level 3 credits are recognised for university entrance.

Values, Ethics and Theology is compulsory for every student as we endeavour to build knowledge as part of the mission for our students to encounter the person of Jesus Christ. Learning is directly applied through the special character of the college where students take part in liturgy, retreats and community service.

We welcome enquiries about our curriculum and special character. Questions, or feedback, can be directed to Conor Bolton – Director of Religious Studies and Special Character, St John’s College, Hastings.

There are four mixed ability classes in Year 9 and Year 10. 

Assessments are marked as Not Achieved, Achieved, Merit or Excellence, which prepares students for NCEA. The Students take a range of in class assessments and at the end of the year both Year 9 and Year 10 students sit a final exam. This course is designed to extend the knowledge of those students who come with a broad range of Catholic experience, and to bring up to date those who are less familiar.


  • The Life and Times  of Jesus.

Key Catholic Beliefs and Rituals

  • The Eucharist and The Church’s Year,
  • Recognising Signs of God,
  • Sacraments of Initiation

Church History

  • The Church’s Story and The Beginnings,
  • The Beginnings of The Church in New Zealand


  • Creation and Co – Creation


  • Journey Stories
  • The Teachings of Jesus

Key Catholic Beliefs and Rituals

  • The Meaning and Significance of the Eucharist
  • Sinfulness and Reconciliation

Church History

  • The Church Story’s: The Middle Ages


  •  Inspiring Men And Women

All of the topics are internally assessed. Students are able to receive a subject endorsement at each year level, with 18 Credits on offer at each NCEA level.

Values, Ethics and Theology, as a subject, develops thinking, analysis and evaluation skills. It provides students with an understanding of religious beliefs, Church history, philosophy and ethics. This is so they can make decisions about their own beliefs, values and world view and be more accepting and tolerant of the beliefs and world views of others. It provides a base for many curricula areas studied at university. E.g. Law, Medicine, Sciences, Business, Philosophy and Politics.

Achievement Standard Number | Title | Credits | Assessment | Method

90816 | Describe key feature of a sacred text | 6 | Internal

90817 | Describe a significant aspect within the development of a religious tradition | 6 | Internal

90818 | Describe key ethical principles of a religious tradition and how they are applied to an issue | 6 | Internal

Achievement Standard Number  |  Title  |  Credits  |  Assessment  |  Method

90821  |  Explain the changes in an expression of a religious tradition  |  6  |  Internal

90822  |  Examine an example of contemporary social action related to a religious tradition  |  6  |  Internal

90823  |  Explain the significance of a key belief within two religious traditions  |  6  |  Internal

Achievement Standard Number | Title | Credits | Assessment | Method

90825 | Analyse a religious tradition(s) in Aotearoa New Zealand | 6 | Internal

90826 | Examine the response of a religious tradition to a contemporary ethical issue | 6 | Internal

90827 | Compare and contrast a religious tradition with a secular world view | 6 | Internal