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There are currently 119 terms in this directory

Abba (N.2766)
In Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, Abba is an intimate, respectful term we would use to address our father, like ‘dear father’. It was the term consistently used by Jesus in speaking about God or in prayer to God. Before Jesus it was never used to refer to God. Its use by Jesus reveals the depth of his intimacy with God. It also reveals the closeness of the relationship with God that Jesus expected his followers to have. He taught them to pray “Our Father”. See Mk 14:36, Gal 4:6 and Rom 8:15.

Achievement Objectives
(noun) key learning foci required at each year level for Themes and Cross Themes.

(adjective) emotional and attitudinal engagement with the subject matter.

Cloud in the sky. The highest mountain in New Zealand, it is known as Aorangi to North Island tribes and as Mount Cook to Pakeha. A Ngai Tahu myth explains that this mountain was once a man, one of the sons of Raki, the sky father. Aoraki, and his brothers were changed into the mountains known today as the Southern Alps, when their canoe tipped over on their way to greet Papatūānuku, their father’s new wife.

(noun) Māori name for New Zealand – in common usage.

(noun) likeness, resemblance, notion, idea, concept, theory, feeling, theme — sometimes pronounced āria.

(verb) to love, pity, feel concern for, feel compassion, empathise.

(verb) to assess.

(verb) to evaluate, review, audit.


The ancient city of Babylon (or Babel) lay on the left bank of the Euphrates River not far south of the modern city of Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. The term also sometimes refers to the state of Babylonia which surrounded it. Babylon, like Egypt and Assyria, was one of the powerful neighbours of the Israelites in Old Testament times. From 587-539 BC many Jews were held in captivity in Babylon in a period known as The Exile. In 587 BC Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. Only after his defeat in 539 by Cyrus of Persia were the Jews allowed to return from exile.


The place of Jesus’ crucifixion. The word comes from the Latin for skull. This comes from the Hebrew name for the site, Golgotha, which means ‘place of the skull’. Scholars dispute the exact location of the site which, in Jesus’ time, was outside the walls of Jerusalem. Many scholars support the traditional location on which stands the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

(noun) religious instruction as formation in faith for believers.

Catholic Character
(noun) the framework within which the whole school curriculum is delivered; it is, in fact, integral to everything that takes place in the school, or on behalf of the school and its community. Properly observed and practised, it also provides a climate of hope, inspiration and service for all members of the school community.

Catholic Social Teaching
(noun) a body of Catholic documents and teaching which applies Gospel values such as love, peace, justice, compassion, reconciliation, service and community to modern social issues.

Catholic Worldview
(noun) seeing the world through the lens of Catholic Tradition, teaching and understandings.

(noun) a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, often communicated through a particular person who gathers disciples around him or her and with whom he or she translates a bold vision into action.

(noun) with a capital ‘C’ – the global Catholic Christian community from Pope to newly baptised baby; with a small ‘c’ a building designed for worship.

Church Tradition
(noun) with a capital ‘T’ – formal teaching of the Catholic Church, the living transmission of the Gospel from the Apostles through their successors to each generation; with a small ‘t’ – various ways of non-essential, though often important, ways of expressing the faith (e.g. fasting on Fridays). 

Co-Curricular Integration
(adjective) activities, and learning experiences that complement or implement RE learning in other curriculum areas, and vice versa.

(adjective) acquiring and mental processing of knowledge and intellectual skills related to the material.

Content Area
(noun) particular context for learning, similar to topic or unit of learning.

Cross Themes
(noun) significant aspects of Catholic understanding which cross through all RE Themes in Tō Tātou Whakapono Our Faith.

(noun) prescribed framework for teaching and learning, includes required achievement objectives.


David was the second king in Israel. He was of the tribe of Judah and the city of Bethlehem. The story of his anointing by Samuel can be read in 1 Samuel 16:1-13. David came to prominence when Saul was king, and became king around 1000 BC. He made Jerusalem his religious and political capital until his death around 962 BC. David was known as a poet and musician and is credited with a song of lament in 2 Samuel 1, as well as with many psalms. The prophet Nathan declared that God would maintain David’s line. This promise later grounded messianic hopes which in the New Testament Jesus is seen as fulfilling.

(noun) follower of Jesus, someone who tries to answer his call and live his way.


Early Church
This is an imprecise term for the first three to five hundred years in the life of the Church. During the early period following its birth around 30 AD, the young Church gradually overcame persecutors, established structures and liturgies, spread its message beyond Palestine, developed doctrines and fought various heresies. At first the Greek ‘fathers’ and monks were particularly influential but following the conversion of the Emperor Constantine (337 AD) the Church, led by the Popes gradually succeeded the Roman Empire as the dominant influence in the ‘West’.

(verb) in the context of this curriculum, a personal and real experience and sense of connection with God.

(noun) translates as thanksgiving — The Catholic Mass; the presence of Jesus in the form of bread and wine.

(verb) sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.


(noun) a personal commitment of the whole person to God, in response to God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ.

Faith (N.153-184)
For a Christian, faith is a personal commitment of the whole person to God, in response to God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ.

Fully Human
(noun) humanity as exemplified in Jesus: the perfect example of who we are called to be.


The first book of the Old Testament. Its name and its famous opening words, “In the beginning God created…” point to its main concern, origins. It is about the origins of the world, of humankind and of the chosen people, all in relation to their originator or creator, God. This has been presented in many ways through the years including short videos such as this one.

- The first section of the book (Genesis 1-11) is an account of creation and of God’s dealings with people from Adam and Eve to Noah.
- The second section (Genesis 12-25) tells the story of Abraham ‘our father in faith’.
- The third section (Genesis 25-36) is the saga of Isaac and Jacob, and the fourth section (Genesis 37-50) tells of Joseph and his family and how they came to settle in Egypt.

Scholars believe that the Book of Genesis as we have it today was edited from several sources over a long period, taking its final form somewhere about 400 B.C.
Several important Biblical themes make their appearance in Genesis, for example, creation, covenant, freedom, salvation, human sinfulness and faithfulness, and God’s faithfulness.

(noun) the Good News of Jesus; specifically, the accounts of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection in the Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Gospel Values
(noun) concepts for living based on what Jesus said, what Jesus did and what he asks us to do.


(noun) church, relgion.

(noun) well-being, incorporating Taha tinana Physical well-being, Taha hinengaro Mental and emotional well-being, Taha whānau Social well-being, Taha wairua Spiritual well-being.

Another name for the Israelites. It appears often in the Old Testament, mostly applied by foreigners to the Israelites or of themselves in their dealings with foreigners. The word Hebrew also applies to the original language of most of the Old Testament.

Hēhu Karaiti
(Transliteration) Jesus Christ, 2nd person of the Trinity.

Hīkoi Wairua
(verb) Spiritual Journey.

(modifier) new, recent, fresh, modern.


An icon is a religious image or picture. The term refers particularly to those paintings of Christ, the Virgin Mary or the saints used in the worship of the Eastern Churches. View a selection of icons.

(verb) the ongoing dialogue between faith and culture or cultures.


(verb) to pray.


(noun) Baptism.


Jesus’ Passion
From the Latin word passio meaning ‘suffering’, the term Passion refers to the suffering and death of Jesus as recounted in the Gospels.


(noun) guardianship, stewardship.

(verb) to recite a prayer or ritual.

(noun) a term used in both the Old and New Testaments, and in Catholic liturgy, to describe the saving and life-giving rule of God over creation and human history.

Kingdom or Reign of God (N.541ff, 671)
The Kingdom or Reign of God is a term used in both the Old and New Testaments to describe the saving and life-giving rule of God over creation and human history. The preface for the liturgy of the Feast of Christ the King describes it as “an eternal and universal Kingdom: a Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice, love and peace”. In the Lord’s Prayer Christians pray that this Kingdom may come “on earth as it is in Heaven”. On the one hand Jesus ushered in the Kingdom with his presence on earth (Mark 4:30-32) while on the other hand the Reign of God will not be experienced in all its fullness until Christ comes “again in glory to judge the living and the dead” (Mark 13:26-27). Christians are called on to take responsibility, both in the personal and the public spheres, for trying to foster the reign of justice and peace in their own times and situations.

(noun) stone, rock.

(verb) to tell, say, speak, read, talk, address.


Lake of Galilee
Also called the Sea of Galilee and the Sea of Tiberius this large body of water is formed by the River Jordan. The lake is unusual in that its surface is 212 metres below sea level. At 166 sq. metres it is about the same area as Lake Pukaki or twice the size of Lake Rotorua. The ministry of Jesus was centred around the Lake of Galilee. Important events in the Gospels occur on or about the Lake, e.g. the calling of the four apostles (Luke 5:1-11), the calming of the storm (Matthew 8:23-27), the appearance of the risen Jesus to the disciples on the shore (John 21:1ff). This view from space shows the Lake of Galilee and some of the key places we hear about in the Bible.

(adjective) of, or relatinga to, public worship or the liturgy.

Liturgical Year
(noun) pattern of seasons and feast days which occur each year and is celebrated mainly in the liturgy or official public worship of the Church.


Italian for “My Lady”. A name given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially when she is depicted holding the Christ Child.

(verb) to be legal, effectual, binding, authoritative, valid; (noun) prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma - mana is a supernatural force in a person, place or object. Mana goes hand in hand with tapu, one affecting the other. The more prestigious the event, person or object, the more it is surrounded by tapu and mana. Mana is the enduring, indestructible power of the atua and is inherited at birth; the more senior the descent, the greater the mana. The authority of mana and tapu is inherited and delegated through the senior line from the atua as their human agent to act on revealed will. Since authority is a spiritual gift delegated by the atua, the person remains the agent, never the source of mana.

(noun) hospitality, kindness, generosity, support — the process of showing respect, generosity and care for others.

(noun) traditional meeting place of the Māori people.

(noun) knowledge, wisdom, understanding, skill.

(noun) peace.

(noun) to evangelise, to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed.

(noun) grandchildren, grandchild — child or grandchild of a son, daughter, nephew, niece, etc.; descendant.


(noun) NZ Ministry of Education National Certificate in Educational Achievement.

(noun) Catholic National Centre for Religious Studies, an agency within ‘Te Kupenga – Catholic Leadership Institute’ of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.

New Testament
(noun) second part of the Bible: Gospels, Acts, Epistles and Revelation, written in the 1st century CE regarding Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and mission, and response by his first followers.

New Testament (N.124-141)
The New Testament is the second of the two sections of the Christian Bible or Sacred Scriptures, the first being the Old Testament. It is a collection of 27 books written between about 50 A.D. and the early part of the second century A.D. These writings passed through several stages of editing before reaching their final form around 200 A.D. While the 27 books of the New Testament have been generally accepted by the church since the end of the fourth century, the canon of scripture was declared definitively by the Council of Trent in 1546. The four gospels are the heart of the New Testament, “because they are our principal source for the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word our Saviour”. (The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation N.18)

(verb) to sit, stay, remain, settle, dwell, live, inhabit, reside, occupy.

(noun) New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.

(noun) New Zealand Catholic Education Office.


Is the submission of one’s will and conduct to an authority. For Christians obedience to God is unconditional and obedience to humans conditional.
As one of the Evangelical Counsels obedience is one of the vows publicly professed by those in religious life. Religious practise obedience in imitation of Christ who was obedient to the will of his Father.

Old Testament
(noun) first of the two main parts of the Christian Bible, which records the history of the Jewish people before the birth of Jesus.


Palestine is one of the names for the “Holy Land” or the “Bible Lands”. The name is a Greek corruption of “Philistia”, the Land of the Philistines who occupied the coastal strip of the “Promised Land” at the time the Israelites moved into the “land of Canaan” after the Exodus from Egypt. By the time of Jesus the area between the Jordan valley and the Mediterranean Sea was generally referred to as Palestine. It was slightly more extensive than the modern State of Israel.

(noun) a Catholic community established under the auspices of a diocesan bishop who appoints a parish priest as its pastor.

(noun) the method and practice of teaching involving application of past or current trends and educational philosophies.

(noun) devotion, or acting in a religious way.

(noun) faith: integrity, sincerity, truthfulness. To be faithful to what is tika or right.

(verb) to be fixed, constant, permanent, true to, steadfast, faithful, staunch.

(verb) to originate; (noun) cause, reason, origin, source.


An ancient Hebrew title of respect still in use today, for a teacher of the Jewish Law. The title or its equivalent, “Rabboni”, is applied occasionally to Jesus in the Gospels.

(noun) torch flare, torch, lamp, light, lighting, artificial light.

Religious Education
(noun) a required curriculum in Catholic schools involving education in a specific body of religious knowledge, skills and values, taught in a Catholic context.

Religious Studies
(noun) a curriculum area within the Curriculum involving methods to understand the systems of religious beliefs, rituals, narratives, ethical regulations, identities, communities and institutions.

(noun) God revealing God’s self through Scripture and encounter.

(noun) Gospel.


Sabbath (N.348, 2168-2188)
From the Hebrew word shabbat meaning to “stop” or “rest”. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the Jewish week. Following the Law of Moses (Ex 23:12, 34:21, Lev 23:2-3) Jews observe the Sabbath by refraining from work and devoting the time to special prayers and observances. The early Christians eventually transferred the day from Saturday to Sunday – the day of the Lord’s Resurrection.

(noun) a visible sign of an inward Grace; one of the seven Sacraments – Baptism, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Marriage, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick. 

(adjective) relating to the Sacraments; a traditional practice linked to the Sacraments, such as the use of holy water or the sign of the cross.

Sacred Scripture
(noun) text from the Bible.

(noun) disassociation or separation from religious or spiritual concerns.

Social Justice
(noun) the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society, modelled on Jesus in the Christian context.

Spiritual Journey
(noun) a personal journey of developing spiritual understandings, experience and relationship with God.


A shrine or altar found in Catholic churches and used exclusively for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. Tabernacles are made of various materials and are often beautifully decorated. They are found either in the sanctuary area beside or behind the altar or, more frequently today, in a separate chapel off the main body of the church. The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle primarily and originally for viaticum and communion to the sick, as well as for adoration.

Taha Wairua
(noun) spiritual side, spiritual realm.

Tangata Whenua
(noun) the Māori people, the original people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

(noun) treasure, anything prized - applied to anything considered to be of value including socially or culturally valuable objects, resources, phenomenon, ideas and techniques.

(noun) used in three senses: 1. restrictions or prohibitions which safeguard the dignity and survival of people and things; 2. the value, dignity, or worth of someone or something, e.g. the holiness of God, human dignity, the value of the environment; 3. the intrinsic being or essence of someone or something, e.g. tapu i Te Atua is the intrinsic being of God, the divine nature.

(pronoun) we, us, you (two or more) and I.

Te Ao Māori
(noun) the Māori world; understanding the world from the perspective of Māori cultural wisdom.

Te Atua
God the Father, the Creator; 1st person of the Trinity.

(noun) significant grouping of Catholic understanding similar to strands of theology, Scripture, history and pastoral theology to support learning in Tō Tātou Whakapono Our Faith.

(noun) truth, correctness, justice, fairness, righteousness.

(noun) custom or protocol; a particular way of doing things.

Tipuna / Tūpuna
(noun) ancestors, grandparents.


How something stands in one’s personal estimation. Ideals or attitudes out of which one operates because of what one considers to be worthwhile.

The principles or standards of a person or society, the personal or societal judgement of what is valuable or important in life.

(noun) Christian values: traditionally, the Seven Christian Virtues — combining the four classical Cardinal Virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and courage with the three Theological Virtues of faith, hope, and charity/love.


(noun) song.

Wairua Tapu
(noun) the Holy Spirit, 3rd person of the Trinity.

(verb) to follow, chase, pursue, look for, search for, aim for.

(noun) wisdom i.e. to think broadly, wide, with depth.

(verb) to bless, honour, venerate.

(noun) genealogy, connection to family and ancestors.

(noun) faith, creed, belief.

(verb) to lean against something, trust in, depend on, rely on.

(noun) family, including extended family.

(noun) country, land, nation.


A name used for God in the Old Testament. It was revealed to Moses at the burning bush (Ex 3:14). The meaning is disputed and is usually translated into English as “I am who I am”. It is a form of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’ and may mean “he who causes to be”. In later times Jews considered the name too sacred to pronounce and substituted other words such as Adonai (my Lord) for it.

Young People
(noun) A generic term used in this year 1-13 curriculum document to refer to persons attending school from age 5 to age 18.


A Jewish group in New Testament times who played a prominent part in the revolt against Roman rule. They favoured violent means and in today’s terms could be described as ‘terrorists’, or guerrillas, or freedom fighters. One of Jesus’ disciples Simon, is referred to as a Zealot (Luke 6:15). Find out more about Zealots at the time of Jesus.