More than 12,000 school students from around New Zealand will be offered a class act at the Treaty of Waitangi Grounds.

That is the number of students expected each year on organised class visits under a new deal with Ministry of Education.

The three-year contract to offer Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom (LEOTC) is based on the unique resources and education programme available at the Treaty Grounds and at Te Kongahu Museum of Waitangi.

It will deliver to all levels of school students, and has a major focus on the social sciences, culture and history.


Treaty Grounds chief executive Greg McManus said he is delighted with the new contract.

"LEOTC funding is fiercely contested by organisations throughout the country so to have secured a new multi-year contract is an excellent result," Mr McManus said.

"It will enable many thousands of students to visit Waitangi and learn about the history of our nation at the place where it all began."

In the past year, even without the LEOTC contract, more than 5000 students visited the Treaty Grounds on organised trips, from as far away as Invercargill and the Chatham Islands.

About half of all student visits were from Northland schools.

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds employs two fulltime educators and is the organiser of the Bay of Islands Education Network, a group of local businesses who provide or help plan learning opportunities.