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Teaching New Zealand History

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The Education Gazette asked me to comment on the recent announcement that New Zealand history will soon be taught in all schools.

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The announcement that New Zealand’s histories will be taught in all schools by 2022 is a crucial step in ensuring future generations leave school with at least some level of understanding of our nation’s past – including “the good, the bad, and the ugly”, as Rahui Papa of Waikato-Tainui said at the time.

But it also opens up important discussions around what exactly should be taught and how.

For me, a vital first principle is that iwi and hapū are at the forefront of those conversations.

Connecting with mana whenua history will empower rangatahi to better understand the places they call home.



Begin close to home

Students should be encouraged to engage with the histories of their own communities, but without forgetting the wider context.

Rangatahi in the Gisborne district, for example, should learn about the 1865 siege of Waere…