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Teaching Aotearoa New Zealand Histories

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Aotearoa New Zealand has come a long way in the past few years in its efforts to engage with its history in a more upfront and honest manner. For those of us who have campaigned for such a change, this is not before time. This new-found willingness to move beyond a rose-tinted approach to the nation’s past in which anything uncomfortable or considered to reflect poorly on the Pākehā majority is shunned and ignored has taken considerable effort and is still very much a work in progress. Confronting the often bloody and brutal realities of colonial dispossession of Māori has come as a shock for many non-Māori New Zealanders brought up to believe that they lived in a country with the greatest ‘race relations’ in the world. A more robust and truthful understanding of that history is to a large degree dependent on the education system. And while there is good news on this front, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the campaign has been a long and at times difficult one.