Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Teacher re-writes history books to better reflect NZ's past

Tamsin Hanly is set to release her six volume history series next month. Photo / Supplied
Tamsin Hanly is set to release her six volume history series next month. Photo / Supplied

A former primary school teacher has re-written New Zealand and Maori history in a series of books aimed to better reflect the nation's past.

Tamsin Hanly, who mortgaged her house to fund her writing project, is set to release her six volume history series next month.

She spent four years writing the six volumes, 'A critical guide to Maori and Pakeha histories', after finding the primary school curriculum failed to reflect an accurate version of events.

"There are primary schools in this country who for the first eight years don't teach any history of New Zealand," Ms Hanly, a primary school teacher for 25 years, said.

Others stick to the "standard" or colonial version of history, she said.

"There is no mention of the Treaty, no mention of the two peoples that created it and no history of what happened after."

So she quit teaching and went back to school to complete her masters.

Taking inspiration and insight from the work of historians Dr Ranginui Walker, Michael King, and Professor James Belich, along with University of Auckland academics Professor Anne Salmond and Professor Alison Jones, she developed the six book series.

They form a new Curriculum Programme Resource (CPR) which can be purchased by schools or teachers to form lessons and activities in history and social studies in primary, secondary or early childhood education.

"Its primary job is to update the staff on accurate historical information about what happened in this country so they are then able to teach it accurately to students."

The CPR helps schools meet all the Treaty obligations set by the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Curriculum, she said.

The books take kids through pre-colonisation Maori in New Zealand, British history, the arrival of European settlers to New Zealand, the treaty and both Maori and Pakeha responses to history.

The books will be launched at the University of Auckland's Faculty of Education and Social Work on Friday April 1 at 5pm at the Te Puna Wananga Department.

The books:

1. Te Ao Maori o Nehera, covers Maori world views, history and knowledge before their encounters with Pakeha.

2. British Isles, covers European history from the Celts in 50BC through the centuries including the Magna Carta and the history of Abel Tasman and James Cook and the rise in European immigration.

3. Two Worlds Meet, brings the two worlds together in New Zealand. It explains the creation of the names 'Pakeha' and 'Maori' and the rise of European sealers and whalers and the problems in order they caused. The book outlines the Maori declaration of independence in 1835.

4. Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the book explains the Maori and Pakeha pros and cons around a treaty with each other, the agreements, rights and responsibilities made in each Article by the two sovereign groups, the later introduction of a non-literal English version with some different meanings and what happened as a result.

5. In Maori Responses a historical range of Maori civil actions made in response to Tiriti transgressions is covered, from Hone Heke in the 1840s to the Foreshore March in the 2000s and the effects of these on the nation.

6. In Pakeha Responses, there is a comparison to the 'colonial standard story' of history with an honouring Te Tiriti story. The book also critically explores and celebrates the complex aspects of Pakeha culture and histories.

- NZ Herald

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