Call for Maori history in all schools

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Pem Bird. PHOTO/FILE
Pem Bird. PHOTO/FILE

Maori history should be taught in all New Zealand schools, according to a resolution made by Te Takanga o te Wa, the Maori History Working Party.

The working party stated that Maori history was of equal status and of equal standing within New Zealand mainstream history and accordingly should be taught in all the nation's schools, after its most recent hui in Rotorua last Friday.

"It is a no brainer, Maori history is not of inferior status nor is it of secondary importance, so we were easily able to reach unanimity on this kaupapa, and quickly at that," said working party spokesman Pem Bird.

The Ministry of Education Maori History trial programme, which was set up following an impassioned call by then Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples for the teaching of Maori history in schools, was nothing short of an outstanding success, Mr Bird said.

One of the trial schools involved, Rotorua's John Paul College, has since gone from strength to strength developing a strong relationship with local iwi, Ngati Whakaue.

John Paul College head of humanities, Simon Baker, said Maori history, in essence, was tribal history "and we value very much our links with Ngati Whakaue".

He said tribal history was authentic and relevant.

"This move will restore balance to traditional mainstream history, which ignored the Land Wars, for example, whilst lauding Lord Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar." 

Te Takanga o te Wa is made up of the teaching groups; Nga Kura a Iwi o Aotearoa, Kura Kaupapa Maori and the teacher unions NZEI, PPTA, Principals' Association, NZPF and Te Akatea.

The group is busy planning for the launch of the implementation of Maori history as a core subject at a national hui to be hosted by Te Ariki paramount chief Sir Hepi Te Heuheu on July 16.

"This will be a defining point for us, actual history in the making as we give full authentic expression to mana orite (equal mana), the cornerstone of Te Tiriti o Waitangi," Mr Bird said.

A gathering of at least 200 people, including educators, community representatives, members of Parliament and Ministers of the Crown are expected to attend the July hui.

A special group in attendance at this auspicious event will be school pupils from all parts of the country.

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