The launch of Maori History in Schools was held in Rotorua and "is a defining point in our history".

The launch took place at Tamatekapua, Te Papaiouru Marae, Ohinemutu on Saturday.

Te Takanga o Te Wa spokesman Pem Bird said having Maori history in schools had been a long time coming and this was a defining point in our history.

He said Maori history had never been a part of the curriculum, hence the reason for having a dedicated day to launch it.

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Maori history would now be part of teaching in schools and would be like any other subjects, such as maths, he said.

Mr Bird said this would be the case nationwide and it would be rolled out over five years, as there would be some schools which did not know a lot about it and would want to be given a hand.

Therefore, a starting kit would be put together, and it would be suggested schools might like to start with their local area and local iwi, he said.

Mr Bird said the launch had a great turnout, with some political parties represented.

There were half a dozen key note speakers, including Mr Bird, Waiariki MP and Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell, Ezra Schuster representing the Ministry of Education and iwi leader Te Ariki Ta Tumu te Heuheu.

He said there had been an air of excitement, anticipation and of unity.

In 2014, the Ministry of Education Maori History trial programme was set up following a call by then Associate Minister of Education Sir Pita Sharples for the teaching of Maori history in schools.

Mr Bird said that received positive feedback and laid the ground for them, and they were able to go on the back of that.

There were also a lot of young people from different schools in attendance on Saturday, as well as many people from within the teaching profession.

He said the teaching profession itself had deemed it essential that Maori history should be part of the curriculum, and had brought it all together.

He said this launch was, "a defining point and a history-making event in itself".

"It's going to take us forward as a nation to another level of citizenship - to one that is more enlightened and collaborative, because it makes cognisance of Maori who have lived here in Aotearoa for almost 1000 years."

"I think it's a sign that we are maturing as a bicultural society - it's a sign that we are maturing and growing into one."

Mr Flavell said Saturday's event marked a significant day in history.

"I welcome this resource and I congratulate all those who have played a part in bringing it to fruition.

"I believe more needs to be done to fully acknowledge our history and that's why the Maori Party will look to make te reo Maori, Maori history and culture core curriculum subjects in all schools up to Year 10."