A lawyer at the Waitangi Tribunal by day, by night a Napier-based woman is helping teach schools about the Te Tiriti of Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) through an online workshop.
Roimata Smail, a Waitangi Tribunal lawyer currently based in Napier for the Ngāti Pāhauwera Takutai Moana hearings, developed the programme with her teacher husband, Sam.
Wai Ako (Learning Songs) is a subscriber-based website offering Te Reo Māori resources for primary schools including the recently released Treaty modules targeting five to 12-year-olds with basic information that Smail feels "all New Zealanders should have access to".
The modules were designed with help from fellow legal counsel Erin James and is based on 15 years of experience in Treaty jurisprudence.
"There are so many New Zealanders I meet where it's not even a question to them why this is important, they're just desperate to know our story."
Also the daughter of a teacher and with many more in the family, Smail said learning the story of how the country became New Zealand was critical for our overall health and relationships.
"What we're seeing in my work tackling discrimination in the Waitangi Tribunal is that by not knowing our story, we are repeating the same mistakes over and over.
"Knowing our story is part of our identity and for our young people, a sense of identity is important for wellbeing.
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"It also makes us all better New Zealanders by improving the way we relate to each other."
She said it was great that the Ministry of Education intended for New Zealand history to be taught in school, but teachers needed resources.
She hoped the customised teaching resources would fill the gap.
"Many didn't get the opportunity to learn about our history themselves so how are they going to teach it? This really motivated us to want to support them.
"There's a big difference between reading a book and having an accurate resource that can impart knowledge to someone else, particularly in a form suitable for primary school-aged children."