A teacher's tongue-in-cheek suggestion on how to teach the Treaty of Waitangi to young children has drawn both support and criticism after she shared it on social media.
The tip came in response to a question posed to a social media group for New Zealand teachers that asked for easy ideas on how to teach the Treaty of Waitangi to 5-year-olds.
"Ask them to show you their lunchboxes and then take 90 per cent out of them and start eating it in front of them," the teacher suggested.
"When they cry tell them to get over it."
The comments drew some initial support from other teachers, with one noting that she wanted to "laugh and cry" and saying that "as horrible as it would be to make them cry, I can't help but feel like this approach would have the biggest and most immediate impact on their understanding".
The teacher shared her light-hearted take to her Facebook page, with friends suggesting how the lesson might be expanded on.
"When they're crying tell them it's for their own good and you're actually doing them a favour because the kids in the class next door were gonna take it instead, better off letting us rob u than the neighbours," one said.
The comments soon found their way to other Facebook pages, where the response was more mixed.
"Tell all non-Māori kids they have to give their lunch to the Māori kids because their great-great-grandparents stole theirs years ago? And hope they understand," one man wrote.
Another comment pleaded "please don't install anger into these kids" and said "we as a united human race can learn from mistakes of the past".
Others noted that the initial suggestion didn't go far enough and should involve taking "between 95% and 97%" of the lunchbox.
One wit suggested teachers "give them the Lomu haircut and tell them they can't grow the rest of it back".
The increased attention to the post drew some critics back to the teacher's personal page, where one took her to task for what he said was "unprofessional" behaviour.
"Hope you are ready to explain why you think it is funny to make children cry, to the Teachers Council and to publicly (using Facebook) to publicise your lack of empathy for children," he wrote.
"Opinions aside, your behaviour is unprofessional and not expected of a teacher."
The comments come as New Zealand launches new curriculum content for Aotearoa New Zealand's Histories, a compulsory subject to be taught in schools next year.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins says having the resources and infrastructure in place to teach students about all aspects of New Zealand's past will be "a watershed moment".
"It will provide opportunities to learn about history from a local, regional and national perspective and will help students get a stronger sense of how the past has shaped who we are.
The curriculum updates will come into effect next year and will be gazetted during 2021 to give schools and kura time to prepare for implementing them, Hipkins said.
A range of history subjects are already part of social sciences under the New Zealand curriculum and Tikanga ā Iwi in Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, and are compulsory from years 1 to 10.
Hipkins says although it is part of the local curriculum at every level, it will be optional from Year 11 onwards and will also be part of the NCEA curriculum.
The ministry says it will roll out a range of resources to support the teaching in schools and kura, which will include local curriculum guides and support through professional learning and development.
"There is wider work under way to ensure the curriculum is fit for purpose, now and in the future; and that it supports the wellbeing, identities, languages and cultures of all learners."
The themes agreed by Government in 2019 were:
• The arrival of Māori to Aotearoa New Zealand
• First encounters and early colonial history of Aotearoa New Zealand
• Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi and its history
• Colonisation of, and immigration to, Aotearoa New Zealand, including the New Zealand Wars
• Evolving national identity of Aotearoa New Zealand in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries
• Aotearoa New Zealand's role in the Pacific
• Aotearoa New Zealand in the late 20th century and evolution of a national identity with cultural plurality