School Journals will for the first time teach Kiwi children the culture and history of Moriori people, a move welcomed by historians.

Education Minister Anne Tolley presented eight new School Journal publications at Kopinga Marae on the Chatham Islands.

"For the first time Moriori have an authentic voice in the pages of the School Journal," Ms Tolley said. "These journals will help children to learn about the Moriori culture and history."

The myth that the Moriori lived in New Zealand before Maori, and were then almost killed off and forced to flee to the Chatham Islands, is still held by many today.

"Moriori were misrepresented in twentieth century publications of the School Journal and this resulted in generations of New Zealanders having little understanding of the true origin and status of Moriori people," Ms Tolley said.

"Through these publications, all New Zealand children will have the opportunity to learn about Moriori people, their culture and identity.

Kerry Howe, retired historian and author of Quest for Origins, said ethnographers in the 19th Century constructed the myth the Moriori were here before the Maori.

"Probably everyone educated in New Zealand up until the 1960s were taught the Moriori were in New Zealand before Maori got here. That has been academically debunked. There are probably a large amount of people who still believe it."

"When I was a teacher every now and then I would come across teachers who expressed surprise it is not the case."

Mr Howe said the Moriori had no contact with the outside world from the 1600s through to when Europeans arrived around 200 years later.

"The people in the Chatham Islands refer to themselves as Moriori. They originated from mainland New Zealand. They are genetically Maori. They are not a pre-Maori people."