'We were taught American history. What about our own?'

By Taroi Black

Aspiring Māori teachers in their third and final year of a Bachelor of Teaching have welcomed the government's decision for NZ history to be taught in schools by 2022.  The two future NZ history teachers are looking forward to sharing their passion for NZ history with their students.

Tertiary student Karina Ratima says, “We were taught American history and history about other places too. What about our own heritage?

“The history of the Treaty and the Declaration of Independence needs to be taught in schools. It is important to education for student's development.”

Ratima, who is Ngāti Awa and Te Whakatōhea, is learning history with her peers at the Auckland Museum.

“I agree with the announcement because when I was at school, we didn't learn much about our history.

“It will allow Māori to understand the bloodshed, the tears our ancestors endured during the land confiscations and NZ wars, stories, tribal warfare and foreign invasion.”

Mohika Williams is another student wanting to become a teacher who also aspires to teach history.

“Being able to educate our kids from an early age, right through to Māori wharekura and mainstream schools,” says Williams.

Both Williams and Ratima study at Te Wānanga Takiura - a private Māori tertiary teacher training institution - and hope to eventually teach NZ History.

“Setting the record straight of New Zealand history is widely important,” says Williams.

Their tutor Kaa Williams is a co-founder of Te Wānanga Takiura, which provides a Māori pathway in tertiary education and a bachelor's degree qualification in Kura Kaupapa Māori teaching.

“We're doing our utmost to encourage our students to go back to their homelands to learn about their hapū, iwi and regions. There they will learn about the history of the land,” she says.