Tamsin Hanly has created the resource that New Zealand schools have waited for since the Treaty of Waitangi first came into public view in the 1980s. Ever since that time, the teacher's lament has been "But how can I teach these difficult topics in the classroom?" Certainly, the curriculum now mentions the Treaty, and educational resources have been produced over the years, but there has been no single programme to help a school plan their approach to New Zealand's Māori and Pākehā culture and history in a cohesive way.
Tamsin Hanly has used her decades of teaching experience in bicultural and multi-cultural classrooms at Auckland's Newton Central School to design this six-unit programme for the whole school to adapt. Each booklet gives teachers rich background information to bring classroom activities to life with real characters in the context of history. As an experienced educator myself, I appreciate that she gives highly readable, relevant background, makes excellent suggestions for activities, and then trusts me to organise my learners in my own particular setting.
A unique strength of this resource is its generous treatment of Pākehā settler issues and worldviews, alongside a critique of how colonisation affects the Māori world. This has often been a difficult balance for educators in Aotearoa New Zealand, but Ms Hanly encourages a generous pedagogy to grow thoughtful and knowledgeable citizens, starting with our youngest children. I agree with her that even young children can appreciate questions of fairness and empathy, and that by Years 7, 8 and 9 onwards young adults are stimulated and inspired by their own cultural histories and those of others.
As a Treaty educator since 1989, I can confirm that when an educator has rich details and critical worldviews to draw upon, as this resource provides, then even simple activities stimulate learners to explore complex questions of justice, compassion and difference. A critical guide to Māori and Pākehā histories of Aotearoa (2015) gives me hope that we may yet achieve with today's schoolchildren the mutually beneficial relationship that the Treaty intended between Māori, Pākehā and all other migrants into Aotearoa New Zealand.
Dr. Ingrid Huygens
National coordinator, Tangata Tiriti - Treaty People project (2006 to present),<br> Co-author, Ngapuhi Speaks: He Wakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi (2014)
Author, Processes of Pakeha change in response to the Treaty of Waitangi (2007).