Ministry of Education refuses to include New Zealand Land Wars in curriculum

Waimarama Anderson and Leah Bell with kaumatua Rahui Papa presented their petition earlier this month to push more ...
Rosanna Price/ FAIRFAX NZ

Waimarama Anderson and Leah Bell with kaumatua Rahui Papa presented their petition earlier this month to push more awareness about the New Zealand Land Wars.

The Ministry of Education has refused to include the New Zealand Wars in the national curriculum.

Such a change would "erode the autonomy" of school boards to make their own programmes and change the function of the curriculum.

The response to the Maori Affairs select committee came after a student-led petition called for more teaching in schools about the Land Wars of the 1800s.

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Specifically, the petition wanted physical and online resources to be provided, as well as Learning Outcomes and Achievement Standards to be created for the topic.

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Secretary for Education Peter Hughes in a written submission said that requiring schools to teach a specific subject would be contrary to the spirit and underlying principles of the curriculum.

Otorohanga College students presented a 13,000 signature petition to Parliament last year in support of a national ...
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Otorohanga College students presented a 13,000 signature petition to Parliament last year in support of a national commemoration of the 19th-century Land Wars.

Intervention would be "unnecessary" and "likely to result in significant, negative systemic consequences" for the schooling sector.

Associate deputy secretary Karl Le Quesne said an "enabling approach", rather than prescribing subjects, would lead to a better uptake.

And that was already happening, he said.

However, the Ministry did not know how many schools actually taught about the Land Wars.

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The Ministry had printed 1500 Maori Histories resource booklets, and were optimistic that the majority had been requested.

The petition was lodged at Parliament by Leah Bell, 16, and Waimarama Anderson, 17.

Leah's mother, and Otorohanga teacher, Linda Campbell says youth are being "ripped off" from learning their history.

"Unless students comprehend how the articles of the Treaty were upheld or breached, and by whom, and why, in terms of the New Zealand Wars, the Treaty itself makes little sense.

"Ask around - how many of our youth know anything about their own local, let alone national, land and Land Wars history?"

Students across all deciles have felt embarrassed they don't know their history, she said.

In December hundreds gathered at Parliament's forecourt where 13,000 signatures were presented to politicians in favour of more awareness of the Land Wars in schools.

The main aim was to create a day of remembrance: a New Zealand Land Wars national day. 

New Zealand has more than 2,500 state and state-integrated schools.

 

 - Stuff

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