In this section, students explore stories that relate to their town or region. The students are introduced to the idea that stories shared about places in Aotearoa often support the dominant culture.
Activity — place names
Discuss where the name of your town or city comes from and why. Are there other names (if any) that your town, city or region has been known by?
Activity — Māori history
Investigate the Māori history of your town or region. Where possible, draw on the knowledge and expertise of people within your community. An important component of this is not only local history knowledge but the way the land relates to tangata whenua.
If the information is difficult to uncover, discuss why.
Partnership is realised as schools collaborate with Māori and non-Māori to develop, implement, and review policies, practices, and procedures. By working collaboratively, schools learn to share power, control, and decision-making while validating the unique position of Māori as tangata whenua and recognising the contribution Māori make to education.
— Treaty principles, TKI
For information on engaging with local iwi and hapū, contact your local regional Ministry of Education offices.
Activity — local stories
Discuss that our sense of place comes from stories about a physical location. In every place, some stories have more prominence than others.
Discuss that the existence of dominant or well-known stories can be at the expense of other stories and that sometimes this is not accidental.
Activity — heritage
Conduct a survey of official references to heritage items around your town. These could include memorials, heritage panels, significant street names, statues, and murals. You may also like to explore how your town's heritage appears online.
Categorise the information you gather into the following:
- the natural and man-made environment, including changes over time
- the Māori history of the town or region
- the Pākehā history of the town or region
- stories about Māori individuals and communities
- stories about Pākehā individuals and communities
- stories about individuals and communities that are neither Māori nor Pākehā
- memorials related to events, disasters, and conflicts such as the First World War.
Activity — dominant culture
Discuss the concept of dominant culture.
A 'dominant culture' is one that holds the most power, or is the most widespread or influential within a society of multiple cultures. The dominant culture appears in the established language, religion, values, rituals, and social customs of a group. These traits are often viewed as 'the norm' for that society.
Discuss the extent to which the collective stories of your town or region reflect a dominant culture.
Activity — Māori and European names
Have students conduct a survey amongst members of their communities to find out:
- if people know the origins of the name of your town and/or region
- how much people know about the Māori history of the area, including which hapū or iwi are mana whenua.
If your town has a European name, get students to investigate people’s responses to the idea of reinstating the Māori name for the town.
Activity — Aotearoa or New Zealand?
Have students record their thoughts about which of the 2 following names they prefer:
- Aotearoa, or
- New Zealand.
What is their main preference and why?
Activity — poetry
As a class, read 'Our tūpuna remain' by Jacq Carter. The poem gives voice to the pain and resilience of Māori who have experienced dramatic changes since the arrival of Europeans.
Read 'Our tūpuna remain' and download teacher notes