Aotearoa NZ and our national identity in late 20th century

A multicultural crowd watching a performance

A crowd watches a dance performance at the International Cultural Festival, Auckland, 2015 by NZME/Jason Dorday. Ref: NZH-1081152 The New Zealand Herald. All rights reserved.

Here are curated teaching and learning resources related to themes about the Aotearoa New Zealand in the late 20th century and evolution of a national identity with cultural plurality.

Topic Explorer sets

These sets contain quality, curated resources — websites, images, videos, books, and more — to support and inspire inquiry. Each topic features a carefully selected set of national and international resources from trustworthy and reliable, national and international sources (e.g. Alexander Turnbull Library, Te Ara, National Geographic, and the BBC).

The following topic sets relate to Aotearoa NZ's national identity in the late 20th century:

He Tohu activities and resources

He Tohu is a permanent exhibition of 3 iconic constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand:

The following activities and resources will inspire students to understand stories and actions from the past.

Learning activities


What does the Women's Suffrage Petition mean to you? (YouTube video, 1:01) — visitor kōrero from the recording booth in the He Tohu exhibition at the National Library in Wellington.

Kōrero videos — hear more discussions about the history of He Whakaputanga, the Treaty of Waitangi, and the Suffrage Petition. People also talk about what these documents mean today and visions for the future.

Curiosity cards

Curiosity cards use images and fertile questions to spark student inquiry about Aotearoa New Zealand.

Curiosity cards that relate to Aotearoa NZ's national identity in the late 20th century include:

Many Answers and AnyQuestions

Many Answers entries are designed to guide students to reliable and trustworthy websites. The following entries will help them find information on Aotearoa NZ's national identity in the late 20th century:


AnyQuestions offers free online help for all New Zealand school students from 1pm to 6pm weekdays during the school year.

Students can log in to the website and chat with librarians who are specially trained to help them find answers to questions related to topics such as New Zealand history. Librarians develop students' ability to source and critically evaluate quality online information sources. Teachers can also book classroom sessions.

Lending service

Borrow books from our lending service — we have an extensive collection of picture books, fiction, and non-fiction to support and expand student inquiry into Aotearoa New Zealand in the late 20th century, including the evolution of a national identity.

Some popular titles related to this topic include:

  • ‘100 Amazing Tales From Aotearoa’ by Te Papa, 2012.
  • ‘100 New Zealand Pop Culture Stories: From Billy T. to Nuclear Free’ by Mitchell Hawkes, 2010.
  • ‘All About Kiwiana: New Zealand Treasures and Traditions’ by Dave Gunson, 2016.
  • ‘Bastion Point: 507 Days on Takaparawha, Auckland, 1977–78’ by Tania Roxborogh, 2017.
  • ‘Changing Times: The Story of a New Zealand Town and Its Newspaper’ by Bob Kerr, 2015.
  • ‘Dawn Raid’ by Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith, 2018.
  • ‘Hindsight: Pivotal Moments in New Zealand History’ by Mandy Hager, 2019.
  • ‘My New Zealand Story: Chinatown Girl’ by Eva Wong Ng, 2019.
  • ‘Protest in New Zealand!’ by Brent Coutts and Nicholas Fitness, 2013.
  • ‘Visiting Grandma’ by Jane Va’afusuaga, 2019.

Other National Library tools and resources

The following tools and resources can also help you find resources to capture student interest and build their understanding of Aotearoa New Zealand history.

EPIC — gives your school free access to thousands of online resources, including magazines, journals, newspapers, biographies, reference works, images, eBooks, and multimedia. Note that you may need a school login. Some EPIC resources invaluable for Aotearoa New Zealand history studies include:

DigitalNZ — find, curate, and share content from New Zealand libraries, museums, galleries, media, and more. Content includes historic and contemporary items such as photographs, paintings, posters, and videos.

Papers Past — search and browse digitised New Zealand historical newspapers (including some in te reo Māori), magazines, journals, letters, diaries, and parliamentary papers.

INNZ — Index New Zealand is a searchable database that contains abstracts and descriptions of articles from New Zealand magazines and newspapers published from the 1950s to the present day.

Primary sources — how to use them — primary sources are original, firsthand, often unedited records of an event. They are a powerful teaching and learning tool. Find out where to find quality, trusted primary sources, and how to use them effectively.

Archives New Zealand

These albums from Archives New Zealand's Flickr account contain digitised records and photos about Aotearoa NZ's national identity in the late 20th century: