Aotearoa New Zealand's role in the Pacific

People from Pacific countries holding flags or signs with their country's name parading in a multicultural festival event

14th Multicultural Festival, 2013, TRMC event 53 by Neil Badger, Tauranga Regional Multicultural Council. Tauranga City Libraries. CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ. Image cropped.

Here are curated teaching and learning resources related to themes about Aotearoa New Zealand's role in the Pacific.

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 New Zealand's role in the Pacific:

He Tohu resources

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


Legacy for the future — Pasifika women — Lana West and Sina Wendt-Moore discuss themes inspired by the Women's Suffrage Petition.

Curiosity cards

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

Curiosity cards that relate to Aotearoa New Zealand's role in the Pacific 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 New Zealand's role in the Pacific:


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's role in the Pacific.

Some popular titles related to this topic include:

  • 'Pacific Star: 3NZ Division in the South Pacific in World War II' by Reg Newell, 2015.
  • 'Tangata o Le Moana: New Zealand and the People of the Pacific' edited by Sean Mallon, Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai, and Damon Salesa, 2012.
  • 'Feasts and Festivals: A Celebration of Pacific Island Culture in New Zealand' by Glenn Jowitt, 2002.
  • 'Fast Talking PI' by Selina Tusitala Marsh, 2009.
  • 'The Deadly Sky' by David Hill, 2014.
  • 'Pacific War: New Zealand and Japan 1941–45' by Matthew Wright, 2003.

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.

First World War inquiry guides and resources — developed in conjunction with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Ministry of Education. These resources relate to the topic of Aotearoa New Zealand's role in the Pacific:

  • The news in Samoa — 2 newspaper articles, published side by side a few days before New Zealand troops captured German Samoa.
  • Voices of the Pacific — a photo of Māori and Pacific Island soldiers at Narrow Neck Training Camp in Auckland and an older Niuean woman’s perspective on Niue’s involvement in the war.

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 contains digitised records and photos about the Pacific: