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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A collection of resources for learning about the Treaty of Waitangi

Flagpole at Waitangi circa 1957. *
The Treaty of Waitangi is our founding document as a country.  I'm proud to say that ancestors were involved in signing on the original day.  I strongly believe in our children being taught about how the Treaty was decided on, what happened on the day and the months after, and the continuing impacts and implications of the Treaty.

Every year I see teachers asking for resources and ideas for their Waitangi Day units.  This post aims to provide a starting point for teachers to grow their own knowledge about how the Treaty came about, its consequences and how the Treaty works in today's society.


Some helpful links for teacher resources and sources:

Mike King's 2009 series Lost in Translation is a wonderful resource for teachers to boost their own knowledge about the events leading to the Treaty being required, the events and people of the day and what happened following 6 February 1840.  This link to NZ On Screen takes you to where you can access all six episodes, which are well worth watching

What Really Happened - Waitangi is a dramatisation of the events of February 4-6 1840.  This NZ On Screen link will take you to the page with links to all parts of the docudrama.  This production is another really good way for teachers to boost their own knowledge and you may choose to use parts of it in your class (view first), but be aware it has an Adults Only rating.

The Waitangi Collection will take you to further NZ On Screen resources based on the Treaty of Waitangi the two programmes I mentioned above.  Other programmes include Nga Tohu: Signatures, James Belich's The New Zealand Wars and the 1977 epic historical drama The Governor.

Treaty 2U is a website targeted to schools.  It is mostly aimed at Year 7 up, but I have used aspects of it with Year 5 and 6 students.  There are six tabs at the top of the page and under each tab are links to more information.  The Cool Stuff tab links to an area which is also a CD-ROM which may be found in your school resource room along with a Teachers Resource book.  This resource is bilingual as well.

NZ History has a great Treaty of Waitangi start page for source information about the Treaty of Waitangi.  The information covers from pre-Treaty to the present day.  It has links to other websites including Treaty 2U and Archives New Zealand where you can view images of the original copies that were signed on the 6th February 1840 and the other copies that travelled around New Zealand during the following months to get the signatures of chiefs from many other hapu and iwi.  They also have a useful page to get teachers started with their Treaty of Waitangi unit with ideas and key questions.


Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand also has great source material on the Treaty of Waitangi including pictures and videos.




Ako Aotearoa has an education kit aimed at the tertiary sector, but you may find something useful in there that you can adapt.





The Waitangi Treaty Grounds website also has teaching units to download, and if you can get to Waitangi at any stage during the year, they do an education programme when you visit on site.


The Waitangi Tribunal also has a page of school resources.  It has links to the Treaty in English and Te Reo.  It also has links to claims made to the Tribunal.


If you are close to Wellington, you could arrange a class trip to Te Papa to learn about the Treaty of Waitangi.


The Christchurch City Library (I love this library's online presence) has a child friendly website, Kids' Treaty Zone, that is bilingual to learn about the Treaty of Waitangi.  From this page you can go to a link that recommends books about the Treaty and the history of New Zealand.  There is also a page of recommended links.


The Relieving Teacher website has a PDF resource to download from this link.  Just scroll to the end of the page (W is quite far down the alphabetical order list) to find the Waitangi contract.  The resources are free, but the Relieving Teacher appreciates a koha.


Here is a link to my Waitangi Pinterest board.  Many of these may be leading to resources that require payment.


Some things I've done in my class:




I set up a starter display in my class and provided some books about the Treaty to picque interest from the students.  Above I have a photo taken part way through the unit.  I ignited interest with a title, some photo resources I found in the school resource cupboard and a vocabulary expander. 




The vocabulary expander has key words about the topic.  During the topic the students choose a word and research it.  The box at the top is the word in question.  Underneath is the translation and/or definition of the word.  Beneath that is where the student uses the word in a sentence of their own in context.  In some versions of this I have a box where they can illustrate the word.  Sometimes I let them do this on the computer.  We put all of these into an A4 clearfile and it becomes a collective 'dictionary' for the topic.  I started this as statistically our children in New Zealand have a poor understanding of vocabulary.


I ask my students what they think Waitangi Day is about - a before snapshot.  I got them to do this in their topic books.  They leave the page opposite blank because they fill this page out at the end of the unit with what they now know. 


When I did this with a class one year, of Year 4-8 students, their start knowledge was there were arguments on a marae every year in February and something happened in 1840.  By the end of the unit they understood that there was a Treaty that had different meanings in English and Maori, the names of the key people involved, why the Treaty was brought about and the fact that it was not honoured and the New Zealand Wars and Treaty claims were just two of the consequences.


For my more able students I set them the task to research key people involved.  In the photo above of the display you can see two of the resulting projects.  When I did the unit these photos are from, the flag debate had been initiated, so I included that as a task and my class designed their own flags.


I also included mapping activities and other language activities like wordfinds.  But a lot of this unit was viewing clips from some of the websites above and discussing the issues and developing understanding.  So this was very much an oral unit.


Personally, I've only done the Treaty two times as a unit.  I felt it was a fairly sensitive topic and was wary of broaching it, particularly when I had mostly Year 3 and 4 aged classes.  But I did this with classes I had had for two years that were multi-leveled and I felt these groups of children were ready for the challenge.


Next time I do this unit I would bring in a drama aspect of getting them to write a script and act the signing out.  And I would look at the situations of other indigenous cultures with the impact of colonisation compared to what happened in New Zealand so that my students could truly appreciate how unique the Treaty of Waitangi was for the times.


Our Treaty is not perfect, and it hasn't been honoured to the best of the ability of the parties involved, but it is our founding doucment and we can try harder to honour it by educating our children on it.




Photo credits:
* Flagpole, Treaty of Waitangi, circa 1957, Waitangi, by Eric Lee-Johnson. Purchased 1997 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. © Te Papa. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (O.010958/01)

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