Year 9-13 Māori History teaching programme design

Events in Māori history have relevance at different points in time, in different places, to different groups of people. This makes a place-based approach to teaching history a good place to start. Because students are able to make connections from their local areas (or their own rohe/iwi/tūrangawaewe) to histories of national and international significance, learning is given a context and a continuity. Partnering with local hapū/iwi to explore the history of places, people, and events significant to Māori gives relevance and authenticity to students’ learning and connects with their own experience of place and time.

The content on this page offers a programme design showing  how learning in Māori history could progress from year 9 to year 13. This programme not only encourages the study of local issues and events, but also emphasises how any specific Aotearoa/New Zealand historical context, such as the influenza epidemic, offers opportunities for examination from a Māori perspective.  The design is underpinned by the achievement objectives of The New Zealand Curriculum, achievement and unit standards from NCEA, and a social inquiry approach. Social inquiry, outlined in Approaches to Social Inquiry (MoE, 2008) is particularly relevant to the study of Māori history, with its  “dual commitment to gaining deeper knowledge about society as well as knowledge, dispositions, and skills to be able to participate in society (now and in the future).1

The intention with the programme is not to be prescriptive, but to provide a suggested foundation that can be localised according to the needs and wants of local iwi, hapū, whānau and students.  In this way, a particular programme suited to your school and wider community will emerge and evolve as different voices are heard.

1 Wood, Bronwyn E.  What is a social inquiry? Crafting questions that lead to deeper knowledge about society and citizenship, Set 3, NZCER, 2013

Key underpinnings for Māori history programme design

Principles that reflect Māori pedagogy

Tino rangatiratanga: the right to determine one’s own destiny. Parents and children are involved in decision-making processes.

Taonga tuku iho: the treasures from the ancestors, providing a set of principles by which to live our lives.

Ako: a mutual teaching and learning relationship in which the educator also learns from the student

Whānau: developing connections with the community to support learning.

Kaupapa: acknowledging and valuing the language and culture in the classroom and the chosen contexts.

Kia piki ake i ngā raruraru o te kāinga: reaching into Māori homes and bringing parents and families into the activities of the school.

Based on: Bishop, R and Glynn, T (2000), from

Cultural competencies

Wānanga: participating with learners and communities in robust dialogue for the benefit of Māori learners’ achievement

Whānaungatanga: actively engaging in respectful working relationships with Māori learners, parents, whānau, hapū, and iwi

Manaakitanga: showing integrity, sincerity, and respect towards Māori beliefs, language, and culture

Tangata whenuatanga: affirming Māori learners as Māori, providing contexts for learning where the language, identity, and culture of Māori learners and their whānau is affirmed 

Adapted from: Ministry of Education. (2011). Tātaiako: Cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners. Wellington: Author. Retrieved from 

Social sciences / Tīkanga-a-Iwi

Best Evidence Synthesis key references  

  • Make connections to students’ lives
  • Design experiences that interest learners
  • Build and sustain a learning community
  • Align experiences to important outcomes. 

From Aitken, G., & Sinnema, C. (2008). Effective pedagogy in social sciences/tikanga-a-iwi: Best evidence synthesis iteration [BES]. Wellington: Ministry of Education. (p. 51

These key underpinnings need to be considered at each stage of programme design.

Programme design frameworks