Murihiku - Broadening teachers’ perspectives

Jacqui Russell, history teacher at Southland Boys’ High, reflects on the importance of the field trip she went on with a group of secondary teachers, visiting sites of significance to local iwi and Ngāi Tahu around coastal Southland. Jacqui talks about how she might incorporate the group’s experiences into classroom teaching.

Key idea

Field trips in which local stories are heard can be a critical element in learning about local history.

Professional learning conversations

  1. Why is it important to teach local history as part of a Māori history programme?

  2. Visiting local sites of significance with kaumātua is a very powerful way to hear about the past. Field trips can be a critical part of learning about local history. What systems and protocols could you set up  in your school to be able to take field trips as part of your teaching programmes?

  3. This initiative to teach Māori history has implications for any shared story or national identity. Determining national identity and the importance of teaching Māori history could be a powerful learning conversation to have with your colleagues.  



Everywhere you go there is something that you can pick out, like I can think of all of my year nine and ten boys, because I teach in a single sex boys school and there's something there for all of them. So there's nothing that sticks out, because everything does. There's no one thing that's more important because they will all find their own piece of it and get it together in their own way.

The one thing that we've been working on for the last six months I guess or year, is just trying to get the close connections with Murihiku in all of its really broad sense. So this year we've been trialling teaching programmes that look specifically at the history of Bluff from an iwi perspective.

This is really, really new. As a school we've been part of with He Kākano and Kia Eke Panuku and it's been a six-year programme looking at accelerating Māori achievement. We've never had the doors opened like this. Kia Eke Panuku has allowed us to get a little bit of a door open, but this is certainly amplifying all of that.

It's not about changing the kids. It's about changing the staff, and that's when the rubber hits the road. That's the really hard part. And six years of He Kākano, building on success, Kia Eke Panuku is only scratching the surface. We've been part of a process for six years but the change is still really small.

If as ALL teachers we don't learn Māori history, we don't learn New Zealand history, nothing will change. Like if I go back and say, “Well you know the rugby field at Aparima – that is an urupā,” that will make people maybe look a little bit differently, maybe think a little bit differently. Might not change their actions, but they might re-position a smidge.