The New Zealand Wars Teaching Resources and Activities
The Push to Learn about the New Zealand Wars
Over the past few years, people have argued that New Zealand Wars should be taught more significantly in schools. There have also been growing calls for a national commemoration day for the New Zealand Wars. Students from Ōtorohanga College collected 12,000 signatures in a petition asking for a National Commemoration Day for the New Zealand Wars. The National Day of Commemoration for the New Zealand Wars, also known as Rā Maumahara, was established in 2017 and is held each year on 28 October. This is a date of significance as it coincides with the date where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1835.
The New Zealand Wars and their impacts are covered in the draft Aotearoa New Zealand Histories curriculum that is set to be launched in full in 2022 – watch this space.
I like how the draft Histories curriculum focuses on learning about the local history of your area. Communities can explore the battles that took place close to their school or Kura. For example, Tauranga schools could explore the Battle of Gate Pā.
Useful online resources to explore the New Zealand Wars
- The Aotearoa History Show podcast and Youtube series by RNZ features two great videos about the New Zealand Wars. I’ve linked to one of them below for you to check out.
- There is a fantastic Instagram account @newzealandwars that I would highly recommend checking out. They put out fantastic posts that highlight and explain various battles and key figures of the New Zealand Wars. It is a great way to upskill your own knowledge of this part of our history. Yes, Instagram can count as professional learning!
View this post on Instagram
- The New Zealand History website is a great source of information about the New Zealand Wars. I wouldn’t say it is presented in the most engaging format for students. However, I would recommend it as a site with great primary sources (photos, maps, etc.).
School Journals and Connected Texts on the New Zealand Wars
There are some great New Zealand School Journal and Connected texts based around the theme of the NZ wars. Here are some that I recommend:
1. Te Tiriti o Waitangi: School Journal Level 3 August 2017
This article explains what the Treaty of Waitangi is, why it was needed, and what it says. It looks at the lead up to the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the differences in meaning between the two versions of the Treaty. It is important that students understand the Treaty of Waitangi as it contributed to the conflict of the New Zealand Wars.
2. Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa/The New Zealand Wars: School Journal Level 4 November 2014
This article explores the wars fought in New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. This is quite a long article, however, it covers a lot! It focuses on many of the main battles and conflicts and key players from both sides. The article also features a timeline of the New Zealand Wars and sketches of both Māori pa and British forts and stockades from this period.
3. Pā Tūwatawata and the New Zealand Wars: Connected 2020 Level 4 Feeling the Heat
This article describes the development of pā in response to conflict, as Māori defended themselves and their land against invasion. It is really interesting to learn how the basic features of a pā were adapted by Māori to protect themselves from invasion during the New Zealand Wars. The illustrations are stunning and the maps on the final page paint a sobering picture.
4. Fallen Leaves: School Journal Level 4 November 2016
This story is a historical narrative that describes what happened during the Battle at Kororāreka between Hõne Heke and his men and the British troops. The events are seen through the eyes of Haora, a young boy working at the local printer. This conflict was the beginning of the New Zealand Wars in 1845. The text is a great way to contrast how the Battle at Kororāreka is presented in story form here and as part of an article in Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa/The New Zealand Wars.
5. Hakaraia: Warrior Peacemaker: School Journal Level 4 May 2015
This article recounts the experiences of the influential figure Māori figure Hakaraia and his experiences before and during the New Zealand Wars.
Explore the New Zealand Wars with our School Journal Set
Explore the New Zealand Wars and other important aspects of New Zealand History
New Zealand History topics include:
- The New Zealand Wars
- First World War
- Explorers to NZ
- 1981 Springbok Tour
- Women Get the Vote
- Parihaka Invasion
- The Treaty of Waitangi
- Blackball Miner’s Strike
- The Dawn Raids
- The Flu Pandemic
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