While Te Tiriti o Waitangi – The Treaty of Waitangi and Waitangi Day are important parts of New Zealand’s past, present, and future, these topics aren’t always easy to teach in the classroom. Read on to find some great Treaty of Waitangi teaching ideas for how to make the Treaty of Waitangi and Waitangi Day engaging and thought-provoking topics for your students.
For a lot of kiwis, the Treaty of Waitangi is a document that they are unfamiliar with and Waitangi Day is another public holiday; the chance for a BBQ or a trip to the beach.
Thankfully, there is a growing push that ALL New Zealanders understand the significance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This growing understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi, in turn, gives more resonance to the commemorations of Waitangi Day.
The Importance of Teaching the Treaty of Waitangi
If you are passionate about being a New Zealander, you must be passionate about the Treaty of Waitangi. Because without it, we would not exist. – Mary Greenland.
Signed in 1840 by Māori tribal leaders and the British Government, Te Tiriti o Waitangi served to acknowledge Māori rights as Tangata Whenua, while establishing ongoing governance by Pākehā.
Students in New Zealand classrooms need to understand:
– The History of the Treaty of Waitangi.
– Differences in the te reo Māori and English translations and the issues that these differences create.
– The Injustices faced by Māori people and the conflict this created.
– How the treaty is a relevant and living document today.
Furthermore, to become a registered teacher, and maintain that registration in the future, a New Zealand teacher must be able to show that they can “Understand and acknowledge the histories, heritages, languages and cultures of partners to Te Tiriti o Waitangi” (Our Code, Our Standards, page 20).
Teaching The Treaty Can Be Tricky
There are three common problems that teachers face when planning to teach about the Treaty of Waitangi and Waitangi Day:
- Many teachers do not have a great personal understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi and may not be confident to teach about it in their classroom.
- There is a surprising lack of resources available to introduce the treaty to their students.
- Treaty fatigue, which can result from the repetition of the same information year after year. Many students have been introduced to the Treaty of Waitangi in some form every February of their school life. This can lead to groans and moans of “I have done this before…”
So, how can Top Teaching Tasks help you?
Treaty of Waitangi Teaching Ideas and Background Information
The principals of the treaty can be a great springboard into learning in your classroom, so we have sourced you some great Treaty of Waitangi teaching ideas and background information that will save you time and help you build on your personal understanding of the treaty!
- Treaty of Resource Centre Student Activities
- Kids Treaty Zone – Christchurch City Libraries
- Treaty 2 U Treaty Information
- Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand Treaty Resources
- Treaty of Waitangi Quick Links – Teaching Timesavers
The Tree Hut Treaty
There is a serious lack of quality books to help introduce treaty principals, but one gem that I have found is The Tree Hut Treaty. Use this wonderful book as an entry point into a discussion about the Treaty of Waitangi. Unfortunately, it is currently out of print, but you should be able to find a copy in your school library or resource room. It is also widely available in public libraries around Aotearoa.
In this story, which works great as a shared reading book, four kids develop a treaty to establish rules around the use of their tree hut. The story is told in both English and Te Reo, making the messages even more accessible.
We have created some great FREE activity sheets to help you use this wonderful book in your classroom. Keep reading to find the instant download!
The Treaty of Waitangi Graphic Novel
An amazing new resource that was sent to New Zealand Year 7 and 8 classrooms in August 2018 is Te Tiriti o Waitangi – written by Ross Calman and Mark Derby, and illustrated by Toby Morris. The book covers a wide time span, from the arrival of Polynesian explorers through to the modern-day Treaty settlement process.
This resource is made with a Year Six reading age, so it is more suitable for upper primary. However, you could break this book into smaller chunks and use it as a shared reading resource with lower-level classes. This graphic novel is also great for teachers to get a clear understanding of the history of the Treaty of Waitangi and how it impacts us today.
You can find this digital novel in PDF form by clicking here. I highly recommend checking it out!
A great video
See the voyage of the 9 sheets of the Treaty over 8 months in 1840 across New Zealand. The sheets went to 45 locations and gathered 542 signatures.
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Treaty of Waitangi/Waitangi Day Literacy Bundle
Earlier I mentioned that there is a surprising lack of resources available to introduce the treaty to their students. That’s where we are here to help. Our popular Treaty of Waitangi literacy bundle is filled with great Treaty of Waitangi teaching ideas. I wanted to create a resource that would give you loads of options for tackling the treaty and Waitangi day in your classroom.
This bundle features:
- Waitangi Day Reading Comprehension Passages and Questions
- Daily Writing Prompts February Waitangi Day Powerpoint, Journal and Worksheets
- Waitangi Day Print and Go Activity Pack
This bundle is definitely my first port of call at the beginning of the year, and can be a great way to set up your reading and writing routines and expectations, too! We also have a digital version of our Treaty of Waitangi reading comprehension resource for those in a 1:1 classroom or with access to digital devices.
Treaty of Waitangi/Waitangi Day Scavenger Hunt Puzzle
This Treaty of Waitangi/Waitangi Day scavenger hunt puzzle poster bundle is new to 2019, and is a wonderful way to introduce treaty concepts to your Year 3-4, Year 5-6, or Year 7-8 classroom. Students hunt for information in fact cards OR in the Te Tiriti o Waitangi graphic novel discussed above. They then use this knowledge to complete their own Treaty of Waitangi puzzle poster.
Four quick reasons why I am pretty darn stoked about this resource:
- Students hunt for information, utilising reading comprehension skills.
- The end result is a wonderful poster that will look impressive on your classroom wall (I like to use weak tea for that authentic treaty look!).
- Differentiation is easy, with students being able to complete this resource in pairs, groups, or as individuals. By purchasing the bundle you get this resource at reading levels suitable for Year 3-Year 8.
- Most importantly, solve the problem of treaty fatigue by presenting the treaty in a comprehensive AND creative way!
This video shows how the puzzle poster comes together!
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Combine Gaming and the Treaty of Waitangi
See our other New Zealand History Blog Posts
Did you say FREEBIE?
We have created some great FREE activity sheets to help you use this wonderful book in your classroom. Sign up for our free resource library and you can download this resource.
Onwards and upwards!