Walk outside. Crouch down. Put your hand on the ground. Do you know the history of this piece of earth that lies under your hand?

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The Brief

The Treaty Stories Group demanded dramatically different Treaty Education - place-based, authentic learning opportunities, relevant to any community, accessible to all and absolutely no 100 page ‘one history for all' resource books.

Our response was to use our Find, Apply, Produce pedagogy to create A Map of Stories: an un-field trip comprised of a single one page teaching resource that could help any classroom, anywhere in New Zealand unlock ancestral, iwi and pakeha stories related to a specific local site.



Students begin with a single word - the name of a location listed in the Cultural Redress section of their own iwi's Settlement Summary. This section focusses on the development of research skills - searching, sorting, categorising and analysing. Depending on the starting point of student knowledge research quickly spirals off on tangents and tentacles all connected to the original location. Students are asked to find a broad range of primary and secondary sources. The aim is to make the picture as comprehensive as possible. Inevitably, students discover stories of conflict, raupatu, historical use, current use, dispute, resolution and aspiration right under their feet.



Students build on their new found knowledge of their location. A site visit is encouraged so further documentation can occur and connections can be made. It is this section of the resource that calls for the application of aspects of the curriculum.  In the Model Resource students engage in creating their own inter-textual artwork based on the work of New Zealand Artist, Tracey Tawhiao. Students select key words from archival documents and layer motif and colour palette to create a powerful artwork layered with meaning and symbol.

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How students evidence their learning, their map if you will, is determined by the class and the community.  The Model Resource has students first create a website that can be used by the community, one that houses all of their research but also lets the wider community contribute.  Secondly students returned to their original site and conducted a Humans of New York style interview with every person they encountered.  Their findings helped students draw connections with the original settlement and the fact that Maungakawa continues to be a place of the heart and a place of healing for almost everyone that visits.  


What are we learning so far?

Map of Stories aims to create a base model for teachers to use for investigating local stories. Teachers and their students are excited about the fact that 'history' isn't something that happens at a far away site or in a  museum. With a bit of perseverance and good research skills, students can discover their own local story. It's a story that contains places, names and events that belong to where they and their family operate every day. Early learnings fit three key themes.

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To always look at whose story is getting told.

Students are astounded by the invisible stories around them; the fact that a local history book only begins with the arrival of Pakeha in the community. They begin to notice that local commemorative plaques, signs, statues, maps tend to reveal a single narrative.  

Adichie tables a powerful idea when she says "Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanise. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity."  

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That there are stories everywhere.

With a single location as a starting point students are learning that focussed and sustained research can build a picture and a series of perviously unknown connections.  If their search focusses on gathering diverse sources from a spectrum of people and places then stories can be found almost anywhere. 

Map of Stories is helping students develop soft skills that are valuable in multiple environments - possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.

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That cultural redress can teach us empathy.

Cultural Redress is an attempt to acknowledge traditional, historical, cultural and spiritual associations of an iwi with certain places and locations. If the Crown owns a site within the iwi rohe then returning ownership or management of the site is often identified as a part of the Settlement and recorded in the Cultural Redress section of the Settlement Summary.  

We've come to call them "places of the heart" with students. It is a concept with which anyone can empathise because everyone has a personal or family 'place of the heart' - a favourite holiday spot; a place where a first goal, kiss or announcement was made; a place that stirs either sad or happy memories.     

10 Schools


Our goal is to provide a model for classroom teachers to stop feeling scared or intimidated about teaching Treaty Stories and start seeing it as the must tell, must teach, must learn story of New Zealand. We want Treaty Stories to be viewed as a "must teach" topic - compelling, exciting and most of all local. We want this to be seen as a cross-curricular opportunity.


The project will document 10 schools across New Zealand in 2018 as they investigate their own local community story of Treaty Settlement. Each school is dramatically different from the next in location,  size, kaupapa, curriculum strengths and connection to a Treaty Settlement Story.  Some schools operate entirely within an iwi-centred culture and way of being while others are multi-ethnic mixes of new migrants in hyper-urban environments.


Each school must use the ‘Treaty Settlement Stories: Map of Stories’ resource as the starting point/inspiration for designing their project. Teaching staff and students will need to engage with some research into local history of your area.

Schools can design any project that investigates any aspect of a Treaty Settlement Story of any duration with any number of students, any staff mix at any year level (or across multiple year levels) as long as the project is completed during the 2018 school year.

Each school's project must be focussed on their own local story. They must begin with their own Treaty Settlement document and with help of local iwi, identify a site returned under cultural redress as the starting point for their inquiry.

Nga kaatoitoi

I feel like a project like this realises the aspirations of our elders - that we can hear their voices and help our students remember that they are tied to this place [the Waireia Block]”
— Mina Pomare, Tumuaki, Panguru Area School
Nga Ropu Aka 2 explored the Kena Kena Pa site, a key site for Kapiti. Most of my students didn’t even know the site existed
— Anita Titter, English Teacher, Paraparaumu College
We took the kids over the road to see the tiny plaque (almost hidden) that talks about the Peach trees that were planted, tended and exported by Ngati Wairere. It just says ‘Maoris’. I asked the kids if they thought that was enough acknowledgement of this huge and complex commercial venture.
— Helen Te Kiri, Deputy Principal, Peachgrove Intermediate
There is significant pain here that means just this initial phase of engagement, of finding someone to show us the way and help us make the right choices will take a period of time. Even just that, finding and establishing the relationship, will be a wonderful journey for our school.
— Bec Power, Principal, Muritai School