Waitangi Day, an annual opportunity to reflect, assess, discuss and debate where things are at with honouring the agreement made between the Crown and hapū on 6 February 1840.
You’ve probably got plans in place for the day but perhaps they’re not meeting your drive to fully embrace what Waitangi Day is all about? Or maybe you’re feeling hōhā with the limited understandings of Te Tiriti that are being presented in some media (though here’s an good exception)? Or you’re keen to see the dial shift in Te Tiriti relationships and are wondering about actions you can take to contribute?
It’s clear that we’re a long way from being a Te Tiriti honouring society. While there are a multitude of actions needed to bring about a Te Tiriti honouring society, a simple action any of us can undertake is to build our understanding of: the context for Te Tiriti; what it says; the on-going process and impacts of colonisation; and how Te Tiriti can be honoured.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already undertaken some of that learning and you may well have been one of the many people who have been frustrated at only having had the opportunity to access this core knowledge as an adult. So here are some ideas for actions you can take to support the next generations in getting some of this learning earlier in their lives.
If you have connections with an early childhood or school community, ask teachers, the principal and/or the board how they are incorporating NZ history into the curriculum.
If they seem unsure why they might need to do so, you might suggest one of these Treaty and Education workshops.
If governance wants to understand their role then direct them to these resources for school boards.
If the school is keen but needs teaching resources here’s a comprehensive resource designed for teachers.
Regardless of whether you have links to a school, you can support this petition from the NZ History Teachers’ Association to have colonial history taught in schools (learn more about the background to this here).
If you’re wanting to learn more about Te Tiriti yourself, or to encourage others to do so, then check out these suggested readings and upcoming public workshops.
Aside from signing the petition, these actions can be taken on any day not just 6 February. Waitangi Day can provide the momentum to get the ball rolling for change in the year ahead.
Ki te hoe e hoa mā!