Treaty of Waitangi Education Kit
Teaching guides and resources to support the provision of Treaty of Waitangi education in the tertiary sector, including 24 activities.
- Jen Margaret - Project Leader (Auckland Workers' Educational Association)
- Christine Herzog – Coordinator (AWEA)
- Deborah Radford – Resource Development (AWEA)
- Karena Stephens-Wilson - Māori Treaty Educator
The purpose of this project was to support provision of Treaty education in the tertiary sector by making teaching resources easily accessible. A larger, but longer-term, goal is to develop a virtual community of Treaty education practitioners.
The project addressed several current problems:
- the Treaty of Waitangi is unique; teaching resources are not available from overseas; there are no Treaty ‘textbooks’ for tertiary education
- because it has been taught for fewer than twenty years, teaching resources have not been published to date
- due to the fact that it is a minor part of the curriculum, it is not a recognised area of teaching expertise
- there are very few Treaty educators in the country, therefore it is not available in most community ACE programmes
- the Treaty is a controversial subject about which most adults know very little; many educators avoid becoming involved and/or do not provide quality learning experiences
- there are insufficient numbers of people wanting to learn about becoming Treaty educators at any specific time and place to have a formal professional development programme.
Therefore, this project was designed to provide teaching guidelines for a relatively large collection of existing teaching/learning activities for Treaty education and to publish them
As a tangata Tiriti (tauiwi) organisation, we work predominantly with tangata Tiriti, so our teaching activities have been designed for, and the guides will be oriented toward, this audience. However, the resources have been used by Māori educators with Māori learners as well.
The benefit of this project to teaching and learning is embodied in the concept of ‘ako’, because the activities published have been developed over many years of teacher-learner interaction; each new Treaty educator could develop comparable resources eventually but this project will make new Treaty educators more effective quickly – which is particularly important given the high turnover and absence of community of practice for this field.
Notes for new Treaty educators
Generally the primary interest of learners is ‘what does the Treaty mean for me (personally and/or in my work)?’ Therefore, if possible, it is important to try to include some content relating to that; one simple possibility is the Personal Responses activity.
It is a rather daunting reality for Treaty educators that most adults think Treaty education is important (good news) — for others rather than themselves — (not so good).
(See surveys by UMR Research published on the Human Rights Commission website www.hrc.co.nz).
Our own surveys suggest that the majority of our learners (about 75% of those in the formal adult education sector and about half of those in the community sector) would not choose to participate in Treaty education. The reasons for this are generally some combination of ignorance (about the Treaty/NZ history) and fear (of being expected to accept ‘policitically correct’ ideas, of confrontation, of being made to feel guilty, of having to address difficult issues). We use several strategies for managing this that try to address the reasons for it, including:
- acknowledging the compulsory aspect and learner resistance at the beginning of the first session (unless it is a workshop at which attendance is purely voluntary)
- emphasising that this is a common attitude which usually produces some nervous giggles as well as a relaxation of tension and that at the end of workshops the majority believe that Treaty education should be compulsory for all adults (we do have a question to this effect on our evaluation form as a way of measuring changes in attitudes)
- using The Treaty is the Wave activity at the beginning of every first session, even if the whole Treaty unit is only one hour
- including questions in the evaluation form about ‘what concerns did you have before this course started?’, ‘are they still concerns?’, and ‘why/why not?’ – to monitor the effectiveness of our strategies
It is a misconception that the compulsory education sector provides more content about NZ history/the Treaty now than in the past. Of course some schools provide very good teaching in this area (and the Year 13 NZ history curriculum is excellent), but very few adults in New Zealand, regardless of age, know the basics about the Treaty (see research published annually by the Human Rights Commission: search using ‘UMR’ on www.hrc.co.nz).
One consequence of this is that much of what is taught in the tertiary sector only requires secondary level comprehension. Even learners in post-graduate programmes may not have basic understanding about the Treaty, which makes it very difficult for them to achieve post-graduate level learning outcomes in the usually very limited amount of teaching time available. We therefore recommend that basic Treaty knowledge be a programme entry criterion (similar to English – it’s part of being a student in Aotearoa/New Zealand); however for this to work there must be realistic options for them to achieve this. The Treaty Resource Centre is developing a self-directed introductory course for adults and in Auckland we regularly offer free Treaty workshops; if you want to discuss other options, feel free to contact us (email@example.com).
Often those who say they know nothing or little about the Treaty know at least as much as, if not more than, those who say they have some knowledge, for several reasons:
- some people think they know a fair bit because they don’t realise how much there is to know (or how much of what they ‘know’ is incorrect – see third point); interestingly, the UMR research cited above indicates that adults are increasingly aware that they don’t know very much
- conversely, some people who say they know little, do so because they realise how much there is to know
- there are so many popular myths about the Treaty that people often think they know more than they do (the True - False Quiz is a good way of establishing this in a way that doesn’t make people feel ‘wrong’)
- virtually anyone living in NZ knows some things, which can be developed through guided questioning
Learners who have attended several Treaty courses previously, or read widely, may know many facts about New Zealand history/the Treaty, but this is very different from understanding why it was written, what it meant to the various parties at the time, what went wrong, etc. For us, a significant indicator of success is when a learner says the equivalent of ‘aha … now it makes sense’.
We cannot emphasise enough how useful The Treaty is the Wave activity is in achieving good outcomes, not only for the reasons identified in the several resources available for using it, but also because it reminds us of Paulo Freire’s point that to be effective educators our pedagogy must be adapted to fit the learners’ realities, which often is not where we think they should be or our own reality. We believe that an ‘aha’ moment is an indicator that an educational activity was a good match with the learner’s reality at that point.
Following on from the above, all the teaching activities included in the set are effective — at least in some contexts, but this does not necessarily mean in all contexts! Please read the notes carefully to check whether they are suitable for your group. Furthermore, they need to suit the teacher/facilitator’s own strengths, personality, etc. We have frequently noticed that an activity that works with one educator will not work with another, even if their knowledge, skills and experience are comparable and they are working with similar groups of learners. Don’t give up if an activity does not work for you — try another one. Also, note that the copyright on these activities means that you are free to change them as long as you acknowledge the source of the original. We would like to encourage everyone to develop these activities further; many of the ones we have published now are much modified versions of ones we started using in the 1980s. We have found that paying close attention to learners’ responses is the best guide to effective teaching generally and in developing educational activities/resources in particular. Feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss an idea before trying it with learners (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Treaty education for adults in the 21st century is significantly different from the last quarter of the 20th century:
- there is more of it and it is spread throughout the tertiary education sector
- there are more educators
- learners generally bring more positive attitudes to it
- we have many more resources for educators and learners
Welcome to the emerging community of practice for Treaty education!
Please join us on the website (www.treatyeducators.org.nz) where you can ask questions, access more resources, share ideas, get support.
The Treaty of Waitangi activities
Or download the individual activities in MS Word format.
- Events in Aotearoa before the Treaty
- Explaining Faces
- Key Events leading to the Treaty
- Māori and Settler societies
- Pre-Treaty views of each other
- Signing of the Treaty Play
- Looking at what the Treaty Articles say
- The Treaty is/was
- Implications of the Treaty Articles
- Thinking about Treaty Rights and Responsibilities
- Motis Test
- Native Land Court Scenario
- The Wave is the Treaty
- True-False Quiz
- Matching Treaty Terms
- Significance of the Declaration of Independence
- Lord Normanby's instructions
- Who had authority
- Treaty - Organisational Audit
- Treaty Quotes
- Personal Responses
- Treaty Review
- Thinking about relationships 1
- Thinking about relationships 2