Monday, February 06, 2006
The Treaty of Waitangi
Today in New Zealand we celebrate the Treaty of Waitangi by having a National holiday.
Tomorrow most students return to school to start a new year. I wonder what their ideas are about the Treaty and its significance for our country? Most probably many will have at best ‘thin’ knowledge of what it all means and many may even have unthinking prejudices passed down to them by adults.
To celebrate the Treaty, or even at least to inform the students so they are better able to comprehend its significance for themselves, it is worth exploring student’s views. The more information ‘we’ can give our students the more likely they will be in a position to begin to make up their own minds.
Even a glance at the Treaty in the illustration above indicates that for many years it played little place in our history.
So what do the students think the Treaty is all about?
What questions do the students have about the Treaty?
After exploring their views ( the answers to their own questions) provide the students will some information about the situation as it existed in New Zealand in 1840 and what the Treaty promised those who signed it.
Schools have plenty of resources to explore to answer their queries.
Discuss how much of the land once owned by Maori has now been lost over the years and in particular how much was confiscated as part of the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s. Many students will have little knowledge of the ‘rich’ history of their own country. Older students could undertake research based on questions that they might think of.
In their study book students could copy out basic information about the Treaty
A study of the Treaty can also inspire the need for the students in the class to negotiate a Class Treaty of the behaviors that they agree to live within during the year. This will possibly give them a better understanding of what a Treaty is all about?
When it all agreed they can draw up a Treaty and all sign it with their names.
This would be an excellent way to start the school year?