Connecting to Place, Mātauranga Māori and Histories

Connecting with place to develop or strengthen your local curriculum | marautanga provides clear links between learning, community and the environment.

We have pulled together stories and resources to provide inspiration and support for kaiako and ākonga. This is just a starting point and there are many other resources available, including those specific to your local area. Building and maintaining reciprocal relationships with mana whenua, community groups and local organisations is a key part of this journey.

As an introduction to this exploration of connection to place, grounded in local mātauranga Māori and tikanga, you could watch Mike Elkington's presentation from our 2022 national conference. Supported by his colleague Nettie Stow, Mike discusses the kaupapa and programmes offered at Whenua Iti Outdoors, offering his perspectives and wisdom about how educators can lead nature- and place-based experiences.

What is Place-Based or Place-Responsive Learning?

Watch this video from the Māori History online portal. Professor Wally Penetito discusses the key elements of place-based learning and asks us to "challenge our taken-for-granted world". This resource also includes a list of professional learning conversations that could be used with your colleagues.

Pūtātara is a valuable and relevant resource for educators and students to explore concepts such as tūrangawaewae and kaitiakitanga. Explore the themes, questions and activities on the website and watch this webinar with educator Sarah Hopkinson and teachers from Fergusson Intermediate discussing how they have used Pūtātara to support their place-based curriculum.

Read this Enviroschools story exploring how their visionary processes can help consolidate the design of local curriculum. It includes useful links and ideas for teachers, along with a section of inspiring case studies from schools around the motu, including Learning Barefoot at Paekākāriki.

“It is through play and exploration that tamariki can truly experience and understand their place and each other. Play as a social activity is important for developing confident and capable learners and citizens."

- Julia Bevin, Principal at Paekākāriki School

Whangamata Kindergarten discuss how they have nurtured a sense of place in their tamariki in this Enviroschools story: A strong sense of place enables children to teach others.

Waimea College students have worked with local mentors, council and community groups to improve local wetland habitat for Moho pererū | Banded rail. Read more in this Education Gazette article: Kaitiakitanga in Waimea Inlet.

For Mana College, the catalyst for focusing and trialing place-based learning started with a re-think of their Year 9 camp, with support from Education Outdoors NZ through their Revisioning School Camps professional learning. You can listen to their story, in this interview facilitated Sophie Watson from EONZ, with Robert Stratford and Jeff Chapman from Mana College.

Mātauranga Māori and Aotearoa Histories

The integration of Aotearoa Histories into our curriculum, alongside the wider Social Sciences refresh and equal status for Mātauranga Māori, provides a chance to reflect on your personal knowledge and biases. This is an important professional learning priority and there are a range of resources available to help you on your journey, including some aimed specifically at tauiwi and tangata Tiriti.

Engage with Mana ōrite mo te mātauranga Māori | Equal status for mātauranga Māori content, which includes resources and webinars with a range of amazing speakers. Reflect on how this mahi overlaps with planning your local curriculum, engaging with the community and connecting with your environment.

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal (in Webisode 2) discusses the kinship-based relationships that underpin mātauranga Māori and other Indigenous worldviews.

We are "part of the web and fabric of life" and our identity is "revealed to us and experienced by us through relationships with specific geographies: with the whenua, with the moana, with our maunga".
- Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal

Insights into Kaupapa Māori is a series of short videos developed by the Ministry of Education, to support educators with initial conversations around kaupapa Māori concepts such as tūrangawaewae, hauora, and kaitiakitanga.

Watch Justice Hetaraka discuss the meaning and importance of whakapapa, through stories from the HĀ - History of Aotearoa programmes in Te Tai Tokerau, using the arts to help engage ākonga and kaiako with local histories.

Read this Science Learning Hub article about Mātauranga and the integration of Māori and western knowledge, with a focus on the work of Dr Priscilla Wehi, a transdisciplinary researcher weaving together mātauranga Māori, biology, chemistry and culture.

Listen to 'How Can Mātauranga Māori Shape our Future?' podcast (34 mins). Produced by The Spinoff in partnership with Massey University, this episode finds host Stacey Morrison joined by Massey University’s Dr Krushil Watene and development and innovation specialist Alex Hawea from the Western Initiative at Auckland Council.

Read 'Taitā College students peel back layers of postcolonial destruction', by Nadine Anne Hura, published on The Spinoff in Sept 2022.

“You learn Māori through a Māori way of living and seeing and doing. If kids know what used to be here before then they can imagine what it can be again.” - Matua Haimana Hirini, kaiako at Taitā College.

Exploring the role of Tangata Tiriti and Tauiwi

Watch this short episode (7 min) from the Land of the Long White Cloud, a seven-part documentary web-series that tells the stories of New Zealanders who are reflecting on their colonial heritage and white guilt, and the ways they push through to find a more healthy Pākehā identity. In this episode, Juliet Batten shares her experiences, being aware of the potential to appropriate Māori knowledge and tikanga while seeking a sense of connection with place and the natural world.

Catherine Delahunty has written extensively about the role of tangata Tiriti in the environmental space and shares her story in this e-Tangata article, Becoming Tangata Tiriti.

Another great article available online is Metanoia: The hard work of changing our minds, written by Sarah Hopkinson for Stone Soup.

For me, it seems that maybe being culturally competent might start with understanding the impact and limits of our own monocultural truths first. Perhaps, as we remember the ancestral story that we carry in our veins, and lean into what we need to do to address wrongs still unrighted, we will become that Treaty partner that is truly worth growing beside. - Sarah Hopkinson

Watch Te Tiriti in the Aotearoa Histories Curriculum hosted by Tangata Tiriti | Treaty People in May 2022 as part of a series of webinars for teachers.

Our 2022 national conference focused on connection to place and included a range of speakers who shared their wisdom and stories. Click on the video below to watch Arihia Latham, Kaikōkiri Māori Advisor for Enviroschools, discussing cultural safety in environmental education.

Resources