'It's more than timely, it's more than right'

10:27 am on 16 September 2017

The launch of Māori history in schools is long overdue and will shed light on a neglected part of New Zealand history, a Māori educator says.

The Treaty of Waitangi. He Tohu, a new permanent exhibition of three iconic constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand. Treaty of Waitangi, Declaration of Independence and Women's Suffrage Petition.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Te Takanga O Te Wa or Māori History in Schools, being launched today in Rotorua, will teach students of all ages about Aotearoa's colonial history.

Educators, politicians and officials come together at at Te Papaiouru Marae to celebrate the launch.

Pem Bird, a former school principal, has been at the helm of bringing Māori history into school classrooms.

Mr Bird said to address racism and discrimination all New Zealanders needed to understand the colonial history of Aotearoa.

"Māori have been here for almost 1000 years. It's more than timely, it's more than right, for the history of Māori people to be included as part of the curriculum taught in all our schools."

The New Zealand Educational Institute, the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association and the New Zealand School Trustees' Association were among the organisations that had helped to bring the change about, he said.

Pem Bird.

Pem Bird Photo: RNZ

It has taken two years or work to arrive at this stage, Mr Bird said.

"This is a triumph for the teaching profession who will be teaching Māori history."

Despite there being people who didn't want to recognise Māori history, Mr Bird said his focus was on the future.

"We've got other generations coming through so there's a sense of optimism and positivity."

Former Prime Ministers Jim Bolger and Sir Geoffrey Palmer have also thrown their support behind the teaching of colonial history to young people.

Te Takanga o Te Wa is expected to rollout in schools early next year.

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