Canterbury University education researcher Richard Manning says history teachers are missing opportunities to bring history alive because they won't engage with Maori in their local area.
Dr Manning says most teachers have little knowledge of things Maori, and feel more comfortable teaching about the history of other countries instead of our own.
Dr Manning's most recent work looked at how Te Atiawa's view of history differs from what's taught at secondary schools in Wellington and the Hutt Valley.
He told Waatea News the iwi saw history in the way the region's fauna and flora had changed, but for the teachers, the key history was what's in their texts.
Dr Manning said the history curriculum in schools is excessively focussed on European history rather than New Zealand history.
He also considers secondary school history teachers avoid New Zealand history to appease non-Maori parents and students.
Dr Manning said most parents and students see New Zealand history as Maori history - which is too contentious.