10 Jun 2014

Call to make Maori history compulsory

7:36 am on 10 June 2014

A West Auckland kura kaupapa wants Maori history to become compulsory for primary and intermediate school students.

Associate Education Minister Pita Sharples on Monday announced Government funding of $1.6 million to enable teachers and schools to support and strengthen the teaching of Maori history in years one to 13.

The plan was to create a better sense of understanding and cultural empathy among today's rangatahi and future generations, which their parents and grandparents missed out on, Dr Sharples said.

The country celebrated events such as Anzac Day but most New Zealanders did not have a clue about 19th century land wars - responsible for stripping Maori of their land - such as the battle of Orakau, he said.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Hoani Waititi tumuaki [principal] Rawiri Wright welcomed the programme, saying the curriculum had neglected New Zealand's history for too long.

He believed Maori history should be compulsory in years one to eight and that he hoped secondary school students would be encouraged to pick up the subject.