There are no set guidelines or resources in the curriculum about teaching New Zealand’s history, and it's left entirely up to schools to decide how much and what they teach. This has left the field wide open for those who are in the game of disseminating information to suit a particular agenda. One who has taken advantage of this situation is ex-school teacher Tamsin Hanly, who has created a six-book teaching programme she has called ‘A Critical Guide To Maori And Pakeha Histories Of Aotearoa’. This is being sold to schools and is currently being used in 50 around the country.
Promotional material for the programme states that it has been written in response to research findings that many teachers have outdated knowledge about Māori and Pākehā histories. (Emphasis added). As retired school teacher Tony Sayers warned in his article ‘The Tail Wagging the Dog’, (published by NZCPR in 2015), “How much easier it would be in twenty years’ time, for Maori claims to gain a toehold, if the old history was replaced by the new history”.
In an interview about her programme published on Newshub, Ms Hanly is quoted as saying:
"Educators get transformed because they realise 'oh my gosh, there's all this stuff that we don't know and we don't understand why Māori people have really negative statistics in this country, which is a direct result of the kind of colonisation processes”
The Democracy Action working group has not yet studied the programme - with accessibility being a factor. (Copyright terms state that the school can make copies of the books for in school use only; it is currently out-of -stock; and the six-book programme costs $450). But judging by comments made in interviews and taking in to account the content of the references cited by Ms Hanly, there is reason for a great deal of concern about what our children are being taught.
If anyone has access to this programme, could you please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org