The Ministry of Education is currently surveying the public on its Draft "Aotearoa New Zealand's Histories" curriculum. If you are alarmed that your children and grandchildren may be indoctrinated through a heavily biased history curriculum, you should answer the Ministry's on-line survey or send in a submission.
Feedback to the Ministry is through an online survey which closes on Monday 31st May.
The questions have been framed in a smug attitude of general compliance with the left-wing Treaty based cultural identity ideology underpinning the Education and Training Act 2020. We should be very concerned. As concluded by former teacher Fiona Mackenzie, the "draft ‘history’ curriculum is very clearly a mechanism by which separatist ideology is to be embedded into the brains of every New Zealand child − lowering our education standards, radicalising our youth and dividing communities".
Please refer below for details on the Draft content and specific concerns.
We need parents and teachers to object vociferously against the document which is so hopelessly flawed that it should be scrapped. The survey can be completed in under ten minutes, your negative feedback will be registered.
Full written submissions
The Ministry is also accepting full written submissions. Full written submissions can be mailed to:
Ministry of Education
P O Box 1666
DX Number: SR51201
[insert your name & address]
Submission on" Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories in the New Zealand Curriculum, Draft for Consultation @ January 2021
The curriculum has been drafted under the provisions of Labour's Education and Training Act 2020, which requires schools to instil in each child the importance of diversity, cultural knowledge, identity, and the different official languages, and, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and te reo Māori.
A flavour of some of the more objectionable material taught in te reo maori can be ascertained from a sample of text from a draft lesson plan [written in te reo Maori, translated into English using Google translate]:
PRINCIPLES (NEW ZEALAND PEOPLE)
More consideration needs to be given to the impact of repression on the sovereignty of individuals and nations. Investigate a member of the tribe who argued against this; the removal of Māori power at that time and discuss their responses and actions at that time
LEARNING STRATEGY: SOCIAL INTEREST. (PKENGA)
Knowledge: to actions, behaviors and conflicts of repression in New Zealand
Clear: in the absence of equal power and effect of this to behavior and outcomes
Comprehension: to compare repressive behaviors in New Zealand to other repressed countries
THOUGHTS/QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION/FOR RESEARCH
What is repression/resistance? What is colonization/resistance/activism-discuss these key concepts
What is autonomy? (of people, of people)
What effect does repression have on autonomy?
What are some similarities/differences in other places/other indigenous communities/peoples? They compare these with theirs ake Compare similarities/differences
Research and gather information from the whānau/hapū/iwi of resistance, repression, and activity and people in those days. What were the reactions of those times?
What were some of the questions of the time?
Research a famous person. Research a well known person involved in these topics. Then capture the voice of the student speaking these talk and write those stories. It also ranks in those comments.
It’s a short, visual art-to-show in stories/collections of information.
An index of information
Have an argument — its different perspectives
Organize a debate/differing perspectives.
Fiona Mackenzie has drafted the following general points which you may wish to consider in your submission:
When it comes to teaching history, primary and early secondary school children are entitled to simple, irrefutable, evidence-based information that is not designed to cause them distress. At this time of their lives, quality teaching of the basics of reading, maths and science are far more vital to the development of the child.
History’s inherent demands for research, substantiation and analysis make it more suitable for the later years of secondary school and/or university.
The best possible outcomes from studying history are to recognise and learn from humankind’s common foibles, and to understand how different environments, government and ideologies support or limit advancement. We can gain confidence in humankind’s ability, if given the right inputs, to achieve great things while overcoming challenges and adversity.
This draft curriculum fails these requisites on so many levels. It is not satisfactory for Years 1-10 as it reads like a political indoctrination designed to foster ethnic division, breed resentment and foster guilt. It is therefore inappropriate for teaching professionals to administer, requiring them to manipulate and abuse the mental wellbeing of children. If this is an example of the standard of current curricula, it helps explain the high level of anxiety being reported amongst our young.
Language is for Communication
The mix of Te Reo with no translations or definitions even in the “in English” version of this draft seems designed to confuse or hide information from the majority of New Zealanders (including the many Maori) who do not speak Te Reo.
The Draft Employs No “World Context” for Children
Appreciating our history must start with at least a general understanding of −
- Human Migration being continuous and widespread for the entire provable history of humankind on this planet; and
- Our Country’s Geological Formation explaining our remoteness and why there was no human habitation here for thousands of years after other regions were well occupied.
Evolution of Our Country along with Its Name
The evolution of names for these islands is integral to understanding the history and formation of our sovereign country, i.e. Nieuw Zeeland or Nova Zeelandia, New Zealand, the transliteration to “Niu Tirani” used in the Treaty, and then much later, “Aotearoa” when it was selected and popularised as a romantic Maori name for our islands by Pakeha writers.
Note: The separate tribes occupying these islands did not have a common ethnic name, no governing body, or even a name for the combined islands until post-Treaty 1840.
Fact vs. Stories, Myths & legends
It’s essential that children are taught the differences and credibility of different types of information. It’s fact that archaeological/scientific findings date the earliest Polynesian settlement in these islands as 1320-1350. Why these people left where they came from and how they got here is supposition based on genetic commonality within the Pacific, the use of canoes, and verbal stories, myths and legends.
The Three (not so) Big Ideas of this Draft
“Maori History is the foundational and continuous history of Aotearoa New Zealand.”
This “Idea” suggests that Maori history is one united experience, while this Draft omits any information on the inter-tribal colonisation of these islands, the inter-tribal competition for resources and power, the warfare (with the associated capture of slaves, deaths and cannibalism), the living conditions, nor the environmental impact of bush clearing and the hunting to extinction of several unique birds found nowhere else in the world, e.g. the moa and Haast eagle.
This discriminatory “Idea” fails to acknowledge that once the early European explorers had returned to their homes and confirmed the existence of these islands, they were followed between 1790 and 1840 by sealers, whalers, traders, missionaries, ex-convicts and assorted adventurers with whom the majority of tribes/native peoples voluntarily integrated for work, family and protection.
It also fails to acknowledge that after most chiefs ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria in the most enlightened agreement of its era − “the Treaty of Waitangi”, our country’s development has resulted in a unique and still evolving New Zealand culture based on our sharing of bloodlines, learnings, experiences and values. Consequently, we have produced talented individuals/groups capable of great achievements in so many fields (science, music, sport, business, entertainment, exploration, politics, IT, etc), way more than expected from such a small population.
To suggest that New Zealand’s history all centres on our Polynesian heritage is an absurd claim.
“Colonisation and its consequences have been central to our history for the past 200 years and continue to influence all aspects of New Zealand society.”
This ‘Idea fails to acknowledge migration and colonisation as facts of human existence worldwide, throughout time – not just the last 200 years. For example, Polynesian tribes (Maori) colonised these islands and then each other continuously between the 1300s and 1800s. New Zealand’s culture is naturally evolving with time, inputs from all its people, and worldwide developments. We do not live in a vacuum − as evidenced by the world famous opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa or film director Taika Waititi.
Appallingly, all of the explanations of what is actually to be promoted by this ‘Idea’ are completely confused or untrue. They are blatant propaganda, seemingly designed to promote racial disharmony and resentment and would qualify under the current government’s proposed ‘hate speech” laws.
“The course of Aotearoa New Zealand’s history has been shaped by the exercise and effects of power.”
This claim is rather myopic as the exercise of power has influenced all living creatures since time immemorial. As Darwin pointed out, it’s always been the survival of the fittest on Earth (for all lifeforms) – at least until stable, economic and enlightened power enabled welfare and science to help the weak to survive and live on.
A New Zealand “history/political study” of power should surely start with how tribal chiefs came to their positions and how they maintained them, and the resulting inter-tribal warfare in this country. Then while nothing is ever 100% perfect, it would be appropriate to acknowledge that since 1840, our evolving government has divested power to the people through private property rights, law and order, free speech and democracy. This “power” is certainly preferable to that of inter-tribal warfare or Labour’s secretive goal of “Maori co-sovereignty with veto over everyone else” by 2040.
The “Three National Contexts”
- I have commented on the sub-text provided under the Te Reo statements driving this part of the proposed curriculum:
“This context focuses on how the past shapes who we are today – our familial links and bonds, our networks and connections, our sense of obligation, and the stories woven into our collective and diverse identities.”
Our interpretation of “the past” can contribute to who we are today but children need to know that it need not predetermine or restrict it. And “stories” not based on factual evidence must be treated as subjective. New Zealanders share experiences, families and all the advantages of living in a first world country. This is well worth celebrating and we have a combined obligation to maintain and enhance it.
“This context focuses on the relationships of individuals, groups, and communities with the land, water, and resources, and on the history of contests over their control, use, and protection.”
This is a massive, complicated subject involving economics, science, environmentalism, international trade, government and political ideology so is usually best approached at tertiary level. It is totally inappropriate to be imposing this on children who are yet to learn the basics of reading/comprehension, maths and science.
“This context focuses on the history of contests over authority and control, at the heart of which are the authorities guaranteed by Te Tiriti o Waitangi and The Treaty of Waitangi. It also considers the history of the relationships between the state and the people who lived here and in the Pacific.”
This is blatant political activism and ignores how the Treaty was written. Over a period of 180 years, the Treaty has been embellished, distorted, twisted and mangled into a fantastic, mythical document completely out of context for the times. The curriculum ignores how New Zealand has led the charge in social justice, equality, education (until recently) and our largely peaceful multi-cultural society.
- “This context focuses on how the past shapes who we are today – our familial links and bonds, our networks and connections, our sense of obligation, and the stories woven into our collective and diverse identities.”
Rohe and Local Contexts
“Rohe contexts as defined by iwi and hapū and guided by the question What stories do local iwi and hapū tell about their history in this rohe?”
Why is this limited to Maori only? Do you not think that many New Zealanders have strong associations with the land and relevant “stories” to tell?
“Historical contexts relevant to local communities and guided by the question - What stories are told about the people, events, and changes that have been important in this area?”
Great care and critical thinking are required to check the historical facts to validate the “stories” being told and to ensure that they are appropriate for the age group concerned. History lessons should avoid one-sided, politically-inspired messages being instilled in children.
“Contexts chosen by students when inquiring into the history of the rohe and local area.”
This is open to abuse and manipulation by the Ministry, teachers or radical locals, as it would be rather difficult for school aged children to validate sources and information.
“Three Inquiry Practices” are Inappropriate for Targeted Age Groups
Identifying and using sequence. “The construction of narratives about the past is based on the ability to sequence events and changes, to identify relationships between them, and to make connections with the present. Depending on the frame of reference used in sequencing, the same story will be told in different ways.”
This narrative approach has been well criticised by acclaimed historians. For example, in 1931 Regius Professorof History and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Herbert Butterfield criticised oversimplified narratives (or "abridgements") which interpreted past events in terms of the present for the purposes of achieving "drama and apparent moral clarity". Butterfield especially noted: "If history can do anything it is to remind us that all our judgments are merely relative to time and circumstance."
History taught in “story-form” to children is the very definition of “abridged” and superficial. Without fact and context, it serves no other purpose other than to force its authors’ views on young minds.
Identifying and critiquing sources and perspectives. This sounds good in itself, but when we read that children will be required to pay “deliberate attention to Matauranga Maori sources and approaches”, the curriculum appears open to supplanting historical fact with “myths and legends” and political ideology. This is obvious in the way unsubstantiated statements/claims are presented as indisputable facts and many of the propositions are totally absurd and/or inappropriate for the targeted 5−15 year age range (some would be challenging enough for university students to research, validate and analyse).
Interpreting past decisions and actions……”making ethical judgements concerning right and wrong”.
Children can certainly learn what’s right and wrong in simple situations relevant to them, but a curriculum requiring children to make ethical judgements about historical events based on abridged (factual or otherwise) lessons is totally inappropriate and has the potential to be an unfair burden on developing minds. Children cannot make such decisions in a vacuum. Many situations involve a huge number of issues and involve a depth of contextual and philosophical understanding not always achievable by children.
- Identifying and using sequence. “The construction of narratives about the past is based on the ability to sequence events and changes, to identify relationships between them, and to make connections with the present. Depending on the frame of reference used in sequencing, the same story will be told in different ways.”
This draft ‘history’ curriculum is very clearly a mechanism by which separatist ideology is to be embedded into the brains of every New Zealand child − lowering our education standards, radicalising our youth and dividing communities. Authoritarian nations throughout history have manipulated children in this way, and I’m ashamed to see New Zealand following in the footsteps of Hitler Youth, Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Soviet Russia and North Korea in abusing the minds of children as young as five.
Prime Minister Ardern frequently refers to our “team of 5 million”, yet her Government seems determined to divide and separate us into distinct and warring factions. People who promote victimhood or foster disunity for political gain deserve no respect and certainly no place in the government of our nation.
To conclude, this draft History Curriculum is totally flawed and an embarrassment. It is not fit for purpose, and deserves no place in our schools.