A welcome change

Kia ora koutou,

I’m excited to be sharing this histories issue of Ako with you, focussing on the challenges, impact and importance of studying our past. Over the last two years there has been increasing engagement with the education sector and wider public around the introduction of a curriculum which teaches Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories.

Given COVID and the huge level of uncertainty that our children are experiencing, it is vital that we have a curriculum document that supports them to understand their whakapapa and tūrangawaewae. While celebrating this long-awaited change it is important to acknowledge the challenges and pressures the new curriculum places on kaiako. We are always dealing with additional pressures being put on the education sector, being asked to do more with no additional time. However, if we get this change right, the implementation of this curriculum will set a precedent for other curriculum areas to be explored.

I have been inspired to see excellent examples of this exploration already in action, and this issue of Ako captures some of that great practice. From Kororāreka (Russell) to Ōtepoti (Dunedin), it features educators who have started on the journey. We learn how ECE centres are using Te Whāriki to foster a sense of identity and belonging; look at how personal stories of migration are used to engage learners in history; profile one Kāhui Ako that is working to raise the mana of Māori students through relationship building; interview four practitioners about how kaiako can prepare for difficult conversations in the classroom; and find out how kura are looking to the past to guide their future.

The updated curriculum is an opportunity to build back better. As one contributor in this issue has written, “in order to navigate well into our collective future, we need to understand our past.” I hope these stories inspire and support you on this journey.

Ngā mihi,

Liam Rutherford  
National President/Te Manukura  
NZEI Te Riu Roa

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