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Waitangi Day – how will you commemorate?

"The potential for tomorrow depends on what we do today." "Ko ngā pae tawhiti whāia kia tata, ko ngā pae tata, whakamaua kia tina."

Waitangi Day is widely recognised as New Zealand's national day; it is an occasion for reflecting on the Treaty and its place in Aotearoa today.

Waitangi Day provides an opportunity for students to examine the social sciences concepts of cultural identity, place and environment, and continuity and change. It is also a useful context to explore values such as diversity, equity, and respect, and to develop key competencies such as thinking and participating and contributing.

The resources on this page encourage you to consider how Waitangi Day can be celebrated with your students and the wider community, and how you can use the Treaty of Waitangi principle as a foundation of curriculum decision making at your school.

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Waitangi Day Pinterest board
All resources featured on this page have been added to a Waitangi Day Pinterest board. Follow the Pinterest board and email us at nzcurriculum@tki.org.nz if you find additional resources that you think we should add to the collection. 

Exploring the Treaty of Waitangi

Use these links with your students to explore the Treaty of Waitangi; its history, interpretations, principles, and the settlement process.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi - School Journal
This comic provides a fresh approach to the story of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document.

Waitangi Day activity book
This free downloadable activity book is designed to help students understand the significance of Waitangi Day. Learn through maps, flags, word puzzles, drawing, and colouring in. Perfect for primary-aged children.

Treaty 2 U logo.

TREATY 2 U tells the story of the Treaty of Waitangi. It covers the events that led up to the Treaty, explains what is written in the documents, and explores the crucial differences between the Māori and English versions. The website includes interactive games and teaching resources.

New Zealand History Online – Treaty of Waitangi
The Treaty of Waitangi section on New Zealand History Online provides a range of resources about the Treaty of Waitangi and Waitangi Day. The site offers classroom ideas, a media gallery, and a treaty timeline.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand – The Treaty of Waitangi
This section of Te Ara provides a comprehensive look at the Treaty of Waitangi, including its history, principles, the Waitangi tribunal, and the settlement process. It also includes a blog post, The words of the Treaty.

Waitangi National Trust – Education resources section
This part of the Waitangi National Trust website takes you through a selection of significant documents, people, and places in the making and signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

What Waitangi Day means to me
Student Grace King, aged 17, reflects on what Waitangi Day means to her. This resource can be used to examine values about Waitangi Day and the Treaty of Waitangi.

Waitangi Tribunal – Resource kits for schools
These resource kits can be used in primary and secondary schools to support students' understanding of various Treaty claims and the settlement process.

Treaty Resource Centre – He Puna Mātauranga o Te Tiriti
This website offers a range of resources supporting the Treaty of Waitangi including brochures, posters, and free courses.

Talk treaty - Kōrerotia te Tiriti
On this website, 60 New Zealanders talk openly and honestly about the Treaty of Waitangi and a range of issues related to it. 

He Tohu – Te Tiriti o Waitangi
He Tohu is a permanent exhibition of three iconic constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand including Te Tiriti o Waitangi. On this website you can discover interesting facts about the Treaty. There is also a social inquiry resource that explores cultural interaction. 

Radio New Zealand – Te Tiriti o Waitangi
In this part of the Radio New Zealand website you can find a collection of audio which explores the history of the Treaty of Waitangi.

In your bookrooms ...

Te Tiriti o Waitangi
This article explains what the Treaty of Waitangi is, why it was needed, and what it says. Although most students will have heard of the Treaty, this may be the first time they have read about it for themselves.

Keeping promises: The Treaty settlement process 
This article provides an accessible introduction to the Treaty settlement process. The content covers events from 1840, when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, through to the present day. 

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Looking at the Treaty of Waitangi curriculum principle
In this video, Wharehoka Wano shares his ideas about the importance and meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi curriculum principle. Find simple strategies to get started with this principle and learn what might be seen in classrooms where the Treaty of Waitangi principle is enacted.

The Treaty of Waitangi principle

The Treaty of Waitangi is one of the eight principles in The New Zealand Curriculum that provide a foundation for schools' decision making. The Treaty of Waitangi principle is examined in more depth in the principles section of NZC Online.

The curriculum acknowledges the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the bicultural foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand. All students have the opportunity to acquire knowledge of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga.
The New Zealand Curriculum, p. 9

The Treaty of Waitangi principle and your school curriculum

The following resources will help you consider how the Treaty of Waitangi principle is currently interpreted and implemented in your school curriculum and provide inspirational ideas for planning, prioritising, and review.

What could I see, hear and feel in your learning community? (PDF 1.3 MB) 
For schools considering ways to better meet their obligations as Treaty partners, here are some suggestions about where you might start. 

Te Tiriti o Waitangi in education (PDF 30 KB)
This poster from CORE Education explains how you can give mana to the articles of the Treaty of Waitangi in schools. 

New Zealand Curriculum Update, Issue 16: The Treaty of Waitangi
This update focuses on The New Zealand Curriculum principle of the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications for teaching, learning, and the school curriculum.

New Zealand Curriculum Update, Issue 3: The role of the principles
This update aims to promote dialogue and develop understandings about the role of the curriculum principles in designing and reviewing the school curriculum. It includes three examples that illustrate how the Treaty of Waitangi principle might interact with the other principles in the classroom.

Digital stories on New Zealand Curriculum Online – The Treaty of Waitangi
This collection of stories shows how some schools are reshaping their school curriculum using the Treaty of Waitangi as a guiding principle.

Te Mangāroa stars

Te Mangōroa
Te Mangōroa is a resource for English-medium schools. It is a portal to stories, reports, statistics, and reviews that reflect effective practices to support Māori learners to achieve education success as Māori. 

Te Kotahitanga
Te Kotahitanga is a research and professional development programme that supports teachers to improve Māori students' learning and achievement, and enables school leaders, and the wider school community, to focus on changing school structures and organisations to more effectively support teachers in this endeavour.

Ruia: School-whānau partnerships for Māori learners' success
This resource supports principals and other school leaders to improve outcomes for Māori students by working in educationally powerful partnerships with whānau.

Guiding questions Ngā pātai ārahi

  • How is the Treaty of Waitangi principle visible in your school?
  • How do your students and teachers have an opportunity to acquire knowledge of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori (Māori language and customs)?
  • What opportunities do Māori have to share their knowledge and expertise within your school curriculum?
social sciences
treaty of Waitangi

Updated on: 17 Dec 2019