Teaching geography in New Zealand: Māori geography

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Following on from a post I made a few weeks ago Links to ideas, resources, and tools for learning and teaching Te Reo Māori, there has been growing interest in discipline-specific resources, in particular geography.


Paul Keown from the University of Waikato suggests that Māori geography should feature more strongly, and indicated that the new school curriculum certainly enables that, while the Māori Geography Unit standards allow geography students to gain NCEA credits too.

Original documents and sources

Graphs that show the number of canoes arriving 1852-1858 (click on the thumnail images above to see the graphs full size)

Janey Nolan (also from the University of Waikato and initiator of the Isolated to Connected Geography Community) has also uploaded a couple of graphs (click on the thumbnail images above to see them full size). Janey advises that the graphs are “not great quality but ok if you click on them and enlarge them”. The graphs illustrate “the number of canoes that arrived in Onehunga from the years 1852 to 1858: Also, Crews and Quantity and Species of Produce, as nearly as can be ascertained (A. J. H. R. 1865). The graphs show [that] the amount of produce the Waikato Maori traded with Australia is amazing , especially kits of Onions, Cabbages, Peaches, Maize etc. as well as fowls, pigs, ducks, fish etc… I also have the stories of how the canoe passed through the Waikao River and then to Waiuku and was carried by men, women and children [and] dragged from Awaroa Creek to Manakau. (written Jan, 1859). I’ll add story…[later] as this is particularly interesting to those of us who teach natural processes in the Waikato River/Aka Aka basin /Waiuku area” (source).


If you are interested in finding information and resources about official and unofficial names for features and places in New Zealand, Antarctica and the Pacific, this Web site is well worth a visit.

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This is a glossary of Māori geography terms, which “has been compiled so that it is especially of assistance in the application of specific concepts and terms to geography”.

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Sites for locating and researching Māori geography

The following are all sites that students could use to carry out their own projects and research study around Māori geography.

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Other resources

Other resources include this video where Simon Lambert explains re-indigenising humanity, what Māori geography is, and revitalizing the Indigenous mind.

More resources include a video about “Māori names sought for North (Te Ika a Maui) and South Islands (Te Wai Pounamu)“, which raises some good points for discussion, and “Whale Watch Kaikoura, Responsible Tourism Awards winner“, that, again, could be a useful conversation starter.

For those who prefer to read and are interested in socio-economic geography, this paper by Chris Paulin looks at perspectives of Maori fishing history and techniques (click HERE to download the .pdf).

For and up to date conversation around many of the factors and issues of Maori land use, this blog (Whakairo te whenua, whakairo te tangata: Maori Cultural Political Economy) is a useful one to follow, and some of the posts could be a powerful way of opening up discussion amongst learners.

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A call for more

Does anyone have other suggestions? What other resources do you use with your students? What can you recommend (especially interactive, online resources that would be pretty much ubiquitously accessible)? Please add ideas below, and I’d be very happy to collate them if you’d like 🙂

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About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ (http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/). I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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