The Wall Walk
Speech Marks

If an officer is found to be succumbing to the views of the Bob Joneses of the world then send them to Dr Simone Bull’s (Ngāti Porou) Wall Walk to learn the history of policing and the law through the eyes and experience of Māori.

Speech Marks
The Spinoff

Look to the past to help forge the future

Hoki whakamuri, kia anga whakamua

This workshop is designed to raise collective awareness of key events in the history of New Zealand.

The workshop is not a physical walk; it’s a room-based event, a walk through time and events. The walk invites new or deeper consideration about particular events, and their impact for Māori and for Aotearoa New Zealand.

It is engaging and informative, conducted within a very collaborative and supportive environment.

More info on The Wall Walk® can be found here

How does it work?

Through the knowledge gain or refresh, the walk invites participants – before, during and after – to think more about the impact of history on today’s social outcomes, and to think more about our role and effectiveness today, tomorrow and ahead.

Each attendee plays a small role in the walk, requiring a little bit of preparation (not much, and interesting stuff). All participants need to commit to doing the preparation, which is given two weeks before the workshop.

A recent user experience can be found here

Learning objectives


Raise awareness of NZ’s unique history of Māori-Crown relations through a Māori lens. A story often forgotten.

  • Teaching historical events very few know
  • Enabling self-discovery with co-creation
  • Focussing on facts, and verifiable events

Mobilise learners to view their world through a Māori lens and act to improve Māori outcomes.

  • Supporting our learners throughout
  • Providing initiatives that lead to results
  • Prompt learners to form their own analysis

Win hearts and minds to provoke action, help Māori and foster a peaceful understanding.

  • Neutral stance provides both perspectives
  • Personalised story linking whakapapa
  • We are more alike than we think

"Help them to understand why this is important."

My interest in racial equity and the history of bicultural relations in New Zealand stems from the time I spent as a child with my Nanny and our wider whānau.

When I went to University in the 1990s I probably puzzled the lecturers by including something to do with Māori in most of my projects.

By July 2024, Over 27,000 people from over 88 organisations had done it.

For my PhD I collated statistics about Māori in the criminal justice system from the 1850s onwards and using what little history I could access (back then) to help explain some of the patterns. Sadly, Nanny didn’t live long enough to see me graduate with my doctorate.

Eventually, my personal and professional interests coincided and my pursuit of racial equity in the New Zealand criminal justice system began in earnest.

While working at Police, the (then) Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard ‘voluntold’ me to lead one of his monthly sessions with District Commanders from across the country. The topic was Police’s operational target: reducing re-offending by Māori by 25%.

“That’s your area of expertise. You lead the day with the District Commanders...Whatever you do, put it in historical context”.

Under the influence of caffeine, I concocted the idea of an interactive timeline of key milestones in the history of Māori contact with the criminal justice system. This was my PhD (and related work) but in a user-friendly format. I decided to give the District Commanders topics in the timeline to research and present on the day – not a popular move!

Next, I took my eldest child into work with me on the weekend to create a visual timeline spread across 6 sheets of flipchart paper. It was supposed to be a covert history lesson – she spotted my motive a mile off. We made a mighty mess in Viv’s office.

D-day finally arrived – in 2017. The hand-drawn and sellotaped flipcharts went up along one wall. I started talking, moving back and forth along the wall as the story progressed. The Wall Walk had been born. Looking back, it was nowhere near as polished as it is now. Nonetheless, to my surprise, the District Leadership Teams started asking for it.

When Viv left Police to become a Deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Social Development, he asked me to run the Wall Walk with the Executive team there. By word of mouth, it continued to spread.


We have run Wall Walks for... (not to be taken as their endorsement)

Get in touch

Take a step towards positive change today