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Course 1


“Everything that is happening now is a product of our history. And if you understand our history you can understand what’s happening now without being threatened or frightened by it.” So said acclaimed historian, Michael King, in 2003. He stayed with my aunty on one of his trips around the East Coast of the North Island. With her (and many others’) blessings, he published some of what he learned on those trips. Before his career was cut short by a fatal crash, his research whetted my appetite for the history of Maori-Crown relations. But I had to teach myself, without the help of Dr Google, and interrogate my Aunty at every opportunity!

Generations of New Zealand-born children weren’t taught the history of our own country at school. Or, if we were, it was a version that was well past it’s ‘use by’ date. A handful had good teachers – credentialed or otherwise – who knew their stuff. It’s partly thanks to them and the New Zealand History Teachers Association that our history has become a compulsory part of the school curriculum. That’s good news for kids at school today and in years to come. But it leaves many of the rest of us with big gaps to fill. The Wall Walk® tries to fill some of those gaps and generate some a-ha moments along the way!

It assumes that your knowledge of the history of Māori-Crown relations sits somewhere around white, yellow or green belt territory – to borrow a martial arts analogy (the best Māori metaphors have been taken 😉). It is NOT designed for black belts, let alone 9th Dan.

I’d recommend that you set aside a full day to complete either the white, yellow, or green belt course. It may only take you half a day, in which case you can circle back around and try to absorb more or have a crack at a higher grading.

If you’d prefer, you can spread the 10 modules in each course out over a number of days or weeks. Just make sure you complete it before your log-in(s) expire(s).

If a group of you want to try doing it simultaneously, you’ll need to co-ordinate yourselves to log-in at the same time and complete the tasks at the same pace.

Allow a few days before you log-in to complete the prep work.

Prep Work

During this course, we’re going to personalise the story by delving into whānau history – mine and yours! So I need you to:

  1. Find a photo of one person in each generation of your family stretching from the early 1900s to today, if possible. One of the photos should be of you! There are 5 generations/photos (including me) in the line from my children back to my great-greatmother, for example. If you can’t find photos, you might want to use silhouettes or avatars instead. Name and date each person. If you don’t know your ancestors names or what they looked like, it’s OK, you still have a story to tell.


  1. Ask yourself, How has New Zealand history affected my whānau? (i.e. loss of te reo, educational aspirations, changes in identity, inter-marriage)

Have your photos and your answer to the question ready in time for module 5. If that’s too daunting, just leave it for now. You can come back to it later.

Haere tonu!

When you’re ready, log-in and click on the “Introduction” video clip.

The Wall Walk® can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. So if you’re in need of some self-care, check out these tools:  https://www.smallsteps.org.nz/