In October 2018 History and Social Studies teacher Taryn Gadsby from Sacred Heart Girls’ College made contact with Te Atiawa Iwi Charitable Trust requesting assistance with a teaching programme called “Map of Stories” (https://www.treatysettlementstories.nz/).
The aim of the programme is to change the way the Treaty of Waitangi is taught in schools, focusing on a site of significance or conflict that is local to the school and hearing the stories of the land.
To help with the student learning, the history class studied the process of the Te Atiawa Historical Treaty Settlement and gained an understanding about the Crown’s obligations to Te Atiawa.
Cultural Redress in the Deed of Settlement of Historical Claims was a particular focus, identifying Pukerangiora Historic Reserve and Māhoetahi Historic Reserve as sites of interest for further study.
Te Atiawa Iwi Charitable Trust involvement
TAICT assisted the College with the visiting arrangements and cultural guidance prior to visiting the two pā sites.
The College was very mindful that a planned approach involving the Iwi, hapū and the Department of Conservation (DOC) was essential in ensuring that they did not transgress any cultural sensitivities while visiting the sites.
On the 9th of April, TAICT was welcomed by Paula Wells, the principal of the Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Taryn Gadsby History teacher, Whakairitaua Stanyon Head Girl (Te Atiawa and Taranaki Iwi) and the history class with a mihi whakatau and waiata at Sacred Heart Girls’ College.
Our first site location was Pukerangiora Pā. We were met by Aunty Kura Niwa at the sap (military trench) end of the pā. The girls were courted onto the pā with karanga and karakia before being guided up the sap by Aunty Kura sharing histories about colonial invasion of Pukerangiora Pā in the 1860’s.
Aunty Kura led the gathering towards the forecourt of Te Arei Pā, then onto the Te Arei Pā proper all while sharing her Pukerangiora knowledge to the girls.
Continuing the site visit, Aunty Kura gathered the visitors at the top clearing of Pukerangiora Pā overlooking the Waitara River and spoke about the tragic losses that took place there between the Pukerangiora people, factions of Te Atiawa and Waikato in 1821-22.
Before heading to the next site location, Aunty Kura Niwa invited the visitors to Kairau Marae. The unplanned invitation was accepted and with little notice the girls and teachers were welcomed onto Kairau Marae in accordance to Pukerangiora protocol i.e. karanga, karakia, whaikōrero and waiata. Morning tea was had, with Ānaru White speaking to the girls about the future aspirations of the hapū with regards to redeveloping the Pukerangiora Pā site for public presentation in partnership with DOC. This part of the day was surely a highlight with the girls experiencing Te Atiawa tikanga in its own setting and context.
The second site location was Māhoetahi Pā, located on Devon Road between New Plymouth and Waitara Township. Once again the girls were courted onto the Māhoetahi Pā site with karanga and karakia.
Once on the pā the girls were able to listen to past events and its associated people. The history panel on site was an invaluable resource as it described past events in writing and images identifying the positions of the neighbouring pā sites.
Understanding that Māhoetahi is also a burial site the girls were respectful at all times during the visit. The visit concluded with acknowledgements being shared by all concluding with karakia and waiata.