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Education Blog

Have a look at what the Education team have been up to in our various programmes with visiting groups from all over the world. We also enjoy reading about your time with us. If you have recently taken part in one of our Learning Experiences and would like to share then please get in touch on education@waitangi.org.nz 

he waka noa
Education Team update

He Waka eke Noa - We're All in this Together

Kia Ora from our Education team to teachers, students and whānau. He waka eke noa derives from the Māori whakataukī (proverb) and refers to working in unity and leaving no-one behind – it fits well with the journey we’re all on at this time. We miss our face-to-face visits, but watch this space – after the school holidays we hope to see some of you virtually through interactive online presentations where we will still share some of Waitangi’s unique taonga and stories.

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Summer Holiday Programme 2020

Taonga Tākaro Tākoha

Many local and international families enjoyed our programme themed around Māori treasures, games and gifts of the past, re-imagined with a contemporary twist. Through fun practical activities, families learnt about the significance of some of the art, culture and traditions in Te Ao Māori. They had the chance to incorporate their own ideas, styles and materials to create their own version of some of these taonga.

team photo
Meri Kirihimete 2019!

Merry Christmas from the Waitangi Education Team

The Waitangi Education Team wishes all teachers, students and whānau a very Merry Christmas 2019! Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our various Education Programmes during the past year – not only from throughout New Zealand but also from all around the world. We appreciate the effort that schools and other student groups make to visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, especially when traveling long distances to do so. Thanks also to the amazing parent and whānau helpers that come along to support students. We have thoroughly enjoyed each and every group, whether participating in one of our hands-on  Education Experiences or in the Raranga Matihiko Digital Technologies Programme. Groups often share their own interesting anecdotes and experiences and we value how this enriches our own knowledge and perspectives. We wish you safe and happy holidays and hope to see many of you again in 2020. Ngā mihi nui!

sketch carving at waka for blog

Ashburton's Wakanui Meets Waitangi’s Waka Nui!

Wakanui seemed the perfect name for a school to have at our waka nui – Ngātokimatawhaorua, the world’s largest waka taua (war canoe). At the waka, Year 7 and 8 students from Wakanui School, Ashburton, explored the stories our waka and whakairo (carvings) tell as part of Aotearoa New Zealand’s history and got up close to sketch some favourite carvings. During their busy Education Experience with our Ed Team, they savoured some special moments and personal connections.

final collage for blog post RM
Raranga Matihiko Student Exhibition

A Digital Tapestry of Tales

This colourful, interactive exhibition was created by students using a range of digital tools and storytelling techniques to share their understanding of NZ’s unique history, traditions and culture.  Be drawn into tales of adventure, conflict, love and loss, taonga, natural phenomena, community issues and dreams for the future. View stunning artworks and 3D objects, some at a virtual reality station, others using a QR code on your phone, or sit back and watch digital stories and animations weave all around you. On display November 8th – December 8th 2019 in our temporary exhibition gallery

Waitangi Museum Med Res-22
He Whakaputanga

Declaration of Independence

In 1835 on October 28, 34 northern chiefs signed He Whakaputunga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni, right here at the home of James Busby. Known in English as the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand, it declared New Zealand’s independence as a sovereign nation under the Māori chiefs. Signatures continued to be added until 1839, by which time it had 52 signatures. These included the signature of Te Wherowhero, the chief of Waikato who would later become the first Māori king.

October Holiday Programme

Inspired By Nature

Over 200 children and their families enjoyed getting imaginative with dried flowers, making special taonga such as bookmarks, flower and leaf creatures, sun catchers, key-rings, fridge magnets, badges and jewellery.

kohanga reo
Ko taku reo taku ohooho

ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria

Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria  – My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul

This is a whakatauki (proverb) closely associated with language revitalization, a struggle which is very important in maintaining culture. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week, runs from 9-14 September this year. How did this come about?

Group in museum

from Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi

Students of all ages enjoy delving into the stunning collection of unique stories and taonga (treasured objects) in Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi.  Our educators guide students as they unravel the significance of the taonga to the story of our country’s founding.

russell school respond in whare (original)

from New Zealand's very first capital

All our education visits are special, but these visitors are extra close to us– just across the water from Waitangi. Their school is in Russell, where New Zealand’s first capital was sited (at Okiato) after the Treaty signing.

hongi for blog

A Place to Connect and Reflect

The connections and reflections that grow out of visits to Waitangi are deep. Sharing stories in the place where it all happened really brings history to life for students. As we explore the taonga of Waitangi and experience all it has to offer, students develop a real sense of past events and the people that have gone before us.

Did you know

New Zealand has two flags?

New Zealand’s first flag, Te Kara, was chosen and flew here at Waitangi exactly 185 years ago today and is still one of NZ’s official flags. Te Kara’s official name is the Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand – Te Kara o Te Whakaminenga o Nga Hapu o Nu Tireni. Visiting schools are surprised to learn that NZ has two flags!

The Treaty signing

Celebrating the 179th Anniversary

Waitangi Treaty Grounds welcomed tens of thousands of people to celebrate New Zealand/Aotearoa’s founding document, signed here on the 6th February 1840.


Holiday Programme 7th - 18th January

Our Holiday Programme links to our latest gallery exhibition – ‘Being Chinese in Aotearoa – A photographic journey’, which explores 175 years of fascinating history of Chinese New Zealanders, past and present.

Kia Kaha te Reo Māori!

Let’s make the Māori language strong!

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori- Māori Language Week, encourages New Zealanders to promote the use of the Māori language , which, along with English and New Zealand Sign Language, has been an official language of our country since 1987.

Newly formed

Student Focus Group a great success!

Students from 5 local schools recently spent a day with our Education Team taking part in all aspects of our programme. The purpose was to gather valuable student feedback and suggestions.

AFS Intercultural

Students from eight countries visit Waitangi

This diverse group of students were honoured when one of their group played the role of ‘Chief’ for the visitors being welcomed into the Whare Rūnanga (Carved Meeting House) for the Cultural Performance.

Japanese students

Discover Waitangi’s beauty, culture and history

Our Education team enjoyed sharing some aspects of New Zealand’s culture and history with visiting Japanese students who are being hosted by Whangarei Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools.

Hands-on learning with

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kaikohe

Our Education Team recently had a fantastic visit with an awesome group of Year 9 and 10 students from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kaikohe.

Happy Matariki!

The Māori New Year celebrates new life and remembers the past

​Matariki was marked mid-winter when the storehouses were full after harvest time and people began to plan for the future.

New Digital Learning Lab

Offers exciting opportunities

Waitangi Treaty Grounds is one of only three facilities nationwide selected by Te Papa Tongarewa Museum to deliver the state of the art digital programme, Raranga Matihiko – Weaving Digital Futures.

Kaikohe Christian School

Students share what Waitangi meant to them

During a recent visit from Kaikohe Christian School, the Year 8 and 9 students discovered a real interest in New Zealand’s history. They shared this enthusiasm in their awesome thank you letters.

Raranga Matihiko

Teacher Planning Day

Raranga Matihiko is a Digital Technologies for All programme, funded by the Ministry of Education. We’re pleased to be working in partnership with Te Papa Tongarewa to deliver a Ministry of Education Digital Equity for All Equity Programme that supports student learning with the use of digital technologies.

Visit from

Cannington School

All our visitors are special to us, but last week’s visit was even more special than usual: Students, teachers and parents from Cannington School in Cave, South Canterbury, came to spend Wednesday morning with Imogen here at the Treaty Grounds.

Welcome back

To Term Two!

Ngā mihi nui kia koutou, welcome back to Term 2! We hope you and your students had a relaxing term break and are ready to get back into learning! Term 1 is traditionally our busiest term; we had the pleasure of working with more than 2700 students since the beginning of the year. It has been great to meet so many familiar and new faces, and we are looking forward to meeting many more of you as the year progresses.

Whangarei Boys’ High School

Whole Year 10 school visit to Waitangi

In March all Year 10 classes from Whangarei Boy’s High School visited us over the period of a week. The visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds included a Pōwhiri and Cultural Performance in Te Whare Rūnanga.

Visits from

Albany Junior High School

We get the loveliest thank you notes from our visitors!
Te Kara

Our first flag

Our first flag, Te Kara, is also known as the Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand – Te Kara o Te Whakaminenga o Nga Hapu o Nu Tireni. It came about as trading grew between New South Wales and New Zealand. Patuone and Taonui, two important northern chiefs, were partners in the Sir George Murray, the first European-style ship built in New Zealand.