Conversations about our shared history

Year 13 students from Cromwell College in Central Otago visited Te Rau Aroha museum. Here they take time to reflect in He Whakamaumaharatanga Memorial Gallery – dedicated to those who paid the price of citizenship through service and sacrifice in times of war. There are over 6,000 pieces of timber that make up the memorial sculpture.


Teaching history through factual content such as dates and events, can be meaningless for students unless put in context and viewed as part of the larger historical forces at work. The stories told in Te Rau Aroha museum help students to understand the connections between our past and the present, and to imagine possible futures. They recognise that they have their own role and responsibility to consciously define this shared future.

As they explore complex social ideas, students learn to critically evaluate, debate and interpret the past, understand the present and look to the future. Through studying different and competing views of the same events, students become more aware of their own lenses, perspectives and values and are better able to see our history through those of others. This opens up those important conversations that will shape the identity of our relationships, communities and nation.

Engaging students in history can be challenging at times; for insights visit teaching and learning NZ history.

25/8/2020 Imogen Rider