Passion for Māori and Pākehā history leads to book series

24 March 2016
Tamsin Hanly

Tamsin Hanly is so passionate about sharing New Zealand history she mortgaged her house to fund the writing of six books into our past.
She spent four years writing the six volumes, called “A critical guide to Māori and Pākehā histories” which she will launch at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work on 1 April.
Tamsin was inspired to write the books after teaching primary school students for 25 years and finding the curriculum failed to reflect the accurate story of events for both Māori and Pākehā.
“There are primary schools in this country who for the first eight years don’t teach any history of New Zealand.”
Tamsin says schools that do teach New Zealand history tend to stick to the ‘standard story’ or the colonial version.
“There is no mention of the Treaty, no mention of the two peoples that created it and no history of what happened after.”
She says the situation had changed little even since her childhood, and the “Standard Story” of history is still the main version taught.
“I got taught nothing about things Māori, nothing about being Pākehā, nothing about the Treaty.”
Tamsin left teaching to complete her MA, called Preparing students for a bicultural relationship: Pākehā primary teachers and the histories of Aotearoa.
She used the work of historians Dr Ranginui Walker, Michael King, and Professor James Belich to research her books, along with University of Auckland academics Professor Anne Salmond and Professor Alison Jones.
The six books form a new Curriculum Programme Resource (CPR) which can be purchased by schools or teachers to form lessons and activities in History and Social Studies in primary, secondary or early childhood education. Tamsin has used the books on pupils at Newton Central School in Auckland where she taught for 17 years.
“Its primary job is to up-date the staff on accurate historical information about what happened in this country so they are then able to teach it accurately to students.”
The CPR helps schools meet all the Treaty obligations of the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Curriculum Treaty goals.

The first book, Te Ao Māori o Neherā, covers Māori world views, history and knowledge before their encounters with Pākehā.

The second book, British Isles, covers European history from the Celts in 50BC through the centuries including the Magna Carta and the history of Abel Tasman and James Cook and the rise in European immigration.

The third, Two Worlds Meet, brings the two worlds together in New Zealand. It explains the creation of the names ‘Pākehā’ and ‘Māori’ and the rise of European sealers and whalers and the problems in order they caused. The book outlines the Māori declaration of independence in 1835.

In Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the book explains the Māori and Pākehā pros and cons around a treaty with each other, the agreements, rights and responsibilities made in each Article by the two sovereign groups, the later introduction of a non-literal English version with some different meanings and what happened as a result.

The fifth and six volumes explain the responses to the treaty by Māori and Pākehā. In Māori Responses a historical range of Māori civil actions made in response to Tiriti transgressions is covered, from Hone Heke in the 1840s to the Foreshore March in the 2000s and the effects of these on the nation.

In Pākehā Responses, there is a comparison to the 'colonial standard story' of history with an honouring Te Tiriti story. The book also critically explores and celebrates the complex aspects of Pākehā Culture and histories.

Tamsin will launch the books at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work on Friday 1 April from 5-7pm at Te Puna Wānanga, the School of Māori Education. Please RSVP to
To preview the books, visit
Anna Kellett, Media Relations Adviser