New app on Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei history launched

The telling of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei's history to a new generation in order to heal divided ideas of our history came a step closer with the launch of an interactive learning app this week.

Takaparawha (Bastion Point) kaumatua Joe (left) and Bob (centre) Hawke explore the learning app with Bob's mokopuna (right)

A ground-breaking interactive learning app about Auckland iwi history created in a collaboration between a Te Puna Wānanga staff member, a Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei leader and the Ministry of Education was launched at a ceremony this week.

The interactive learning app is designed to help school students learn about Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei histories. “The app is important because it rewrites the standard story and helps us all to engage in contemporary issues with understanding,” one of the authors, Professional Teaching Fellow at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, Tamsin Hanly said.

The app includes teachers’ notes and ideas for activities with students and will be made available to all schools across Aotearoa New Zealand within the next two weeks. It is available for download through the Apple and Google Play app stores in both te reo Māori and English.

Tamsin Hanly wrote the stories jointly with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei leader Taiaha Hawke, together with Kiwa Digital, which developed the app, and the Ministry of Education which provided funding for part one of the project.

The learning app

It is vital for all New Zealanders to know these histories accurately to heal the nation.

Tamsin Hanly Professional Teaching Fellow, Te Puna Wānanga, Faculty of Education and Social Work

The idea for the app came from Tamsin’s work as a teacher for 25 years. “We took our students to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei marae most years for a marae stay to learn about iwi histories. I wrote a big book of the histories to teach with.”

In 2017 the Ministry of Education asked for ideas for local stories in a project called Te Aho Ngarahu. Tamsin pitched her idea and the Ministry agreed to fund part 1 of the story.

The first instalment of the app, which was launched this week, covers the iwi's story up until the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Parts 2 and 3 will cover the impact of colonisation, including the Takaparawha (Bastion Point) occupation and how the iwi is flourishing today.

“It is vital to honour Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei histories in Auckland and get their story out there,” Tamsin Hanly said. “It is also vital for all New Zealanders to know these histories accurately to heal the nation.”

Jo Hawke, leader of the Takaparawha (Bastion Point) 1978 occupation, was at the launch. Mokopuna attending showed their kaumatua how to use the app.