At the start of the week, New Zealand’s Associate Education Minister Pita Sharples announced a very small funding increase that seeks to strengthen the teaching of Maori history in schools, which is currently absent from the curriculum.
Alternative histories are important as they put into context the views of indigenous people, women and the working classes.
While the increase in funding is in the right direction, it only provides $1.6 million for a subject that should be culturally important to New Zealand.
The history of the New Zealand land wars -where Maori were dispossessed by the settler government- Parihaka, Maori conscientious objectors and even the history of Maori occupation in New Zealand lies outside the domain of our history books.
It is a fact that Maori do not do very well in the New Zealand curriculum, in part because it does not speak to them. But improving the school curriculum will benefit everyone else too.
The announcement by Pita Sharples has been reported by Radio New Zealand here.
By Daniel F. Benson-Guiu.