First meetings korero

Best to have stories told by people close to them.

Best to have stories told by people close to them.

Jade Eriksen, live performance director and educator
Jeremy Muir, editor, The Gisborne Herald
Morehu Nikora, head of faculty Maori, Gisborne Girls’ High School
Julie Noanoa, team leader of education at Tairawhiti Museum
Isla Clarke, Gisborne Girls’ High School, Year 13, and Adam Whibley, Gisborne Boys’ High School, Year 13
Jamie Quirk, Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger
Eloise Wallace, director of Tairawhiti Museum

How educators contribute to a better understanding of early encounters was the theme of the First Meetings Korero last Sunday. Eight speakers addressed the topic at a korero chaired by Walton Walker . . .

Jade Eriksen, live performance director and educator

Jade’s work is mostly devised, often in a chosen space and begins with a question that is a provocation to generate performance material, she said. Some of her devised productions were examples of history as a creative retrieval in order to learn something about ourselves in the present. “Because when we talk about history, we’re not always talking about the same thing,” she said.

Jade recalled hearing as a child stories “drawn out of the wall” at a Manutuke wharenui.
“The histories shared were not treated as a subject, facts and information to be objectively studied and known . . . they were meant to evoke, to direct us, to move us forward.”

Information had become so accessible we needed help to become literate in how to contextualise and make meaning, she said.

An implicit quality of reverence was attached to many of our institutions such as museums and libraries. Performing in these spaces held a dynamic tension between the responsibility of guardianship, kaitaikitanga, and “a kind of subversive rupture of unspoken rules through the act of them bringing their voices to these houses of hei taonga”.

The politics of voice were not just the politics of who gets to talk but the politics of who was listening and how they were listening, she said.

Jeremy Muir, editor, The Gisborne Herald

There are great stories to tell in this region and other stories to tell that are far from great, said Jeremy.

Relationships between Maori and Pakeha were put on his agenda at the 2002 A&P Show when a councillor expressed the hope Jeremy would cut back the quantity of Maori stories in The Gisborne Herald.

“While we have increased our coverage of te ao Maori over the years, I have been remiss in not ensuring our whole news team is as culturally aware as we should be in covering the news and stories of the Tairawhiti,” he said.

He hoped that working to achieve that in the near future would help enrich The Herald’s coverage and advance the role it could play in improving relationships between Maori and Pakeha.

One change he made early on to The Herald opinion page was to allow robust discussions around race relations. He allows more controversial opinions generally than other New Zealand editors tend to. In recent years he had become more active in challenging contributors’ views he considered to be racist.

As tangata whenua perspectives of first encounters with Pakeha in this region were increasingly told and commemorated in public art, the history of our place — for us all to learn — had become much richer.

“We have a changing society and a changing public sphere that is becoming truly bicultural. These changes have not been welcomed by some in the Pakeha community . . . who see the loss of power implicit in others gaining it.”

Morehu Nikora, head of faculty Maori, Gisborne Girls’ High School

Morehu’s upbringing contributed to his path as an educator. At school he learned about European history. At his interview for the role of head of faculty Maori, he said he hoped he could bring to Gisborne Girls’ High School the stories and names of carriers of matauranga (wisdom).

The third and fourth verses of a work he composed called, in translation, “Get you, Get you Captain Cook”, were dedicated to Te Maro, who was fatally shot during what was now believed to be a cultural misunderstanding on October 8, 1769, and Te Rakau who was shot after he snatched an Endeavour crew member’s sword the following day.

“What I have enjoyed is these names are becoming common on the lips of people. Our curriculum hasn’t quite caught up, but the community is getting educated through the various events.”

The song was their literacy in the oral art form, he said.

Asked what effect the compulsory teaching of New Zealand history in schools will have on the community, Morehu said it would be about what those stories were, getting people who were close to those stories to tell them.


Julie Noanoa, team leader of education at Tairawhiti Museum

As a museum educator, Julie’s role is as a conduit, a connector. Connecting art, taonga, iwi stories with tamariki is what Tairawhiti Museum educators do, said Julie.
“The other challenge is to make it interesting . . . our korero needs to be inclusive.”

When she took up her position at the museum she knew she had to start with the stories of people who first arrived in Aotearoa.

Tairawhiti Museum’s many taonga were portals to history, she said.
“They’re time capsules.”

Instead of the teacher talking to students who visit the museum, the students have i-Pads that show the context of the waka-related taonga. Students can engage with those taonga in their own time.

When a Ministry of Education auditor said she thought it was lovely the museum educators were teaching legends, Julie told her they were teaching science.

“I had to explain to her we have Maori astrophysicists . . . If you’re sailing towards Aotearoa in a waka you see the constellation of Scorpio which is in the shape of a fish hook and it looks to be pulling up the land beneath it, the land that’s shaped like a fish, a whai, a stingray.

“Those legends have embedded the science, the maths, technology and engineering of the indigenous people of Aotearoa.”

Collections of Joseph Banks’s drawings of botanical specimens will help students understand what plant life looked like 250 years ago. “They’re growing up thinking pines are forest.”

Isla Clarke, Gisborne Girls’ High School, Year 13;

Adam Whibley, Gisborne Boys’ High School, Year 13

Originally from England, Adam spent his first years in New Zealand at Makaraka School where he learned stories about Paoa and the Horouta waka through waiata and haka. These experiences exposed him to the richness of

Maori culture he might otherwise have been ignorant of, he said.
The challenge of getting young people interested in that history was preparation.
“Taught poorly it can lead to poisoning of the topic and perhaps young people resist learning about it.”

Was the reason that young people were not so interested in learning about New Zealand history due to poor preparation, poor teaching or a poor perception by students of what would be delivered, he asked.

When speaking to peers it was easy to see there was a lack of understanding about topics such as the arrival of Cook, said Isla.

When land loss and breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi were discussed with students, many shied away from the topic.

“Students are happy to learn about black civil rights or the events of World War 2, but when it comes to learning our own national history many of our students feel too uncomfortable to talk about it, or students don’t find it interesting enough to learn.”

The collision that happened between Maori and Europeans 250 years ago should be a starting point for discussion and new learnings, said Adam.
“This can only occur if we are prepared to listen to all sides of the korero, no matter how uncomfortable they make us. The validity of history relies on all of us to be examined. Often the perspectives of people not in power are not examined.”

Isla felt the lack of interest in New Zealand history might be due to lack of exposure to it. While attending a boarding school in Hawke’s Bay her knowledge about pivotal events in New Zealand in history was based on what she learned at primary school.

By not including focal events in New Zealand history in our schools we were allowing a level of ignorance, she said.
The study of history could be messy, complex and there was almost always two sides to the story . . . or more, said Adam.
“We need to tell a shared story of our history and everyone needs to be at the table.”

Select coverage was inclined to gloss over more uncomfortable aspects of our history, said Isla. A lack of knowledge led to ignorance and even hostility towards significant historical landmarks such as the Treat of Waitangi settlements. We should be able to discuss, in an open way, aspects of our history we were not necessarily proud of, she said.

Skills that came with learning history included the ability to question, examine and reflect, said Adam.
“This is the real learning we will take away from our learning of history this year.”

Jamie Quirk, Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger

“I’m not an educator. I’m most probably a facilitator,” said Jamie.

In 1990, the Department of Conservation (DoC) planned to create a green oasis in an industrial wasteland adjacent to Kaiti Hill. Twenty-nine years later DoC was involved in a plan to redevelop the Cook Landing site reserve. The site was an outdoor art gallery now and a lot more accessible for people, said Jamie.

One of the other things this site told us was the great changes made to botanical science that happened when, in 1769, botanist Joseph Banks and others came ashore and examined plants.
“The whole idea of botanical science absolutely changed,” said Jamie.

The advantage of having monuments on our back doorstep was that they were a portal into an early 20th century world.
“We’re still learning things about these sites and incredible structures,” said Jamie of monuments such as the Aberdeen granite Cook memorial built in 1906.

Development of the Puhi Kai Iti Cook Landing Site National Historic Reserve meant a place had been created where iwi could tell their stories in conjunction with other stories that had gone on down there, said Jamie.
“It has helped us understand each other and create a better place for the people of Gisborne and also for the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Eloise Wallace, director of Tairawhiti Museum

“I see my role as public historian, someone who works to interpret the past for the general public who are largely a non-specialist audience,” said Eloise.

Along with its educational programmes, the museum was also a place for informal learning. For the past few years she has had to think carefully about how she would shape and lead the museum position and programme around the 250th commemorations of first meetings between Maori and Europeans with the arrival of Cook in 1769.

“For me it has been very much a time of personal learning. While I’m a historian, this position doesn’t allow me to be a specialist.”

A common assumption was that a museum was somewhere where the truth or facts might be found.
“The truth is, a museum is a complex and political space, a place that has been and in many ways continues to be an arm, and has been a weapon of, the colonisation process.”

Although pressured shortly after taking up her role at Tairawhiti Museum to create an exhibition about Cook for the anniversary, the museum had to consider the views of the people, she said.
“Here, now, in 2019, these are the perspectives that need to be shared in a public space like a museum.”

Facts about what happened in 1769 were elusive. “There’s no one truth to capture and present here. When it comes to engaging with and communicating difficult histories — violence, loss of life — the idea of empathy is a touchstone for me.”

The presentation of multiple and competing perspectives was now the museum’s approach, she said.
The museum as an education space was not a place you left with a pocketful of irrefutable facts, she said. It was a place that promoted discussion, understanding, empathy and hopefully healing.

How educators contribute to a better understanding of early encounters was the theme of the First Meetings Korero last Sunday. Eight speakers addressed the topic at a korero chaired by Walton Walker . . .

Jade Eriksen, live performance director and educator

Jade’s work is mostly devised, often in a chosen space and begins with a question that is a provocation to generate performance material, she said. Some of her devised productions were examples of history as a creative retrieval in order to learn something about ourselves in the present. “Because when we talk about history, we’re not always talking about the same thing,” she said.

Jade recalled hearing as a child stories “drawn out of the wall” at a Manutuke wharenui.
“The histories shared were not treated as a subject, facts and information to be objectively studied and known . . . they were meant to evoke, to direct us, to move us forward.”

Information had become so accessible we needed help to become literate in how to contextualise and make meaning, she said.

An implicit quality of reverence was attached to many of our institutions such as museums and libraries. Performing in these spaces held a dynamic tension between the responsibility of guardianship, kaitaikitanga, and “a kind of subversive rupture of unspoken rules through the act of them bringing their voices to these houses of hei taonga”.

The politics of voice were not just the politics of who gets to talk but the politics of who was listening and how they were listening, she said.

Jeremy Muir, editor, The Gisborne Herald

There are great stories to tell in this region and other stories to tell that are far from great, said Jeremy.

Relationships between Maori and Pakeha were put on his agenda at the 2002 A&P Show when a councillor expressed the hope Jeremy would cut back the quantity of Maori stories in The Gisborne Herald.

“While we have increased our coverage of te ao Maori over the years, I have been remiss in not ensuring our whole news team is as culturally aware as we should be in covering the news and stories of the Tairawhiti,” he said.

He hoped that working to achieve that in the near future would help enrich The Herald’s coverage and advance the role it could play in improving relationships between Maori and Pakeha.

One change he made early on to The Herald opinion page was to allow robust discussions around race relations. He allows more controversial opinions generally than other New Zealand editors tend to. In recent years he had become more active in challenging contributors’ views he considered to be racist.

As tangata whenua perspectives of first encounters with Pakeha in this region were increasingly told and commemorated in public art, the history of our place — for us all to learn — had become much richer.

“We have a changing society and a changing public sphere that is becoming truly bicultural. These changes have not been welcomed by some in the Pakeha community . . . who see the loss of power implicit in others gaining it.”

Morehu Nikora, head of faculty Maori, Gisborne Girls’ High School

Morehu’s upbringing contributed to his path as an educator. At school he learned about European history. At his interview for the role of head of faculty Maori, he said he hoped he could bring to Gisborne Girls’ High School the stories and names of carriers of matauranga (wisdom).

The third and fourth verses of a work he composed called, in translation, “Get you, Get you Captain Cook”, were dedicated to Te Maro, who was fatally shot during what was now believed to be a cultural misunderstanding on October 8, 1769, and Te Rakau who was shot after he snatched an Endeavour crew member’s sword the following day.

“What I have enjoyed is these names are becoming common on the lips of people. Our curriculum hasn’t quite caught up, but the community is getting educated through the various events.”

The song was their literacy in the oral art form, he said.

Asked what effect the compulsory teaching of New Zealand history in schools will have on the community, Morehu said it would be about what those stories were, getting people who were close to those stories to tell them.


Julie Noanoa, team leader of education at Tairawhiti Museum

As a museum educator, Julie’s role is as a conduit, a connector. Connecting art, taonga, iwi stories with tamariki is what Tairawhiti Museum educators do, said Julie.
“The other challenge is to make it interesting . . . our korero needs to be inclusive.”

When she took up her position at the museum she knew she had to start with the stories of people who first arrived in Aotearoa.

Tairawhiti Museum’s many taonga were portals to history, she said.
“They’re time capsules.”

Instead of the teacher talking to students who visit the museum, the students have i-Pads that show the context of the waka-related taonga. Students can engage with those taonga in their own time.

When a Ministry of Education auditor said she thought it was lovely the museum educators were teaching legends, Julie told her they were teaching science.

“I had to explain to her we have Maori astrophysicists . . . If you’re sailing towards Aotearoa in a waka you see the constellation of Scorpio which is in the shape of a fish hook and it looks to be pulling up the land beneath it, the land that’s shaped like a fish, a whai, a stingray.

“Those legends have embedded the science, the maths, technology and engineering of the indigenous people of Aotearoa.”

Collections of Joseph Banks’s drawings of botanical specimens will help students understand what plant life looked like 250 years ago. “They’re growing up thinking pines are forest.”

Isla Clarke, Gisborne Girls’ High School, Year 13;

Adam Whibley, Gisborne Boys’ High School, Year 13

Originally from England, Adam spent his first years in New Zealand at Makaraka School where he learned stories about Paoa and the Horouta waka through waiata and haka. These experiences exposed him to the richness of

Maori culture he might otherwise have been ignorant of, he said.
The challenge of getting young people interested in that history was preparation.
“Taught poorly it can lead to poisoning of the topic and perhaps young people resist learning about it.”

Was the reason that young people were not so interested in learning about New Zealand history due to poor preparation, poor teaching or a poor perception by students of what would be delivered, he asked.

When speaking to peers it was easy to see there was a lack of understanding about topics such as the arrival of Cook, said Isla.

When land loss and breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi were discussed with students, many shied away from the topic.

“Students are happy to learn about black civil rights or the events of World War 2, but when it comes to learning our own national history many of our students feel too uncomfortable to talk about it, or students don’t find it interesting enough to learn.”

The collision that happened between Maori and Europeans 250 years ago should be a starting point for discussion and new learnings, said Adam.
“This can only occur if we are prepared to listen to all sides of the korero, no matter how uncomfortable they make us. The validity of history relies on all of us to be examined. Often the perspectives of people not in power are not examined.”

Isla felt the lack of interest in New Zealand history might be due to lack of exposure to it. While attending a boarding school in Hawke’s Bay her knowledge about pivotal events in New Zealand in history was based on what she learned at primary school.

By not including focal events in New Zealand history in our schools we were allowing a level of ignorance, she said.
The study of history could be messy, complex and there was almost always two sides to the story . . . or more, said Adam.
“We need to tell a shared story of our history and everyone needs to be at the table.”

Select coverage was inclined to gloss over more uncomfortable aspects of our history, said Isla. A lack of knowledge led to ignorance and even hostility towards significant historical landmarks such as the Treat of Waitangi settlements. We should be able to discuss, in an open way, aspects of our history we were not necessarily proud of, she said.

Skills that came with learning history included the ability to question, examine and reflect, said Adam.
“This is the real learning we will take away from our learning of history this year.”

Jamie Quirk, Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger

“I’m not an educator. I’m most probably a facilitator,” said Jamie.

In 1990, the Department of Conservation (DoC) planned to create a green oasis in an industrial wasteland adjacent to Kaiti Hill. Twenty-nine years later DoC was involved in a plan to redevelop the Cook Landing site reserve. The site was an outdoor art gallery now and a lot more accessible for people, said Jamie.

One of the other things this site told us was the great changes made to botanical science that happened when, in 1769, botanist Joseph Banks and others came ashore and examined plants.
“The whole idea of botanical science absolutely changed,” said Jamie.

The advantage of having monuments on our back doorstep was that they were a portal into an early 20th century world.
“We’re still learning things about these sites and incredible structures,” said Jamie of monuments such as the Aberdeen granite Cook memorial built in 1906.

Development of the Puhi Kai Iti Cook Landing Site National Historic Reserve meant a place had been created where iwi could tell their stories in conjunction with other stories that had gone on down there, said Jamie.
“It has helped us understand each other and create a better place for the people of Gisborne and also for the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Eloise Wallace, director of Tairawhiti Museum

“I see my role as public historian, someone who works to interpret the past for the general public who are largely a non-specialist audience,” said Eloise.

Along with its educational programmes, the museum was also a place for informal learning. For the past few years she has had to think carefully about how she would shape and lead the museum position and programme around the 250th commemorations of first meetings between Maori and Europeans with the arrival of Cook in 1769.

“For me it has been very much a time of personal learning. While I’m a historian, this position doesn’t allow me to be a specialist.”

A common assumption was that a museum was somewhere where the truth or facts might be found.
“The truth is, a museum is a complex and political space, a place that has been and in many ways continues to be an arm, and has been a weapon of, the colonisation process.”

Although pressured shortly after taking up her role at Tairawhiti Museum to create an exhibition about Cook for the anniversary, the museum had to consider the views of the people, she said.
“Here, now, in 2019, these are the perspectives that need to be shared in a public space like a museum.”

Facts about what happened in 1769 were elusive. “There’s no one truth to capture and present here. When it comes to engaging with and communicating difficult histories — violence, loss of life — the idea of empathy is a touchstone for me.”

The presentation of multiple and competing perspectives was now the museum’s approach, she said.
The museum as an education space was not a place you left with a pocketful of irrefutable facts, she said. It was a place that promoted discussion, understanding, empathy and hopefully healing.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you like the new committee structure brought in at Gisborne District Council?

    See also: Committee shake-up