Historians: NZ Land Wars need to be taught

Historians: NZ Land Wars need to be taught

Calls are growing for more to be taught in schools about the New Zealand Land Wars.

Last year a petition was taken to Parliament to call for a day of recognition and for the events to be part of the school curriculum, but historians say it's a part of our history that's been brushed over.

It was the darkest time in New Zealand's history, around 3000 people -- mostly Maori -- were killed in the land wars of the 1860s and 70s.

Historians say not enough New Zealanders know about this period of our past.

"The Land Wars absolutely are not being taught enough in our schools it's one of the foundations on which these countries are built," says Massey University history professor Malcolm Mulholland.

Prof Mulholland -- who will also make a select committee submission on a day of recognition for the wars -- says it's a vital part of our history and we need to do more to recognise it.

He says schools should actively promote the teaching of it, and Labour's Maori development spokesperson Kelvin Davis agrees.

"I think it's strange that people know more about overseas wars than what happened in our own backyard," says Mr Davis.

The Government says it is taking the calls seriously. Education Minister Hekia Parata says they will be making resources more readily available, but it's up to schools to decide how to implement teaching it.

Mr Davis agrees forcing schools to teach it shouldn't be done, but says schools should get better resources to teach it.

"The Ministry could do more to support schools to make a decision to teach about the Land Wars," he says.

It's about better recognition for New Zealand's darkest time, he says.