'Real shame': History teachers call out lack of colonial, Māori education

The Government is rejecting calls for the compulsory teaching of Crown-Māori history in schools.

It's currently up to schools how much colonial history is taught, and as a result some students are missing out.

The History Teachers' Association says this isn't good enough.

"We're pretty isolated as one of the few [countries] that don't teach their country's own history," chairperson Graeme Ball told Newshub.

Mr Ball, who teaches at Northcote College, has started a petition, which already has 500 signatures.

"Too few New Zealanders have a sound understanding of what brought the Crown and Māori together in the 1840 Treaty, or of how the relationship played out over the following decades," his petition states.

"We believe it is a basic right of all to learn this at school (primary and/or secondary) and that students should be exposed to multiple perspectives and be enabled to draw their own conclusions from the evidence presented in line with good historical practice."

Mr Ball told Newshub it's a "real shame" New Zealand currently isn't teaching this.

"It's a right for our young people to have this understanding," he says.

"As it currently stands they are missing out on any coherent history."

The debate comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stumbled after being asked to recite Treaty of Waitangi articles.

Speaking to press on Monday, the Prime Minister was asked by a reporter what Article 1 of the Treaty of Waitangi says.

"Article 1? On the spot? Kawanatanga," she replied, when helped out by Willie Jackson and other ministers standing behind her.

Article 1 of the Treaty of Waitangi is indeed called Kawanatanga, but the Prime Minister did not go into detail about what the article says, as she was asked.

Asked what Article 2 says, Ms Ardern said, "Tino Rangatiratanga," which is the name of the name of Article 2, but again she did not provide further insight.

"Look, I know the principles of Waitangi, I know our obligations," she said

At Waitangi this year, associate minister of education and minister of Crown Māori relations, Kelvin Davis, said he wouldn't make teaching colonial history compulsory.

"In terms of the teaching of Te Tiriti in schools, remember that schools are self-governing, self-managing," he said, according to RNZ.

"It's inappropriate for governments to come along and dictate specifics of what's taught in schools."

But Mr Ball says this is a commitment the Government needs to make.