Ākonga to gain deeper understanding of history with Alexander Turnbull treasure trove

Issue: Volume 101, Number 7

Posted: 8 June 2022
Reference #: 1HAUXc

Secondary school students across the motu will soon have insight into the legacies of our nation’s last 100 years, captured in a book that explores the stories of 101 remarkable objects.

Jamie Willmer, Onslow College Y13 student

Year 13 student Jamie at Onslow College with Dylan Owen, Services to Schools, National Library of New Zealand and Te Kupenga story writer.

Te Kupenga: 101 Stories of Aotearoa from the Turnbull marks 100 years of one of the country’s most prestigious national institutions, the Alexander Turnbull Library.

The publication was written mostly by staff at the National Library of New Zealand and edited by Alexander Turnbull Library’s chief librarian Chris Szekely and New Zealand writer, publisher and curator Michael Keith.

Chris says the library is a storehouse of evidence that will help connect ākonga to their heritage and history.

Springbok Tour

Springbok Tour: Courtesy of Stuff Limited, Auckland Star Collection ATL ref: PA-Group-00685:EP-Ethics-Demonstrations-1981 Springbok tour -04

“History isn’t about memorising facts, figures, and dates, rather it is about drawing on evidence to uncover a narrative, to tell a story, to find truths. The Turnbull’s collections should offer materials of relevance and meaning to every single New Zealander, enabling them to make connections and find stories that illuminate and intrigue.”

Every New Zealand secondary school has been sent a copy of the publication, which can be used as a resource alongside the Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories and Te Takanga o Te Wā curriculum content.

Te Kupenga was the result of a Turnbull Endowment Trust centenary initiative, funded through the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board to ensure all 530 secondary schools across Aotearoa receive a donated copy.

Japanese Song Book

A Japanese Songbook: ATL Ref: PA-Group-00197 (1/4-000774-F)

The book includes tributes to some of our biggest moments such as the Rainbow Warrior and the Springbok Tour, as well as stories of personal and unusual trinkets: a Japanese soldier’s diary; the rock that punctured a tyre on the first car journey to Aoraki Mount Cook in 1906; an 18th century 7cm globe made from papier mâché, and more recently a Covid-19 poster taken from one of the Government’s very first pandemic announcements at the library, signed by Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Pocket Globes

Pocket Globe and case: ATL Ref: fR407834

Paula MacLachlan, executive director of the Turnbull Endowment Trust, says the book was developed to make the heritage resource at the Alexander Turnbull Library more available to all New Zealanders, especially students.

“We were mindful that the introduction of the histories curriculum was imminent and that it would be an invaluable resource at the secondary school level. Additionally, a new online presence has been created by Services to Schools at the National Library, which expands on these stories, linking them to other related items and supporting resources.
“We invite every student with interest in our heritage to use the resources of the Alexander Turnbull Library, to access and formulate their interpretation of this evidence,” she says.

Paula adds that the library truly is a treasure trove of collections – documents, letters, journals, and portraits.

“Young New Zealanders are a particularly important audience and deserve the opportunity to learn about their country and its history.”

Te Kupenga: Stories of Aotearoa New Zealand is available on the National Library of New Zealand website(external link).

 Turnbull Endowment Trust members

Turnbull Endowment Trust, Onslow College and National Library representatives
(Paula MacLachlan, executive director Turnbull Endowment Trust, Suliana Vea, research librarian Pasifika Alexander Turnbull Library, and story writer from Te Kupenga, Jamie, Year 13 Student at Onslow College, Sheena Millar, principal of Onslow College and Dylan Owen, Services to Schools National Library of New Zealand and Te Kupenga story writer)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 8:40 am, 8 June 2022

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