Books connect ākonga to past, present and future

Issue: Volume 102, Number 11

Posted: 24 August 2023
Reference #: 1HAbbw

The new Connected and inaugural He Kōrero Tātai books explore the rich history of Aotearoa New Zealand and provide a valuable learning resource for ākonga now and for years to come.

Books connect akonga 01

He Kōrero Tātai and Connected book covers 2022.

A Moriori oral history handed down over hundreds of years tells of Ri’i and his family as they prepare to leave for new lands. This story depicts their journey across the vast Pacific Ocean to lands which would become known as Rēkohu Chatham Islands.   

Another story is told from the perspective of a rūruhi, a kuia as she waits for ‘The red man’, the future king Te Wherowhero, to arrive at her kāinga. She seeks lasting peace with him through the gift of a precious pounamu.    

These are just some of the pūrākau included in 2022 Connected and the inaugural He Kōrero Tātai books developed in te reo Māori.    

The books signal a new beginning by bringing pūrākau to light to support Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories and Te Takanga o te Wā.    

Books connect akonga 02

“Te Kāhu Pōkere o Tāmaki Makaurau e kore e ngaro i te hinapōuri”, Kei te mura o te ahi, He Kōrero Tatai, 2022. Nā Matene Karena. Nā Isobel Joy Te Aho-White pikitia.

This year, Te Takanga o Te Wā and Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories became part of the curriculum content for all kura and schools’ marau ā-kura and local curriculum.  

To support this change, the Connected series has now shifted focus from scientific, technology and mathematical literacy (STEM) subjects to Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories and Te Takangā o te Wā (24 editions are still available to support STEM teaching and learning). This reflects work on the National Curriculum to ensure it is fit for purpose now and in the future, and supports the languages, identities, cultures, and wellbeing of all students in Aotearoa New Zealand.   

The Connected series has long been a core part of the literacy resources provided by Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga | The Ministry of Education for ākonga in Years 4–8 (curriculum levels 2–4).   

These books are set to benefit ākonga now and into the future, with the themes of whakapapa and whanaungatanga in the Connected books, and whakapapa in the He Kōrero Tātai series.    

Taonga for future generations   

Connected has been expanded to provide te reo Māori editions with He Kōrero Tātai. The inaugural editions have been developed from te ao Māori perspectives and are not a translation of Connected.    

These first editions feature articles by Māori authors from around the country, including Patariki Grace of Ngāti Toa and Anahera McGregor of Ngāti Ruanui.      

Books connect akonga 03

“Grow Big”, Ki te hoe!, Connected, 2022. By Paula Morris. Illustration by Josh Morgan.

The content provides rich materials for exploring histories and responds to the identities, languages and cultures of all students.     

Patariki Grace says it was a privilege to research deeper into a number of tūpuna and events in history, then to write about them from a Māori worldview.    

“I reflect about the lack of Māori history taught in the schools I attended when I was a kid – but snippets I heard of in other settings engaged me at a young age,” says Patariki.    

“I took this into consideration for one of the stories I chose to tell with the hope to engage ākonga in this day and age and to somehow make a difference in their lives. He ihu hūpē au i te ao tuhituhi engari e ngākaunui ana au ki te tukanga me ngā tikanga tuhituhi, he wheako nui ki a au.”      

Anahera McGregor says what they know for sure, and what sits at the very heart of the new curriculum, is that ākonga, whānau and kura want our histories to be taught and learned.    

“When historical content resonates with ākonga they are able to connect with who they are and where they have come from. They can be proud of their ancestors and in turn be proud of their identity,” says Anahera.    

“The He Kōrero Tātai series recounts feats and experiences in a way that aims to capture hearts and minds.” 

A range of kaupapa  

As kura, kaiako, whānau, and communities consider the historical contexts that are important to them, having access to a range of resources that support curriculum and their aspirations is important, she says.  

Books connect akonga 04

“Ūtangaroa”. Kei te mura o te ahi, He Kōrero Tātai, 2022. Nā Hokotehi Moriori Trust. Nā Johnson Witehira pikitia.

The inaugural He Kōrero Tātai series includes fiction and non-fiction texts on the theme of whakapapa. Each text is illustrated and designed to be engaging, accessible and informative for ākonga.    

The series was designed to showcase a range of kaupapa that directly relate to Te Takanga o te Wā.    

Writers have endeavoured to produce vibrant, relevant, and diverse perspectives and hope that kura might draw comparisons to their own histories, ensuring that stories are shared and retold for generations to come.     

Author Paula Morris, a well-known writer and lecturer at the University of Auckland, says that with any story, characters are the most important thing because they have a way of connecting with their audience.    

In her short story Grow Big, which features in the Connected level 2 resource, Moka is the point-of-view character and he’s smaller and not as strong as his friend Tai.    

“I’m always less interested in characters with superpowers and more in characters who have something to overcome, or characters who have to work harder or use their ingenuity,” says Paula.    

“Characters make a story – they’re the starting point rather than a theme or message. 

New beginnings 

He Kōrero Tātai

Ko te huinga pukapuka He Kōrero Tātai, he kohinga kōrero e whakatairanga ana i ētahi āhuatanga nō neherā hei ako mā te tamariki te hītori. Katoa ngā kōrero e hāngai ana ki Te Takanga o Te Wā, te marautanga ako hītori hou. E hāngai ana ngā pukapuka He Kōrero Tātai ki ngā ākonga kei ngā Tau 4–8. Ko te arotahinga o tēnei putanga ko te ‘Whakapapa’, tētahi o ngā tirohanga nō roto ake o Te Takanga o Te Wā.  

Books connect akonga 05

“When the Red Man Came”, He māpihi maurea, Connected, 2022. By Ben Brown (Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Koroki). Illustration by Joseph Qiu.

He Kōrero Tātai is a collection of historical and contemporary texts compiled for students in Years 4–8. The focus of this issue is Whakapapa, one of the tirohanga from Te Takanga o Te Wā.  

The new titles of the He Kōrero Tātai series are: 

  • Nō Ngā Kāwai Whakapapa  
  • Tā te Māori tuku   
  • Kei te mura o te ahi 


The Connected books contain a variety of stories and articles that support Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories and engage students to support their reading development. 

The titles for the new series of Connected books are: 

  • Level 2: Ki te hoe! | Let’s get going! 
  • Level 3: Ka ora kāinga rua | A new beginning 
  • Level 4: He māpihi maurea | A prized possession

With a total of 18 stories, articles and teacher resources in the books, He Kōrero Tātai and Connected provide an avenue for local histories to be told and heard from diverse communities, iwi and hapū. 

In addition to the printed books, the material is available online.  

Each online book features Google slides of the text and kaiako support materials, audio, and additional digital content for one of the articles in each book. 

Schools have received class-sets of Connected and each kura has received class-sets of He Kōrero Tātai. More copies of either publication can be ordered here(external link).

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:00 am, 24 August 2023

Get new listings like these in your email
Set up email alerts