Looking to the past to understand the present: launch of a new learning resource on the 28th (Māori) Battalion

Issue: Volume 100, Number 9

Posted: 13 July 2021
Reference #: 1HANGF

The new Ngarimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion learning resource was launched on Friday 2 July in Ruatoria.

Nine kura were present at the learning resource launch leading waiata and kapa haka

Nine kura were present at the learning resource launch leading waiata and kapa haka

The learning resource has been developed by the Ngarimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Board for tamariki of all ages, whānau, kura and schools.

The Uepohatu Memorial Hall in Ruatoria made a fitting location for the launch of the learning resource. The hall proudly overlooks Whakarua Park, home of the Ngāti Porou East Coast Rugby Union.

Sir Apirana Ngata led construction of the Uepohatu Memorial Hall from 1944 to 1947, to honour the soldiers from the East Coast who gave their lives in the world wars. One tukutuku panel inside the hall honours Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu VC, the first Māori soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross, who is the subject of one of the inquiries in the learning resource.   

Dr Reuben Collier gives a whaikōrero

Dr Reuben Collier gives a whaikōrero

The sounds of ākonga from nine local kura practising waiata and kapa haka together filled the hall just before 10.30am, as they put the finishing touches on their performances before the manuhiri arrived.

The event was hosted by the Ngarimu whānau, Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui iwi representatives. Members of the Scholarship Fund Board, distinguished guests and officials travelled from far and wide to be present for the official launch of learning resource. Media had braved the mighty East Coast roads to capture the reverent atmosphere of the day.

The event began with pōwhiri, in which distinguished speakers gave whaikōrero paying respect to those who had gone before.  Following the pōwhiri, Hon Kelvin Davis, the Associate Minister of Education (Māori Education), officially launched the learning resource, sharing his thoughts on the influence of the 28th (Māori) Battalion in war and in shaping our modern nation:

“Now these resources aren’t here just for us to learn about what the Māori battalion did in war, but it’s also for us to understand and realise the impact of what their actions had on us as Māori and the impact they’re having on us now.

“Because when we think about it, over 3000 of our uncles and whānau left overseas and about 600 never came back and we just need to imagine the impact that that loss of 600 leaders being lost to Māoridom had, and the implications that we are still feeling today because of that, 80 years later. And we need to think about the impact and experiences that those men had and the impact that that’s having on us today.”

Dr Wayne Ngata gives a whaikōrero

Dr Wayne Ngata gives a whaikōrero

Minister Davis encouraged those present to think about what the sacrifice of the 28th (Māori) Battalion, including that of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu VC, means to ākonga and young people today:

 “What a legacy Ngarimu left us, what an example he left for us, and the thing, in my opinion, is that we need to continue to honour his legacy, and his deeds, and his sacrifice by being the best Māori that we can be.”

The learning resource is based on social inquiry learning. This means it focuses on using the process of ‘social inquiry’, whereby students ask questions, process information, and communicate findings; investigate differing perspectives, values and positions and the reasons for these; and examine issues, identify solutions, evaluate outcomes and make decisions about possible social action.

In the case of the 28th (Māori) Battalion, those values could not be clearer. Through learning about ngā āhuatanga | the characteristics of the 28th (Māori) Battalion soldiers in World War II, ākonga will understand how significant events and people are still relevant today as they have shaped and continue to shape our lives. This includes understanding and demonstrating characteristics such whanaungatanga, rangatiratanga and manaakitanga, which were on full display at Ruatoria on Friday.

This learning resource fits within Te Whakaritenga Pāpori Me Te Ahurea and Te Ao Hurihuri in Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, and within Te Takanga o Te Wā, Social Studies and Aotearoa New Zealand Histories in the Social Sciences learning area of The New Zealand Curriculum.

For more information on the learning resource, visit https://kauwhatareo.govt.nz/(external link). Here you can view the resource in te reo Māori(external link) or English(external link)

For more information about the Ngarimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarships visit Education.govt.nz(external link).

Hon Kelvin Davis with ākonga and kaiako from some of the nine kura present at the learning resource launch

Hon Kelvin Davis with ākonga and kaiako from some of the nine kura present at the learning resource launch

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

Posted: 1:56 pm, 13 July 2021

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