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Sheehan outlines the historical background to the debate over the role of the ‘Treaty of Waitangi’ in the New Zealand history curriculum, and examines how it was presented in school history textbooks in the years during which it had no legal status. The prevailing official view regarded the Treaty as a symbol of the harmonious race relations which characterised bicultural New Zealand, although characterisations of Māori were dominated by the prevailing Pākehā (white settler) historiography. The incorporation of the Treaty into school textbooks in recent decades is examined, as well as attempts to introduce Māori history into the curriculum. While the current curriculum allows teachers considerable autonomy, recent initiatives have seen a more explicit focus on including Māori approaches to history.

Original publication





Book title

The Palgrave Handbook of Conflict and History Education in the Post-Cold War Era

Publication Date



403 - 412