Treaty Of Waitangi In Teaching Experience

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The purpose of this essay is to examine and discuss the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in relation to my second Teaching Experience for 2019. This essay will also focus on what my teaching practice could look like in honouring the treaty obligations as a teacher. First, it will examine and unpack the three principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, Partnership, Participation and Protection. It will then discuss the meaning of two principles, Partnership and Protection and their relation to one another. Second, it will plan and explain how Partnership and Protection are displayed in teaching practice. Lastly, this essay will state two goals that I hope to implement in my teaching practice that can be related to the two fundamental principles that I will unpack. 

Signed in 1840, The Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi is a document that is held between representatives of the British Crown and Rangatira, representing hapū and iwi. This document contains an outline of the terms that contribute towards the collaboration of Māori and people of the Crown living side by side in Aotearoa New Zealand. The 1988 Royal Commission suggested three underlying principles on Social Policy: Partnership, Protection, and Participation. These principles are used to explain the relationship between the Government and Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi.  The principles are used to bridge the gap between the apparent differences of the Māori (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) and English (The Treaty of Waitangi) documents. The Partnership between the two sovereignties involves working together with iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori communities to develop strategies for Māori education. Therefore, as teachers of the upcoming generation, we aim to welcome and create genuine relationships with our Māori communities by creating an equal partnership. Protection means actively protecting Māori knowledge, interests, values, and other tāonga. Identity, language, and culture are essential expressions of what it means to be culturally located learner. For this assignment, I will be unpacking Partnership and Protection by showing how these principles are represented in both the Treaty and Te Tiriti (Part 1) as well as in the New Zealand Curriculum (Part 2).

Part 1 – Unpacking aspects of Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Partnership can be seen throughout all of the Articles in the Treaty of Waitangi but is most evident in Article One. As stated in the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori leaders gave the Queen all the “rights and powers of sovereignty” over their land. In Te Tiriti, Māori leaders gave the Queen “te kawanatanga katoa” or the complete governance over their land (Treaty of Waitangi, 1840, art. 1). However, the word ‘sovereignty’ in the Treaty of Waitangi had no direct translation in Māori. Therefore, there was a misunderstanding where Māori chiefs had some authority over their areas, but there was no central ruler over the country. The translators of the Treaty of Waitangi used two important Māori values in Article One of Te Tiriti, Kawanatanga (governance) and Tino Rangatiratanga (independence). The keywords throughout Te Tiriti, ‘Kawanatanga’ and ‘Tino Rangatiratanga’ contributed to alternate views between the Crown and the Māori over how much authority the Māori chiefs and how much the governor would have. Overall, both translations of the Treaty embodied an agreed-upon partnership between the Crown, Māori chiefs and iwi. This Partnership between the two created a place for all to peacefully live together in Aotearoa New Zealand (MCH, 2017).

Protection is another fundamental principle of the Treaty of Waitangi that can be seen more directly in Article Three. In the English text, Her Majesty, the Queen of England extended to the Natives of Aotearoa New Zealand Her royal protection and imparted to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects. In the Māori text, the Crown gave an assurance that Māori would have the Queen’s protection and all rights (Tikanga) accorded to British subjects (Treaty of Waitangi, 1840, art. 3). The translation is considered correct of the Maori version. Oritetanga (equality) is a critical Māori value that underpins the Te Tiriti o Waitangi, as it contains a provision which guarantees equality between all New Zealanders, no matter what culture (MCH, 2017).

Part 2 – Principles into practice

I aim to implement the Treaty principles into my future practice, including  my next teaching Adira Allure

placement at Newtown school. Newtown School follows The Positive Behaviour For Learning (PB4L) initiative. PB4L is an initiative that is run school wide that promotes a positive, safe and respectful learning environment for all tamariki. According to the Newtown school website (Newtown School, n.d.), there are five fundamental principles that explain the school’s expectations of behaviour both in and outside the classroom, they are:

– Connected (Whanaungatanga): We belong, and we learn together.

– Resilient (Aumangea): We keep trying and learn from what we do.

– Curious (Mahira): We wonder, take risks and innovate.

– Respectful (Manaaki): We value the thoughts and feelings of others.

– Effort (Kia Kaha): We give our best in everything we do

Goal 1

My first goal is to aim to implement the Treaty principle of Partnership into my teaching practice as frequently as possible. The New Zealand Curriculum states, “ … young people who will work to create an Aotearoa New Zealand in which Māori and Pākehā recognise each other as full Treaty partners, and in which all cultures are valued for the contributions they bring” (NZC, 2012). To achieve this outcome, I aim to use the key value of Whanaungatanga (connected). This principle can be seen in the classroom by myself being connected and working together with the tamāriki, iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori communities. By including the principle of Partnership in my teaching practice, I hope to create an inclusive environment where positive relationships can contribute to a feeling of Kotahitanga (unity) between the tamariki. This can be carried out in my teaching practice by explaining the critical values of the Treaty and then forming a class ‘Treaty’ of expectations. Tamariki will then contribute their ideas of what they think Whakaute (respect) looks like in the classroom and sign the respective document. This activity can be directly related to the Māori value, Rangatiratanga (chieftainship) in Article One of the Treaty. This activity gives tamariki the right to self-governance, where they are given support and the relevant information to make informed decisions and can negotiate what the signs of Manaaki (respect) looks like in the classroom. Following this activity, tamariki can determine what the outcomes are if the Treaty is followed or not. It could also include incentives for when it is followed, such as being able to have free time during the day.

Goal 2

The second Treaty principle of Protection in the New Zealand Curriculum can be seen by being a culturally located learner, where tamariki actively protect Māori knowledge, interests, values, and other taonga. As part of their developing identities, all tamariki of Aotearoa need to understand the unique bicultural heritage. Consequently, all tamariki require many opportunities to learn Te Reo Māori and gain knowledge and experience of critical Māori concepts and customs, considering them concerning those of other cultures (MOE, 2012). I was able to see in Newtown School’s ERO report that Te Reo Māori is a valued aspect of the school. It can be seen throughout most of the operations and school programmes across all year levels. There are also two curriculums at the school for Māori tamariki: they can learn either within Te Marau-a-Ngāti Kotahitanga (the Māori immersion class) or Te Marau a Kura o Newtown (the New Zealand Curriculum).

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Following this research, my second goal is to protect Māori culture by normalising Te Reo Māori for all tamariki at Newtown school. Te Reo Māori is a vital part of the average school day at Newtown, and I hope to incorporate the use of Te Reo Māori into my teaching practice. When using Te Reo Māori in the classroom, tamariki will be allowed to learn Te Reo Māori through basic instructions and/or waiatas before their school day. The use of Te Reo Māori enables and strengthens the identities of the tamariki, while non-Māori journey towards shared cultural understandings. As the tamariki learn, they come to appreciate that the diversity in the classroom is key to Kotahitanga (unity). Over time, New Zealanders have come to understand that Te Reo Māori is an essential component of Aotearoa’s history, hence why it is becoming increasingly essential to protect Māori culture. By utilising Newtown schools fundamental value of Resilience (Aumangea), I aim to learn Te Reo Māori alongside my tamariki, by focusing on one word a day, for example saying ‘morena’ instead of ‘good morning’. The principle of Protection is honoured by creating a sense of community (Whanaungatanga), Oritetanga (equality), and Kotahitanga (unity). These values, along with resilience, will help to create a safe and protected environment where all tamariki, including myself, will have an equal opportunity to develop as individuals.


The Treaty of Waitangi principles and the New Zealand Curriculum places tamariki at the centre of teaching and learning in the school environment. I believe that by incorporating the three principles, into my teaching practice, I will be able to ensure that all of the tamariki in my classroom will have the opportunity to learn Te Reo Māori while also being able to feel a sense of belonging, connectivity  and community in the classroom. I look forward to implementing these goals in the classroom and seeing the progress in my personal knowledge of Te Reo Māori.



  • Ministry for Culture and Heritage, (2017). Read the Treaty. Retrieved from
  • Ministry of Education, (2011). New Zealand Curriculum Update, Issue 10. Retrieved from
  • Ministry of Education, (2012). New Zealand Curriculum Update, Issue 16. Retrieved from
  • Newtown School. (n.d.) Newtown School: About us/PB4L. Retrieved from
  • Treaty of Waitangi, (1840). Retrieved from


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Approximately 250 words