Rawiri Toia leading e-book development for Tuia Mātauranga Project

Rawiri Toia from the Te Kura Māori unit at Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Education is leading the development of e-books and teaching resources for the Ministry of Education’s Tuia 250 Mātauranga Project.

The project is focused on telling stories of events that occurred before and during the time that Captain Cook landed in New Zealand, from an iwi or localised perspective.

Mr Toia says, “Our part of that work is looking at the four landing places, which are Gisborne, Whitianga, Bay of Islands, and Tōtaranui in the Marlborough Sounds. We are working with local iwi to share their stories about the impact of the Cook landing.”

They have also gathered stories of iwi history from the same time that Cook was in Aotearoa New Zealand. “One story in particular looks at the first encounter with Cook, and the only story that is widely known about that contact is the fact that one of their rangatira, their chiefs, was shot. The iwi are wanting to claim their space back, talk about the things that particular rangatira was known for, his actions and achievements before Cook arrived—how he became a rangatira.”

The story of Cook’s impact on the local environment is told in Riki and the Ship / Riki me te kaipuke. “The kreening of the ship to scrape the barnacles off meant the rats ran onto the land. We’re hearing of the environmental cost of that still, and from that we are capturing how iwi are working with the Department of Conservation on their rodent eradication, and how something as simple as wanting to land and clean the boat has had such a huge impact,” says Mr. Toia.

The project team, comprising Mr Toia, Dr Tabitha McKenzie, Rik Samuels, and Daisy Toia, is based in different parts of the country. They negotiated initial contact with iwi and worked with them before gathering their stories and producing the final resources. “Then we worked with them to gather photos from the area, as well as getting one of the kaikōrero (speakers) from their region to narrate the story in te reo Māori.”

The team has completed 27 e-books online in both te reo Māori and English with embedded teacher guides and curriculum links.“The resources are a bit more than an e-book and it allows iwi to work with their own communities, sharing the books while explaining to the communities using them that there are some guides, curriculum links, and activities that help enhance the stories,” says Mr. Toia.

The resources were originally intended to be designed for Māori medium schools in te reo Māori only, but all iwi engaged in the project asked the team to make the stories accessible for all tamariki and mokopuna across Aotearoa.

The e-books that are already completed are available here on the Te Paepae Rauemi site. https://www.victoria.ac.nz/te-paepae-rauemi/pukapuka-e