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Liana MacDonald

Ngāti Kuia, Rangitāne o Wairau, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Koata

Liana MacDonald is an Indigenous sociologist, Māori educationalist and interdisciplinary researcher. She is especially interested in how teaching about the past in view of a racialised society can contribute to transformative learning experiences. She has published several articles on this topic and how settler colonial whiteness and racism are reproduced in public places and institutions. Liana has been involved in research projects exploring how Māori and Pākehā remember and forget difficult histories. She is currently researching diverse iwi and Pākehā perspectives of the battle of Boulcott’s Farm to change public perceptions of local history in Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt. 

Aotearoa New Zealand Histories: Diving into a Contested Past

The introduction of the new Aotearoa Histories Curriculum in all schools from 2023 marked a potentially transformative milestone. It offers the tantalising possibility that future generations might become more historically aware, engaged and grounded than their parents and grandparents, who often either learned nothing of their own country’s past during their own school years or in many cases were provided with a rose-tinted version of it. Alongside this, the establishment of Te Pūtake o te Riri—an annual commemoration day for the New Zealand Wars—and the growing debate at a local level surrounding place and street names, monuments, memorials, and other contested historical markers, also reflect a heightened emphasis on Aotearoa history in recent times—along with a backlash from some unhappy with these developments.In this session we explore the challenges and opportunities arising from this increased engagement with Aotearoa history.

Liana MacDonald
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