Richard James Crawford
He uri ahau nō Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou, me Ngāti Raukawa hoki. I was born in Hastings and raised in Bridge Pa. My father is from Te Araroa and my grandfather on my mother’s side was born in Paarawaera.
I commenced my current principal position at Fairfield College in Kirikiriroa, in 2012. Previously, I was the principal of Forest View High School, in Tokoroa, from 2007 to 2011. Since 2018, I have been the lead principal of Te Pae Here Te Raki Rāwhiti o Kirikiriroa Kāhui Ako. Strengthening relationships with our mana whenua, Ngaati Wairere, continues to be a key leadership focus of our schools and early child education services. The ongoing collaborative design of www.ngaapunaorg, acknowledges the critical role of the narratives of our mana whenua in the design and delivery of our local curriculums and is an expression of the strengthening relationship between our Kāhui Ako and Ngaati Wairere. I was also privileged to be a member of the design team, led by Tokona Te Raki, to design and publish Kōkirihia. This is a resource to assist schools end the discriminatory practice of streaming in Aotearoa.
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.