fbpx Educator guide | LEARNZ

Educator guide

<- Homepage: Our place names: Ngāti Maniapoto stories.

This guide is designed for New Zealand educators who wish to introduce their ākonga (students) to the pūrākau (stories/histories) of Ngāti Maniapoto. It provides a comprehensive set of resources to help teachers facilitate engaging and meaningful learning experiences. By immersing ākonga in the rich pūrākau of Ngāti Maniapoto, teachers can foster geographic, cultural and historical awareness while nurturing critical thinking and research skills.

This page includes a range of useful links, suggested activities, and a guide to support student-led inquiry in alignment with the New Zealand Curriculum. Through these resources, activities and interactive engagements, ākonga will gain a deeper understanding of the cultural heritage and significance embedded within pūrākau.

The learning experience and related activities can support the concepts of:

  • Ako - by providing opportunities for ākonga to learn from their peers and cultural experts

  • Whanaungatanga - by encouraging ākonga to work collaboratively and build positive relationships with their peers

  • Manaakitanga - by offering opportunities for ākonga to respect and value different cultures and perspectives.

Teacher reflection

Before you start engaging with the field trip material, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How familiar am I with pūrākau Māori and their significance to Māori?

  • Am I aware of the local iwi in my school's community and their unique histories, customs and tikanga?

  • Have I established connections with representatives from local iwi in a reciprocal way to enhance my knowledge and understanding of their cultural practices, perspectives and pūrākau?

  • How have I incorporated local iwi perspectives and knowledge into my classroom environment and teaching practices in an appropriate way?

  • Have I made efforts to develop my own cultural competence and deepen my understanding of pūrākau Māori?

  • Do I actively seek opportunities to learn from Māori colleagues, community members and experts in a reciprocal way to enhance my cultural knowledge?

  • How well do I know the cultural backgrounds, experiences and aspirations of my Māori ākonga?

  • Have I created a culturally inclusive and responsive classroom environment that values and respects Māori learners' identities and perspectives?

Questions adapted from: Ensuring culturally responsive practice, Educational Leaders and Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories, Ministry of Education.

Find guidance on bringing the new histories curriculum content to life in a range of teaching strategies and learning activities:

Suggested framework and learning sequence

Encourage student-led learning by providing a framework that supports critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, self-management skills, ownership of learning and a sense of agency and independence. By following this suggested framework and learning sequence, educators can create an inclusive and engaging environment where ākonga can explore and appreciate the richness of local pūrākau, fostering a deeper understanding of Māori culture, history and traditions.

Use the following suggested activities to support this approach:

Before engaging with the learning experience:

  • Provide an overview of the learning experience and its objectives, emphasising the exploration of pūrākau of Ngāti Maniapoto.

  • Highlight the importance of understanding and appreciating the diverse range of pūrākau as valuable repositories of knowledge, values and traditions for different iwi.

  • Explain how ākonga will use this learning experience as a springboard for their own student-led inquiry into local pūrākau.

Engaging with the learning experience:

  • Guide ākonga to engage with resources, including exploring the discover more pages, playing videos and engaging with the Google Earth for Web tour provided in this experience.

  • Encourage ākonga to observe, think and question as they explore the pūrākau of Ngāti Maniapoto. Use prompts such as "What do you see?" "What do you think?" "What did you wonder about?" "What questions do you have?" and "What do you want to find out more about?" to guide their inquiry.

  • Find out more by connecting with experts who know about place naming in Aotearoa and take part in a web conference.

  • Prompt ākonga to document their observations, thoughts, wonders and questions during their exploration.

  • Facilitate a discussion where ākonga identify meaningful and authentic problems or questions related to local pūrākau that they are interested in identifying and exploring.

  • Support ākonga in planning their inquiry, setting goals, and identifying the resources they need to gather information and deepen their understanding.

After engaging with the learning experience:

  • If developing a student-led inquiry based on local pūrākau, emphasise the importance of: authentic questions, resource exploration, appropriate connections with the community, presenting and sharing learning.

  • Foster collaboration and provide opportunities for ākonga to work in groups or pairs, leveraging their strengths and interests.

  • Guide ākonga in creating content or solutions based on their inquiry and goals, such as presentations, digital projects, artwork, or performances.

  • Emphasise, provide guidance and review students learning to ensure cultural authenticity, respect and accurate representation in their creations.

  • Plan opportunities for ākonga to share their work with wider audiences.

  • Reflect on what they have learned and how it has deepened their understanding of local pūrākau and their significance to mana whenua and what they mean to ākonga.

Refer to the Curriculum page for further guidance and suggested learning experiences that align with Te Mātaiaho –The Refreshed New Zealand Curriculum, including the Aotearoa New Zealand histories and Social sciences learning areas.

Useful links and resources

General resources can support your exploration and understanding of the topics mentioned in this guide. These resources include books, articles and websites that offer valuable insights into pūrākau Māori , Aotearoa New Zealand histories, local iwi and Māori culture. Here are a few recommendations:

  • New Zealand Gazetteer
    Search for place names in New Zealand, its continental shelf, and Antarctica: Access a comprehensive database to search for place names in New Zealand, including its continental shelf and Antarctica. This resource provides detailed information about the names, their locations, and other relevant data.

  • New Zealand Geographic Features
    Search for images and descriptions of New Zealand’s geographic features: Discover a collection of images and descriptions showcasing various geographic features in New Zealand. This resource allows you to explore the diverse landscapes, such as mountains, rivers, lakes, and more, providing visual and descriptive information.

  • Generic terms policy
    Guidance for using generic terms in geographic names: This policy offers guidance on considering and applying generic terms to geographic names. It provides educators and researchers with direction and insights into the usage and implications of generic terms when naming places.

  • Place name maps and publications
    Maps and publications about New Zealand place names: Access a selection of maps and publications created by the New Zealand Geographic Board that delve into the realm of place names. These resources provide valuable information about traditional and current place naming practices in New Zealand.

  • Standard for New Zealand place names NZGBS60002
    Explore the standard guidelines set by the New Zealand Geographic Board for naming features and places in New Zealand. This document outlines the criteria and principles that ensure consistency and accuracy in the process of assigning place names.

  • New Zealand Geographic Board | Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa
    Learn about the New Zealand Geographic Board, the national authority responsible for official place names in New Zealand. This link provides information about the board's functions and its role in managing and preserving the country's place names.

  • Oral History Atlas
    A collection of oral histories that revolve around New Zealand's place names. These firsthand accounts and stories offer a unique perspective on the cultural and historical significance of various place names.

  • Researching place names
    NZGB resources webpage Provided by the New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB), this site offers links and resources for researching place names in New Zealand. It serves as a central hub for educators and students to access materials and explore the origins, meanings, and cultural contexts of specific place names.

  • Interactive map of Māori place names
    Engage with an interactive map that highlights Māori place names throughout New Zealand. This resource allows for an interactive exploration of the Māori language and its connection to the naming of specific locations.

  • Map of Aotearoa New Zealand
    Discover a map showcasing Aotearoa New Zealand that emphasises place names connected to the tales of Māui. This map offers a glimpse into how these histories and storytelling have influenced the naming of locations in New Zealand.

  • Place names from Cook's voyages
    Explore place names from Captain Cook's voyages: Take a virtual tour through Google Earth to learn more about the place names given during Lieutenant James Cook's first encounters around New Zealand's shores. This tour includes original Māori place names, providing insights into the historical context of the naming process.

  • Stories of our Māori place names
    Access a teaching unit developed by the Waitangi Treaty Grounds that focuses on Māori place names. This resource provides educational material and activities centred around understanding and appreciating the significance of Māori place names in New Zealand's cultural heritage.

Knowledge of Māori culture and heritage:

  • “Te Wherowhero: The Pathway of the Warrior King” by Pei Te Hurinui Jones

  • “Pūrākau: Maori Myths Retold by Maori Writers” edited by Whiti Hereaka and Witi Ihimaera

  • "Navigating the stars” by Witi Ihimaera

  • “Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History” by Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney, and Aroha Harris

  • "The Story of a Treaty" by Claudia Orange

  • "Te Awa Atua: Men, Women, and Water in Māori Mythology" by Katrina Tamaira

  • "Tikanga Māori: Living by Māori Values" by Hirini Moko Mead

  • "Te Whare Tapa Wha: Cultural and Historical Contexts" by Mason Durie

Local iwi:

  • Visit the websites of local iwi and read their histories, stories and cultural information. Each iwi usually has its own website or online presence.

  • Connect with local iwi representatives, community leaders, or marae etc, if they have capacity and time, to seek firsthand knowledge and build relationships in a reciprocal way.


Encourage your learners to complete both the online pre-assessment and post-assessment forms for this field trip. If just some of your ākonga have filled them out, or if they have submitted only one self-assessment instead of both, that's perfectly fine. Once completed, email help@learnz.org.nz, and we'll extract and send you your class submissions. Before submitting, make sure to review and ensure that any media content, such as images and sound, adhere to appropriate Creative Commons licensing and that any people who are in images and video have given their permission to feature.

Share your learning:

We would love to see how you and your ākonga are participating in this field trip! Your contributions will help improve this and other online field trips, and we'll give credit to any teacher and student contributions in our online spaces. Share ākonga work with LEARNZ by following these simple steps:

  1. Send us a small file (less than 10Mb) as an attachment to share@learnz.org.nz.

  2. For larger files, send a link to a public file/resource to share@learnz.org.nz.

  3. If you upload entries onto a YouTube account, please ensure the privacy option is set to 'Public'. Alternatively, send a link to a file in your school Google drive, making sure it is set to 'Anyone with a link' as 'Viewer'.

  4. When emailing us, provide us with your students' first names, year group/s, and the name of your school. You may also add a brief description if needed.

  5. Before your student shares any learning, please ensure you review it first. Ensure that any media content, such as images and sound, adhere to appropriate Creative Commons licensing. Obtain permission from anyone featured in images and videos.

By following these steps, you can ensure that ākonga work is shared effectively and safely with LEARNZ.