On Saturday 17th August SLANZA members met at the National Library in Parnell for an informative morning centred around the new He Tohu Tamaki exhibition in Auckland. This exhibition has grown out of the He Tohu: signatures that shape New Zealand display in Wellington, and consists of a learning space centred around three documents - the Treaty of Waitangi, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the Women’s Suffrage Petition. He Tohu also covers five themes including: the documents, people, place, living together and our future.
Teachers and students are welcome to book times to visit and engage with the resources, and already students from both primary and secondary schools have enjoyed the display.
We started the morning with a timeline challenge. Each member was given a small paper with a key historical New Zealand event, from the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand to the introduction of the law allowing same sex marriage. However, there were no dates on the papers, and our challenge was to stand in line in the correct order of each of the national events. This created much discussion and some surprises.
Following this we split into groups and discovered some of the rich resources that have been put together for the display. The exhibition includes two virtual reality stations and everyone had the opportunity to put on the head gear and get up really close to each of the documents as they are displayed in Wellington. It was interesting to notice that people used red, blue and black ink when they signed their names on the Women’s Suffrage Petition.
The room is decorated with a number of large images blown up from the Archives, the Alexandra Turnbull Library etc. One of the most interesting images (from the Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections) is a black and white photo of women going to vote at the Drill Hall in Auckland in 1899. The image shows four women walking towards the hall surrounded by two long queues of men. Are they celebrating the occasion, or rushing in to avoid censure?
During the morning we saw the box set of curiosity cards designed to inspire student inquiry with any year level. Each card features a historical image and some have links to further online content at DigitalNZ.org . Ideas for using these cards, and blank templates for students to design their own local cards, can be found at natlib.govt.nz/schools.
Part of the display involves a number of videos and interviews responding to the documents which can be found by searching Te Tohu on YouTube. I particularly enjoyed He Whenua Rangatira. A Maori land. showing animations from the map table bringing to life the history of Maori arrivals, and seafaring trips abroad etc
We were reminded not to forget the Topic explorer area of the National Library website found under Services to schools, where nine He Tohu topics have been added. “Each topic features a carefully selected set of national and international resources, including websites, images, videos, books and more.”
Finally, there are two audio visual apps available in both Maori and English which can be downloaded from the App store. The first, is a Re-telling of a story of Ngati Whatua Orakei by Taiaha Hawke and Tamsin Hardy and the second Turikatuku: the woman who inspired the soul.
For anyone interested in New Zealand history and finding out about the resources available to use and explore it, the Te Tohu is a wonderful display. He Tohu Tamaki will remain until the end of 2020.