We recently welcomed the Head of the NSW History Teachers Association on Poihākena tours: stories of Māori in Sydney. Here’s Bernie Howitt’s review of the tour published in the September 2014 edition of the NSW History Teachers Association newsletter. Kia ora, thank you Bernie!

Excursion suggestion  -   Kotahi Tourism’s Poihākena Tour

You may not know that Poihākena is the Māori term for Port Jackson. You may also not know that the first Māori visit to Sydney took place in 1793, and has been a continuous feature of Sydney life ever since. Māori Sydney is a topic that has come into much sharper focus with the introduction of the new syllabus. The Polynesian expansion across the Pacific segues perfectly into the Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples, colonisation and conflict topic, and this outstanding tour offers the opportunity for teachers and students to discover the place of Māori in Australian history. For two hours you journey through a Sydney that you barely knew existed. Based in The Rocks, the tour challenges the traditional Eurocentric interpretation of the region, clearing away misconceptions to reveal a rich, vibrant and engrossing story. I think this tour would make a wonderful excursion for Year 8 students studying the Polynesian and/or the Colonisation and Contact units. It would also fit perfectly into the learning opportunities for an Elective History class, not the least because it will help students understand how a site can be open to a range of historical interpretations. By working with The Rocks Discovery Museum, there is also the opportunity to explore the archaeology of the area and unlock students’ historical imaginations.

Bernie Howitt

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