Former Otorohanga College girls celebrating role they played in Govt's compulsory NZ history decision

Young people who pressured the Government to recognise the New Zealand Land Wars have been celebrating the news that history will be taught compulsorily in schools.

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The young women’s passion for history helped change New Zealand’s education system. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS' Māori affairs reporter Yvonne Tahana caught up with a former Otorohanga College student who changed the education system by petition.

"We wanted to create change, to uplift voices to be heard," petition organiser Leah Bell said.

Her petition for widespread recognition of the land wars ended up gaining 13,000 signatures.

Yesterday at Parliament, she helped unveil a plaque to the land wars.

However, she wasn't prepared for the news that our history will now be a core subject in schools.

"Well I cried as many other people did," she said.

Today in Otorohanga there was pride over the student's role in the Government's announcement.

"Amazing. I'm very proud of the students who put the petition together," a supporter told 1 NEWS.

Leah's now 20 and studying history and te reo at university.