Should NZ history be compulsory? Students call for 'honest truth'

Youth MPs are asking to be taught the "honest truth" about New Zealand's history. 

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They want the compulsory teaching of "accurate" domestic history for Year 9 and 10 students. Source: 1 NEWS

Last week, the Māori Affairs Select Committee heard Labour Youth MPs Christian Dennison and Cha'nel Kaa-Luke, who called for the compulsory teaching of "accurate" domestic New Zealand history for Years 9 and 10. 

"One of my big whakaaro (perspective) is that racism comes from ignorance and ignorance comes from mis-education or lack of education," Christian said.

"If we truly want to move forward and advance the disparity between Pākehā and Māori, then we need to be teaching about what happened, we need to teach the honest truth."

The pair pointed out the lack of knowledge many Kiwis have about the New Zealand Wars. 

"I feel like the frustration is shared by my peers. It is very, very important that we do include Māori culture," Cha'nel said.

"We’re not taught these things when we go out into the world, those are the places we hear about, Māori culture and te reo and what has happened and what may happen."

Christian said he had to research the wars to learn more. 

"That's literally because we were never taught it. It did make me feel quite angry that we're in a country where you could ask that kid about American history or about English history or about Turkish history and they would know a lot more than they would here."

They also asked more funding and awareness for current New Zealand history initiatives and local sign posting for places of Māori cultural significant. 

"If we're not learning about who we are, who our country is, and where we've come from - we're not going to be able to move forward," Christian said.

"Whether you're a son of an immigrant or your family have been here since the time waka landed like mine, this is what makes New Zealand."

"It's New Zealand history, it's all of our history."