Toby Morris has illustrated a new publication in the School Journal Story Library that tells the story of the Treaty of Waitangi. Below, a selection of the work, introduced by Ātea editor Leonie Hayden
Toby approached me to read a few early drafts of his School Journal, and I was struck by how simple you could make the language around this difficult subject. We overcomplicate things as adults, our judgement gets clouded by guilt and prejudice. People find the anger that surrounds Waitangi Day uncomfortable; it’s easier to ignore it and then later wonder why Māori are still upset about the loss of their land, culture and language. Ignore. Condemn. Repeat.
The past is a river, and every one of us is downstream of thousands of lives and experiences. But at the moment our knowledge of our country’s history is a trickle. We’ve been fed a version of history that ignored Māori narratives completely – and we’re now realising they didn’t tell the same story. Many of us don’t have even a basic understanding of the events that lead to the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, or what has transpired since. If our kids are armed with the basics, the anger and guilt stripped away, then maybe there’s a chance they’ll grow into adults that understand that our differences make us stronger. Anger is useful, until it isn’t. Excellent resources like this one will help to make it a thing of the past.
The book, produced by Lift Education for the Ministry of Education’s School Journal Story Library series, was distributed to primary and intermediate schools throughout New Zealand this week. While the hard-copy book isn’t available to the general public, you can read it for yourself by downloading it here.
All illustrations copyright Crown