Earlier this month a group of GNG team members, along with geothermal colleagues from GNS Science (henceforth to be known as ‘friends ofGNG’) participated in a two day workshop on Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi). The goal was to enable our GNG team to have a greater understanding of the historical challenges faced by Māori and how those challenges continue to have an impact today . Ultimately we want to better connect with our Māori partners and have more meaningful lasting relationships.
This was a challenging and eye-opening workshop, even for those who more familiar with the contents and goals of the Treaty. We did not come together to just passively listen to lectures, or even to dissect the Treaty document — we didn’t even get to examine the Treaty wording until near the end of the second day.
Instead, with the help of an eclectic collection of challenging questions, videos, role play, and some supporting art and crafts, we examined our existing biases, institutionalised cultures and the society we live in. We dug deeply into the differences between culture, ethnicity, race and nationality, and our eyes were opened to the role of education and laws in colonisation.
The facilitator, Dr Richard Manning is passionate about the importance of New Zealand’s history being taught in all schools, and learnt by all who live in Aotearoa. Richard is particularly interested in researching how critical and indigenous place-based practises of teaching can be applied to address traumatic histories, Treaty of Waitangi and Indigenous education issues locally, nationally and internationally.
This workshop provided attendees with a visceral understanding of how historic trauma shapes the present day. We came away with a much greater appreciation for how and why the Treaty of Waitangi has, and continues, to impact Māori and shape their decision making. Our task is now to put this awareness into practise, both in a personal way, and within our work in support of enabling a supercritical energy future for Aoteoroa New Zealand.