Pupils visit his­toric sites

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By JA­SON HOW­ELLS

Mata­mata Chris­tian School stu­dents will be re­liv­ing New Zealand his­tory next week with a trip to Rus­sell to re-en­act the Treaty of Wai­tangi.

The group of 25 stu­dents are go­ing for four days, as part of Mata­mata Chris­tian School’s pro­gramme to ex­pose chil­dren to New Zealand his­tory at an ear­lier age than most.

Prin­ci­pal Alis­tair Pater­son said he was ex­cited that his class of year seven and eight stu­dents got to delve into his­tory early in their school­ing af­ter stud­ies showed it to be a weak sub­ject among New Zealand stu­dents.

He said the trip would help his class get ex­cited about the sub­ject, as they would wit­ness it first hand.

So far the chil­dren have stud­ied the Treaty of Wai­tangi in class this year and al­ready ex­cel in knowl­edge of the events.

Rus­sell and in par­tic­u­lar Wai­tangi is where the chil­dren will learn about Maori tribes, le­gends and tra­di­tions, some of the first set­tlers to New Zealand and of course the Treaty it­self.

They will walk in the foot­steps of Hone Heke, Wil­liam Hob­son and Henry Wil­liams, one of the first mis­sion­ar­ies.

Part of the trip in­cludes a reen­act­ment of the de­bates which oc­curred be­tween Maori and Pakeha be­fore the Treaty was signed. Here the chil­dren are given a script to read out with a full 19th-cen­tury English text, which they have to bring back to life.

Stu­dent Kelsey Welling­ton is par­tic­u­larly look­ing for­ward to go­ing to James Busby’s house which is the most vis­ited his­toric build­ing in the coun­try.

Fel­low stu­dent Thomas An­der­ton wants to see Pom­pal­lier House which was a Catholic mis­sion­ary sta­tion which printed bibles.

El­iz­a­beth Martin is more fas­ci­nated with the Maori wars and wants to see the bul­let holes in New Zealand’s old­est church in Pai­hia.

The School’s Board of Trustees is sup­port­ing the school’s pro­gramme which is now in its sec­ond year.

It is part of an on­go­ing pro­gramme called Kid on the Rock which re­flects the child and their foun­da­tion, which helps chil­dren learn about the world around them.

Their ju­nior class looks at lo­cal Mata­mata his­tory and years five and six look at Waikato his­tory, fol­lowed by years seven and eight who look at New Zealand his­tory. The pro­gramme has been very suc­cess­ful in help­ing chil­dren em­brace their her­itage. ‘‘I hope it con­tin­ues,’’ said Mr Pater­son.

Re­vis­it­ing his­tory: Mata­mata Chris­tian School year seven and eight stu­dents from left Thomas An­der­ton, 11, Kelsey Welling­ton, 11, and El­iz­a­beth Martin, 11, are ready to make his­tory come to life in Rus­sell.

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