Your guide to Kiwi heritage this Waitangi Day

A recent survey commissioned by Kiwi visitor guide, Tohu Whenua, and their partners revealed that 78% of Kiwis surveyed want to learn more about NZ history and many indicated a specific interest in Māori heritage. As Waitangi Day approaches, Tohu Whenua is proud to share several sites where New Zealanders can learn more about Te Tiriti o Waitangi and other aspects of Māori heritage.

Tohu Whenua is your one-stop shop for finding experiences that are family friendly and offer an opportunity to learn about the history and heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. Think cycling alongside historic railway lines, your tamariki holding tools of the past or exploring ancient pā sites like the seasonal home of famed Rangatira Hongi Hika.

The Tohu Whenua network includes sites that represent the diversity and uniqueness of Aotearoa New Zealand which includes European settler heritage sites such as Pompallier Mission and Printery (New Zealand’s first industrial building/first printery) and Chinese settler history such as the Arrowtown Gold Mining Village. Working closely with mana whenua in South Westland, Tohu Whenua was proud to launch Te Kopikopiko o te Waka in late 2022. A viewing place for Fox Glacier and the Southern Alps, a carved waka here tells the Te Ao Māori creation story of Te Waipounamu/the South Island. More places telling important Māori heritage stories will be launched in Tohu Whenua this year.

Te Tai Tokerau Northland is at the heart of Te Tiriti o Waitangi history and visitors can learn more on the spot where it was signed at three different Tohu Whenua locations - Waitangi Treaty Grounds in Paihia where Te Tiriti was first signed on 6 February 1840; Te Waimate Mission where the second signing took place a few days later on 9 and 10 February; and Māngungu Mission on the banks of the Hokianga Harbour where 3,000 people gathered on 12 February when Te Tiriti was signed by 70 chiefs - the biggest signing event of all.

The recent survey collated the views of more than 1400 Tohu Whenua site visitors, 88% of whom reported a high level of satisfaction with their visitor experience. When asked for one thing they would remember most about Tohu Whenua sites, they provided feedback such as “how incredible it must have been for the first waka to land here” (Cape Brett / Rākaumangamanga) and “learning more about people and where they went and their connection to places…” (Totara Estate).

“Waitangi Treaty Grounds is one of many places in the Tohu Whenua network where you can learn about Māori history, and the encounters and interactions that have created our shared story as a nation,” Dean Whiting, Tohu Whenua Steering Group member and Kaiwhakahaere, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

“These are great places to bring family and friends, whether it’s to dive into our rich history, or simply soak up the experience of walking in the places of our ancestors.”

The current, and growing, list of Tohu Whenua sites telling Māori heritage stories:

For the full survey results, click here.

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