Aotearoa New Zealand has a long, interesting and challenging history. Many incredible people and communities have walked on this whenua and left their stories and legacies behind. These are some great recent books to learn about our sometimes sad, and sometimes amazing history.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Morris, Toby (2019)
Check out this beautifully illustrated story of our foundational national document. It’s bilingual, which means you can read it in English or Te Reo. Find out about the historical context of the Treaty, and its continuing importance in the 21st Century.
The New Zealand Wars / Werry, Philippa (2018)
As Māori land was encroached upon by the colonial government and settlers, warfare broke out in New Zealand. This book explores the violence that was experienced in New Zealand in the mid-19th century and how those that fought and died are remembered today. This book explains why the wars happened, and is filled with photographs, illustrations and paintings. We also learn about Parihaka, a peaceful community of resistance to land confiscation and encroachment. The book talks about how we remember these events today and memorial places we can go to learn more and think about our history.
Kate Sheppard : leading the way for women / Gill, Maria (2018)
A wonderfully illustrated book about the life of New Zealand suffragist Kate Sheppard! Learn about how she lead the way for women getting the vote in Aotearoa.
Peace warriors / Raymond Huber (2015)
This book tells the heroic stories of brave New Zealander’s and people around the world who used non-violent resistance to pursue paths of peace. One of the stories is of Archibald Baxter, who refused to fight in World War 1 because he did not believe in killing. He faced brutal punishment and rejection for his courageous choice.
The beach they called Gallipoli / French, Jackie (2014)
The battle for Gallipoli is at the heart of the ANZAC narrative of New Zealand’s involvement in WW1. This book explores the geography of the cove and looks at not just the ANZACs, but all the nationalities who fought there.
Bastion Point : 570 days on Takaparawha / Roxborogh, Tania Kelly (2017)
Sometimes fiction can help us understand real-life events. This book is a fictional diary, from the perspective of a character called Erica Tito, covering the events at Bastion Point between 1977-1978. Bastion Point was Māori land confiscated by the government for public works, but decades later the government wanted to sell it for housing developments. Māori from around the country gathered to occupy the land and protect it. In the 1980s, the land was returned to local Iwi as part of a Treaty settlement.
Aotearoa : the New Zealand story / Bishop, Gavin
A colourfully delightful overview of of the history of Aotearoa New Zealand; charting a course from the big bang, to the arrival of Māori, all the way to events in the present day. Filled with interesting facts, this is a great classroom read.
Check out these books on the catalouge, your local library or pop a reserve on them to collect from your nearest branch!