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New Zealand History, Culture and Conflict: A Museum Perspective

Discover the social history of Aotearoa New Zealand, learning how the country’s bicultural national consciousness was formed.

944 enrolled on this course

Two men stand in profile, pressing their noses together in a traditional Māori hongi. The man on the left is Māori with dark hair and brown skin. The man on the right is European with light skin and ginger hair and beard. They stand in front of a marae.

New Zealand History, Culture and Conflict: A Museum Perspective

944 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

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  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
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    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Identify the factors that have contributed to New Zealand’s cultural identity

New Zealand’s social history is built on a foundation of exploration and colonial conflict.

On this three-week course, you’ll access artefacts, treasures, and exhibitions within Te Papa Tongarewa’s collections to discover how New Zealand culture has evolved over time, identifying key historical moments that have impacted the formation of a national identity.

Track the migration of the first Māori people to settle on these islands

Travelling back to ~1280 AD, you’ll learn how Pacific navigators braved the ocean to become the first human settlers of Aotearoa.

You’ll learn how they made these islands their own, creating a culture reflecting the natural environment around them using folklore and festivities.

Building on this knowledge, you’ll explore how contemporary New Zealanders are taking steps to protect their heritage and recognise Māori customs.

Examine the impact of British colonialism and the power struggle that followed

With the arrival of western explorers and British settlers came conflict, colonisation, and a bloody legacy that is still felt today.

You’ll chart how colonialism threatened the Māori way of life, eventually resulting in the Treaty of Waitangi. You’ll assess the reasons for the treaty and analyse the problems it created.

Viewing the treaty from an indigenous perspective, you’ll be able to identify colonial bias and reflect on the impact of the treaty on people today.

Explore the role of Te Papa Tongarewa as a living museum

The ever evolving bicultural society of Aotearoa has helped shape a nation’s unique perspective on culture and heritage.

In the final week of this course, you’ll learn how Te Papa Tongarewa continues to protect and preserve Māori culture, bringing together social and natural history to celebrate a fascinating, yet complex culture.

What topics will you cover?

  • The indigenous history of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • The colonial history of New Zealand
  • The history of conflict in New Zealand
  • The role of the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand’s past and present
  • The role of a museum in sharing and stewarding a bicultural nations stories and objects

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe ways that early Pacific Navigators made it to New Zealand shores
  • Summarise some Māori ways of tracking the year and seasons
  • Summarise key events and conflicts in New Zealand’s social history including the Treaty of Waitangi
  • Compare how New Zealand colonial/indigenous relationships may differ from those in other nations
  • Engage with Museum based cultural education in New Zealand

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in the Pacific region, museums, science, history, culture, or the arts.

It is suitable for anyone wanting to gain introductory insights into New Zealand history and culture.

Who will you learn with?

Mel is part of the Learning Team within Te Papa Tongarewa. She has a background in science, education & communication and has worked with researchers and curators to create these courses for you.

Who developed the course?

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Te Papa’s vision for the future is to change hearts, minds, and lives.

Our role is to be a forum for the nation to present, explore, and preserve the heritage of its cultures and knowledge of the natural environment. Te Papa was established with this role by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Act 1992.

  • Established

  • Location

    Wellington, Aotearoa (New Zealand)

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$104/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 15 Jun 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

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  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
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  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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