Sharing stories about histories
In this video a kaiako from Imagine Childcare discusses their centre’s journey to discover more about the history of the area. They collaborated with whānau, tamariki, and mana whenua. Imagine Childcare captured and shaped an appropriate story of their local area into a book to read with tamariki.
The kaiako use the stories of the beach, its historical flora, fauna, and the waves of human settlement to inform local curriculum, kaiako practice and to explore Aotearoa New Zealand's Histories (ANZH) in their setting.
(Title Imagine: Sharing Stories About Histories)
(Kaiako talking to camera)
Nichola: We felt our children were really knowledgeable about pūrākau and pakiwaitara (stories and ancient stories), but we wondered how much they actually knew about the history of Pito-one Beach itself, and where we are.
(Montage of early year centre inside and out with images from pakiwaitara on the walls)
Nichola: We didn't know what was here before. And we wanted to be able to speak about that in a way that was correct and respectful. So we set about finding out.
(Kaiako walking with children through their neighbourhood)
Nichola: It started really, the idea of a book, when I was working with one of my parents who very generously shared with me his story that he had been working with his son.
(Parent speaking to camera)
Mark: My name is Mark Crookston. My two boys, Corin and Toby, have come to Imagine Childcare.
(Children playing on the beach)
Mark: I got started on this story by being a Petone resident and having a natural interest in history. What has gone before, how it shapes our present, and our future. And with Corin, my then 4-year-old at Imagine Childcare Centre we were naturally just walking around and exploring our neighbourhood and talking about what happened before.
(Parent speaking to camera and showing entrance to the early childhood centre)
Mark: As part of my drop offs and pickups, I would speak to the kaiako here at Imagine. And I was telling Nichola about what Corin and I were doing. And so that was just a natural enthusiasm that we both had for connecting kids with our histories.
(Teachers and children playing at the beach)
Mark: And so we decided to work together on a project not knowing what the project would be at the time, but we decided to work together. Nichola had the idea for a book.
(Nichola reading the picture book to the camera)
Nichola: This book is for all whose footsteps past, present, and future mark the sand of our wild and beautiful beach at Pito-one.
(Child reading the book)
Elliot: There was bugs, before humankind. You could only heard the birds And those trees and bush. Then humankind arrived to build their home. In this place called Pito-one, our wild and beautiful beach.
(Kaiako talking to camera)
Nichola: The process of writing the book involved the children.
(Kaiako and children playing together and looking at the pictures in the book)
Nichola: Basically, it took over a whole programme. We started to think about what it looked like for children in terms of history. I remember showing one of the drafts of the early book to a colleague who was helping us with our “Come along to Bush Club”, our outdoor programme, and she read it through, and I could kind of see her mind going, “hmm”.
(Panoramic views of Pito-one Beach)
Nichola: Later on, she sent me some information about the actual correct name of Pito-one beach because we had been working with one that wasn't quite right. So there was kind of an “aha” moment. And then she also put me in contact with a board from the local iwi who were able to give me some more guidance.
(Kaiako speaking to camera)
Nichola: Going along to that first meeting with the iwi board representative was terrifying. I could tell that something wasn't quite right as she flipped through the pages.
Through meeting with this representative and a colleague of hers, we were able to kind of realise that the history of the iwi wasn't our history to share.
(Kaiako and children reading the story together)
Nichola: At the end, we decided to just go with my narrative, my pukapuka, and to shift my focus to more of the narrative and what was before in terms of the flora and fauna that we already know about.
If you're setting out to do something similar, I would suggest that right from the start that you find someone to talk to who has knowledge and expertise in this area and who actually is part of that story that you're sharing first.
All these people have pitched in to help me. And of course mana whenua who helped me the most – it wouldn't exist in the way it is today.
(Child holding the book and pointing at the pictures)
Elliot: I liked this one where it's me and Corin and the other page, Emma and me. And then it's the end.
Ideas to incorporate into your practice
In the video Nichola said, "We didn't know what was here before. And we wanted to be able to speak about that in a way that was correct and respectful."
- What are the local stories and histories of your place?
- How can you collaborate with your community to explore histories in your setting?