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Vincent O'Malley talks about New Zealand history

Author Vincent O'Malley talks about New Zealand history in schools nationwide


Author Vincent O'Malley is speaking to students in secondary schools around the country about the history of the New Zealand Wars. His speaking tour is organised by Bridget Williams Books, supported by Te Pūtake o te Riri, the fund established to encourage events and initiatives that commemorate this series of conflicts.

O'Malley's 2016 book The Great War for New Zealand examined the 1863 invasion of Waikato by British and colonial troops and the ongoing legacy of the conflict. This magnificent history has established O'Malley as one of the most prominent historians bringing to the public's attention the contemporary relevance of New Zealand's nineteenth-century wars.

O'Malley is one of a number of voices calling for more New Zealand history in schools. In 2015, students from Ōtorohanga College presented parliament with a petition calling for a statutory holiday to commemorate the New Zealand Wars. The petition gained almost 13,000 signatures. At a public event last year, two former Prime Ministers spoke out about the need for schools to teach New Zealand's colonial past. Jim Bolger said: “I've bored so many audiences by saying we should teach our colonial history, because we don't, and this is a huge mistake. You cannot know who you are as a society unless you know your history.”

Thus far, O'Malley has spoken to students from schools in Wellington, Dunedin and Auckland. After speaking to students from several Auckland schools, O'Malley commented: “Young people really get why this history matters for them and their communities. And lots of great questions! Our rangatahi give me a lot of hope for the future.”

Last year Dr O'Malley spoke at schools in the Waikato, and he has further talks scheduled to address students in Gisborne and Wellington. He has given a number of public talks about the New Zealand Wars throughout the country, over 2017 and 2018, to a wide range of audiences.

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