During my research for An Unexpected Hero, I uncovered little known links between many of the country’s best-known peacemakers. These discoveries resulted in me developing a one-hour dramatic narrative session, Peacemakers in these Islands – from Rēkohu and Parihaka to the Nuclear Ban Treaty and Nobel Peace Prize (2017) and beyond. The session’s intended for 11-14 year olds as well as adult audiences.
I aim to show these peacemakers not as rare, isolated individuals but as part of a robust, ongoing and influential tradition. I’ve worked with teachers to match the content to the school curriculum and also applied for Government funding to keep fees modest. To begin with, I’m taking this storytelling session into intermediate schools. A recent trial at a local intermediate was well received, particularly as the class was studying the New Zealand wars and Parihaka.
An Unexpected Hero was chosen by teachers for NZReadAloud (Year 7-8). This is a national programme involving close to a hundred schools who read the chosen book together, exploring the text online with classes in other areas.
After six weeks of online involvement with various classes, I travelled to Tamatea Intermediate in Napier for a Q & A session with hundreds of students, organised by them. It was also a chance to meet Kerri Thompson, teacher and New Zealand organiser of this ‘connected literacy’ initiative, begun in this country in 2015. The focus is on New Zealand authors writing stories in New Zealand settings.