History of a Nation

New Zealand’s human history is relatively short: it was the last habitable land mass in the world to be discovered, by the ancestors of Māori, probably in the 13th century. Large-scale European settlement began in the 1840s, and the subsequent social, political and economic changes have moved New Zealand from British colonial outpost to multicultural Pacific nation.


Otuataua Stonefields; Mt Eden; Sky Tower; Auckland Memorial Museum; Ruapekapeka Pa; Waimate Mission House, Kerikeri Stone house; Waitangi Treaty Grounds; Russell Heritage Trail; Kawau Island.

Curriculum and assessment:

Living World
AS 91240, AS 91244, AS 91426, AS 91430, AS 91155, AS 91158, AS 91605


You’ll stay in comfortable bunk room accommodation at Saltwater Lodge. This spacious facility, in Paihia township, has a games and TV room, as well as a kitchen where you group can self-cater if you choose. Alternatively we can organise self-service buffet continental breakfast, packed lunches and fully catered dinners.

History of a Nation


The Māori people are Polynesians. Recent research confirms that these first settlers probably arrived from Polynesia between 1200 and 1300 AD. They lived in tribal groups, gardening, catching birds and fish, and making tools, weapons and ornaments.

The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to discover New Zealand, in 1642. The English navigator James Cook mapped the country in 1769–70. After this, sealers, whalers and traders arrived. Beginning in 1814, missionaries tried to convert Māori to Christianity, and taught them farming skills, reading and writing.

As more settlers arrived, the British government decided to take control of New Zealand. In 1840, Māori signed the Treaty of Waitangi with representatives of the British Queen, who sought sovereignty over the country. In return the Queen’s representatives promised Māori ownership of their land, and the rights of British citizens…

Choice of Activities

Day 1
  • Travel to Auckland -
  • Begin your tour, if time allows, with a visit to the Otuataua Stonefields, one of the last volcanic areas of Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) where you can see large scale stonework and earthwork remains and understand how people once lived and worked. Maori occupation of the Stonefields dates back about 800 years, and Europeans farmed the area for over 100 years.
  • Drive to the summit of Mt. Eden volcano OR take a lift up the SkyTower for an overview of the Maori and European history of the area.
    In pre-European times Mount Eden was used as a fortified hill pa by various Māori tribes. Its occupation ended in 1700 A.D when the Waiohua defeated the Tamaki people. The earth ramparts and terraces from this period contribute to the distinctive outline of the hill today. When Europeans came to the area, the land was initially used for farms, but from quite early on the area hosted country residences of professionals and business people from Auckland.
  • Auckland Museum - Auckland War Memorial Museum, tells stories of the Pacific, New Zealand’s people and the flora and fauna and landforms of our unique islands within a memorial dedicated to those who have sacrificed their lives for our country. This visit can include a formal programme on War: Impact on New Zealand Society and Identity
  • Drive to Bay of Islands
  • Ruapekapeka Pa, built by Te Ruki Kawiti, paramount chief of the Ngatihine, was remarkable as one modified to meet the dangers of the new “sticks that flashed fire” and the site of the decisive battle which ended war in the North.
Overnight Paihia

Day 2
  • Tour highlights of Kerikeri and the surrounding area: Waimate Mission House, Stone House, Kororipo Pa ...The Kerikeri Basin is where Maori welcomed missionaries in 1819 to establish a Church Mission Settlement. This established the framework for New Zealand's bi-cultural society. Kerikeri is both a beautiful place in the Bay of Islands and a historic site of national importance.
  • Waitangi Treaty Grounds (This visit will include a formal programme delivered by the on-site education officer.) Forty-three Northland Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi here on February 6, 1840. Over 500 Maori Chiefs signed it as it was taken around the country during the next eight months. Today, the Waitangi Historic Reserve is a popular tourist attraction but also provides educational opportunities to student groups There is a large Maori meeting house on site, the colonial mission house, an historic flagstaff, as well as a very long waka taua (Maori war canoe).
  • Russell: museum, Pompalier Mission House and Heritage trail as time allows Captain Cook's visit in 1769 put the Bay of Islands on the European map. As a harbour it was described as "a most noble anchorage" and it was little wonder that whalers and traders regularly stopped at the port of Kororareka for fresh water and supplies. Missionaries (Anglican and Catholic) followed in the 1820s and 30s and evidence of much of this history remains today.
Overnight Paihia

Day 3
  • Drive to Sandspit, take a ferry trip to Kawau Island and tour this historic reserve. Kawau Island, one of the largest islands in the Hauraki Gulf, was named after the Kawau Paka; the white throated or little shag-cormorant which breeds on the Island. It is one of the most beautiful islands of the Hauraki Gulf and one of the richest in history. The Kawau Island Historic Reserve was created to protect Mansion House, Sir George Grey’s former home, and the gardens and landscape he created, together with sites and relics from the historic copper industry.

Curriculum and assessment:


AS 91001 History 1.1 Carry out an investigation of an historical event, or place, of significance to New Zealanders.
AS 91229 History 2.1 Carry out an inquiry of an historical event or place that is of significance to New Zealanders.
AS 91434 History 3.1 Research an historical event or place of significance to New Zealanders, using primary and secondary sources

History of a Nation

2020 Prices from

Number of Students
Cost per head - 2 Days

This includes

  • Research, planning, bookings and organisation
  • Facilitation
  • Accommodation
  • Activities as specified in ininerary
  • Letter to parents
  • RAMS form
  • Gear list
  • A master copy of worksheets
  • Use of specialized equipment
  • GST
  • Saving you a great deal of time and hassle

Not included:

  • Transport (bus, to and from school). Ask us to quote if you don’t have access to your own.
  • Class set of worksheets – it’s more cost effective for you to copy these at school.


Q1. Why do teachers choose to tour with Learning Journeys?

Using an outside provider like Learning Journeys allows you to avoid stress and save time to focus on the core demands of teaching and have more time with your family and friends.
  • Trips are well tried and tested and our local knowledge, New Zealand-wide, is extensive. • We’ll facilitate your trip as well as planning, recce-ing AND booking it (including transport, food and accommodation). Have as much or as little input as you want.
  • Our facilitators are secondary geography or science teachers with years of classroom as well as EOTC experience.
  • Trips are curriculum linked and can include NCEA assessment tasks.
  • RAMS forms, parents letters, gear lists and worksheets developed and provided for you.
  • We’re Qualmarked (Tourism New Zealand has checked us out as a safe, professional, company) and Dept. of Conservation approved.

Q2. Does it cost more for Learning Journeys to organise and run my school's science and geography trips?

Yes it does cost a little more per student. However, you need to factor in the time you'll save by using Learning Journeys. You will also save the cost of relief for staff who would otherwise have come from your school, since Learning Journeys will provide one or more facilitators who will contribute to staff-student ratios.

Q3. What about risk management?

Safety is always paramount in our trip planning and delivery. We are acutely aware of the responsibility of being entrusted with other people’s children. We will provide you with RAMS forms for all activities included in your programme.

Our Health and Safety Plan deals with every aspect of our operations and training. Hazard identification is carried out for every new activity and a RAMS (Risk Analysis and Management System) form is prepared. This process has been audited both by a Department of Conservation approved Safety Auditor and as part of our Qualmark® accreditation

Our teacher-facilitators are trained in safe practice and all have First Aid qualifications. The suppliers we use are fully qualified and experienced in their specialist areas and where available we choose to work with Qualmarked® operators. Their sound safety records are further guaranteed by the Qualmark®, accreditation process.
Qualmark® is New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality. All accommodation and tourism businesses carrying the Qualmark® have been independently assessed as professional and trustworthy, so you can book and buy with confidence.

Q4. Who are your facilitators?

Our trips are managed and facilitated by qualified science or social science secondary teachers with classroom experience as well as many years’ experience in the field.

Q5. How long have you been running field trips for New Zealand secondary students?

Since 2001. Our oldest client did 12 consecutive yearly 3 day trips to Goat Island and Tiritiri Matangi Island. Most other schools repeat trips year after year.
Make a booking Contact us
Tour Length
3 days
Years 7 - 13
Auckland, Bay of Islands, Kawau Island
Trip dates
By arrangement
Free teacher
For every 10 paying students
Minimum group size
10 Students
Price for 35+ students
From $291 incl. GST
Valid until December 2020
Make a booking Contact us