This Tohu Maumahara (symbol of remembrance), a carved gateway made of salvaged totara, was unveiled at Rangiriri in 2012 on the 149th anniversary of the battle there. It commemorates all those who died in the conflict, one of the most important of the Waikato War. Photo: Vincent O’Malley.

A further strand of my work involves history, memory and nationhood. My research in the field of transitional justice highlights the contested nature of how we remember— and forget— in settler-colonial nations where past violence against indigenous populations remains unresolved.

In 2019, I joined forces with historian, Vincent O’Malley, and a highly experienced team of iwi researchers from Waikato University and Victoria University of Wellington to explore these issues in depth as part of a Marsden-funded study.

We ask: How do New Zealanders remember and forget difficult events in the colonial past? Why are some conflicts publicly remembered while others are forgotten or overlooked? And who decides?

The project traces shifting historical perspectives of the New Zealand Wars, a series of devastating nineteenth-century clashes involving Māori and the Crown. It investigates how different groups have commemorated these conflicts over time and how memory and silence about this difficult past permeates people’s everyday lives in the present.

My focus is how Māori young people engage with these histories and the study has taken us directly into some of the tribal communities at the epicentre of large-scale military invasions in the 1860s.

You can find out more about this project and the research team at our dedicated website at:


Or you can follow us on twitter at: @NewZealandWars



Kidman, J. (2018). Remembering and forgetting the colonial past at New Zealand’s national museum. In C. Peck & T. Epstein, (Eds.). Research on teaching and learning difficult histories in international contexts: A sociocultural approach. (pp. 95-108). New York & London: Routledge.

O’Malley, V. & Kidman, J. (2018, October 30). The New Zealand wars and the school curriculum. Briefing papers

Kidman, J. & O’Malley, V. (2018). Questioning the canon: Colonial history, counter-memories and youth activism. Memory StudiesDOI: 10.1177/1750698017749980

Kidman, J., Ormond, A. & MacDonald, L. (2018). Everyday hope: Indigenous aims of education in settler-colonial societies. In J. Petrovic & R. Mitchell, (Eds.). Indigenous philosophies of education around the world. (pp. 228-246). London & New York: Routledge.

Kidman, J. (2017, Nov 4). Should we destroy the monuments of our colonial past? E-Tangata.

O’Malley, V. & Kidman, J. (2017). Settler colonial history, commemoration and white backlash: Remembering the New Zealand Wars. Settler Colonial Studies. DOI: 10.1080/2201473X.2017.1279831
PDF 1. Settler colonial history

Kidman, J. (2016). Māori young people, nationhood and land. In T. Skelton (Ed.). Geographies of children and young people: Space, place and environment (Vol. 3). (pp.28-45). Singapore: Springer.
PDF 2. Maori young people, nationhood and land

Kidman, J. (2015). Indigenous youth, nationhood, and the politics of belonging. In H. Cahill & J. Wyn, (Eds.). Handbook of children and youth studies. (pp.637-651). Singapore: Springer.
PDF 3. Indigenous Youth, Nationhood, Belonging Kidman 2015

Celermajer, D. & Kidman, J. (2012). Embedding the apology in the nation’s identity. Journal of the Polynesian Society. 121(3), 219-242.
PDF 4. Embedding the apology

Kidman, J. (2012). The land remains: Māori youth and the politics of belonging. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples. 8(2), 189-202.
PDF 5. The land remains

Kidman, J. (2011). Māori education and neoliberal citizenship: Beach crossings in the 21st century. In P. Whitinui. (Ed). Kia tangi te tītī – Permission to speak: Successful schooling for Māori students in the 21st century – Issues, challenges and alternatives. (pp.18-29). Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER Press.

Kidman, J. (2009). Shifting margins, shifting centres: Development paradigms in Māori education. International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning. 2(1), 5-18.



Kidman, J. (2015). Remembering and forgetting the colonial past at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Teaching and Learning Difficult Histories Conference, CUNY and University of Alberta, 24-26 June, New York.




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