Personal conflict

Taming the Taniwha, the story of a child trying out ways to deal with a bully, helps in learning to identify and understand what conflict is.

Taming the Taniwha by Tim Tipene (Huia Press, 2001).(external link)

Taming the Taniwha by Tim Tipene (Huia Press, 2001). Māori edition He Taniwha i Te Kura by Tim Tipene.


This book tells the story of a young child trying a number of strategies, suggested by his whānau, as he tries to deal with a bully at school. The context of this story will be familiar to young children and would be an excellent way to introduce the concept of conflict.

Conflicts between individuals are common, especially with children, and a great hook into this inquiry would be the use of a simple conflict that is current in the class, school, or community. For young children, defining conflict and helping them to identify it may be necessary before supporting them to understand the context of the First World War. The basic concepts of the First World War can be introduced as a story of conflict.

Key questions

  • What can we observe?
  • What do we already know?
  • How might people view this conflict in different ways?

Possible discussion questions

  • What is happening in this story? How does this story make you feel?
  • Why did Papa’s crazy ideas work better than other ideas? Do you think Papa’s ideas were good ones? Why or why not?
  • What else do you think Tama could have tried to resolve the conflict?
  • Has anything similar happened to you? What did you do? What could you have done differently to resolve the situation better?
  • Do you think that adults, or groups of adults, have conflicts too? How are adults’ conflicts similar to or different from children’s conflicts?
  • What conflicts do you know about in New Zealand or overseas?
  • C
  • Print.
  • Share.