Te Awamutu museum wins education contract - again
Te Awamutu Museum is again welcoming students from all over the North Island as it begins another three-year contract with the Ministry of Education.
The museum is the only Waikato museum to have secured a prestigious contract from the Ministry to ‘enrich local curriculum experiences’. In all, there are 71 providers across New Zealand, including the Waitomo Caves Museum and Hamilton Zoo.
Te Awamutu Museum has held a contestable education contract continuously for the past 25 years. In that time, museum staff have delivered programmes to more than 80,000 students from as far north as Whangaparaoa Peninsula and as far south as Wellington.
Museum director Anne Blyth said programmes varied but there was often a focus on the New Zealand Land Wars, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the natural world and wearable art. All programmes have a Waipā focus and many involve visits to the district’s significant sites like Rangiaowhia, O-Rākau, Lake Ngā Roto and the Alexandra Redoubt. It was hands-on learning, she said.
“For a small museum, we do punch above our weight in terms of what we can deliver to students and I think this is reflected in the success we have had in delivering educational programmes,” she said.
“Our museum was founded in 1935 and we have fabulous resources and staff to call upon. It means we can connect Waipā and the greater Waikato with nationally significant stories, places and taonga.”
Waipā is one of New Zealand’s most significant districts in terms of the Land Wars and inter-tribal conflict, she said.
“Plus we have striking natural landscapes on our doorstep including our maunga - Kakepuku, Pirongia and Maungatautari - which also hold unique stories. It’s a privilege to be able to share those stories with young people and is an important part of what we do.”
Te Awamutu Museum education facilitator Kerrin Carr, supported by other museum and council staff, works with kura and other organisations to develop customised programmes, using uniquely Waipā stories, people, places and taonga.
“We have a very experienced and dedicated team and we’re all passionate about history, culture and arts. We work collaboratively so that what we deliver is interesting, relevant and enjoyable for both students and teachers. We get amazing feedback and people leave with a real appreciation for our history and our district.”
As part of the new government contract, museum staff will offer programmes for pre-schoolers for the first time, introducing them to what museums offer. But most programmes from the museum are for older students and support the New Zealand curriculum. In 2019, the government announced curriculum changes to ensure New Zealand history was taught in all schools and kura from this year.
“Even before then, we were seeing a growing awareness of New Zealand history and much more demand from people to hear uniquely New Zealand stories,” Blyth said.
“Of course we have been advocating for this for a very long time so we’re happy to be part of this movement and to be sharing our knowledge and resources.”
See the Te Awamutu Museum education programmes booklet here.