New ways of learning at Te Papa using cutting-edge technology

13 March 2017

Te Papa has transformed its learning programmes and space, creating Hīnātore, a new learning lab.

Hīnātore’s learning programmes are for learners of all ages and are delivered through interactive public workshops, drop in sessions and school prorgammes.

Head of Learning Innovation Miri Young is excited to welcome visitors to Te Papa’s state of the art learning lab.

“Hīnātore offers rich learning experiences to a wide range of visitors in an incredibly inspiring space. The range of technologies in the lab allows us all to learn in completely new ways,” Young says.

Hīnātore is equipped with a VR (Virtual Reality) studio, 3D printers, 3D scanners, touch tables, and telepresence technologies that enable learners to connect in real time with learners around the globe.

Te Papa’s collections, exhibitions and taonga are at the heart of Hīnātore’s learning programmes, allowing learners to experience anything from voyaging the Pacific in vaka, to creating digital art in an immersive world.

“The focus is on learning and engaging with Te Papa’s taonga and collections, through this new and exciting technology,” Young says. “It connects learners with one another, and with New Zealand’s scientific, arts and cultural collections and taonga.

“We’re building maker mindsets in learners of all ages, developing core competencies in collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. It’s dynamic, hands-on Hīnātore (STEAM)-based learning,” she says.

Hīnātore will host school visits and workshops and learning programmes for visitors of all ages, such as Te Papa Talks: Virtual Realities this weekend (17-20 March) and a new school holiday programme in April.

During a recent school programme, students from Newlands Intermediate School gave students at Wooranna Park Primary School in Melbourne a virtual tour of Te Papa using Google Hangout. 

“New Zealanders learning about, creating with, and sharing our nation’s collections through new and emerging technology is what Hīnātore is all about. It was a great learning opportunity for students from both schools,” says Young.

School groups unable to physically visit the national museum are able to participate on a Virtual Excursion using telepresence technology to explore Te Papa’s exhibitions remotely with an educator in a unique and exciting way, says Young. “We’re excited to enable access to remote students to virtually visit Te Papa as part of their classroom learning.”

Māori for phosphorescence or luminescence, Hīnātore refers to a twinkling or glimmering in the dark. It symbolises the awakenings of understanding; the shimmering first lights of inspiration that mark the beginning of a learning journey.

Te Papa has made an initial investment of $495,000 in Hīnātore. Supporting partners of the learning lab are Victoria University of Wellington, Staples Advantage, Pelorus Trust and The Lions Foundation.

Notes to editors

Hīnātore is on level 4 at Te Papa in the classroom space.

Programme costs vary. Free drop in sessions are available to the public, school visits start at $6.50 per student (some subsidies available), $25 for public workshops. Tickets are available online at

The Hīnātore school holiday programme will allow children aged 6 to 12 to get hands on with transformative technologies. The programme, which runs from Tuesday, April 18 till Friday, April 28, offers the chance to build and crash a lego drone, create a musical instrument and record a musical track or fly around with friends in a virtual world creation.

Images: see Dropbox folder

Media contact: Sophie Speer 027 892 6938