Museum learning brings tech to life in Te Papa’s Raranga Matihiko programme

A programme combining museum treasures with high tech is proving a hit with children across New Zealand.

Raranga Matihiko is offers schools a two-year programme involving visits to their local museum, access to the museum treasures, and the chance to tell their own stories while accessing the latest technology.

Te Papa created the programme working with Waitangi Museum, Auckland Museum, and MTG in Hawke’s Bay.

More than 4,000 students have been part of the programme, with activities ranging from creating a voyaging vaka (pacific canoe) in 3D modelling and “sailing” it across a virtual ocean to filming an animation of Māui fishing up the North Island, using Play-Doh.

The first school to participate in the programme, in March 2018, St Anne’s primary school in Newtown, were back at Te Papa this week to help the Minister of Education launch Tech Week.

St Anne’s teacher Matt Kolic says the museum learning has offered a unique way to combine high tech learning with content that is meaningful for students.

“With technology being an integral part of society, it is important that our children learn how to use these digital skills,” Mr Kolic says.

Last year St Anne’s students learned about Gallipoli, using green screen technology to create mini-movies that shared what they had learned.

This year the students will learn about climate change in Te Papa’s new exhibition zone Te Taiao | Nature, then write their own computer code to create games and animations on the topic.

St Anne’s teacher Matt Kolic says the Te Papa programme offers a unique experience.

“The programme at Te Papa provides a great opportunity for our students and gives a hands on learning experience that we just can't do at school,” Mr Kolic says.

The programme is funded by the Ministry of Education’s Digital Equity Fund, to offer access to high tech learning for children who might otherwise miss out.

Raranga Matihiko Project Director Tara Fagan says the programme is connecting students to their own stories, to technology and to their local museum.

“We are seeing the programme reach beyond the kids, to have impact on teachers, on whanau helpers, and on families who may be coming to their museum for the first time, and realising what a treasure trove it offers,” she says.

Raranga Matahiko – by the numbers

The programme began in March 2018, in that time it has reached:

  • 4 museums: Te Papa, Auckland Museum, Waitangi Museum, MTG Hawke’s Bay

  • 5,187 students participated

  • 62,300 student learning hours

  • 171 teachers

  • Over 600 whānau helpers.

St Anne’s students at Te Papa, 2019. Te Papa