Pacific Explorers
Ngā kaihōpara o Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa

Investigate Pacific migration, navigation, and voyaging vessels. Get hands-on, try virtual reality, and visit an exhibition.

  • Learning areas and strands Social Sciences, Science, Engineering, Technology, Pacific, History
  • Education type Education visit
  • Duration 2 hours (all sessions)
  • Suitable for Years 3–13
  • Next available Available
  • Cost $6.50 per student (teachers and parent helpers go free)
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Choose from 3 sessions

Each Pacific Explorers session offers a chance to:

  • get hands-on in Hīnātore | Learning Lab
  • explore our exhibition Tangata o le Moana: The story of Pacific people in New Zealand.

1. Pacific Migration

How did Pacific peoples reach Aotearoa New Zealand?

Guided by our educators, your students will:

  • explore their personal origins and their ancestors’ migrations
  • hunt through the exhibition Tangata o le Moana in three groups, each investigating a different theme: Origins, Ancestors, and Voyagers
  • create personal and historical maps on our touch tables
  • share and discuss their findings with others.

2. Pacific Navigation

How did Pacific voyagers find their way across the ocean to Aotearoa New Zealand?

Guided by our educators, your students will:

  • hunt down the history of Pacific navigation in the exhibition Tangata o le Moana
  • craft Micronesian stick charts to map ocean swells
  • make star compasses to navigate on the open ocean
  • experience navigation in virtual reality 
  • share and discuss their findings with others.

3. Design a Vaka

How are Pacific-voyaging vaka (canoes) made?

Guided by our educators, your students will:

  • find out how Pacific voyagers have travelled long distances over the sea – recently and in the past
  • discover different vaka designs and discuss their cultural meanings
  • create their own 3-D vaka designs in teams, using digital and non-digital methods
  • see a vaka up close in virtual reality  
  • share and discuss their findings with others.

See an example of a student's 3D vaka