Meet the Learning team

Read about the members of the Learning Innovation team who create and deliver our innovative public and school learning programmes.

Tara Fagan, Senior Advisor Museum Education

Tara Fagan

Tara has been with Te Papa since 2017, recently having designed and lead the Raranga Matihiko | Weaving Digital Futures programme. Prior to her role at Te Papa, Tara held an education leadership role and is well regarded for her expertise in digital technologies and online communities to support learning.

Tara holds a MEd and BEd (Teach) ECE and is an experienced project leader. Passionate about life-long learning, she believes in innovative community learning programmes that provide a wonderfully rich context that can support all teachers and learners.

Read Tara's research papers

Jessie Robieson, Learning Innovation Specialist  

Jessie Robieson

Jessie has been on the Learning team since June 2017, and before that was an intermediate teacher for 5 years. Her strengths lie in digital technologies, and innovating how we learn about our taonga

  taongatreasuresMāori | Noun
. She enjoys working with both students and teachers, empowering them to use more digital technologies in the classroom, and how this can benefit all types of learners.

She is also interested in 21st-century learning and pedagogy and how we can disrupt and change our learning systems for the better.

Laura Jones, Museum Education Specialist

Laura Jones

Laura has worked in the museum education sector for over eight years. Engaging audiences and deepening narratives using art and objects is her passion.

Previously, Laura has taught in schools in Cambridge, London, Barcelona and Wellington, where her interest in art and object-based learning began.

She has a degree in English and Art History, and Postgraduate qualifications in both Education and Museum and Heritage Studies.

Laura loves to help people develop personal connections with art and discover the power of objects to explore critical ideas and narratives. She is passionate about helping teachers and museum professionals engage with museums in creative ways to open up the museum space for challenging conversations.

Hauiti Gardiner, Learning Specialist Kaupapa Māori

Kei ngā ihoiho o ngā maunga whakahī e tū kāwekaweka mai nā i ō koutou nā rohe taurikura, tēnā rā koutou katoa.

Hauiti specialises in kaupapa Māori experiences and the delivery of education programmes to early childhood through to tertiary audience. Hauiti brings to the museum sector a decade of experience in institutional teaching in te reo Māori.

Hauiti believes that the use of modern technologies and innovation within the museum learning sector will enhance the learning experiences of students. Hauiti has a versatile background in future technology engineering, science, math, music, photography, and videography.

Hauiti graduated with a Diploma in Te Pīnakitanga ki te Reo Kairangi Level 7, Diploma in Te Aupikitanga ki te Reo Kairangi Level 6, and a Diploma in Adult Education.

Natasha Hanara, Learning Specialist Kaupapa Māori

“He aha te kai a te Ranagtira, He kōrero He Kōrero” (What is the food of chiefs, it is knowledge, it is communication.)

Natasha has worked in the Museum Sector since 2015 with a diverse range of roles that bring Mātauranga Māori and Kōrero Tuku Iho to the forefront of learning through storytelling, taonga and exhibition spaces.  She has a passion for sharing Mātauranga Māori, showcasing its beauty and culture, and loves to create and develop learning spaces and opportunities that allow for tamariki to engage with the Māori world. Natasha has a degree in Māori Performing arts, a Postgraduate in Museum and Heritage studies and currently working towards a Master's in Indigenous Studies. 

Mel Thompson, Learning Co-ordinator – Sector capability

Mel is an experienced coordinator, holds an Honours degree in molecular biotechnology and has a strong interest in communication and education.

These interests have intersected with her background in science in a variety of ways. She has advised on an educational children's science show in New Zealand and has been volunteering in the drug harm minimisation space as an educator and communicator for several years.

As part of the Te Pū Tiaki Mana Taonga team, she is thoroughly enjoying the rewarding mahi of supporting and elevating educators in the Culture & Heritage sector to deliver the best possible programmes for our tamariki in a wide range of fields.


Contact us

Contact the Learning Innovation team at, or follow the team on Twitter and Facebook.