Ngā kura | Info for schools

Through our diverse learning programme we aim to work with schools to meet objectives of their local curriculum and also have a focus on the new Aotearoa New Zealand Histories Curriculum (ANZH).

Our educators will work with you to make a plan for your day. Whether you are looking for an in-depth learning experience of 1.5-2 hours, or a rotation of two or three programmes within that time, we can adjust our programmes to suit your timeframe. Most of our programmes can be adapted for different year levels.

ECE providers please get in touch to discuss the exciting options we have for you!

We also welcome self-lead visits from schools, please book in advance.

For all bookings and enquiries email
Six Extinctions
  • Year 1-8
  • Max group size: ~60
  • Total time: 1.5-2 hours

Across hundreds of millions of years, extinction events have wiped out vast numbers of species. Come face to face with their fossilised remains in this time-travelling science exhibition – from giant armoured fish and ancient mammals to the mighty T-Rex itself!

Our Educators have developed a fascinating and engaging learning programme that travels back 485 million years, investigating species change, dinosaurs, fossils and the current extinction period we are experiencing.

Six Extinctions opens to the public on 16th December 2023 and the learning programme will be available to schools in Term 1 2024 until the end of March.

A flax bush
  • Year 5-8
  • Max group size: ~30
  • Total time: 2 hours (short programme) or 3.5 hours (long programme)

Transported back 300 years through imagination and storytelling, students will learn the traditional importance of harakeke in our rohe. They will each transform harakeke from rau (leaf) to whiri (plait). They’ll also play an inter-iwi ‘trading game’ to illustrate the importance of harakeke as a resource for practical needs, exchange and interconnection. This programme was developed by external experts with knowledge of Mātauranga Rangitāne and active embodied learning.


10.30-12.00 (or 12.30 for slower rau workers) – this session will include the key storytelling and rau mahi.

1.00-2.30 Trading game session (this is not included in the short programme).

We provide a venue for a lunch break.

A sunset at the beach
  • Year 4-8
  • Max group size: ~30
  • Total time: 1.5 hrs

Thirty-five generations ago, Haunui-a-Nanaia made an epic journey through our rohe. This engaging and interactive programme will build students’ understanding of the many different ways stories are told and carry important information through the generations. Students will learn the names of awa in our rohe and the meanings behind them. They will also gain a sense of how events from the distant past tie people to place. This programme was developed by external experts with knowledge of Mātauranga Rangitāne and active embodied learning. 

A teacher from the early 20th century points to a lesson on a blackboard
Time Traveller – Destination 1900
  • Year 1-8
  • Max group size: ~70

Short Programme (10.00-12.00 or 12.30-2.30):

After a full group introduction, students will be split into three groups and rotate between the following activities:

  1. Experience early NZ school life in the old school house (educator lead, 35 minutes)
  2. Touring the historic Tōtaranui cottage
  3. Enjoy playing with some old toys and games (self-lead, 35 minutes)

Long Programme (full day 10.00-2.30):
Includes the above short programme with the addition of:

  1. Butter churning
  2. Old-time clothes washing (educator lead)
  3. Making pikelets using equipment from the past,
  4. Dressing up in heritage clothing

We provide a venue for a lunch break.
Flooding and Erosion
  • Year 3-10
  • Max group size: ~30
  • Total time: 1.5 hrs (morning or afternoon session)

Follow Te Awa o Manawatū from its source all the way to the ocean and learn how the awa has shaped our land. In our custom-built water room students will experience the effects of flooding and erosion first-hand by playing our popular erosion game. After a full group introduction, the group splits for a rotation of two 30-minute sessions;

  1. the Water Room (educator lead, 30 min)
  2. self-lead with a related worksheet (30 min)
A satellite photo of the Manawatū Gorge.
Geological Forces
  • Year 7-10
  • Max group size: ~16; if your group size is larger we can discuss options for a two-rotation programme of 2.5-3 hrs
  • Total time: 1-1.5 hrs

More suited to older students who will discover the fascinating geology of our region, with a focus on the unique Te Āpiti Manawatū Gorge. Students will also get the chance to investigate rocks and fossils close-up and consider the forces of nature that have formed our rohe.

The programme first takes students on a journey through our Te Awa gallery investigating the geological formation of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Manawatū before moving into our Education room for hands-on activities investigating sedimentary rocks and fossils.
Dino Dig and Fossils
  • Year 1-6
  • Max group size: ~30
  • Total time: 1-1.5 hrs

Students will become palaeontologists and dig for fossil remains. They will explore how fossils are formed and reflect on what Aotearoa New Zealand may have looked like at the time of dinosaurs. They will learn about the creatures that once lived in our forests and swam in our waters, and perhaps even design their own dinosaur!

This programme has a full group introduction, then splits students for rotations between two educator-led sessions of 35-40 minutes: Dino Dig and fossils.
Hands-on Science
  • Year 3-8
  • Max group size: ~25
  • Total time: 1.5 hrs

Choose a topic that suits your needs or get a taste of two or three with our hands-on science experiments. Discuss your needs with us and we will provide an awesome learning experience.

This programme can focus on either Fizzing & Foaming (FF) or Nano-technology (NT). All students partake in each experiment.

  1. Experiment 1- Dancing popcorn (FF) or Behaviour of Liquid Crystals (NT)
  2. Experiment 2- Super-cold bag (FF) or Never-wet sand (NT)
  3. Experiment 3: Pop make the flame go out (FF) or Exploring nano-fabric (NT)
A woman surrounded by art supplies
Colour My World
  • Year 4-10
  • Max group size: ~25
  • Total time: 1.5 hrs

Through storytelling, viewing and discussion of different art works and practical colour exercises, students will explore the impact of colour in our lives.

A fern print in blue ink
Print it!
  • Year 4-10
  • Max group size: ~25
  • Total time: 1.5 hrs

This programme offers students different printing experiences, from trying out traditional methods to making cyanotypes, an artform reliant on the UV rays of the sun. A brilliant mix of art and science. Focus on one or have a go at both.

Plan your visit

We’re here to help you make your group visit as smooth as possible, so that you and your guests have the best Te Manawa experience! 

  • Arrive in plenty of time for your programme and report to the reception desk in the Museum building. If you are booked for a programme, an educator will greet you in the foyer and guide you to the appropriate Education  Room or gallery. For self lead groups a Visitor Host at reception is available to answer your questions.


There are three  education rooms; two downstairs in the Museum building, and one upstairs in the Art Gallery. These rooms are used for education programmes in addition to using gallery and exhibition areas.

Lunch Areas

  • Eating is permitted in a designated space (Wilkins Room level 1 Museum building). This area is available for classes to use as a venue for morning/afternoon tea and lunch but must be booked in advance. Please indicate when booking if you will require use of this room.
  • The open courtyard between the Museum building and Art Gallery is available as a lunch area for students (weather permitting). Note this area is also open to the public.
  • No food or drink is permitted in galleries or exhibition areas.

Bag Storage

Trolleys to store students’ bags are available in the foyer of the Museum and Art Gallery for visiting groups. Ask a Visitor Host for access to these when you arrive. Do not leave valuables such as cameras, wallets in these trolleys or unattended in education rooms.

Buses and parking

Bus and car parking is available between Animates and the Child Youth and Family building on Church Street, or alternatively on Pitt Street next to the Globe Theatre on Main St.

Pay and display public car parks are located on Main Street and directly in front of the main entrance (by the Te
Manawa letters).