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Education programmes

Waikato Museum's education programmes explore and develop the curriculum through classroom-based sessions, exhibition tours and activities. 

Explore Art, Science, Social History and Tangata Whenua history and culture through our changing exhibitions. We will work with you to develop a programme to meet your teaching and learning needs.

Admission fees

Short education programme $6 per student
Extended education programme (Big Day Out half-day)  $8 per student
Full education programme (Big Day Out full-day) $10 per student

Prices vary according to the programme selected, duration of your visit and consumables used. 


Early childhood - 1 adult:4 students

Years 0-6 - 1 adult:8 students

Years 7-10 - 1 adult:15 students

Years 11-13 - 1 adult:30 students

These ratios include teachers/supervisors.

NOTE: One adult per the ratios listed above may attend free as a supervisor; additional adults who wish to attend beyond that ratio are charged the student fee. 

For information on class times, length, ratios and how to book, check out Information for teachers. Booking is essential for all programmes.




The Exscite gallery is jammed-packed with great interactive ways to learn about science. The programme includes a classroom session (tailored to your group), exhibition tour and interactive fun – inclusive cost $8.

milk splash blue

Milk Matters: Towards Sustainable Dairying 

26 November 2016 - 29 April 2018

In this highly interactive, educational exhibition created for children and families, we explore issues and highlight advancements in agricultural science that are paving the way for a safer, more efficient and environmentally conscious industry. 

Download the Teacher Resource booklet (PDF)


Strangely Familiar: Portraits by Wayne Youle

Curated by Helen Kedgley, this exhibition consists of a series of bold, stylised portraits of well-known, recognisable New Zealand art world personalities Wayne Youle admires - from Ralph Hotere to Rita Angus to Philip Clairmont.

For some years now, Youle has been investigating the relationship between the current generation of New Zealand artists and the heroic modernists, highlighting the cross-connections between them. In his current series of portraits, he pays homage to the way artists connect across time in an ongoing visual conversation. He paints portraits of artists, both historical and contemporary, who have influenced his practice in some way - writers, poets, musicians and visual artists who have shaped our culture.

Featured art exhibitions:

Download the Teacher Resource booklets (PDF)

Image: Cradled in an upturned rainbow, Wayne Youle, collection of D. Alsop & S Shaw, Wellington.

The Cold Islanders

The physical adjustment to the cold winters of Aotearoa would have been difficult for Maaori, equally so for the second wave of Pacific migrants on arrival here.

The second and third generations of Pacific and Oceanic peoples have adjusted to the cold, but their adjustments have had to be internal. The artists in this exhibition trawl their oceans within dreams, grandparents’ watery memories and droplets of inherited culture to find their coordinates. Often their only navigational compass is the salt water in their blood which yields ancient chants and images ensuring their oceans will never freeze. They are cognisant of not being island-based Islanders; visibility, not authenticity, is their goal. The Pacific-fluid person alone reserves the right to state where they might sit on the Pacific spectrum.

Featured art exhibitions:

Download the Teacher Resource booklets (PDF)

Image: Video still from ‘Reaction to Insults’ and ‘Individualistic’ from Video Performance Series: The Response Series, 2013 by Darcell Apelu (Niue/Aotearoa).



Artists from almost every culture create art that is based upon geometric shapes. Everything in nature has a shape, so the very nature of drawing from nature is an attempt at recreating geometric shapes. At times, abstraction employs only pure shapes to create imagery. Pure geometric abstraction is interested in nothing other than creating illusion of depth, distance and scale by the use of line, colour, tonal scale and contrast.

Featured art exhibitions:

Download the Teacher Resource booklets (PDF)

Image: Detail, Hone Papita Raukura “Ralph” Hotere, ONZ (1931 –2013) Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa Untitled Lacquer on board, circa 1970s. Collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.



Martin Poppelwell: Index

This exhibition, toured by Hastings City Art Gallery, exhibits a new body of work from Hawke’s Bay-based artist Martin Poppelwell.

This idiosyncratic look at the alphabet uses images and icons that Poppelwell has built up over years. Exploring the idea of the ‘alphabet’, the project is an acknowledgement of how in the context of New Zealand, tereoMaaori is entirely integral to how we think about English.

Featured art exhibitions:

Download the Teacher Resource booklets (PDF)

 Image: INDEX, Martin Poppelwell. Image Richard Brimer.




Tangata whenua

Media release teaser Matariki over Taupiri2

Te Whaanau Maarama:The Heavenly Bodies

Until 13 July 2018 

Tune in to the stars! Te Whaanau Maarama shines a spotlight on modern Maaori astronomy and promotes a better understanding of the history and meaning of Matariki.

Developed in partnership with the University of Waikato, this ground-breaking exhibition examines the traditional Maaori societal view of the night sky and how it is being revitalised in the modern world. 

Supported by taonga, photographs and koorero, this exhibition will help students to explore the night sky with more knowledge and understanding. The three parts of the exhibition shine a spotlight on Maaori astronomy and the evolution of Matariki over the last 20 years. Curriculum links: Social Sciences(History), Science, Technology, Art, Mathematics.

Download the Teacher Resource booklet (PDF)

Image: Detail, Matariki over Taupiri, 2015, photograph by Erica Sinclair

Social history

New Zealanders use a favourite backdrop in Egypt Collection of Richard Stowers

For Us They Fell

Until 11 November 2018

For Us They Fell is a major exhibition about the people of the Waikato and Coromandel during World War 1. Children will learn about the human side of WW1 and what life was like for soldiers and their families. Students participate in a classroom session, an exhibition tour and a practical activity before creating their own memorial memento to take home.

Download the Teacher Resource booklet (PDF)

Image: New Zealanders in front of a favourite backdrop in Egypt. Collection of Richard Stowers.

Pre-school programmes


The Museum is a vibrant and engaging learning experience for students of all ages, and at Waikato Museum we appreciate and value our youngest visitors. We can offer a range of early childhood programmes focused on visiting exhibitions as well as our interactive science galleries Exscite and Milk Matters. Trained teachers work with centre staff and visiting parents to provide interactive and fun programmes using music, storytelling, games and activities. 

Find out more, download the Early Childhood Experience Resource booklet (PDF)


 Teacher resources 

teacher resource

Our Teacher Resource booklets contain information to assist in the planning of classroom units. They are in PDF format and are free to download. 

These booklets ask teachers to explore any one of the four areas of interest at the museum: art, science, social history and taangata whenua. In the booklets we suggest possible areas of study and how we can enhance your programmes by providing a comprehensive education package.

Experience Art (PDF)

Experience Science (PDF)

Explore History (PDF)

Explore Taangata Whenua (PDF)


Archived teacher resources

Planet Warriors

Da Vinci Mechanics 

Science Big Day Out

Discovery Dash

Early Childhood Experience

Hamilton Sesquicentennial 

With Bold Needle & Thread: Rosemary McLeod Collection 

Roman Machines 

Never A Dull Moment 

Games and Play in Great Grandfather's Day  

Science Magic