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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.


Upcoming events: She Danced on a Friday (four sessions)

Untitled design 8

Monday 9 April, Tuesday 10 April, Wednesday 11 April, Thursday 12 April

All at 10:30am 

$15 per person (1 free teacher per group)

Nicola Pauling (Actor/writer) will be available after the performance to answer questions and talk about her experiences in New Zealand Theatre. Performances support by Fairfield Rotary.

Bookings are essential (use our education booking form – Programme “She Danced On A Friday”). Restricted to years 11, 12 and 13.


Eureka: The Inventions of Archimedes

eureka waikato museum2

Explore the mind of the father of modern science.

Featuring 70 models of historical artefacts and interactive reconstructions of technology and machines conceived by one of the world’s greatest ancient scholars. Waikato Museum is the exclusive New Zealand venue to host this international touring exhibition.

Our education programme will explore the fundamental principles of science and modern-day applications of Archimedes’ technology. Students can touch and interact with many of the models, including a gravity machine, Hellenistic pulley and Herodotus machine used for building the Egyptian Pyramids.

Curriculum links

Science, mathematics, technology, history, engineering, art

Our programmes

Waikato Museum’s Eureka education programmes include a classroom-based session, exhibition tour and activities.

Bookings are essential, email




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)


Freedom & Structure: Cubism and New Zealand Art 1930-1960

16 December 2017 - 2 April 2018

A revolutionary style, Cubism’s influence spread globally beyond Europe and the United States to Asia and Australasia, affecting other disciplines including architecture, design and fashion.

Freedom and Structure looks at the significant effect of Cubism on New Zealand painting, and reveals its impact on the work of initial adopters John Weeks, Louise Henderson and Colin McCahon, and others including Melvin Day, Charles Tole and Wilfred Stanley Wallis. This exhibition explores how these artists incorporated the radical language of this style, weaving it into their work in inventive ways. 

Featured art exhibitions:

Image: Colin McCahon, French Bay 1957, oil on canvas on board, Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1984.




Nigel Brown: I AM, WE ARE

2 December 2017 - 18 March 2018

A wide-ranging yet cohesive exhibition, I AM, WE ARE features exemplary works from many distinct periods of Brown’s artistic exploration over the last 35 years.

The diverse themes represented in the exhibition are all drawn together by Brown’s unmistakeable painterly style, along with his iconic symbolism and use of text. The result is a lively and high-impact exhibition celebrating the work of this prolific and engaging artist.

Featured art exhibitions:

Image: The Meeting House, Nigel Brown.


Tangata whenua

Media release teaser Matariki over Taupiri2

Te Whaanau Maarama:The Heavenly Bodies

Until 11 August 2019

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


Monumental: The Sensitive Lens of Laurence Aberhart

9 March - 29 April 

From Waikato River’s source at Lake Taupoo-nui-a-Tia to where it meets the ocean at Tuakau, Laurence Aberhart takes us with him on a five-year journey (1990 – 1995) with the taniwha. It almost seems they have guided him at every bend of the river.

What makes this body of photographs so significant and beautiful are the voices of history, both Maaori and Paakehaa. With each image, Aberhart acknowledges each of these places has spiritual significance to the iwi/tribe(s): Tainui and Tuuwharetoa. His photographs are monuments for us to remember the unspoken lives of these tribes and the colonial settlers who have added different kinds of structures along the riverside. Aberhart acknowledges those who fell in battle, not only for King and country, but for Kiingitanga and whenua/land.

Featured exhibitions:


Image: The Point #2, Ngaaruawaahia, 17 February 1994, Laurence Aberhart, collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.


The Horses Stayed Behind

27 January - 29 April 2018

Ten-thousand horses left New Zealand for the front lines in World War One, only four returned. It was this fact that occupied Cat Auburn during her time in Whanganui as Tylee Cottage artist-in-residence. For The Horses Stayed Behind Auburn asked horse owners from across the country to donate a small clipping of full length hair from their horse or pony’s tail which she then made into rosettes, flowers made in the style of Victorian hair wreaths.

Rather than creating a figurative motif or picture with the 500 resulting rosettes, Auburn has instead chosen to present them using a formalist aesthetic. Like a heartbeat stretched across five linen canvases the horizontal arrangement, devoid of narrative, allows each unique flower to hold onto its individuality while maintaining a role within the larger group. Each horse and rider is identifiable, in stark contrast to the anonymous fate that awaited thousands of the horses and men who left New Zealand for the war.

Featured exhibitions:


Image: Detail, The Horses Stayed Behind, Cat Auburn. Photo: Richard Wotton

Hamilton’s New Concept Garden

20 January - 6 May 2018

With more than 1 million annual visitors, Hamilton Gardens is Waikato’s most popular tourist destination and the pride of our city.

A unique local attraction, the Gardens is expected to play a major role as plans for Hamilton develop in years to come. One of its most exciting current projects is the Concept Garden opening as part of the Fantasy Collection in February 2018. To celebrate this special event, we take a look at the philosophy and progress of the innovative new garden, situating it within the overall vision of Hamilton Gardens.

Featured exhibitions:

Image: Impression of Concept Garden. Courtesy of Hamilton Gardens.

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

For Us They Fell

Until 5 May 2019

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.

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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 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 taangatawhenua. 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 Tangata Whenua (PDF)


Archived teacher resources

Early Childhood Experience Resource booklet (PDF)

Level 1 - 4 Teacher Resource Booklet

Years 9 - 13 Teacher Resource Booklet

Art In Colour

Is it Art?

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