Te Awamutu’s Museum has punched above its weight again, named for the third year in a row as a finalist in the prestigious 2016 New Zealand Museum Awards.


Our small museum is up against much larger museums from Wellington, Hutt City and Auckland in an award celebrating innovative public programmes.

Staff entered their home-grown school holiday programme, Dig It, into the award. The programme teaches children about archaeology, takes them on a simulated dig and helps them learn about artefacts.

Dig It ran for the first time in 2015 and again last month, involving 60 children aged 5-12. Both times it was fully subscribed with a waiting list of children wanting to be involved.

Director of Museums and Heritage Anne Blyth said the Te Awamutu Museum was lucky to have Collections Manager Haylee Alderson, trained in archaeology, as part of the team.

“It’s brilliant because the only way most young people will ever get introduced to archaeology in New Zealand is if they go to university,” Anne said.

As far as she is aware, Dig It is the only programme of its type in New Zealand.

Thirty-three finalists in eight categories have been selected for the ServiceIQ-sponsored awards to be announced in Auckland later this month. The Te Awamutu Museum has been an award finalist before; in 2013 for an exhibition about eels and in 2014 for an exhibition of artworks by prisoners at Waikeria Prison. The exhibition, We Love Eels, is being offered again by the museum from May 14 – August 20.