Enriching Local Curriculum

Enriching Local Curriculum

Youngsters schooled early in Waipā history

Hundreds of Waipā pre-schoolers are getting a head-start on local history.

It’s been 12 months since the Te Awamutu Museum, Education and Research Centre secured a three-year contract with the Ministry of Education. The contract sees staff developing customised programmes, using uniquely Waipā stories, people, places and taonga, for use with school groups.

For the first time, early childhood centres have been included – and requests are flooding in.

Waipā District Council’s museums and heritage director Anne Blyth said free, customised programmes for pre-schoolers had already reached close to 400 children across nine centres, mainly in the Waipā district. Those numbers are far higher than expected and are rising as word gets around, she said.

“We’ve really had a fantastic response from the early childhood sector. Teachers are very keen to get us along and have us involved with the children. It supports the curriculum and we can customise the programme in a way that suits tamariki and teachers best,” Blyth said.

“We have wonderful Waipā stories to tell, lots of interesting things to show the kids and it’s a fun time for everyone involved. And of course, we hope that by introducing children early to museums and what they offer, we’ll spark a lifelong passion for history and learning.”

Te Awamutu’s Flourish Early Learning is one centre that’s jumped on board, hosting education facilitator Kerrin Carr. Kerrin, assisted by his puppet Marvin, talked about tuna, told stories and discussed the history of Te Awamutu, what its name meant and why.

Following the visit, children did their own research. The programme kicked off questions and activities to support numeracy, saw the class visit the library and Te Awamutu War Memorial Park, and drove questions on subjects ranging from Anzac Day to how long an eel can grow.

Teacher Annie Andrews said it was a fantastic day which began a “learning journey” about a huge range of topics for weeks afterwards.

“The visit from Kerrin was just brilliant and our tamariki really, really enjoyed it. It stimulated a lot of other activities which we were then able to combine with literacy and numeracy, science and te ao Māori. It created lots of discussions about taonga and our own precious things. We can’t wait for the next visit!”

Blyth said early childhood centres wanting to take part in the programme needed to book by emailing leotc@waipadc.govt.nz. The educator would usually visit the centres, or children and teachers could travel to the Te Awamutu Museum, Education and Research Centre in Rickit Road.

“It is usually easier for us to go out and visit but we’ve found that our visits often see classes coming back to see us within a couple of months,” Blyth said.

“And that’s fantastic because we want children to feel very welcome and comfortable here in this environment. This is a community space, full of all sorts of important and interesting things and we welcome anyone.”

Opening hours at the Te Awamutu Museum Education and Research Centre are 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 2pm on Saturday and public holidays.

Waipa District Council Communications

Education facilitator Kerrin Carr chats to children at Te Awamutu’s Flourish Early Learning about the hīnaki (eel trap) they made.

New Space

Te Awamutu’s Museum is back, but with a new purpose and a new name!

The museum was forced to close overnight last October following a seismic assessment which showed the building was vulnerable in an earthquake. Since then, staff have been ensuring the security of artefacts while planning a new, public space.

They have also continued to deliver education services, providing learning sessions to around 370 students from five schools since the closure. The education programme is part of the museum’s prestigious three-year contract with the Ministry of Education.

Museum director Anne Blyth said the new space at the building leased by Council in Rickit Road could not technically be called a museum.

“Museums must meet really stringent standards in terms of climate control, pest management and security and we simply can’t meet those standards in the Ricket Road space. But that doesn’t mean we can’t offer something else really valuable to the community, so that’s what we’ll be doing.”

On that basis, the museum is now open as the Te Awamutu Museum Education and Research Centre. Staff will focus on providing an education-centred service and will be making the space as interactive as possible with the spotlight firmly on Waipā’s rich history.

There will also be an emphasis on research with space provided so people can access the museum’s extensive archive of paper, photograph and digital documents. The popular Tui & Tama Kids Club, with more than 500 members, may also use the space as a base for some activities.

“There is still going to be plenty to do and, it’s certainly not like the collection has disappeared,” Blyth said. “We’ve already got more than 18,000 items available online and that’s a fabulous resource for people to use. You can lose yourself for hours online, browsing the collection.”

Opening hours at the Te Awamutu Museum Education and Research Centre will be 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 2pm on Saturday and public holidays. The Centre will be closed on Sunday.

Museum director Anne Blyth (left) and collection manager Sarah Dawe preparing the Te Awamutu Museum Education and Research Centre for Tui & Tama’s Eco Expo opening 5th March 2023.

Research & Archive Services

Research & Archive Services

Museum is at your service

It’s time to get scanning at Te Awamutu Museum – Education & Research Centre.

With staff already undertaking the process of digitising – either scanning or photographing – much of the taonga the centre holds in the form of exhibition items, its doors are now open to the public wanting to preserve their own precious memories in the same way.

Access to two different scanners is being provided as part of a free service – an overhead scanner for items such as scrapbooks, photo albums and handwritten diaries, and the museum’s newest flatbed scanner which can digitise old photographs, slides and negatives.

Te Awamutu Museum – Education & Research Centre collections manager Sarah Dawe told The News the idea to offer the public the opportunity came about as centre staff looked to provide more ways for people to connect with the museum.

“As part of that, we’ve set up a research room which as well as the scanners includes published collections of books on the history of Waipā, our births, deaths and marriages microfiche – which is a great asset – and access to a huge resource call Ancestry Library Edition.”

Those who have items they would like to digitise can book a time in the research room to scan them and create high resolution digital copies.

Museum staff shifted to Rickit Rd in March aster the centre’s former building near Waipā District Councils’ Bank St building was closed overnight las October following a seismic assessment which showed it was vulnerable in an earthquake.

Exhibitions co-ordinator Henriata Nicholas said she like to think of the new location as a “learning activation space’.

“Every time anyone of any age visits us, our aim is that they don’t just have a look, but that some level of learning is activated, and they feel connected to what we’re doing here.”

To that end, each of the next six months at the centre will have a hand-picked theme.

Programmes for children and young people have also been running during the school holidays.

July is Matariki month, Henriata said, adding it’s hoped starting to invite the public to scan their items will also prompt people to think about history ahead of plans for Ancestry month at the centre in August.

“Every family will have documents of some kind which are part of their history,” Henriata said.

“And this is a great way in which to preserve them.”

Any one who books a time to use the scanners will be taken through a brief induction and training session regarding how to best use the equipment, based on what it is they would like to digitise.

Sarah said she’s looking forward to welcoming people who book in to use the scanners.

“I’m excited – people often love to share their own stories, and through the special items they bring in it’ll be nice to connect with the community like that,” she said.

For further information please contact Te Awamutu Museum – Education & Research Centre via museum@waipadc.govt.nz

Article by Jeremy Smith – 13th July The News

Te Awamutu Museum – Education & Research Centre collections manager Sarah Dawe gets ready to scan – or digitise – a slice from the centre’s Mandeno collection. Photo / Jeremy Smith

An example of the Epson Perfection V850 Pro scanner with an archival document ready for scanning. Photo / Sarah Dawe

An example of how slides can be scanned and placed within the special holder for the best results. Photo / Sarah Dawe

Examples of black and white photographs ready to be scanned to become a digital record. Photo / Sarah Dawe

Tui & Tama’s Eco Expo

Tui & Tama’s Eco Expo

Our Tui & Tama’s Eco Expo has been moved to Children’s Day March 6th 2022!

A great celebration for current and new members! You’re invited to attend this fun event with a focus on learning about our local environment and ecosystems. Due to current uncertainty around level changes, the Museum is moving this great event for our Tui & Tama Club Members to Children’s Day next year. You will receive an activity passport to collect stamps from each station. In return you will get a special limited edition Tui & Tama badge!

You will participate in activities like face painting, meet a DOC Conversation dog, learn about recycling, make a bug-hotel and more!

Register: By 1st March 2022

Date: Sunday 6th March 2022

Time: 10.30am-1.30pm

Cost: FREE

Type: Drop in style

Ages: All ages with adult supervision

DOC Conservation Dog

Meet an amazing conservation dog and their handler, and listen to how they work together to save our natural environments.

Tali from Sanctuary Mountain

Presenting workshops on pests.

Waipā District Council Zero Waste

Come test your knowledge, can you recycle right Waipā? Spot prizes for zero waste tips! find out what you can be doing to minimise waste.

Make a Bug-Hotel

We’ll give you the materials and know-how to make a bug-hotel you get to take home.

Face painting with Oriwa

Choose from butterflies, bees, birds and flowers.

Christmas Decorations

Tui & Tama themed decorations you make, colour in and take home or put on our Christmas Parade Float tree!

All children must have adult supervision. Please be aware there may be limits on capacity so please check with reception on the day.




Promoted at the Regent Theatre around the screening of the film Punch and featuring Te Awamutu born writer, designer and director Dr. Welby Inges’ preparatory sketches for the film.

“The rough sketches in pencil, ink and coffee granules were made either before writing the screenplay for PUNCH or in pre-production while attempting to ‘feel’ the spirit of the world the film was going to inhabit.

They were recorded in notebooks, or on old scraps of paper. In some instances they contain flickers of possibly storylines, potential dialogue or the ‘poetic spirit’ of the scene I was intending to shoot.

There are literally hundreds of such drawings that go into any film I make, because I draw the whole world of a story before I commit anything to writing. If I run into trouble while shooting, I return to drawing as a method of ‘feeling’ my way through a problem.”


The exhibition of these amazing sketches will be showing on the Front Porch Gallery 1st – 10th September 2022.



Kerrin Carr, the Museum Educator Faciliator, will be running a series of “ASK ME” drop in sessions during July School Holidays.

Starting Wednesday 13th July, take the opportunity to call into the Museum and ask Kerrin all about the amazing Enriching you Local Curriculum (ELC) programmes. These are specially targeted at Teachers and Home School Parens from ECE through to HIgh School levels!


  • How long are the programmes?
  • What programmes should we be looking at?
  • Can you come into our school and talk to our teams?
  • Can you co-design a programme with us?
  • Can we include an online element?
  • How are you integrating Aotearoa New Zealand’s history curriculum into programmes?
  • Are programmes hands-on, authentic and interactive?
  • How do you enrich the local curriculum?
  • Where do we start?

Dates: 13th, 14th 15th, 20th, 21st & 22nd July 2022.

Times: 10am-12pm & 1.30pm-3pm

Bookings: Drop in style

Come on into the Museum, up in the mezzanine kids activity area and bring lots of questions, we’re ready to welcome you in!