At Katikati College, Celeste Skachill had no idea she would end up working with Weta Workshop on a "blockbuster" science exhibition at Te Papa.

Now, at 24, Ms Skachill was an Experience Designer at Te Papa working on her biggest project yet - Bug Lab.

Bug Lab was a high impact and hands-on exhibition which would give visitors a chance to learn the genius of bugs and see huge, detailed bugs made by Weta .

Ms Skachill's job was to "put on the hat of the visitor" and ensure experiences at Te Papa were focused on what the visitor would see, feel and learn.


A year-long internship at Te Papa after design school in Wellington led to her role.

She was the voice of the visitor throughout the development and design of exhibitions.

"I do a lot of workshops with visitors where we bounce ideas off them and towards the end we test prototypes, like physical interactives, with them."

Within the museum Ms Skachill brought together writers, curators, and stakeholders such as Weta Workshop to ensure their voices were heard.

She said Bug Lab was going to be "magical". As a person previously afraid of bugs the exhibition gave a new appreciation for the genius of bugs.

"For instance, I didn't know bees had hairs on their eyes but seeing a model so close up you see details you've never known before."

The exhibition would be at Te Papa over the summer but would then travel the world.

"It's pretty cool for New Zealand to have an exhibition on the road, profiling what us Kiwis can do," Ms Skachill said.

She credited much of her success back to Katikati College where she had "amazing teachers" who she still kept in touch with.

"Katikati is such a creative and supportive community. Anytime I'm back and tell people what I'm up to they are so supportive and interested."

Bug Lab
- 10 December to 17 April at Te Papa in Wellington
- Visitors will enter a colourful, magical space, marvel at large-scale bug models, and explore hands-on science.