Put an unfamiliar piece of technology in front of an 8-year old and chances are, with a bit of time and guidance, they will have it mastered.

But children across Tauranga Moana do not always have equal access to exciting new technologies.

Tauranga City Libraries aims to help bridge this digital divide with their new mobile makerspace, Te Waka Waihanga.

According to a written statement from the council, a "mobile makerspace" is a moveable technology lab which can operate out of various spaces and be adapted to the needs of the audience.


Library digital programming specialist, Shannon Bristowe, said the Te Waka Waihanga initiative was "a positive learning experience within a collaborative, creative and innovative space".

Following successful trials within selected schools last year, libraries team will be rolling out Te Waka Waihanga sessions as a free outreach service, where they take the tech directly to local primary schools.

Although robots and computer coding do make up an essential component of the programme, problem-solving and authentic learning opportunities are front and centre.

"Te Waka Waihanga is a NZ curriculum-aligned programme which offers students a chance to tinker, experiment and develop critical thinking skills as they design solutions to real-world environmental issues that face our communities," Bristowe said.

The mobile nature of the technology will enable all Tauranga libraries to run diverse digital programming without being reliant on a permanent tech suite set up.

The council said the potential inter-generational learning opportunities are "particularly exciting", exposing adults to the technology that many kids are growing up with.

Community spaces and outreach will be key to Te Waka Waihanga's success and residents can expect to see the team out and about during the year.

Library manager Joanna Thomas said: "Our aim is to reach more children who want to have a go at robotics, coding, and other practical problem-solving activities. Reading, creating, socialising and solving problems are all skills our young people need to be part of Tauranga's future job market".

Schools interested in arranging sessions with Te Waka Waihanga can contact the library directly.