This week cannot go by without acknowledging the sad passing of Peter Wells.

Peter had a strong connection to the museum as an occasional contract curator and was a founding member of the MTG Foundation, dedicated to raising funds in support of the collection.

Jointly responsible for the development of the Cemetery Tours and gardening club, and actively involved in the Colenso Conference, Peter was passionate about research and education.

Education is a fundamental part of museums, with both formal and informal educational experiences on offer. Participating in activities, programmes and events, visiting exhibitions, or taking one of our education classes, all provide a different type of learning experience from traditional classroom education. Importantly museums offer a space where inter-generational learning, sharing and exploration can take place.

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Museums are spaces where visitors can follow their own self-directed learning.

Museum Director Kalle Kallio made an interesting observation. "Open learning environments like libraries, the internet or museums can be used to search for information based on individual interests.

"But museums are also very special media for art and culture. For example, in theatres, cinemas, concerts or sport events the audience stays in their seats and watches the same show.

"This is turned upside down in a museum, where the display stays still and the audience is moving. Visitors explore the same exhibition but they do so in their own ways, wander almost randomly, see and learn different things."

Alongside self-directed learning we offer learning opportunities for all ages through public programmes such as Twilight Art Classes, collection and curator tours.

There's an ever-changing series of programmes on offer and, following popular demand, in the next few months we'll be offering more te reo Māori lessons and holding these on a regular basis.

We have two different school education programmes at the museum. Under our Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom (LEOTC) contract we offer a range of programmes to all schools in the region and beyond.

These include art, taonga and social history-focused programmes utilising the exhibitions on display and the experiences available in the museum. While we develop a suite of programmes to offer each term, our educators work closely with teachers to ensure each session is tailored to meet the specific needs and learning objectives of individual schools.

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Our digital programme, Raranga Matihiko, is targeted specifically for Year 1-10 students from decile 1-3 schools within a 120 kilometre radius from the museum.

This programme is unique in the way it is developed and delivered, with each learning experience specifically created for each school. It also includes a planning day and two full days of programme as well as follow-up contact.

This programme is offered in English and te reo Māori. Working in partnership with Te Papa, Auckland Museum and Waitangi National Trust has also enabled a lot of collaboration and learning between the institutions, adding even more depth to the programme we deliver.

However you choose to interact with the museum we hope you come in and appreciate the treasures and stories on display and you're sure to have an education experience along the way.


Hang Time. This film by Caey Zilbert balances "booze and bros" humour with candid character drama. As real as it is ridiculous it proves once and for all that nothing heals a broken heart like good wine, good friends and a damn good time. Century Theatre, Saturday, February 23, 7pm. Tickets available through Eventfinda.

*Napier Hills Cemetery Tour. Discover tales of tragedy and bravery as Social History Curator Gail Pope winds your through this historic cemetery. Sunday, February 24, 2pm. Bookings are essential as spaces are limited. Tickets available through Eventfinda.

*Exhibition Talk. Join Art Curator Jess Mio for a lunch-time discussion on 12 landscape paintings from the museum collection, exploring what these artworks can tell us about Pākehā culture and their relationship with the land of Te Matau a Maui, Hawke's Bay. Monday, February 25, 12pm. Meet in MTG foyer. Free event

*Celebrate Children's Day with the film Whale Rider, telling the tale of a young Māori girl, Pai (Keisha Castel-Hughes), who challenges tradition and embraces the part to find the strength to lead her people forward. Century Theatre, Sunday, March 3, 2pm. $5 per person. Tickets available from Eventfinda or at MTG.
*Laura Vodanovich is MTG director.