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February 2015

Makarewa's annual visit

Thursday, 26th February 2015

On Tuesday and Wednesday the museum had the pleasure of hosting Makarewa !

Makarewa School were here this week for their annual two day visit. On Tuesday afternoon we had a strict 1880s goldfields class session. The rowdy boys weren't quite as good as the girls at memorising the poem. However most of the ladies had ghastly nail polish on their fingers! Fancy painting your nails? Unacceptable!!

The next morning we had a bunch of fresh faces ready to join in our 'hands on with artefacts' activity and a brief look through the museum left the students wanting to keep looking but we had to press on -on to Chinese village with the weather looking like it was going to take a turn for the worse. Luckily for us it wasn't too bad and Makarewa are a tough bunch of kids!

The afternoon involved a historic walk (where we locked the naughty children in the isolation cell at the old gaol) gold panning and even though the river was FREEZING (so I'm told, I had gumboots on) EVERY single student managed to find gold! This is an unheard of success rate! You guys are AWESOME!

And then... home time!

For anyone who had awesome questions that had me baffled comment them below and while you're at it see if you can remember the answers to some of my questions!

  • What was the Māori word for greenstone?
  • What's the other way to spell 'jail'?
  • How many pennies in a shilling?
  • What was the wine making industry called?
  • Why was the long drop so wide in the Chinese Village?


  • who can remember the poem we repeated to death in Miss Grey's classroom?

Glenorchy graces us with a visit.

Monday, 23rd February 2015

On Friday we had the majority of Glenorchy School leave their home at Matau's head and join us here at his knees (referencing the Legend of Lake Wakatipu).

The day started with the juniors going back in time to an 1880s goldfields classroom. Boy was the school ma'am, Miss Grey, strict!! She even caned a poor child! We had a lively discussion about the huge differences between school then and school now! This involved a vote where it was unanimously decided that the "uniform" was great and Glenorchy School should consider using it!

Us juniors then went inside the museum looking at all of its interesting contents. Everyone loved the fact you could touch, photograph, and sit on heaps of things. The 'Hands on with Artefacts' session was great fun. An interactive history lesson? Yes, please! Lots of hands were in the air as the keen juniors knew exactly which artefact I was describing. 

After lunch 14 of Glenorchy's seniors joined us for some outdoor fun. The students paired up and off we went on a historical walk of Arrowtown. The gaol was a definite favourite and the juniors impressed the seniors by relaying relevant information they had just learned.

Ice blocks were needed before we started on our Chinese Village Tour as the weather was hot, hot, hot. Impressively these young learners all kept focus. And as soon as it all started it was time to leave!

We loved having Glenorchy visit us! Please come again soon!

Senior scholar questions:

  • how many pennies in a shilling?
  • What did the town use before the jail was built?
  • How many languages could Ah Lum speak?
  • what is a poha? Think back to the Māori part of our time line!

A choice day out with Dipton School

Monday, 23rd February 2015

Last Thursday it was my pleasure to host Room 1 from Dipton School. My third Southland school in a row just proved how choice kids are from down south. What a fun an active bunch! I loved the small whanau vibe the school gave off.

We had an extremely busy day planned and after an awful time being scolded by the mean Miss Gray we promptly moved on to creating an artefact timeline. These students were all switched on and could guess which artefact I was talking about straight away. This time line gave everyone a hands on introduction to the history of beautiful Arrowtown. Really thoughtful questions were asked and hopefully answered showing how engaged everyone was! Tino pai!

We spent the afternoon outside. It was a beautiful day and everyone had hats and/or sunblock. First we did a historic walk of Arrowtown- the highlight was definitely the old gaol! Then at the Chinese Village we paid particular attention to looking at the huts as Room 1 has activities such as sketching and building based on these.

Finally after an ice block break we got to gold pan! We had some of the most prosperous gold panners I've ever seen in this group of determined students. Courtney struck gold numerous times! Ka rawe! The parents were all extremely helpful during the hunt for gold and everything went smoothly until we looked at the time! Time sure does fly when your searching for gold!

As always I learned just as much as I taught. I had never heard of Gypsy Day before or ever had to consider what kind of impact it has on small communities.

So big thumb waves to everyone! And I will take you up on your invitation to swing by the school next time I'm in Dipton.

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Tiring out Gore Main School!

Friday, 13th February 2015

Tiring out Gore Main School!

Gold panning!  

  • Tiring out Gore Main School!Gold panning!
  • Tiring out Gore Main School!Learning about the old gaol
  • Tiring out Gore Main School!Inside the Gaol

On Thursday the museum had the pleasure of hosting Gore Main School. GMS chose to do the Full Day Primary Programme and as the group was large (40 year 6s) it was ran by Denise, David and myself. We had lots of fun and the weather was scorching! Luckily everyone was equip with hats and water bottles.

The day started inside with the group split into two (odds and evens). Miss Gray arrived to teach the students as if they were in a late 1800s goldfields classroom. GMS thought that Miss Gray was too strict!! The girls were upset that they only got to do a small amount of PE and were not impressed with their outfits they had to change into! These Southland girls were self-proclaimed tomboys with not a skirt or dress in sight! All the students agreed that there was no room to be themselves seeing as they were banned from jewellery, nail polish, different accents, and using their left hand to write, and having to learn through rote learning styles was boring!!

The rest of the morning consisted of a discovery museum visit and after lunch it was time to go on some walks! Once we were outside the groups were divided again and one went with museum director, David, to learn the history of the township while the others went with educator, Denise, to learn about the Chinese Village. Many screams were heard when a bunch of students chose to go into complete darkness in the isolation cell at the old gaol! Stunning weather complimented these walks.

Finally it was time to go gold panning. The students attentively listened as I explained the most fruitful way to find gold. This resulted in many finding multiple pieces of gold. I was so pleased to hear some students who found more than one piece sharing their gold while others helped their friends spot gold in their pans. Sharing truly is caring. It was also a nice relief to stick our feet into the chilly Arrow River. We really did make the most of being outside the classroom. Soon after GMS had to return to Bannockburn for one last night of camp. I'm sure everyone slept well that night. I know I did!

If you have any great photos from the trip and wouldn't mind sharing them with us please email them to [email protected]

All right learners- let's see what we can remember from our jam packed day!

Who can remember the rest of the poem we recited 'The sun was scorching hot, And all ....'? How many pennies in 6 shillings? Why was there a fire place in one of the gaol cells? Why didn't we put our fingers into our pan while looking for gold? Why were there bars of one of Ah Lum's rooms?

Write your answers below in the comments!

Until next time GMS! Ka kite ano!

Riverton School: the first visit of the year!

Thursday, 5th February 2015

Riverton School: the first visit of the year!

Ordering the artefacts  

  • Riverton School: the first visit of the year!Ordering the artefacts
  • Riverton School: the first visit of the year!Miss Grey in the 1800's classroom was pretty spooky!

Yesterday (4th Feb) we had the pleasure of hosting Riverton School as our first school of 2015! In keeping with their previous visits the students, teachers and Dad's army (all the parent helpers were men) were excellent visitors/learners. Riverton came in as part of their annual Year 5 Camp and the visit was run by museum staff Wendy, David and myself. The first activity was the museum visit where the students used their keen eyes and ears to make an artefact timeline. Students then went off and discovered the museum in pairs with a few prompting questions. I was particularly impressed with the students that I witnessed drawing on their prior knowledge- some recognised tools thanks to their parents' job while others knew about the mining for gold from Minecraft. We loved that you used real life connects - way to go learners! Next up was the famous Miss Gray- wow, was she was mean! Riverton pupils who had been to the museum last year warned these learners about how strict Miss Gray was. Now it's their turn to warn the year 4s! After a quick lunch we made the most of the WWI and the Wakatipu exhibition which is closing soon. This was lead by David, the museum director and fountain of knowledge. I was surprised by a cheery rendition of Happy Birthday from Riverton in the middle of the museum too! David then lead the students on a tour around town to WWI relevant sites. Then we finally got to make our fortunes gold panning. There was a fair bit of success and a whole lot of patience and determination! All in all an excellent day had by all and a great start to the year! Thanks Riverton!

Who can answer the following questions? Comment below if you think you can remember!

Can you remember what happened to the poor German man who used to live in Arrowtown, Charlie Eckhardt? What awesome purpose did the periscope have in the trenches? Why didn't we want to touch the water when we were gold panning? How many pence in a shilling?

If you have any choice as photos- email them to [email protected]