April 2022

Hands-on education grows with new Kiln

A great success of the Te Papa Foundation in 2021 saw the purchase of a kiln for the Learning Programmes team, thanks to the continued generous support of the Withiel Fund Charitable Trust.  

The need for an on-site kiln was identified following the Wana Ake Festival over the summer of 2020, in which Te Papa worked with clay artists to explore this medium through traditional practice and contemporary expression.  Clay workshops were held alongside learning the traditions and Mātauranga associated with clay, and proved very popular with Te Papa’s formal learning and public learning programmes. While many of the workshops resulted in new artworks created by the artists and participants, the ability to be able to fire such works in a kiln would allow the creative process to be completed. 

The Foundation worked with Pam Streeter, Te Papa’s Head of Learning, to understand the impact and potential a kiln would have on Te Papa’s learning programmes going forward. Pam advocates for learners from early childhood through to tertiary, their teachers and their whānau, to engage with the wider Te Papa programme. Now the large capacity front loading kiln has been installed in Te Papa’s Bush City kiosk, it will open up opportunities for further community and learning programmes as part of Te Papa’s ‘maker’ approach in Hīnātore, to be used by artists, community and children to explore ceramic clay and clay making. 

The Foundation and Te Papa give their greatest appreciation to the Withiel Fund Charitable Trust in supporting Te Papa’s mahi in education, as previously the vacuum formers acquired for Hinātore were also purchased through their generosity. 

“We are very happy to be in a position to help Te Papa to  be even more accessible for educational purposes, and excited to see some of the wonderful work that this kiln will finish.” 

  • Samantha Scott, Withiel Fund Charitable Trust 


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