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Te Papa trip exceeds expectations

Mrs Stickland, Mrs Redwood and ten students took a 6:30 am flight to Wellington. These students were up bright and early to prepare themselves for an eventful day.

This was a non-compulsory history/classics field trip, where the students spent the day at Te Papa museum. The social science department offered all history and classics students this wonderful opportunity, where students could spend a day in Wellington and look at the amazing exhibitions Te Papa is showcasing. The student’s main focus was on the ‘Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality’ and the ‘Gallipoli: the scales of our war’ exhibitions.

The day began with an 11 am guided tour of the Gallipoli exhibition. Weta Workshop partnered with Te Papa to make this exhibition possible. This was achieved through featuring eight Kiwis who were in extraordinary circumstances during the Gallipoli campaign in World War One.

Each giant sculpture (2.4 times bigger than a human) was captured in a specific moment for the public to understand a much greater story. This made the students question details about the figures and concentrate on the minor details, rather than just looking at what was presented at first glance. The tour guide asked the group many questions, making them think about different perspectives.

One of the students commented on this exhibition by saying, “Seeing this exhibition was a remarkable experience. I understand and know so much more about Gallipoli as a result of the tour. The tour guide made us understand where Te Papa and Weta Workshop was coming from in portraying the figures a certain way. She questioned us and asked us for our thoughts about the sculptures. She asked questions like, ‘Would you have portrayed the figure in this way?’ and ‘What do you think this figure is trying to tell us?’ These sorts of questions opened up discussion and meant that our thinking caps had to be switched on at all times. It made us look at things in a different light.”

After this first exhibition, the students had free time for lunch. They were able to look at the rest of Te Papa museum. Some students looked at the Treaty of Waitangi area and the ‘Ko Rongowhakaata: The

story of Light and Shadow’ exhibition. Students walked along the waterfront and got lunch in town before their second exhibition started at 2 pm.

The afternoon consisted of the group looking at the ‘Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality’ exhibition.

This featured some of China’s ancient imperial icons. These warriors guarded China’s First Emperor for more than 2000 years, the tomb of Qin Shihuang. In 1974, discovered by chance, this archaeological find is regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world. The exhibition features eight warriors (standing 180 centimetres tall), two full-size horses, and more than 160 incredible works of ancient Chinese people (made up of bronze, gold and jade). This work dates back to 1046 BCE – 220 CE, all discovered in imperial tombs around Xi’an, China’s ancient capital.

The students were all very impressed with this exhibition and were amazed at the spiritual connection the Chinese had to all of the items. One of the history/classics students says, “It was truly fascinating to see that every single one of the items had some sort of meaning to someone, whether that meaning is of power, strength, courage, or perseverance. So many ancient Chinese people had a connection to the items that were displayed in the exhibition and that was really astounding.”

All of the students raved about what a great day they had! Being able to see the exhibition was a remarkable experience and a great opportunity recommended to all.

A huge thanks to Mrs Stickland, Mrs Redwood and everyone involved in making this field trip possible.

Mia Gilchrist