School programme

Antarctic - Arctic Polar Programme

28 March – 11 July

Years 1-13. 90 min

Free for Porirua schools, or $2 per child per programme.

Explore the frozen polar regions of our planet through art, poetry, video, music, and performance.

This place-based programme features two adjacent exhibitions: Among All These Tundras and Where Memories Sleep. The contemporary works in the exhibition Among All These Tundra are by indigenous artists from circumpolar Arctic countries including Canada, Norway, Greenland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Alaska. Indigenous Peoples have lived in their Arctic homelands for millennia. Their cultures have adapted and evolved with their special understanding of the lands and waters they have inhabited and imbued with meaning, and depend upon, for their survival.

The artwork – including film, photography, sculpture and mixed media installations - voice a united desire by First Nations people to protect their northern homelands, unique languages, stories and cultures after years of colonization, disconnection with the land and more recently the effects of climate change. We will look at selected artworks to help understand this desire for the cultural resurgence of indigenous Arctic peoples.

Where Memories Sleep is a cine-dance video installation projected onto what looks like a wall of Ice or glacier edge in Antarctica. The dance and soundscapes tell an imagined legend of the aurora australis (Southern Lights). We follow the adventures of a scientist/explorer who leaves the drudgery of city life and journeys to the Antarctic and meets penguins, a legendary seal-like shapeshifter and a powerful sorceress. We will view some of the video and be inspired to create our own legendary atua/goddess of Antarctica.

Curriculum Links

Social Sciences: Students will understand how cultural practices reflect and express people’s customs, traditions and values. Students will understand how places influence people and people influence places (L2). Students will understand how people remember and record the past in different ways (L3). Students will understand how people pass on and sustain culture and heritage for different reasons and that this has consequences for people (L4).

The Arts, Visual Arts: Students will investigate the purpose of objects and images from past and present cultures and identify the contexts in which they were made, viewed and valued (L3).

Dance: Students will use the elements of dance to describe and respond to dances from a variety of cultures (L3). Students will describe how the purpose of selected dances is expressed through the movement.

Science – Planet Earth: Students will explore and describe natural features and resources. Students will describe how natural features are changed and resources affected by natural events and human
actions (L1-2).

Pre & post visit ideas

  • Locate on a world map which countries are included within the Arctic circumpolar region.
  • Discuss what the word indigenous means. Who are the indigenous people of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia?
  • Find out where and who the indigenous peoples of the Arctic tundra lands are (e.g. Inuit, Inupiat, Inuvialuit, Sámi).
  • Collect images of the aurora australis and discover what causes the amazing display of lights and where and when they can be seen.
  • Read some of the legends about selkies - found in Celtic myths from the northern islands of Scotland and Ireland.
  • Research the differences between the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the world including who or what can be found living in such extreme climates
  • Study how Aotearoa/New Zealand is involved with Antarctica. Find Out what our scientists study there over the summer months.
  • Invite  someone who has been to either the Arctic or Antarctic region to speak to your class.

Contact us

Email patakaeducation@poriruacity.govt.nz or phone (04) 237 3551 if you'd like us to tailor a programme to meet your learning goals.