Precious stories of precious objects

Precious — The Exhibition

24 Aug to 14 Dec 2020 | Mon to Fri — 9am to 5pm | Sat — 9am to 1pm
Te Puna Foundation Gallery

Come and discover what’s precious to the children of Aotearoa.

He aha tō tino taonga? | What is precious to you?

Precious — The Exhibition is an opportunity for children to share their precious objects and stories with their friends, whānau and with the public.

The National Library is delighted to be hosting up to 150 students from eight Wellington schools in four mini-exhibition called Precious. The schools will exhibit two at a time, switching out every four weeks.

Each mini-exhibition was developed with the students in co-design workshops focused on the question He aha tō tino taonga? What makes something precious and what is precious to you?

Participating schools

We are delighted to be working with:

  • Thorndon School and Kimi Ora School (Special Needs School)
  • Raphael House (Steiner School) and Pauatahanui School
  • Avalon Intermediate and Brandon Intermediate
  • Ngāti Toa School and Brooklyn School

Comments from teachers and students

‘I thought I knew what my precious object was, but then I changed it after doing the exercises.’
— student, Thorndon School

‘The workbook was heaps of fun!’
— student, Thorndon School

‘The workbook is fantastic! We want to do it with all our senior students.’
— teacher, Ngāti Toa School

Exhibition process

To assist in the co-design process for the Precious exhibition we developed a workbook for students to work through to help them explore aspects of what is precious in their own lives, and in the work of curators who handle and exhibit the Nation’s taonga. The workbook followed the process below.

Ko koe he māpihi maurea — You are a treasure
The children were asked to think about what’s precious to them generally and to start with considering their place in the world through their pepeha.

Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa — The National Library of New Zealand
We encouraged students to search for key dates and places that are important to them on our website and Papers Past.

Awe wairua — Thinking about what’s precious
Thinking about ideas and intangible things that they might find precious e.g. the environment

He kimi taonga ā whanau — Family treasure hunt
A process for the children to involve their family and ask about the story behind objects.

Tō ake taonga — Your precious object
Finally, to select an object and develop a label that may be used in the exhibition. Students learn techniques used by real museum and library curators when describing and displaying their objects.