Weekly study2 hours
Biodiversity, Guardianship, and the Natural History of New Zealand: A Museum Perspective
Trace how natural history shaped New Zealand biodiversity, culture & landscapes
Aotearoa New Zealand is a land of fascinating natural wonders, founded on a geological and environmental history spanning 85 million years.
On this two-week course, you’ll gain an overview of New Zealand’s natural history, exploring how the geology, wildlife, and culture of the islands are interconnected.
Guided by the Learning Team at Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of New Zealand, you’ll examine relevant artefacts and exhibits to contextualise your understanding of natural history, conservation, and New Zealand culture.
Discover how earthquakes and volcanic activity have imprinted on Māori culture
Māori knowledge is intrinsically connected with the wild forces experienced on the island.
You’ll learn how Māori mythology explained these phenomena and find out how creation stories have helped reinforce a spiritual connection to the land.
Explore how tectonic forces have impacted New Zealand’s biodiversity
The forces that shaped Aotearoa’s landscape also had a profound effect on the plants and animals populating these islands.
You’ll investigate the niche shift that occurred in New Zealand to produce the island’s biodiversity, examining the native birds of New Zealand and a land free of native mammals.
Examine animal conservation in Aotearoa
The arrival of humans in Aotearoa decimated habitats and species at an alarming rate. It is no surprise that, as a response, conservation and guardianship of native animals has become integral to Māori culture and Aotearoa values today.
You’ll be introduced to various conservation projects and reflect on the shared national responsibility to protect the island’s biodiversity.
By the end of this course, you’ll be able to track the geological evolution of New Zealand, explaining how the landscape and its wildlife have shaped cultural values.
Learning on this course
On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Identify the geological causes for Aotearoa New Zealand’s topography and volcanic activity
- Explain what makes Aotearoa New Zealand’s flora and fauna so unique
- Explore some of the key ways in which conservationists are protecting New Zealand’s biodiversity
- Reflect on the ways a museum is an important place for learning and kaitiakitanga (guardianship)
Who is the course for?
This course is designed for anyone with an interest in the Pacific region, museums, science, history, culture, or the arts.
It is particularly suitable for international or NZ students who want to gain an introductory insight into New Zealand history and culture.
Who developed the course?
Te Papa’s vision for the future is to change hearts, minds, and lives.
Our role is to be a forum for the nation to present, explore, and preserve the heritage of its cultures and knowledge of the natural environment. Te Papa was established with this role by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Act 1992.
LocationWellington, Aotearoa (New Zealand)
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