Famous New Zealanders

A range of fun activities including dressing up and medal rubbings are used in this session that focuses on understanding how people contribute to society.

Suitable for Years 5 to 8, students explore the lives of Lord Ernest Rutherford, Āpirana Ngata, Kate Sheppard, Edmund Hillary and Ray Avery – gaining knowledge and unpacking the values and achievements of these famous New Zealanders.

“We use fun, interactive activities to tackle the reasonably serious subject of a person’s social, cultural and economic roles, rights and responsibilities,” says teacher Margot Persson.

One of the most popular activities is when students dress up as Lord Ernest Rutherford and King George V.

“The coats and Lecture Theatre were a hit”
– Jane from St Martin’s School.

Medal rubbings of Rutherford’s Nobel Prize medal are another popular activity, as is the opportunity to use authentic ink nib pens.

“We get the students to sign a college register, just as historical students like Āpirana Ngata did on this very site when it was known as Canterbury College,” Margot says.

“It provides a great platform to then teach them about Ngata’s achievements – including that he was the first New Zealander to gain a double degree.”

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