Ngā wheako mā ngā Akonga Kura Tuatahi / Primary and Intermediate School Lessons

All primary and intermediate school lessons are led by Gallery educators and take place in the gallery spaces, with hands-on activities in the Learning Centre when time allows.

The descriptions below indicate what you can expect from each session. Please note that some lessons can be adapted for your class age group and area of focus – simply chat with our team.
06 759 0858 

Exhibitions and lessons

The learning available from contemporary art and that of Len Lye reaches across the curriculum.

Ngā wheako o te Wāhanga 3
Term 3 lessons


Bilingual Units/Kura Kaupapa. He hōtaka reo Māori hoki. Ka kōrero, ka mahi ngātahi kia hangaia ai tētahi wheako pai mā ngā tauira.

Rainbow Dance

Dance / Visual Art / Science
July — 15 Nov
Y 1– 4, 75 mins


Dance in the Gallery inspired by Len Lye’s kinetic sculptures and abstract movies. Use ribbons individually and in groups to notice and invent movement. In the Learning Centre, students combine their moves to perform a dance with a colour and light theme.

BYO your class ipad or phone to photo students’ moves.

At school:

 - Rework your dance moves to tell a story

 - Create an artwork that shows your dance

 - How do things move? Rework your dance to tell a story about everyday movements using poi eg. doing the laundry

 - Write a movement poem

 - Find out about the science of rainbows

Introducing Len Lye

Science/Visual Art/Dance/Music/Technology
Y 0 – 8, 60 mins+


What can we learn from Len Lye?

Experience the multi-sensory exhibitions through interactive activities adaptable to your students’ learning needs and level. Find out how Len Lye came up with ideas and why his art is special. Then create your own Len Lye-inspired artwork.

See Len Lye: The Absolute Truth of the Happiness Acid for exhibition information.

Find out more about the world of Len Lye.

Pictures that Move

Visual Art/Science: Physical world/Technology
Y 5 – 8, 90 mins+


How did old school animation work? What makes Len Lye’s films still cool today?

We go to the flicks to discover how image, movement and sound are combined to create an illusion. Students analyse animation techniques and use gallery zoetropes (animation viewing devices) to create their own moving image.

BYO your class video camera, phone or ipad to record students’ animations.

At school:

Google Slide: Len Lye Style Flip Book

See Len Lye: The Absolute Truth of the Happiness Acid for exhibition information.

Click below to view Len Lye films online:


A Colour Box

The Birth of a Robot

Free Radicals

Films supplied by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Please respect the integrity of Len Lye’s artwork by not copying his films.

Download the Len Lye: Animation Resource

A compilation DVD entitled Colour Box: 19 Films by Len Lye is available from the Govett-Brewster Shop

Coming up: Term 4 2020 & Term 1 2021
The History of Aotearoa/New Zealand through Art

How is our history remembered and passed on?

We approach this topic from a local angle inspired by Brett Graham’s (Ngāti Kōroki Kahukura, Tainui) exhibition Tai Moana Tai Tangata which features five new monumental sculptures with accompanying films. The art works are poetic in nature and reference Ngā Pak anga o Aotearoa (New Zealand Wars) in imaginative and engaging ways.

This programme connects with Tuia Encounters 250. Our big theme is conflict and resolution. Options include:

Pouaka reta / Letter box
Construct and ‘carve’ a group sculpture that conveys memories and historic street names.

What role did flags have in our history? Create a banner to represent and communicate what is important to you.

Historic Walk
Add value to your visit and bring history to life! Meet an educator and take a guided historic walk prior to experiencing this exhibition. Combine with a trip to Puke Ariki to complete the day.

Ngā wheako mā ngā Akonga Kura Tuarua / Secondary School Programme

Secondary school visits to the Govett-Brewster are most successful when teachers and Gallery educators collaborate.

To inspire your programme, we can shape a lesson tailored specifically for your students from Year 9+. Selected exhibition themes are described by curriculum area and can be developed into a tour which includes worksheets, creative group activities or extended in the Learning Centre into workshops. 

Secondary art teachers taking part in the Gallery schools programme consistently praise the sessions as relevant and thought provoking:

Keep up the good work. Activities engaged students’ perceptions about visual art and oral aspects of art."
High School Art Teacher
Secondary Schools
Sensing Len Lye


Interactive experiences designed for Special Needs groups. Please contact Gallery educators to discuss visit options.

Talk Art Challenge



Can your students say more about art other than whether they like it or not? This general introduction to the exhibitions gives students confidence and skills to analyse art through discussion and instant activities.

Candice Lin’s exhibition Pigs and Poison explores lesser-known histories of Chinese migration and labour.

Her themes are challenging and potentially unsettling for students; segregation, racial profiling, viruses and war. Art media includes virtual reality, sculpture, drawing and large-scale installation.

Media Studies


How did cameraless movies work? What makes Len Lye’s films still so cool?

Inspired by innovative approaches to filmmaking and the stimulating exhibitions, students deepen their knowledge of where film came from through a variety of hands-on options including zoetrope drawings, experiments with OHP colour projections and a ‘direct’ film workshop.


View Len Lye films online:


A Colour Box

The Birth of a Robot

Free Radicals


Visit the Len Lye Centre Cinema

The Gallery’s state-of-the-art 62-seat cinema shows experimental film, arthouse and cult films and film festival programming. Special screenings can be arranged by appointment. Please contact Gallery educators for further information or find out what’s on here.


Direct Film Workshop

Inspired by Len Lye’s direct films, students use cameraless hand animation techniques to learn how to create their own whole class 16mm ‘direct’ film.

No cost - contact Gallery educators for details.

Coming up: Term 4 2020 & Term 1 2021

Tuia – Tūtatakinga 250
Tuia – Encounters 250

The History of Aotearoa/New Zealand through Art

In 2020, The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre joins the nationwide conversation around the 250th anniversary of the first onshore encounters between Māori and non-Māori.

In December, we will be inspired by a major exhibition from the Gallery's 2019 Artist in Residence Brett Graham. Our programme aims to investigate this period of Aotearoa’s history from our Taranaki angle … Watch this space.

There are great cross curricular opportunities between Māori Studies, History, Ngā Toi and Art teachers. Team up with a colleague from another subject area to plan a visit that activates students’ learning through viewing, thinking and making. We can collaborate with you to ensure activities suit your students’ learning needs.

Combine this exhibition visit with a field trip to local history sites and/or Puke Ariki Museum for a strong learning experience. Get in touch today, call 06 759 0858 or email

Programmes will be coming soon – spaces limited!

Te Reo Māori

Karanga atu ki a koutou ki raro i te maru o te maunga tītohea; he pou here tangata, he pou here waka, he pou here kaupapa.  

Ko Jess Marshall tōku ingoa.  He Pākehā ahau nō Taranaki e ngākau nui ana ki te ao Māori.  Ko au te kaiako reo Māori ki te Whare Toi o Ngāmotu.

Warm greetings to you all.  My name is Jess Marshall and I'm the Māori language educator at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre.

Nau mai, haere mai, rarau mai!

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre welcomes Wharekura and Māori Studies classes to all exhibitions.

Contact Gallery kaiako Jess Marshall to discuss how visits can enhance language and hands-on learning needs.

Tuia – Tūtatakinga 250
Tuia – Encounters 250
06 759 0858