Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi Children’s University: On a high and aiming higher

17 March 2023 | News

Topping last year’s total of 1126 participating tamariki is the goal of the Mātāpuna Mātātahi team in 2023, and they are already well on the way to their target of 1545 members.

Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi’s 2022 cohort was the largest ever, with its graduating numbers more than quintupling in just four years.

Unique in Aotearoa, Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi Children’s University is delivered by a partnership between Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury.

It is part of an internationally renowned outreach programme that aims to foster lifelong learning among young people aged 7-14 and raise their aspirations for higher education.

While Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi continues to nail its objective to inspire young students to learn beyond the classroom, the benefits of participation reach much wider into communities and whānau, as well as schools.

According to Crisanna Nell, a teacher at Te Kura o Tuahiwi, membership of Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi brings added benefits of increased confidence and engagement along with the learning, and the enthusiasm is infectious to whānau and friends.

"Our tamariki have grown a lot through their participation in Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi," she said. 

They’ve gained so much confidence and they’re eager and really passionate about the new things they’re learning and doing. You can see their worlds opening up.

As one graduating Mātāpuna Mātātahi participant said, "It's awesome. I'm so glad I did it, and can't wait to go to university when I'm older!"
Tamariki experiencing the cold of the Antarctic as part of their Mātāpuna Mātātahi programme.

Campus Experience

Tauira particularly enjoy visiting Lincoln and UC for Campus Experience events as part of Mātāpuna Mātātahi.

In 2022, 390 tauira visited Lincoln, engaging in a range of fun, hands-on activities designed to broaden their interests, demystify the university environment and spark their desire for a tertiary education.

While on campus, they made unique shapes from food with the 3D food printers, learnt about the different flammability of plants through a plant BBQ activity, got up close and personal with insects and soil, investigated the sport science living laboratory, and much more.

The flammability of plants demo with Associate Professor Tim Curran is always popular with the tamariki, as Tim sets fire to different plant species on his plant BBQ to ascertain their flammability.

Dr Curran enjoys the experience too.

Watching the young students’ reactions to the BBQ demonstration is priceless. They couldn’t be more focused, and they learn a lot about plant flammability in a very short time.

“I’ve done a lot of science outreach, and Mātāpuna Mātātahi is easily the best programme I’ve been involved with. I get a huge kick out of the experience, and I know the kids definitely do!”
Lincoln University Associate Professor Tim Curran's flammability of plants demo is hugely popular with the tamariki.

During Campus Experience days, the tamariki, aged between 7-14, are on campus between 9.30am and 2.30pm, and they attend four 40-minute sessions in groups of 20-35 throughout the day. The groups are supervised by teachers and guided by LU student volunteers.

In 2023, the Mātāpuna Mātātahi Campus Experience Days will be held on Monday 26 June and Tuesday 27 June.

Lecturers are currently being asked to help devise activities for the tauira to enjoy.
"It's awesome. I'm so glad I did it, and can't wait to go to university when I'm older!"

Learn all about Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi Children’s University

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