Te Papa: Te Taiao

Te Papa + Springload, 2019      4 Weeks      Team: Rachel Bolt, Lauren Skogstad

How might we inspire museum visitors to take action for nature, in a fun and accessible way?

Te Taiao

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is New Zealand's national museum. In 2019 it opened its refreshed nature exhibit Te Taiao. The exhibit focuses on how to make topics like climate change and water pollution accessible and fun? When Te Papa started developing the exhibitions they knew we had to tackle tough topics – but wanted to leave visitors feeling inspired to take action.

During their research, target audiences said all those environmental crisis stories in the news left them overwhelmed. They were, quote, ‘Over it’. They wanted inspiration and do-able action. ‘You don’t need to preach!’, they said.

With this in mind Te Taiao exhibitions are design around three big ideas:

Our nature is unique, it’s under threat, and we need to take action. 


The Challenge

Along with Collaborate, we developed a web app for people who want to have a positive impact on their natural environment by connecting them to nature organisations looking for volunteers around them.

We built different prototypes and testing them with museum visitors. We wanted to understand what the best experience for a tool that helps people take action for nature would look like.

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Initial prototype.

Initial prototype.

The Result

At the end of the nature exhibit, visitors see heartfelt footage of everyday action heroes. School pupils pulling a pram and a car bumper out of their local stream. Fishermen saving seabirds. City kids tracking endangered bats.

When visitors leave, they might catch a glimpse these snippets, and a link to the web app, with the power to make a difference.