School Visits to The Elms

The Elms Foundation welcomes all schools to visit a local historic site linked to Te Papa Mission Station, and known today as the Elms.

img_1358_400What we can offer

  • A guided tour of The Elms Mission House, Library and grounds, tailored to suit the age and ability level of your students and designed to reflect your chosen theme or aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum.
  • A first hand glimpse of life in early New Zealand, the daily lives of a nineteenth century family, and information about the establishment of Tauranga.
  • An opportunity for your students to take part in follow up activities on site.



img_1355_400What the students will see at The Elms

Displays in the buildings and around the grounds provide an opportunity to step into the past.  The mission buildings are packed with objects no longer in daily use, and offer an excellent starting point for discussion.  Students will see a special display of washday items in the mangle room, find out that the basins and ewers in the bedrooms were used for washing, and become aware that slates and an abacus were used as teaching aids in the library.  Around the grounds a meat safe will highlight the difficulties of food storage, while the water pump is to remind students that even in earlier times the basics of life could not be taken for granted.  Stories about the trapdoor in the library and the bell near the chapel will provide further information about the mission station era.

Planning your visit

Contact The Elms Education Officer ( to discuss all requirements for your visit.

Please provide at least two weeks notice of your intention to visit with your school group so that a team of volunteer guides can be arranged.

Try to be flexible about dates as The Elms also hosts many other visitors, including local groups and tourists from the cruise ships arriving at our port.

As the Monmouth Redoubt and Mission Cemetery are within easy walking distance many schools like to use The Elms and its facilities as their base and rotate groups between the three sites.  At the conclusion of every visit The Elms is always available for school groups to enjoy a picnic lunch in the grounds.

Teachers are encouraged to make a pre-trip visit to help with orientation and study planning, especially if they have not previously visited The Elms.  


A number of resources are available to all schools for classroom use either before or after a visit.  Ask the Education Officer for further information.  Our resources include:

  • A DVD about the establishment of Te Papa Mission Station.
  • A story book The Missionaries Come to Tauranga specially suited to younger students.
  • A selection of curriculum based activity sheets.
  • The Battle of Gate Pa – a link for downloading information is attached.
  • Check out Education, Buildings, and other matters of interest under Resources


Additional Resources for a "Hands On" experience

Some schools will already be aware of the special resources available for hire, subject to availability, from Hands on Tauranga.  Enabling students to handle historic objects in an historic environment could make your visit to The Elms even more enjoyable.

Check out the Hands On Tauranga website

For further information contact The Elms Education Officer on, or Visitor Reception on

Health & Safety Requirements

Please click on the link below to read our Risk Analysis and Management information sheet.




Risk Analysis and Management Information Sheet.pdf