“To walk into The Elms is to be transported to another world….”

The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga is one of New Zealand’s oldest, most significant heritage sites and is considered a national treasure. As the site of early contact between Māori and Pākehā, The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga remains at the centre of Tauranga history and identity today.

The Elms Foundation has long been committed to providing education services to schools across the region. For over 70 years, school groups have visited Te Papa historic precinct, which includes The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga, the Mission Cemetery, Monmouth Redoubt and Te Awanui waka to gain a better understanding of our rich culture and heritage and its contribution to identity, diversity and sense of place.

The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga offers an educational programme that is both stimulating and rewarding, providing multiple opportunities for hands-on and interactive learning. Our programme not only connects with the Primary School Social Sciences curriculum at all levels, but is also cross curricular with activities that include science, physical education, technology, maths and Māori language.

We invite you to consider a visit to The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga for your school and we look forward to working with you to ensure all local children have the opportunity to come to The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga for an outside the classroom learning experience. Students can enjoy engaging activities, native tree walks and plenty of question time.

This section provides much of the information you will need to know about planning a visit to The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga. Please get in touch with any further questions or to make a booking.

Important Information

Please read through all these details carefully as they are essential for a successful visit to The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga.

Our student-directed Elms tour

Students are divided into groups of 10, each group accompanied by an adult (parent or teacher). Two students from each group are chosen to lead their group around the site, one with a map and the other with written guidelines (the adult accompanying each group will also be given these).

Students explore the site in their groups, answering questions, making discoveries, viewing, touching and maybe even tasting. Elms’ Guides will be stationed inside the Mission House, Library and Heritage Garden, where they will share fascinating stories as groups pass by. And if there is time, students will also take part in some of our extra activities listed below. Each activity takes 15-20 minutes depending on the age of your students and the time you have available. We require 40 minutes for a full Games activity.

Alternatively, you can choose an hour-long house, library and heritage garden tour for your students. This is better suited to older students where our experienced Guides will cover the early mission days and the site’s connection to the battles of Pukehinahina/Gate Pa and Te Ranga.


We charge a fee to cover the costs of co-ordinating the programme. The cost of our programme is $2 per student with teachers and parents free of charge.

Pre Booking

The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga education programme is available through emailing us. Pre-bookings are essential to ensure that we have enough guides on site to accommodate your group. We do take bookings in term time and school holidays – schedule and weather permitting.

Adult to Student Ratio

Every group must have a ratio of at least one adult per ten students

Morning Tea and Lunch

You are welcome to have a picnic morning tea or lunch on the lawn. We will have bins around for any rubbish.

Teacher Visits

We encourage teacher visits to familiarise yourself with the site and discuss the programme. Please get in touch to arrange a time for your pre-visit walk around.

Preparing your Students

It is useful for your students to have a little background knowledge of the site before their visit.

It is also important to ensure that students have good shoes and wet-weather gear available.

Contact Details

To make an inquiry:
Phone – 07 577 9772
Email –

Ground Rules at The Elms

To protect our historic buildings, grounds and collections, and ensure that all visitors enjoy their experience, we ask that you share these ground rules with your students prior to your visit.

The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga is a learning environment and an open-air museum, so please respect the grounds and treat them as an extension of the classroom.

  • Remain together in assigned groups at all times
  • Plants should not be touched or tampered with in any way
  • For your own safety and the well being of our gardens please do not climb trees or walk through plant beds
  • The shell and stone paths are hard to maintain and require constant attention, so please do not disturb them
  • Running is not permitted anywhere on the site as there are a number of trip and slip hazards, stay safe and walk
  • All litter should go in the bins around the site or taken back to school
  • No chewing gum anywhere at The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga
  • No food or drink is permitted inside our buildings