Making Curriculum Pop

Auckland TimeQuest: Postcolonial, postapocalyptic play-based learning

Auckland Libraries have just given me permission to share the storyline & materials from 2013's TimeQuest, a citywide school holiday programme for children and teens which used a sci-fi scenario to deliver play-based learning across the city's 55 library branches.

Auckland, 2379. It’s the end for planet Earth – a red sun burns in the sky and the ground is parched of life.

The last survivors are preparing to leave for a new home on the other side of the galaxy, when the scientist Maia completes her greatest invention – a time portal that can take you to any moment in Auckland’s history.

Her plan: to send you back in time to recover the best books, art, and objects from New Zealand’s past. Time has run out for the planet Earth, but we can still rescue the best of our heritage and take it with us to our new home.

Where will you go – and when?

What will you choose to save?

Time Quest – Raid the past to save the future.

In TimeQuest, local library branches were challenged to devised playful activities linking their local neighbourhood to community heritage. The science fiction storyline made our heritage programming about both the future and the past: a dynamic mission of rescue, with participants making their own choices about the value of history.

New Zealand is a postcolonial nation of the British Commonwealth and a key factor for us as creators was putting the identity of NZ's indigenous Māori community front and center. Our defiant genius hero would be a Māori woman and a scientist, who invited TimeQuest participants to make their own decisions about the value of heritage, rather than accept some dusty authoritarian imposition.

You can read more about TimeQuest and download a resource pack with eight time travel missions at:

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