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Taking a close-up look with botanists past and present

Ferns are abundant in our New Zealand landscape, making them a major part of our ecosystems. In this context, we explore the science of ferns through the work of botanists.

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Finding your way around

There are several different ways to discover the site's resources and their related content, along with ideas for grouping them for teaching opportunities:

  • The collections contain groups of related resources about Ferns.
  • The Connections tool is a visual interactive pathway to discovering the resources and related content for Ferns.
  • The printable context overview will assist teachers to find pathways through this context and to plan lessons and units of work.

Collections | Connections | Context overview (PDF 79 kB)


    What is a fern?

    Ferns are plants of ancient origin. They are the green flowerless plants with divided leaves that often grow in damp, shady areas. Ferns have two separate independent living stages in their life...

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    Documenting New Zealand’s Ferns

    Dr Patrick Brownsey and Dr Leon Perrie, Botany Curators at Te Papa, are involved in the ongoing task of documenting New Zealand’s fern flora.

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    Botany and botanists

    Botany is the scientific study of plants. This field of study encompasses terrestrial, freshwater and ocean plants, as well as algae and some non-plants like fungi. The people who study botany are...

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    Dr Leon Perrie

    Dr Leon Perrie is a Botany Curator at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington.

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My interest in ferns

Dr Leon Perrie is a Botany Curator at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in...


NZ Research

NZ Research  collection.
NZ Research  collection. This collection provides information about the work of New Zealand’s world-class science and technology sectors in relation to Ferns....

Science Ideas and Concepts

Science Ideas and Concepts collection.
Science Ideas and Concepts collection. Scientific study requires a basic knowledge and understanding of ideas and concepts. This collection explains the ideas that are...

Looking Closer

Looking Closer collection.
Looking Closer collection.
This collection contains a wide variety of resources and information about Ferns, which supports the resources in the other collections....


People collection.
People collection. This collection introduces some of the people working or studying in the areas explored in Ferns. Click on a name to find out more about...

Teaching and Learning Approaches

Teaching and Learning Approaches collection.
Teaching and Learning Approaches collection. Student activities are the main feature of this collection, along with a variety of resources for teachers to use in exploring Ferns.


Timeline collection.
Timeline collection. An interactive look at some of the historical and cultural aspects of ferns in New Zealand.

Question Bank

Question Bank collection.
Question Bank collection. An inquiry approach is a method often used in science education. The question bank provides an initial list of questions about Ferns and...

Key Terms

Key Terms collection.
Key Terms collection.  This resource provides explanations of the key concepts encountered when exploring Ferns – the ‘basics’ that every student...

Sci Media

Sci Media collection.
Sci Media collection. This collection is where you can find all the images, video clips, animations and interactives that relate to Ferns.

Science Learning Hub Survey 2014

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You're invited to participate in an online survey about the New Zealand Science Learning Hub. This survey was designed to help Hub staff enhance and develop further the site. This is different from our November 2013 survey, so even if you took part in that survey, we would appreciate you taking this survey as well.

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