Aotearoa’s Awesome Aviators

Did you know that some of the most outstanding Pilots in history have been New Zealanders? In this workshop you will learn about three of the greatest of all time, Richard Pearse, Jean Batten, and Sir Keith Park. These Kiwis show off the best of New Zealand, they were creative, adventurous, and ingenious!

Recommended for year 4 to 8

This lesson plan is available for classroom sharing as Google Slides

Curriculum Links

Social Sciences

Understand how people make significant contributions to New Zealand’s society. Level 2

Understand how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places, and environments. Level 4

Introduction – Amazing Aviators

You will need:
– Device
– Streaming capabilities

Introduce the topic of the history of flight and ask the class what they know about the first flying machines and the first aviators in history. Below are some questions to help facilitate your discussion


  • How did people get around the world before they could fly?
  • Who are some famous New Zealand pilots? What did they do?
  • What do you think were some of the challenges that early pilots faced?  


  • What did some of the early airplanes look like? What were they made of?
  • What jobs are planes used for these days?
  • What are some differences between planes today and planes from the past?

Have the students go through the google slide presentation ‘Amazing Aviators’ and view a quick chatterpix video about Jean Batten, Sir Keith Park, and Richard Pearse.

Have a look at some of their objects from MOTAT’s collections online and notice the planes they flew, the clothes they wore, and some of the awards they received for their achievements.

Then, have the students use the links provided to do some research into the feats of one of these pilots.

Challenge them to create a document that they can use to teach others about their chosen pilot. It could be a slides presentation, poster, video, etc.

Report Back

You will need:
– Technology to record photos
– We love to hear from you:

Send us a picture of your project by emailing it to motat.fun@motat.org.nz


Ducksters encyclopedia

NZhistory – Aviation History

Te Ara – NZ Encyclopedia – Aviation History

Research your pilot even further by going onto Collections online or watching NZ on Air documentaries

This lesson plan is available for classroom sharing as Google Slides