Marsden Valley Education Centre

Delivering over 20 years of quality educational experiences.

ELC – Enriching Local Curriculum through active hands-on experiences to enhance and inspire student learning.


Ka rongo, ka wareware

Ka kite, ka mahara

Ka hangaia, ka marama ahau

(I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand)


The Education Centre at the Shantytown Heritage Park was started in 1998 to provide learning experiences outside of the classroom, and is part funded by the Ministry of Education. Schools from all over New Zealand visit the centre, which boasts a range of learning programmes based on but not limited to the colourful history of the West Coast. The school programmes are hands-on and active.

Students of all ages, from Early Childhood- Year 13, are welcome and every group is catered for on an individual basis so that your Achievement Objectives and Learning Outcomes are met in full.  All of our programmes are hands on and active, pose problems for students to solve and encourage group work and co-operation as well as individual achievement.

Nga mihi nui,
Alison Sohier & Joela Hagenaar.

New Zealand Curriculum

Our educational programmes meet and support all areas of the New Zealand Curriculum, Te Whāriki and Te Marautanga O Aotearoa and thus enhance classroom learning. They are authentic, hands-on and interactive learning experiences with a strong focus on the development of the five Key Competencies.

Using language, symbols and texts
Managing self
Relating to others
Participating and contributing

Our Programmes

Marsden Valley Education Centre can provide programmes for students of all ages. We offer a number of on-site and off-site programmes or we can tailor-make programmes to suit the needs of teachers and students. We also offer programmes that we can deliver at schools and Early Childhood Centres. 

Please feel free to contact us with your topic focus and see if we can help!


Have your class camp in the heart of a “Gold Rush” town on the West Coast!

Shantytown in conjunction with Marsden Valley Education Centre, can offer a fabulous opportunity to host camps right here in the township.

Read more…


Each year a wide range of special days and periods are celebrated. For example, Chinese New Year, ANZAC, Matariki and Victorian Christmas.

Can we assist with your specific celebrations? Special programmes to take advantage of celebrations, festivals and topical themes have previously included:

  • Lantern Festival Overnight Camps Celebrating the Chinese New Year
  • First Encounters 250 Celebrations to mark 250th Anniversary of Captains Cook’s arrival in New Zealand.
  • Matariki Celebrations

Contact us at the MVEC to find out more.

Our Values

All our Marsden Valley Education Centre ELC programmes encourage students: 

  • To persevere in the face of difficulties, and to think critically, creatively, and reflectively.
  • To respect diversity, be fair, honest, responsible, accountable, and act ethically.
  • To respect themselves and others, to take care of our environment, and the treasures/taonga displayed at Shantytown.

Contracted to the Ministry of Education to provide Enriched Learning Curriculum programs.
The Centre is also sponsored in part by the West Coast Community Trust.

The Marsden Valley Education Centre Team

Judi Booklet

Lead Educator
Judi Mears


Alison Sohier

Joela Hagenaar

Denniston Educator
Gary James

Education at Shantytown