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Wētā Workshop Discovers Wellington’s Most Creative Classroom


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Wētā Workshop has crowned Clifton Terrace Model School as Wellington’s most creative classroom, thanks to their magnificent marble run!

To spread some cheer in a challenging period post-lockdown, Wētā Workshop launched a challenge for schools and education centres throughout Wellington to ignite their creativity. Workshop co-founder Tania Rodger asked classrooms to collaborate on a “crazy marble-moving contraption” made from whatever materials they could find. Children foraged for everyday items, built recycled structures and set marbles in motion on film.

 Judges included Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger, the creative duo who co-founded and built Wētā Workshop into what it is today. The entries blew the judges away.

 In a video titled ‘From Mountain to Sea,’ Clifton Terrace Model School students took their marble on a journey through Wellington City. The marble travelled on a miniature Cable Car, passed iconic landmarks like the Beehive, Sky Stadium and the Bucket Fountain and ended its run after a trip on the Interislander.

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Clifton Terrace Model School's Marble Run: From Mountain to Sea

The winning marble run was filled with fabulous ideas and inventive props making, especially the articulation in the cable car and ferry. Of course, one of our highlights came at the end, when the marble was welcomed into Wētā Workshop by an Orc. Our congratulations to Clifton Terrace Model School students and their incredible staff. Thanks also to all the talented entries this year.

Tania Rodger, Wētā Workshop Co-founder
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Over 130 marble run videos were submitted by primary and secondary school classrooms, home schools and education centres located within the Greater Wellington Region. But the interest didn’t stop there. There were calls for nationwide entries, and even one international request from a teacher in Canada wanting to participate. Tania says:

“We know that in every classroom there is a hive of creativity, just buzzing with cool ideas! We are passionate about inspiring young creatives to make cool stuff and hope this challenge has helped classrooms to ignite imaginations, work together, learn something new and—most importantly—have fun!”

 Wētā Workshop Co-founder and Creative Director Richard Taylor adds:

 “We have the good fortune of working alongside a bunch of incredibly talented people at Wētā Workshop who, so often, grew up dreaming of wonderful worlds to build with their hands. We were excited to have this opportunity to invite education centres to take up this classroom challenge and encourage children to discover their love of the creative process!”

Tania and Richard visited the award-winning school in September. As part of their prize, Clifton Terrace Model School teacher Lagi Auva'a was transformed into a Middle-earth inspired character using prosthetics and movie-making magic. The school will soon visit Wētā Workshop for a special tour and hands-on workshop. 

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It was so exciting to visit Wellington’s most creative classroom and meet the next generation of builders and creators. It was a thrill for our crew to give their teacher a Middle-earth makeover and the students got a real kick out of it too!

Richard Taylor, Wētā Workshop Co-founder and Creative Director

Due to the overwhelming interest this challenge inspired, Wētā Workshop hopes to run a similar competition in the future and continue to inspire young creatives.

 Clifton Terrace Model School teacher Lagi Auva'a was transformed before her children's eyes into a Middle-earth inspired character.