CORE's Team

Pete Sommerville

Project Director — LEARNZ


1974 Dip.Tch. University of Waikato
BSc (Hons)

Contact details


P: 0800 267 301

M: 027 229 4690

Region: Canterbury

Pete Sommerville

Professional profile

Pete is the founding director of the LEARNZ virtual field trip project which was acquired by CORE in September 2012.

In 1995, Pete was awarded a 12 month teacher fellowship to explore applications of the Internet for teaching and learning in New Zealand schools. LEARNZ was an outcome of that fellowship and became the flagship programme of Heurisko Ltd. Pete has delivered presentations on the virtual field trip model all over the world including Alaska, New Orleans, Washington, Kathmandu, Hobart, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Brisbane.

Pete has managed contracts to deliver LEARNZ virtual field trips to schools in Terengganu and Bangkok and in 2007 managed a programme of virtual field trips supporting a teacher professional development programme in Western Malaysia.

In New Zealand, Pete has developed contractual relationships with many organisations supporting LEARNZ including Ministry of Education, EQC, Land Information New Zealand, Department of Conservation, New Zealand Transport Agency, Antarctica New Zealand, Solid Energy, Meridian, DairyNZ, BNZ Kiwi Trust, Air New Zealand Environment Trust, OMV Ltd, NIWA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US), Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Christchurch International Airport and many others.

In 2006-2009 Pete was Director of the Microsoft Partners in Learning (PiL) Innovative Teachers programmes.

Pete is interested in the role educators play in involving learners in real-world issues and in exploring opportunities to engage students with people and places that expand their thinking.   


  • Building 'industry – school' links.
  • Commercialisation of education initiatives.
  • Strategies for building successful project teams.

Conference presentations

  • ‘Earth Science Virtual Field Trips’, Geosciences Conference, November 2013.
  • ‘Effective Use of LEARNZ in Your Classroom’, TRCC Primary Science Conference, April 2013.
  • ‘A Taste of the Ice’, Antarctic Annual Conference, July 2010.
  • Presentation to the ICT Taskforce of the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA), in Queensland, Australia, July 2006.
  • Facilitator at an Environmental Education Workshop Kathmandu, Nepal for the United Nations Environment Programme, April 2003.
  • ‘Virtual Field Trips for Asian Schools’ presentation to the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) Teachers' Conference, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, March 2003.
  • Chaired the Tasmanian Wilderness Virtual Classroom Project, Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Tourism, Parks, Heritage and the Arts, Tasmania, Australia, February 2002.
  • Chaired the Arctic Science Education Working Group. Arctic Research Consortium of the US (ARCUS), University of Alaska, Fairbanks where the ‘Arctic Alive Virtual field trips exploring the extraordinary environments and diverse cultures of the Arctic region’ was created, April 2000.
  • Presented at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) San Antonio, Texas, 1999.
  • Co-chaired a three-day science education workshop in New Orleans, USA for the Arctic Research Consortium of the US (ARCUS), 1997.

Personal statement

I grew up in the Manawatu and had my first taste of teaching as a VSA school-leaver in Tonga. My passion for the mountains and the outdoors led to jobs as a Mount Cook rescue mountaineer, survival instructor in Antarctica and nine return trips to Antarctica with LEARNZ. My interests these days include mountain biking, tennis and donkeys.