Waxeye Karanga a Tāne Mahuta

Toitanga 2021 Credits
  • Creative Directors
    Paul James, Kelsey Jones
  • Team Members
    Amanda Goosen, Nisch Pokhrel, Vlad Vasin, Mark Southcombe
  • Client
    Kiri Reihana

Karanga a Tāne Mahuta is a VR experience delivered in Te Reo Māori with English options that connect taitamariki (youth) of the Northland region with their environment.
The project is an observation from the perspective of the ancient trees of the forest and what mature Kauri trees would have seen over a lifespan of 2000 years.

The aim was to reinforce Te Rarawa youths' connection to their forest, enable kaitiakitanga and provide an opportunity to understand impacts and environmental changes in the forest through a technological platform.

“We wanted to reignite the desire of Māori and New Zealanders to learn more and foster a heart and passion for our amazing taonga – Au Warawara – in all its splendour of ecological, environmental and cultural significance.”
Kairangahau Lead Researcher - Kiri Reihana

We developed an immersive 3D virtual reality app featuring stereoscopic 360 video and 3D animations. Interactive hotspot sections were a mechanism for accessing knowledge and information.

Our small team of artists and developers toiled for 15 months to create 7 epic minutes of virtual reality.

From meteor strikes to waka arrivals to today, our narrative explores significant changes to our environment, including the decline of forests and many native species. Then it offers a glimpse of where we could be heading in the next 2000 years, depending on the impact of decisions made now.

Through the hyper-realistic CG visuals and the dramatic 360 drone footage that lifts the user above the forest canopy as it is today, we've pushed the boundaries of traditional narrative and portrayed local history, heritage and geography in a new and innovative way. Primarily this has been done to explore pioneering ways of intergenerational knowledge transfer, which is an urgent concern for many iwi, especially Te Rarawa.

This project set out to enable and inspire Au Warawara's next generation of kaitiaki (guardians) of the forest. By presenting nature through technology, we have brought the forest to the people, not just in New Zealand but globally, thus connecting Te Rarawa uri (descendants) universally.

The client’s own review pointed to just how immersive this experience was: “That’s a wrap! Our launch of the Warawara Virtual Reality Bilingual Resource was a great success. We had people cry, we had one faint, but the overall response is 'wow just awesome!’”

This project was funded by Unlocking Curious Minds (MBIE) and co-developed with Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, Warawara kaitiaki komiti, Te Aho Tu Roa and Te Kura Taumata o Panguru.
The project design team consisted of project lead - Kiri Reihana (Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research), Joanne Murray (Te Aho Tu Roa, Warawara kaitiaki komiti, Whangape Marae rep) Mina Pomare-Peita (Te Kura Taumata o Panguru) Selena Bercic (Far North REAP) and Maraea Herbert-Pickering (Te Rarawa rep).