Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei launches augmented reality tour

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has launched an augmented reality walking tour of Takaparawhau, Bastion Point.

The Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Auckland Virtual Tours smartphone app is designed to give visitors to the landmark an interactive, educational experience of the history of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland City.

It is hoped the tourism venture will deliver a low-impact way of capitalising on the 500,000 visitors that come to Bastion Point every year, said Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.

“This precious land needs to be properly managed and protected so that it remains a sustainable asset for future generations; the iwi hopes this new venture will provide supplemental income to support infrastructure and sustainability initiatives.”

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei’s business development manager, Jamie Cook, said the app broke new ground in the tourism sector and also delivered an educational crossover.

“The app is delivered in three languages – English, Māori, and Mandarin – so anyone who is on a Māori language learning journey can use it as an interactive tool to further their learning,” said Cook.

“Oral traditions are handed down from generation to generation and this knowledge needs to be shared to survive. We’re exploring new ways to share our stories and create stronger engagement with a wider audience through technology innovation.”

Designed and built by Auckland-based studio M Theory, the AR experience combines 360° video, audio narratives and augmented reality overlays.

“We’ve used technology to link the past and the future through the Māori tradition of storytelling, creating an authentic and personal experience for as many visitors as possible,” said M Theory managing director Samantha Ramlu.

“The Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Auckland Virtual Tours app is based on the ‘Home Fires’ guided tour, and we hope it will also encourage more people to join the full tour.”

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Auckland Virtual Tours is available on Google Play this week with the Apple Store to follow.

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